I went to O‘ahu last night for the last of the Thirty Meter Telescope Draft EIS hearings, which was held at Farrington High School’s cafeteria and where I said a few words.
What I keep coming back to again and again is what Kumu Lehua Veincent told me the first time I asked him what the TMT should offer the Big Island as an introductory, good faith gift. I asked him if it would be appropriate to ask for “full ride” scholarships for at least five native Hawaiians to attend the best colleges in the nation.
He asked me, in a very sincere way, “And what about the rest?”
I felt so stupid that I could feel my ears getting hot.
That is the essential question: “What about the rest?” This is about the keiki, the future generations—all of them.
Three years later, University of Hawai‘i President McClain has announced that if the TMT comes to Hawai‘i, in addition to its other negotiations there will be an annual, $1 million benefit package for education emphasizing K-12. It will be effective for the life of the project—50 years—and will begin as soon as all the permits are in place.
It will be set up to address Kumu Lehua’s question: “What about the rest?”