Something amazing happened on Civil Beat this week. We had a sophisticated discussion of a complex technical subject, the Big Wind renewable energy project planned for Molokai and Lanai that would provide power to Oahu, and a civil discussion about a highly sensitive topic — race. I know you’re all busy, so to help you save time, here are some examples of the “must-read” comments from those two discussions from recent days that I hope give you an idea of the level of dialogue on Civil Beat.

On Big Wind

In response to Big Wind Fuels a Torrent of Big Questions — Part 1 and Big Wind Fuels a Torrent of Big Questions — Part 2 by Catharine Lo:

I am Energy Chair for the Sierra Club-Oahu Group. Consistent with national Sierra Club policy on wind turbine siting, I have found that the environmental impact of the Lanai and Molokai wind energy proposals is too severe to be tolerated, especially since all the electricity generated will be used on Oahu, while the most important environmental impacts will be displaced onto the two small neighbor islands. Future wind energy development to serve Oahu should be sited on Oahu; the Kahuku wind energy project is but a meager first step in freeing Honolulu from the hazards and pollution caused by being dependent on petroleum for electricity generation.

  • An excerpt in response to Hannah from Peter Rosegg of Hawaiian Electric.

When it comes to energy, we are all in this conundrum (over dependence on oil with its economic and environmental and security dangers) together no matter what island we live on. Just because the islands have never been connected for energy purposes does not mean they never should be. We are “connected” for many things. And realistically, when we look at the potential renewable resources on Oahu, even if we build everything possible, we cannot reach the aggressive goals we have set for our state for renewable energy.

Read the complete comment.

We over here on Lanai don’t call this the Big Wind; we call it what it really is — Oahu’s Wind Power Plant on Lanai.

It may be helpful to remember that while 90 percent of Hawaii’s energy needs are filled by oil, electricity accounts for less than 30 percent of that energy usage.

While Hawaii’s electric rates may be double the US average, Lanai’s rates are double that of Oahu.

There is NO plan for any of the power generated by the Oahu wind power plant on Lanai to serve Lanai’s electric power needs.

Read the complete comment.

On Race

In response to an article I wrote, No, Mufi, That Wasn’t “A Right Thing To Say” .

John, I think you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist here, and missing the bigger picture. I spent the weekend blowing up over Mufi’s civil unions stance and throwing my support over to the short, smart guy, but I agree with what and how Mufi is being multi-cultural. He is recognizing that he and we have many colors; we have not all blended into gray.

We’re all different but co-exist and thrive together in Hawaii. A rainbow, not one color. That’s the message I get from Mufi’s statements. The Samoans are different than the Japanese, who are different from those of us with European ancestry, and some of us are many things at once. But so what? We value each other, we get along, we respect other cultures and Hawaii is the better for it. We all bring something to the table, and we share the table.

Read the complete comment.

I have spent 10 years of my life living on the mainland and note that in Hawaii, we use racial adjectives WAY more than anywhere else. I believe this is just the vernacular of our society and take no offense to its use, but it is admittedly shocking for unaccustomed ears. In my past military life, when responding to a racial incident onboard my ship, one of my senior enlisted leaders called me the Tall Hapa Japanese officer (he had lived in Hawaii), everyone’s jaw dropped, except mine. Newsflash: I am those things.

Read the complete comment.

In a world that has too often and for too long made ethnic minorities feel that their racial heritages were sources of shame instead of pride, I take serious offense to this piece that criticizes Mufi for being proud of who he is and of the color of his skin. I would never want him to do it differently.

For someone like me, who is also brown and Polynesian, Mufi is inspiring because he embraces his heritage. In a place so heavily populated by people from the Pacific, this is critical. Too criticize this makes the Civil Beat look very out of touch with the working class Pacific population who resides here.

Read the complete comment.

There were so many more fascinating comments this week. But I hope this gives you a flavor of the conversation.

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