Hawaiian lawmakers and their staff got briefed Tuesday on a possible North Korea attack, but the public wasn’t invited.
By Courtney Teague
Some lawmakers who attended stressed that the secret meeting was not called because of any immediate threat to the islands. Instead, it was a discussion of how to help the public prepare.
A public meeting on the topic is planned for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol auditorium. Legislators said they did not know how that meeting would differ from Tuesday’s.
Civil Beat obtained a copy of a memo Sen. Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, sent Monday inviting all legislators and their staffs to attend a presentation by the EMA “regarding recent regional military threats and the planned responses to such events.”
Brian Black, executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, said the Legislature sets its own rules on public access and the state constitution only prohibits private meetings that concern decision-making committee hearings.
Shortly after Civil Beat photographer Cory Lum showed up to take pictures, he was asked to leave by a staffer.
Civil Beat still caught the end of the meeting as legislators and EMA officials discussed how to best prepare residents and visitors for a nuclear attack without fear-mongering.
“It seems to me that primal instincts are going to just overwhelm nearly everybody,” said Sen. Gil Riviere, who then repeated the advice given out recently by the EMA: “Get inside, stay inside, stay tuned.”
“People are just going to be fleeing, they’re not going to stay in,” Riviere added.
EMA Executive Officer Toby Clairmont said Thursday’s public presentation would stress the importance of emergency preparedness, like keeping enough food on hand for 14 days.
“When you hear us speak to the public, it’s going to start off with the majority talking about how to prepare your family for major emergencies … getting your act together. And then it’s going to include this (preparation for a nuclear attack) as one hazard in addition to hurricanes and tsunamis and other things,” Clairmont told the legislators and staffers. . .