How detrimental is it to allow far-left ideologues into bureaucratic public works positions? The state of Hawaii just found out this week with a blaze that engulfed the Island of Maui and killed at least 110 people. A series of management blunders are being blamed for the deadly wildfire, but one incident in particular has frightening implications.
With wildfires ripping across West Maui on Aug. 8, a state water official delayed the release of water that landowners requested to help protect their property from damage and stop the spread. The water standoff played out over much of the day and the water didn’t come until too late. The dispute involved the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ water resource management division and West Maui Land Co., which manages agricultural and residential subdivisions in West Maui.
According to accounts of four people with knowledge of the situation, M. Kaleo Manuel, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner and DLNR’s deputy director for water resource management, initially refused West Maui Land Co.’s requests for additional water to help prevent fires from spreading to properties managed by the company. Manuel eventually released water but not until after the fire had run its course.
His office has not yet commented on the delay of water resources.
How much damage could have been prevented with the extra water is not yet known. However, the question of "Why?" needs to be addressed in the wake of one of the worst natural disasters in Hawaii's history. Though bureaucratic red tape might be the most obvious suggestion, a recent interview with M. Kaleo Manual offers some interesting and disturbing insight. Manuel waxes philosophical on "water equity" ("equity" being a pervasive woke buzzword) and an ancient "reverence" of water as god-like. He uses these beliefs to support his rationale for keeping tight controls over Hawaiian water supplies; not as a resource to be used, but as a holistic privilege offered by the government.
Meet M. Kaleo Manuel, the official who refused to release water in Maui, contributing to up to 106 deaths.— Jeremy Kauffman 🦔 (@jeremykauffman) August 16, 2023
A Hawaiian Studies major, Kaleo prefers a traditional, holistic "One Water" approach where water is revered, not used.
Water requires "true conversations about equity" pic.twitter.com/4AzVZNwkHk
His sentiments represent a now familiar far-left cultism and propensity to place Earth worship and climate ideology over the the lives of average people. It is also a rather common trope of the far-left to depict indigenous peoples as environmental sages "one with the planet," leaving it unaltered for thousands of years - This is not historically accurate but it certainly serves the purposes of the progressive narrative. Upon arrival on the islands, Polynesians introduced their own transported landscapes and alien species of animals. The population grew, cleared vegetation, and established an intricate agricultural system by the 1300s. Hawaii was indelibly altered by the Polynesians long before the Europeans ever arrived.
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy summed up the disgusting farce in a tweet:
There’s a dark but hard TRUTH to the Maui catastrophe that has led to over 110 tragic deaths.
As wildfires raged, desperate residents petitioned state officials to send more water for firefighting & to help protect their properties from fire.
That request went unanswered for hours, withholding critical aid to islanders. Now we’re learning that the official who delayed the approval is an Obama Foundation "Asia Pacific Leader" & a climate activist who believes water should be “revered” first and foremost.
The DEI agenda is literally costing people their lives.
Hawaii’s Democrat governor, Josh Green, says there are people “fighting against the release of water to fight fires” & that it needs to be explored further. The No. 1 responsibility of government is to protect its citizens. The victims and their families deserve the TRUTH.
One might argue that fresh water in an island state requires more careful planning in terms of day-to-day applications. One cannot argue, though, that water should be withheld in emergencies due to one's personal and meaningless belief in tribal superstition, nor can a person argue that properties and people should burn because of "water equity," whatever that means.