Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Musings: Woo Hoo!

In the wee hours of the morn, after a grueling 18.5-hour session — you know, the conditions when really good legislation is forged — the Kauai County Council passed Bill 2491. Now the chemical companies will be required to disclose what pesticides they're using and maintain buffers between their fields and adjacent schools, hospitals, parks, roads and homes.

And that's a good thing. A very good thing.

What isn't such a good thing is how we got here. By which I mean the fricking fear and heavy dose of drama that has permeated this spectacle from the get-go.

I'm not sure what finally motivated the Council, which toyed with deferral through the long night, to finally pass the bill. Perhaps it was sheer exhaustion. Or maybe it was the prospect of having to hear all the same people deliver the same testimony for a fourth or fifth time if the bill got kicked down the road.

Perhaps it was the fear Nomi “BabesAgainst Biotech” Carmona might strip and launch into a lap dance, ala Monica Alves. Or maybe they'd just had enough of being bullied, verbally abused and threatened with everything from escalating civil disobedience to election defeat and I'll hold my breath until I turn blue.

Because T&A and tantrums are such effective ways of building an enduring movement and credibility in the larger community — the place where the average man/woman on the street tells me they're disgusted with both sides. And last night's televised theater was unlikely to win any converts.

The drama, though annoying, could at least be amusing: “We're exhausted,” the red shirts kept saying last night, though I'm not sure who told them that camping in front of the county building is a necessary part of the legislative process. “I'm tired of flying over here,” said Molokai's Walter Ritte, though I'm not sure who in GMO-Free Kauai decided it would be more beneficial to pay for his plane fare than, say, a water sample.

But there was nothing at all amusing about the fear-mongering that has driven this issue.

Both sides drummed it hot and heavy, from the chemical companies with their threatened job losses to the red-shirts with their spiel about how the entire island is a toxic waste dump and everyone is sick and dying.

Felicia Cowden addressed that underlying theme with her testimony about how “these very carnal fears of having your own child ruined could ruin any of us.” Though somehow she seemed oblivious to the complicity of her weekly KKCR radio show, which churns out a steady ill-informed dose of fear about chem trails, GMOs, smart meters, chemicals, conspiracies, etc.

So now that all these fears have been stimulated, how are they going to be eased?

Because despite the underlying urgency that drove last night's call for action, it will be many months before any health or environmental studies are completed. And it's anybody's guess as to whether the bill will ever be properly implemented or enforced.

But who needs enforcement? All that matters is getting the bill passed, right?

Now the sponsors can bask in the glory, the accolades, the hero worship, the comparisons to Kennedy (I kid you not) without having to worry about whether anything meaningful actually is, or even can be, implemented. Let the poor schmucks in Administration deal with those dull details.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy the bill passed, gutted though it is. And I'm glad to see young people getting involved. I'm just sad they got such a perverted introduction to the political process, such a poor edumacation in how to make a movement.

But, hey, woo-hoo! We made history. The whole world is watching. We showed the big bad chemical companies.  And all that.  

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

What did they pass? So the amendments were not given any time for comments cause the loudest demanded now. The details matter, so what are they before we celebrate?

Anonymous said...

This a pretty useless piece of legislation. Most of the ingredients would have been agreed to by Big Ag, if approached with a civil attitude. As you correctly stated, enforcement will be the issue. Ironically, the most outspoken advocate of how easy the enforcement will be, is himself, suing over the County's enforcement of easy to understand and easy to enforce rules IE the "illegal kitchen" rule. I feel the Big Ag guys will be forced to sue the County over "regulatory taking" and "targeting" some users of controlled chems and giving others users a pass. Jay Furfaro deserves a medal for his patience and his handling of the process. This will cost Kauai millions of dollars if it goes to court( not even counting the perennial new County workers needed for enforcement). Kauai will not use the rabid publicity seeking environmental attorneys who say they will work for free. Plus when the actual studies of cancer clusters, deformities and other illnesses on the westside show that there are NO such anomalies, then what? Will the Docs, who already have enough issues with Kauai's medical services (now that is a real travesty, look at he results) be further evaluated? Most people that have half a brain got to Honolulu for medical procedures, anyway. The people of Kauai have been lost in this ugly process, too many outside island people, too many vicious statements, too many NS newcomers. Yukimura, Nakamura are real ladies and tried to bring people awareness into the process. Mel and Kagawa have always been for Kauai's people. Tim and Gary are for themselves, and the rich NS "its my island now" people. Kauai politics is changing, but you will see that Mayor Carvalho will win by a huge number, his attempts at reason and reality were not heard by the crowd or the Council, but he has been heard by Kauai's people. One thing is certain, the most vocal part of Kauai, moves here, stays a while, whines alot and then goes elsewhere- most of Kauai's voters mind their own business, respect everyone and live and die on Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mayor Carvalho for being such a great leader in this issue. While his frustration was palpable at last night's meeting, it did not over-ride his strength, resolve and reason.

He may, in fact, very well do the people of Kauai a great service by vetoing the bill, and save ourselves from our Council. In the end, even the supporters of the bill may thank him for it.

This issue reminds me of the debt ceiling issue facing our nation:

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/19893-the-furies-never-end

Anonymous said...

Tim's lawyer will sue the County. She'll making a bundle off of Tim one way or another.

Anonymous said...

It is the general politics in service to corporate interests, the mediocre at best local media and the unfriendly time and soul sucking 'economy' that keep the greater mass of people apathetic, distracted and absent from public discourse and process. So this time it was the invigorated fringe that carried the day. When you write and appeal for clarity and upholding of your public interest issues, realize that the audience is just not there. Meaning and facts are not preeminent in this age of debasement, private interest servitude and corruption. Maybe this sour grapes is really against the cavernous echoing non-response you hear to your own efforts and work? Perhaps it will take more of this invigorated fringe and all their misunderstandings to restore a sort of republic in which journalism and education matter? Don't get me wrong, I admire greatly your work, passion and perseverance. I've just lost my illusions about the nature of our society and its outmoded myths. Things are not what the rational think they are either. Your teammates are imperfect. Smack them with the facts, but embrace them in the process.

John Tyler said...

Hmmmm. I read the large anonymous comment above, and really see a slanted bias in it. Whoever writes that has gone to college, it's easy to see. I just have to say that evaluation is not what I experienced or feel is Gary or Tim's motives. I get a genuineness of wanting to truly help this island, from listening to their process last night. I hazard to guess whoever here hides under the anonymous mantle, taking pot shots, is likely one of the county attorneys or administration folk, or GMO management, likely the former. Have the guts "anonymous" to state your name or just know your cheap shots are just that, cheap, and the bill passing is a testament to a movement based in aloha for all, not just using our residents as collateral damage to GMO profits. Thank you council.

Anonymous said...

Get use to it, Joan. We're just gettin' started.

Anonymous said...

Is Nomi “BabesAgainst Biotech” Carmona offering lap dances? Where do we sign up for one of those?

Anonymous said...

6:03 Why call someone gutless for posting anonymously? Almost everyone posts anonymously on this blog, including many who agree with this blog's author. But those who agree are never called gutless - only those who disagree are. Why? Whatever arguments or opinions are put forth should stand on their own, regardless of who wrote them. You don't like the ideas being expressed? Criticize the idea, instead of outing the author. We vote anonymously, don't we? Why? Because it encourages open participation in the democratic process, just like this or any other blog does and should do.

Anonymous said...

Holy Dust Cloud Batman, I heard that local people are a little reticent about speaking in public. Is that why others dominate the conversation?
Well yes, Robin, that is true partially, but another fact is the locals are too busy working and caring for their families. Maybe they should get involved in the discourse, but gee whiz, you know it's hard. Also, there is no way the council could cave in to a mob, chanting slogans, spouting pseudo-science mythology, emotional diatribes, intimidation and there is absolutely no way the council could be led by a few mis-informed zealots caught up in the new national frenzy "Down with Monsanto", ah shucks, Robin, GMO by any other name is still Monsanto. Sorry about you losing your job. Maybe you can get a job on one of the North Shore farms, oh wait, there really are no farm jobs on hobby farms.

Joan Conrow said...

"Perhaps it will take more of this invigorated fringe and all their misunderstandings to restore a sort of republic in which journalism and education matter? "

It doesn't sound like you've lost your illusions about the nature of our society if you believe that.

Anonymous said...

"the bill passing is a testament to a movement based in aloha for all" That's pretty clueless. No doubt about sincerity of some in the "movement". GH statement to Joan about enforcement should be revealing to disciples but as the guy in the movie said, can't handle the truth

Anonymous said...

I thought GMO lawyer about the long post. "This will cost Kauai millions of dollars if it goes to court" is a threat I'm tired of hearing from the greed is good crowd. If the pesticide companies are truly going to sue Kauai County because it voted for buffer zones between experimental pesticides and elementary schools, I say bring it on. When these corporations don't don't leave Kauai or do layoffs, we will know they were BS all along.
ps: His/her view that the NS people don't get to call Kauai their island too is sadly revealing.

Anonymous said...

Right on Mel! The only council member with any balls at all.

Anonymous said...

those north shore people are no doubt living on ag cpr that they bought from mimsy or neal and flying back and forth to cali in carbon spewing jet. hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

Hooser for Governor! Bynum for Senate!

Anonymous said...

Fuck this north shore crap. I'm sick of hearing this kind of rhetoric. I have supported this bill from inception. I marched 2xs, I work for the State, lived in Lihu'e for 30+ years, I'm born and raised in Hawaii and I'm kanaka. I don't fit that stupid image that the other side tries to portray of the bills supporters and this issue really has brought out the ugly in our community. I didn't attend any hearings but I submitted my email testimony in favor. As someone who has an inside view of the inner workings of our state government, I see first hand the complacency and incompetence that permeates the system, a perpetual lack of funding and will to change. I shake my head at Mel's insistence to leave it up to the State based on Johnny come lately Governor Abercrombie's last minute press release. If not for the zealous activism of the bills supporters, I really don't see the bill passing.

Anonymous said...

Not to worry now. The County is on it.

Anonymous said...

These biotech thugs and their lawyers are trying to make it a race issue. They are trying to discredit our physicians who cannot understand all the diseases and cancers they find on the west side. They threaten to leverage their vast corporate money against our tax money with SLAPP lawsuits.

They are haole executives blaming North Shore haoles for opposing them. Make no mistake, they would will trade local disease and death for profit. They always have.

And they want us all to say they are the good guys while we breath our daily dose of their toxic residue and can only afford to eat their franken food-like substances.

Andy Parx said...

And you blame all that on these kids who, although they don't know what they're doing activism-wise are fundamentally correct? Or are you claiming all the doctors and nurses who have noticed cancer clusters and 10x the rate of a certain rare birth defects and only need finding to file peer-reviewed papers are the loonies?

Have you thought about looking at the double insane anonymous nut cases writing above? Anything less than shrieking "Pass The Bill" at 3 a.m. in the streets of Lihu`e would be what's crazy. The only ones "divided" in this community are those getting paid to divide it and the fringe settler smart-alecs who have nothing better to do than rattle you cage all the time.

Joan Conrow said...

No, Andy, I'm not blaming the kids (and let's not forget there were plenty of boomers) for all that. As I said, both sides contributed to escalating the fear and drama.

I have never disagreed with the need to crack down on the chemical companies. My concern has been with the process, a disturbing "brown shirts" mentality that degrades what is pono about the cause.

As for your denial about being people "divided," that's what happens inside the Facebook/KKCR echo chamber. But get out into the broader community and you will find many people are appalled and disgusted by the ugly tactics used on both sides. While some may indeed be concerned about pesticides, they feel no affinity for the movement, which many have characterized as "toxic."

Anonymous said...

Andy "sunshine" Parks doesn't mind passing a bill at 3 a.m. without time for the public to study the major amendments. Just pass the bill even if it won't work. What, Andy or Gary worry? It will give Gary an excuse to attack Bernard for not enforcing a law that was always a political tool to fool the gullible. More theater and hypocrisy, please!

Andy Parx said...

As I just posted on Joan's post the "next day"

If hundreds of hours of testimony and a stack of documents a mile high (okay- an exaggeration) in open session are not enough to have public input on any possible amendment- even if it was introduced at 13 o'clock on the 32nd of never- I would complain. Show me what was not covered in testimony if you're going to make that claim- I watched all of it, gavel to gavel. And there is written testimony too.
I used to have a lot of problems with the lack of further testimony on all amendments. But I've come to realize that as long as there was enough time for testimony and a vigorous discussion took place, amendments, drawn up by one or two persons (legal according to the sunshine law) based on discussion that took place in open session- are sufficiently vetted. If the amendments are so off subject that they would create something not covered in the testimony then a new bill should be introduced. That is NOT the case here no matter how much we don't like them.
All this is what the law currently says is permissible. I saw no "back room" deals or serial communications. If you have different information then say so but don't intimate there was and say nothing more. Actually I shouldn't even be answering anonymous commenters.

Andy Parx said...

It depends on what you mean by "divided." I meant divided over whether the content of the bill should be passed. As to tactics- which wasn't what I included in the term "divided"- the only ones I heard yelling "divided community" were the chemical companies and their supporters who are working for them- or their families or are vendors etc. And the newspapers who love a "divided community. I know it's unscientific but look at the poll in the newspaper- 80% for the bill last I looked.
And let me be clear- there is a TON OF IMPLIED RACE BIAS going on here, if you want to talk about tactics. That and mothers worried about their babies being poisoned- and with good cause.

Anonymous said...

Translation: THERE'S A TON OF BS IN MY COMMENT but I can't help myself and I JUST WANTED TO INFLAME THE SITUATION A LITTLE MORE BY MAKING IT ABOUT RACE to take attention away from my hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Dear Andy, While enuf general testimony was heard , testimony on the proposed amendments that made the bill a pile of shit did not happen, there was 0 testimony on the amendments. It's the amendments that were introduced in the middle of the night that changed the bill from a defensible one to crap.
Was it too much to ask for a bill that actually accomplished what everyone is calling for? Is it fair to say they succeeded when the bill actually is meaningless words? Guess that depends who "they" are.Certainly we the people did not win.

Christi Demuth said...

I am very disappointed with the remark about Nomi and Monica Alves. Really Joan? That was over the line.
You owe Nomi an apology, she works hard and does research for a good cause. She is not nor ever has been a exotic dancer and was not in Monica Alves profession ever!
There was a time I respected you.

Anonymous said...

I have been a community advocate for over 43 years and am THRILLED to see "the kids" show up and I approve of most everything they've done to cut through the mainstream media and bring attention to the issue. God bless 'em for trying to protect Kaua'i.
P.S. the Nomi statement was a low blow, Joan. She's worked very hard.
P.P.S. Suck it Anon. Chuck L.

Joan Conrow said...

No, Christi, I don't owe Nomi an apology. She owes all of us — especially those of us who have worked for decades to advance feminism — an apology. She used a worthwhile cause to narcissistically draw attention to herself through the most regressive of ploys: shaking her tits and ass. What's surprising is that you and some of the other red shirt leaders actually defend and even champion such juvenile tactics in a political and education campaign. That's no way for a movement to build credibility.