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When Bureaucracy Burns: Hawaii’s Water Crisis Amidst Raging Fires


When wildfires ravaged the picturesque island of Maui, the last thing the brave firefighters and residents expected was a bureaucratic hold-up over water access. But that’s precisely the situation they found themselves in, thanks to a decision by a state official that left many scratching their heads and questioning priorities.

Kaleo Manuel, previously holding the title of first deputy of the Commission on Water Resource Management, found himself in the spotlight for a questionable decision made during the dire circumstances. As Maui’s vast lands were being consumed by one of the deadliest wildfires in American history, Manuel hesitated to grant access to state-controlled water resources, which were desperately sought by private land management and agricultural companies. The objective was simple: aid the Maui Fire Department firefighters in their valiant efforts to contain the inferno.

Yet, for five agonizing hours, the flames continued to spread, consuming everything in their path. Only after this did Manuel finally relent, allowing access to the crucial water resources. And while the aftermath has been heart-wrenching, with a death toll reaching 115 and hundreds still missing, the lingering question remains: Why the delay?

The Department of Land and Natural Resources has been quick to defend Manuel, stating his reassignment to a different position was solely a move for post-fire relief efforts and not an indication of any wrongdoing. They insist that the shift aims to help the Maui community recover from the wildfires’ devastating effects.

However, this decision seems oddly tone-deaf, given the scale of the catastrophe. Collin Rugg of Trending Politics rightly points out the real-world consequences of such bureaucratic hesitation, remarking, “Wokeism literally costs lives.”

And while it’s one thing to advocate for the equitable use of resources, as Manuel did in a 2022 online event, there’s a stark difference between theory and practice. When lives are on the line, action and efficiency should always take precedence over paperwork.

This tragic episode serves as a reminder: conservatively speaking, a government should work efficiently, cutting through the red tape when urgency demands. It’s a lesson in prioritizing real-time needs over bureaucracy. As the ashes settle, Hawaii is bound to reevaluate its water resource policies, especially concerning private companies. And one can only hope such reviews ensure that the heartbreaking events in Maui don’t repeat elsewhere.

Alexandra Russel
Alexandra Russel
Highly respected journalist and political commentator with over a decade of experience in the industry. Alex was born and raised in Florida, where she developed a passion for writing at a young age, leading her to pursue a degree in journalism from the University of Florida. After graduation, she worked as a political reporter for several local and national publications before being appointed as the chief editor at Conservative Fix.

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