Saturday, March 29, 2008

Musings: Sketchy Business

Aside from the sirens that briefly got all the dogs in the neighborhood howling, it was a quiet, sleepy morning when Koko and I set out walking a little bit later than usual. The clouds blocked the sun and its rise and all the interior mountains, except for the face of Makaleha, which was streaked by a lovely waterfall.

Ran into my neighbor Andy, who had spent yesterday planting more fruit trees in his yard. It seems he makes his own guava jam and lilikoi jelly from fruit collected on his property, as well as a soursop sherbet. It’s always nice to see folks actually using their ag land, instead of just growing a crop of grass that’s regularly harvested by a mower.

On the topic of agriculture — one of my favorites — the Garden Island reports today that the Council approved the resolution calling for a 10-year moratorium on GMO taro.

I wasn’t surprised that they passed it, but I was surprised to learn JoAnn Yukimura joined Kaipo Asing and Ron Kouchi in voting against it. According to the paper, she released a statement saying:

”I do not believe it is pono to pass a law instituting a 10-year moratorium without taking the time to understand the objections, reservations and concerns of those who produce the majority of the taro in the state — most of whom are Kaua‘i farmers, our neighbors and friends who for generations have been keeping poi on all of our tables.”

I’m not sure how much more time needs to be spent hashing out the concerns that have been presented by those who both support and oppose the moratorium. It’s also highly unlikely that consensus will ever be reached among taro growers themselves, many of whom are not Hawaiian and so are more concerned about the economic, rather than cultural, significance of the crop.

The article goes on to report:

“All the taro farmers understand and are sensitive to the cultural significance of taro to the Hawaiian community and also have reservations about GMO taro,” Kaua‘i Taro Growers Association President Rodney Haraguchi said in his written testimony. “However, they are opposed to have a law passed for 10 years restricting research which may be necessary.”

His use of the word “all” makes it sound like the farmers unanimously share KTGA’s anti-moratorium stance on this issue, when that is simply not the case. And anyway, the KTGA could not by any stretch of the imagination be said to represent even a majority of the taro growers on the island.

In the end, despite the hours of impassioned testimony, it’s doubtful the resolution — already passed on the Big Island and poised to be adopted by the Maui Council — will have much impact on the Legislature. As you may recall, the Neighbor Island councils also adopted resolutions calling for an EIS before the Superferry could run, and the Lege totally blew them off on that one.

Speaking of the Lege, Ian Lind has an interesting post today about how Rep. Roz Baker managed to craft a bill that would authorize loan guarantees to Aloha Airlines, which recently announced it is again filing Chapter 11.

Such guarantees might not necessarily be a bad thing, but the process by which the bill was “introduced” seems pretty darn sketchy.

But then, that seems to be the way the Lege conducts a lot of its business.

14 comments:

charley foster said...

"A bill that would authorize loan guarantees to Aloha Airlines." Remember when people used to think the Superferry Act was illegal because it was legislation to help a single company?

Gadfly said...

Aaaaand....The're OFf!!!

Charlie is quick out of the starting gate while the others are coming to speed quickly....

Gadfly has his scorecard at the ready...

Larry said...

Charlie, "Aloha" doesn't appear in the bill. Just as for the Superferry bill, it's written "The purpose of this Act is to assist Hawaii inter-island air carriers whose operations and revenues have been adversely affected by the recent inter-island travel fare wars ... ".

This is pretty bad, but they are being careful to avoid saying what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Remember when the DOT thought it wise to spend $40 million on harbor improvements that can only be used by a single company? Remember when Aloha was formed because it was legal to discriminate against people because of their race? Remember when there used to be pavilions on the beach at Kapaa Ball Park? Remember when there was only one traffic light on Kauai? Remember when you could drive from Kapaa to Hanalei and see less than a handful of cars? Remember when clothes, furniture, appliances and other goods were made in America?

Anonymous said...

And penny candy. Whatever happened to penny candy?

Anonymous said...

And manners, whatever happened to good manners?

Charley said...

and muscle cars

Anonymous said...

Still get muscle cars

Anonymous said...

what about newspaperboys?

Anonymous said...

or malaria and polio and smallpox?

Anonymous said...

what about nuclear testing in the pacific?

Anonymous said...

LPs

Anonymous said...

or whites only drinking fountains?

Anonymous said...

or Dutch Impressionism