I mean, who thought it would help the movement to have a guy who landed here six months ago — “God asked me to come to Kauai to do my greatest good and greatest service to others” — admonish the Council to “represent us the way we want to be represented or we will be sitting in your chairs”?
Because Hawaii already did the missionary thing, and it didn't go over well. Nor did the remark, which pissed off Councilman Ross Kagawa, who accurately characterized it as “like a threat” (albeit an empty one). Ross then advised the speakers that the “content of the testimony needs to show a little more class” as the aforementioned JOJ called out, “I love you” from the audience.
Which later clapped and used noisemakers to show support for a speaker as drums beat outside. None of which ever plays well in the Council chambers, especially when things are tense. And tense they most certainly were, with County Attorney Al Castillo twice raising the specter of possible Sunshine Law violations since GMOs/pesticides weren't on the agenda, and Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum expending valuable, and limited, political capital to persuade their colleagues to let the group speak, and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura frowning because the process was sketchy, and Chairman Jay Furfaro's blood pressure rising as he struggled to manage the reins.
Of course, you don't have to go along with the Council's protocol — unless you want to be taken seriously and have your proposed ordinance considered. Which brings us to the Kauai Food Bill of Rights, a fairy tale about a "new island order." Though couched in appealing, familiar terms — "we the people, GMO-free, self-governance, sustainability" — it's a hodge-podge of philosophy and circular thinking that is not grounded in legal or political reality.
To whit: within five days of passage it would ban use of every synthetic pesticide, prohibit all farms that aren't 75% family owned, require stores and restaurants to buy 25% of their food from sustainable sources and allow citizens to bring claims against any perceived violators. The Council would be given the power to consider separating from the State of Hawaii or United State of America if those entities tried to block implementation of the bill.
Or at least, that's according to the draft I obtained. Kauai Rising, the bill's promoter, hasn't been making it publicly available, which is fine, especially if it's undergoing revisions. But in that case, they really shouldn't be circulating a generic, feel-good petition that they tried to present to the Council as 1770 signatures in favor of a measure that it did not even link to. Which apparently was the whole purpose of Wednesday morning's drama.
It's all quite funny, actually, a true political farce. Unless it tragically discredits the broader anti-GMO/pesticide movement, or distracts people from the real work of getting a serious pesticide bill through the Council this year....