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Aug 31

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, August 31, 2023 8:01 AM 

There is an update on the number of Lahaina schoolchildren the Hawaii's Department of Education says have not re-enrolled in public education programs: As of yesterday, twenty-two days after the catastrophic fires that incinerated the historic city of Lahaina, that number had decreased by 268, from 2,025 to 1,757.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports:

As of Wednesday, 1,757 West Maui students — or 60% of the total enrollment — have not transferred to public schools elsewhere or may have enrolled in private schools, moved out of state or are unaccounted for, according to DOE. A total of 732 did enroll in other public schools in Hawaii, and 478 students, including those in Kula Kaiapuni Hawaiian-language immersion programs, signed up for the State Distance Learning Program.

Three weeks later, is there not something loosey-goosey in the amorphous categorizing of the missing children -- something capacious in these categories of a perpetually open-ended nature? Post-fire private school enrollments should be something the DOE could easily tabulate; neverthelessm the question remains. Then there are the other categories: moved out of state, unaccounted for. Will these become the institutional excuses for the real death count, including death count of children, from the fires?

Is my cynicism justified? I thought about that. But consider everything else that is being hidden from the public by the government about what happened to Lahaina -- after every catastrophically wrong decision was made by that same government -- that is, if saving lives and property were its priority. 

What was the government's priority? Saving water over lives? Ensuring the total burnout of Maui's entire lower-income housing neighborhoods? Scattering islanders from their generational waterfront land? All of those things happened. And now Lahaina Mayor Richard Bissen won't even say where he was during the fire.   When asked about his whereabouts that fateful afternoon, he replied: "I don't have that. I don't have that for you." 

I don't have that for you?

Bissen also made a headline of two for admitting that he's "not sure" who was even in charge of Maui's Emergency Management Center during the fire. 

More from Hawaii News Now:

HNN has confirmed Maui Memorial Medical Center started getting inundated with patients who had fire-related injuries around 4 p.m. that day. Meanwhile, reports were surfacing on social media showing people running for their lives and jumping into the ocean to escape the fire.

This is how Bissen responded when pressed about what he knew — and when: “I wasn’t on social media. First of all, I’m not going to speak to social media. We didn’t have time for that.”

He also couldn’t explain why the head of Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, wasn’t notified anyone had died until the following day. “I don’t know who spoke to General Hara,” Bissen said. “That’s my answer to your question.”

A reporter then asked Hara: “We don’t know how many people maybe died waiting for a response. You don’t think there was anything your agency could have done?”

Hara responded: “Personally, I don’t think so.”

Publically, this is unconsionable. In a sane world, everyone there would have long ago resigned in disgrace, donned sackcloth and ashes and begun acts of pennance while dereliction of duty charges were being explored.

What strange force keeps the lid on everything and these men in place? . 


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