Stryker foes bash presentation
Hawaiian, environmental and anti-war activists objected to the Army's "open house" format rather than a public airing about establishing a Stryker Brigade in Hawaii.
Last night in Waianae, the Army provided individuals to explain the information at poster board displays and to answer any questions. People could share their questions and comments by either being videotaped, providing written testimony or going to one of three court reporters.
Hawaiian activist William Aila told Army officials that the format "prevents group manao (opinions) from developing" by not allowing other community members to hear the questions and answers regarding the Stryker Brigade.
"It's supposed to be a two-way communication," he said. "Culturally, you've offended us."
How can questions be asked, answered and heard by others if it's done quietly in corners? he asked.
Col. Michael Bishop from the Pentagon said he would not change the format despite pleas and demands from community members who said they not only wanted to hear answers to their questions, but also wanted to hear the thoughts from the Army.
When Bishop refused to have a public-meeting format, Aila stormed out.
Bishop said the format is being used at all five alternative Stryker sites in Washington state, Alaska, Colorado and Kentucky.
He said, "It unfortunate. ... This is supposed to be for comment. We thought that it would give more people opportunity to provide comments to the supplemental environmental impact statement."
Earthjustice, representing three Hawaiian groups, went to federal court to challenge the results of the Army's environmental impact statement, and in October a federal appeals panel said the EIS was inadequate because no other bases outside Hawaii were considered. The Army is gathering community feedback through the middle of next month.
"This process has been flawed from the beginning," said Ikaika Hussey. "At the first hearing, people were arrested for coming in with signs."
At last night's presentation at Waianae District Park, when some of the community members tried to speak through a microphone, it was unplugged.
Others said the presentation was poorly publicized and that people were given a week or less to learn of it.
Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai said, "This is not a meeting; this is a presentation.
"We only came to find out that we've been deceived by America," she said. "I'm just a community individual. I just want to hear my neighbors' concerns.
"When we practice our war games, your maneuvers, I agree you need that, but not here," she said.
The next presentations will be held at 6 p.m. at Kawananakoa Intermediate today, Haleiwa Elementary tomorrow, Waikoloa Elementary Thursday and Waiakea Intermediate Friday.