Thursday, June 19, 2014

Musings: Who is Fooling Who?

It was rather curious to read Fern Rosenstiel's guest commentary —oddly posted under “local news” in The Garden Island's online edition — demanding the chem/seed companies adhere to the county's GMO/pesticide regulatory bill.

She writes:

Your time for open, voluntary disclosure has long passed, it’s time to follow the regulations our island has set in place. It’s time you comply with Ordinance 960.

Surely Fern knows Ordinance 960 — the GMO/pesticide regulatory law — was not scheduled to take effect until Aug. 16. Now that date has been delayed to Oct. 1. The rules have not yet been adopted, and four of the five affected companies have filed suit to block the law's implementation.

The court is set to hold hearings on the case on July 23. Due to "the volume of cross motions that have been filed, all parties have entered into a stipulation and order that delays the effective date of the ordinance," according to a county press release.

In the meantime, voluntary disclosure is all we've got. What's more, Ordinance 960 itself relies on voluntary compliance.

It was also interesting to read Fern's assertion that:

Nearly two years ago, I sat down with [Councilman] Gary Hooser and explained that we needed to know how much of these different pesticides, atrazine specifically, they were spraying, that we needed to know where, so we could really target our studies to better understand what the concern is.

And I wondered, if that was the goal, why didn't Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, which Gary introduced, emphasize pesticide studies or health assessments? Instead, the triggers for an EIS in the original bill were linked solely to GMOs, not actual pesticide use, and no studies were mandated.

Instead, that crucial component is being handled in a decidedly ad hoc manner. The state Department of Health has said it was given no money to conduct any follow ups to the recent statewide study that found trace amounts of pesticides in waterways. Surfrider Foundation is planning to pursue studies with money from unspecified sources, but its objectivity was compromised when it joined the county's legal defense of 960.

So again I find myself questioning the objectives of the 2491/960 movement. Was it to address concerns associated with pesticide use, or eliminate GMOs? I ask, partly to determine its effectiveness — it seems to have failed at both — and because when you look at how the movement has been expressed on the Big Island and Maui, it's all about GMOs — even though the bulk of the atrazine used in the state is applied to the sugar fields on Maui.

Speaking of the Big Island, farmer Richard Ha recently spoke at the Hawaii State Association of Counties 2014 Annual Conference, and discussed why farmers there had filed suit against the anti-GMO bill passed by the Hawaii County Council. I'm sharing an excerpt of his speech because it does a good job of explaining why the anti-GMO movement has met resistance from many who support agriculture in Hawaii:

Why? Clarity: Farmers are law-abiding citizens and we play by the rules. We thought that the Feds and the State had jurisdiction. We want clarity about the rules of the game.

Equal treatment: Only Big Island farmers are prohibited from using biotech solutions that all our competitors can use. How is that equal? It’s discriminatory against local farmers.

When the law was first proposed, they wanted to ban all GMOs. We asked what are papaya farmers supposed to do? They said, we can help them get new jobs, to transition. We were speechless. It was as if they were just another commodity. So farmers and ranchers got together and ran a convoy around the County building in protest. Then they said they would give the Rainbow papaya farmers a break. I was there when the papaya farmers had a vote to accept the grandfather clause for Rainbow papayas. There were a lot of young, second- and third-generation farmers there in the room.

In the end, the papaya farmers said, We are not going to abandon our friends who supported us when we needed help. That is not who we are. Then they voted unanimously to reject the offer. I was there and being a Vietnam vet, where the unspoken rule was we all come back or no one comes back, I could not have been prouder of the papaya farmers. That explains why the Big Island farmers are tight. Old-fashioned values. The rubbah slippah folks absolutely get all of this.

So who are these farmers? I am one. I don't grow GMOs. It isn't about me. I'll make 70 this year and, like almost all the farmers, have never sued anyone. But there comes a time when you have to stand up for what is right.

The group we formed, Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United, grows more than 90 percent of the farm value on the Big Island.

This is about food security. The GMO portion of food security is small. This is not about large corporations. It is about local farmers. It is not about organics; we need everybody. But organics only supply 4 percent of the national food supply and maybe 1 percent of Hawaii’s. Our organic farmers are not threatened by modern farming. Hawaii organic farmers are threatened by mainland, industrial-scale organic farms. That is why there are hardly any locally grown organics in the retail stores. It’s about cost of production. Also, on the mainland winter kills off the bad bugs and weeds and the organic farmers can outrun the bugs through the early part of summer. Hawai‘i farmers don't have winter to help us.

Most importantly, this is about pro-science and anti-science. That is why farmers are stepping up. We know that science is self-correcting. It gives us a solid frame of reference. You don't end up fooling yourself. In all of Hawaii’s history, now is no time to be fooling ourselves.

Which brings me back to Ordinance 960 and all the people who were fooled into thinking they were supporting a bill that would actually “stop poisoning paradise” and address their health concerns, when in fact it does neither.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Joan.

Anonymous said...

Today's Garden Island has an interesting article about Tim Bynum's ag tax bill.

"When Committee Vice Chair JoAnn Yukimura cast the deciding vote, Bynum threw his pencil and stormed out of the room."

He has some behavioral issues.

Anonymous said...

Hey, looks like after a few days on the mainland, you already forgot to stop and smell the flowers. I missed your nature intro.

Anonymous said...

Good and very reliable information about delusional people. As the saying goes the devil is in the details. Mr. Richard Ha is a respectable local farmer and have spent decades farming the land, he knows a lot more than the Google phd's!

Anonymous said...

That is the sad state of affairs we are now in that the issue itself has become toxic

Anonymous said...

Tim's pencil throwing behavior is a pure example of Fistee behavior.
There has always been veiled violence in Fistee strategy. Chanting mobs and threats to the Mayor.
Just the expression "milyun fists" as inane as it is, suggests less than civil discourse.
How can Gary Hooser, the Big Fister himself even be included in any Council discussions on Ag, Traffic, development etc.? His newly ordained priestlike position as the president of HAPA should exclude him from any discussion or vote.
Jackpot Tim should have clutched his "lead" pencil a little tighter in his Fistee. Shameful. If a person from the public threw a pencil during a Council meeting, the outrage from the Council and public outcry would have ostracized the testifier. But not Tim, he is a Councilman (and as such is not bound by basic manners) and he is allowed to sue the People and get big dough, do a baby tantrum and never apologize...and the beat goes on.
Thank you for the information on the big Island farmers. Eloquent.

Anonymous said...

Great column Joan. I heard that the anti-GMO guys protested the Tropic Care event, along with some anti-Pac Rim folks. Tropic Care is providing some really awesome medical, dental and vision care for our local residents. Why protest that???

Anonymous said...

What is really sad that on Kauai, and in the rest of the state for that matter, there has been nothing done in recent memory to truly support agriculture.
Instead we see efforts deconstruct and dismantle it....dairies become "unsustainable" in the eyes of a resort....."agronomics" would increase the taxes on ag land for those that do not "raise, harvest or sell crops".

It would be nice to see....for once, someone that would introduce a bill to help ag.....maybe give tax credits to those seeking to improve aging irrigation systems, or support for new farmer marketing and food safety classes or low cost loans to farmers that are established, but need money for capital improvements to get them to the next level of production and profitability.

It would be nice, right? No, it would be right.

Anonymous said...

Dear Joan, I find it odd that a blog which once appeared as the voice of balance, and reason, has become a sounding board for the Biotech-Chemical industry here on Kauai. You, and the lion's share of your current followers, seem to see no redeeming value whatsoever to restricting the application of inordinate amounts of dangerous, restricted use pesticides by these companies, with experiment results and future corporate profits, not produce or even seed, being the end goal. Instead, you appear content to find fault, criticize, and snipe at those who are seeking to protect the aina and those who populate it. It seems that you fully buy into the propaganda promulgated by the "Crop Improvement" society and industry spokespeople. Have you lost your way, and your objectivity? Or are you so confident in the righteousness of your "protect the GMO industry" cause that you are willing to surround yourself solely by those who agree with your viewpoints about this issue?

Well, enjoy your dwindling club meetings. Don't even bother to respond to this comment; I'm gone and I won't be back.

By the way, I know what a combine looks like and I happen to drive on a regular basis to enjoy Kokee and Polihale. Once more, I see no evidence of any substantial corn seed harvest going on. It's time to take your head out of the sand.

Anonymous said...

9:44
The State and County should stay out of Ag and people's lives.
A kid who wants to farm will find a way to do it. There is land and many land owners who will assist small farmers. It is a cool thing to do for the NS "in" crowd. A real Ag lease from the State or Big land may have some provisions that will make new farmer put the land back to what it was, if their is a failure.Farmers are a sturdy creative breed.
Most ag dedication is for cattle...put up a fence and put in some cows and you get the low property tax rate. I love my cows, but if you really want land, irrigation ditches and water to get torn up....put in some cows. Cows will be Bynum/Hooser next target, anyway. Ranches aren't Ag, in their mind.
The Hana Wai systems that are owned by DLNR are mostly broken...Private ag ditches that are owned by Big land are perfect. Big land takes care of the ditches and the land, because they know they will need for their grand kids...
Get the government out of Ag, their rules will destroy all of us.
Plus you whackos, big land controls most of the water delivery systems....if you push big Ag too hard, they will use their allocated water and dump the rest back to the river.....and then the downline ag will have to figure out how to transmit their water....they may may be landlocked out.
PS Joann Y, your heavy breathing palpitations over a three hundred acre sweet potato farm is misguided....get a few of these 300 acre farms and their economy of scale can wipe out every little farmer who takes his truckload to the Farmers Market...Y'all forget farming may be romantic, but it blood, sweat, tears, weather, tractors that don't start, neighbors that complain, Councilmen who throw pencils, nosy l'il fistees checkin' on your sray application etc that are the real bane of the farmer...oh yeah, forgot about Costco where a person can buy "organic" at 1/3 the cost of Kauai grown.

Anonymous said...

Really? From all indications recent transplants have their Agenda set, in destroying decades of building a beautiful island by instilling fears, lies, and misguided truths about how we should live. Misgivings are becoming an acceptable trend and being forced as truths in a sea of constant guise as false hopes and dreams that are truly not acceptable

Anonymous said...

Yes this new Bynum bill is a looser just like Hooser's 2491/ ordinance 960 is a looser. Time to move on and bring the community focus back to reality and positive discussions. Let's not indulge these wacko council members anymore. Move forward and leave them in the dust. Kauai does not want, need or appreciate you and your tactics anymore council members Hooser, Bynum, yukomura, chock, furfaro. We're fed up and disgusted. The best you can do us move far away from this kind of issues and hope our memories are short. But I think you've all just ruined your careers. Time to retire. Good bye and good riddance to you folks and all your fooled, taken advantage of, uninformed followers.

Anonymous said...

This blog has continuously pushed for effective laws that will make a difference. 2491, passed at 3 in the morning at the insistence of Bynum, Hooser and the rabid red shirts, is flawed and may be illegal. Just because she calls them as she sees them doesn't mean that Joan is "protecting" the GMO industry. Joan described a meeting where she expressed concerns about the bill and Hooser told her that enforcement of the law wasn't important. How cynical and manipulative can you get?

Anonymous said...

So, June 20, 2014 at 8:42 AM, you say get the government out of AG?
This means it would be OK with you if Koloa Rum Company, as so many others do, subvert the AG law that is implemented by County and State?
Is that what you want? Just willy-nilly. The laws in place arenʻt strong enough to protect these lands as it is and you want those voided.

I could agree with you depending on what government it is. If it is the government of the rightful owners of these lands then more than ever government should be overseeing. Everything.

Anonymous said...

The White House on Friday ordered environmental regulators to review the effect that pesticides may be having on bees and other pollinators that have suffered significant losses in recent years.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-obama-pesticides-effect-bees.html#jCp

Anonymous said...

7:32 Joan's blog, thru her hard work and sharing generosity has been a sounding board for both pro and con GMO.
I do not know Joan, but in my opinion she is adamantly against the Seed growers, development and anything that harms the environment, untruthfulness and power grabs.
Her criticism of the Fistee movement may, perhaps be that any temporary victory, in the passing of the anti-GMO law will be circumvented by the courts. Joan may also be a little disturbed at the lies, mob like behavior and intentional "good guy/bad guy" labels put on anyone who questioned the anti-GMO law.
I think Joan's concerns are being validated, Jackpot Tim's meltdown this week at the Council meeting and Big Fist Gary, taking a new position as Gauleiter for a mainland funded environmental group, are two examples of the aftermath of the pre-dawn, mob mentality passage of the anti-Ag bill.
Joan seems to have an understanding on the the core of Kauai. Kauai's people do not like exaggerations, threats or High Nose behavior.
Joan may have been aware that all of the perceived gains of the anti-GMO bill can be forever hindered as Kauai's people vote and kick out certain Council members. A new Council can wipe clean all red shirt gains and as the new Council moves forward they will work hard to get rid of the lingering Bad Taste of the mobs, chanters and waving fisters.
As you read this 7:32 (oh, you will keep reading, for where else are you going to find out what is happening on the island? surely not the newspaper) know that perhaps, Joan could care less if she loses a reader or two. Her words are read by many and she has a platform. She shares credit with the people who bring her evidence or ideas....but on the other hand, your viewpoint is typical of many of the fistees "my way or the highway" attitude......there are many issues that effect Kauai landfill, Police, housing, mayor's gas use, drugs etc....I am appreciative this blog. Thank you Joan Conrow, and keep on writing.
Signed- an Anonymous full blown right wing (Guns for Jesus)long term resident Haole nutjob.

Anonymous said...

1:35 Push big land owners out of Ag and voila! you get a checkerboard (like the North Shore) of little "farms" owned by a cadre of rich dilettantes.

Anonymous said...

7:32 AM – I think your cup of Kool aide is empty. Better fill’er up again. We’re glad you won’t be back too since there’s no debating with a fanatical drone.

Anonymous said...

Pesticides are all over the stores for people to buy and use in their homes and yards,please protest the stores, golf course's use phenomenally more pesticides than agriculture operations, please protest the golf courses, and resorts use even more,please protest them too, the building next to the preschool was just tented with restricted use pesticides and the Mission Hall for the Waioli Church next to Hanalei school just got tented. No warning at all for the summer school kids , please protest, they spray the field where the kids play in Princeville and they spray Foodland.
Don't shop there? buy your produce from Marta's Organic farm in Moloaa, toxic Heptachlor legacy from pineapple in the soil there too,
we are surrounded by pesticides with nothing to show in reduction when the land is urbanized.It's enough to make you sick, but then you only thought this was paradise.

Anonymous said...

8:10 cites examples of pesticide use on the island and concludes "it's enough to make you sick." Is it? That's the unanswered question, isn't it? Toxicologists will tell you that "the dose is the poison." Ergo, such nasty carcinogens as benzene, naturally occurring in eggs, and formaldehyde, naturally present in apples, do no harm to human health. Do residues of Heptachlor present a danger? Nowadays, we can measure these things by parts per billion. And that is the task still to be performed if Kauai wants to know if it has a problem or not. It's certainly worth doing and far more worthwhile than adopting feckless legislation or whining about things that beg for measurement first and foremost.

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of "Fistees" and suggest that the wing of that Party favoring a category of agriculture named "agronomics" be called "Agrognomes", a term that better harmonizes with the extent of their grip on reality. Facts from their Party Line like "inordinate amount of pesticides” blah, blah, blah, and “drenching the soil”, blah, blah, blah, “We, (some of) the People” blah, blah, blah “not produce or even seed” blah, blah, blah will undoubtedly be exposed at trial. So will seed company real property taxes and all manner of other things in a suit brought over this bill if it sees the light of day after August. Only on the Kauai of the Agrognomes would an industry that has developed and sold seeds to farmers for decades be considered something apart from agriculture (sorry 6-20; 7:32AM that’s what Pioneer Hi-Bred has been doing since 1924). Parent seed is a raw material, the factory if you will, for the production of a final product sold to farmers for planting, and companies invest heavily in R&D to remain competitive. They actually sell real products to 90% of the nation’s soy and corn farms- not bullshit like Agrognomes. I hope the bill’s sponsors looked into transfer pricing and strategies 101 before hatching this dud. It won’t be fun if they did not. Oh, but I would really like to have chlorine banned from the municipal water supply so that the use of dangerous pesticides is hugely reduced here in ‘Aina Agrognomia.

Anonymous said...

Just because something grown (or made) here isn’t sold here is a reason for not granting and ag tax dedication or for outright banning it? So if a crop is grown specifically for people who live in Vietnam (or wherever) then no ag dedication should be given. When did ag dedications become all about “sustainability” instead of preserving ag jobs and open land against over development? This is a new interpretation never envisioned by our leaders who put it into place.

Anonymous said...

The truth of this whole issue is that the Fistees have no viable (meaning logical) argument to bring against GMO farming so they (mis)use pesticides as the issue. The whole Fistee movement is a hoax…a falsehood to cause fear in the uninformed. Hooser and Bynum are fakes and liars. These two are funded by, and are pawns of, the large organic corporate farms in the mainland who have chosen Kauai as their battle ground against conventional farming. Kauai is an easy place to take over since it has a lot of hippies who are willing bozo’s to support anything that’s not “natural, man” and who are scared to death of scientific progress. Progress which has the ability to feed a starving world, to bring good drinking water to the half of the world that will not have decent drinking water by 2025.

Anonymous said...

Leadership Kauai started by funding from Cornerstone now holds 3 council seats, Tim Bynam, Jay F and now Mason. Seems they are being groomed for getting rid of Agriculture on Kauai and will lead us right into development.
Any insights?

Anonymous said...

What's true is chemicals make money for these companies. The big Ag companies that use these chemicals will eventually pollute soil and our drinking water. Check their history in other locations.

Politiks or not....Red shirt or Blue shirt.....chemicals don't care.....they cause harm and the apathy and complacency by the State and County use of pesticides is sickening.

Monsanto reported earnings of $368 million during its first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year, or $0.69 per share, easily beating last year's $339 million figure. Analysts had expected EPS to come in at $0.64. The company attributed its 8.6% rise in profits to higher sales in biotech soybean seeds and its signature herbicide, Roundup; soybean sales alone grew 16% to $267 million.

What's true.......Big Ag..control the food of the world (not feed it)and it needs stupid people working for them in the fields.


We need to clean the slate of ALL of the county council members.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

This comment section is infested with paid trolls posting 24/7. Too bad it use to be a good community sounding board.

Anonymous said...

11:58 Could somebody explain what "Cornerstone" is? When Leadership Kauai started they were asking for donations. We gave a thousand, we thought is it was to be a program to develop younger people, to inspire them to get into public service.
Jay has always been an honorable and honest person. He may have gotten sidetracked on the anti-GMO bill, but his heart is good.
Tim has always been a whiny sniveler, from day one.
In the recent Ag tax go around at the Council, is it ironic or is it a coincidence that the 2 loudest voices for Ag classification and raising taxes are FACTUALLY a tax cheat and an Ag estate owner who didn't do Ag (but had an illegal rental)...beam me up, Scottie, I think I have landed in an alternative universe....Whether you are pro or no mo' GMO, we should expect at least a smidgeon of ethical standards in our leaders.
I think Joann Y did an outstanding job in trying to moderate Jackpot Bynum, man alive, she pushed every button on his quivering keyboard (even tho' she kindly allowed Tim, a committee non-member to control the discourse).....right on Joann, it didn't take much to to evoke Timmy's core, but Timmy's Public tantrum really shows what kind of man, he isn't.
Happy Summer Solstice.....

Anonymous said...

1:40
The comment section is highly entertaining.
An anomaly, Joan's structured blog gets a cacophony of peculiar comments... and some not so peculiar, like yours....lighten up. Kauai has many perspectives. Please try to not be so grouchy, embrace the spirit.

Anonymous said...

We need to clean the slate of ALL of the county council members.

I totally agree but another obstacle is not voting the same syndicate families in office. Also, we cannot VOTE for syndicate slaves as our county council.

We must VOTE Kauai's Mafia out of office!

Anonymous said...

Just don't vote a new mafia in either .

Anonymous said...

What is "cornerstone"?
Leadership Kauai asked for money years ago and many biz is gave 1000 in support

Anonymous said...

Voting back our incumbent councilmemebers this year is like voting for members with "no ideas" or members with "bad ideas". Pick your poison, the clueless or the reckless. In the mayor's race you can wrap the clueless and reckless into one candidate in Dustin Barca. If you've heard him speak, he sounds just like what you'd expect a surfer, MMA fighter, high school dropout to sound like. Auwe. There really is no choice but to re-elect Mayor Carvalho; if we don't, I truly fear for the future of Kauai and us as citizens.

All government officials are just puppets of the labor unions anyhow. The unions are Hawaii's real mafia (blogger 10:05) not the elected officials who must kowtow to their power and influence, and who keep punching their collective bargaining raises that our taxpayers cannot afford to stay in office. Any real government reform cannot occur until Hawaii's government labor unions are broken. Yukimura seems to want to address this wage imbalance, at least for Police and Fire employees, but only to find more monies for the Kauai Bus and Affordable housing subsidy. The tipping point might have to start with a taxpayer revolt to say enough is enough already.

Anonymous said...

There really is no choice but to re-elect Mayor Carvalho; if we don't, I truly fear for the future of Kauai and us as citizens.


June 22, 2014 at 11:22 AM

There are more than 2 candidates for Mayor. There are 2 others that makes a total of 4 county of Kauai Mayor candidates. I won't be voting for any of the two that you have mentioned.

All government officials are just puppets of the labor unions anyhow. The unions are Hawaii's real mafia (blogger 10:05) not the elected officials who must kowtow to their power and influence, and who keep punching their collective bargaining raises that our taxpayers cannot afford to stay in office.

June 22, 2014 at 11:22 AM

You are obviously oblivious to the multinational criminal organization that runs Kauai. Have you ever wondered WHY there is over 20 UNSOLVED MURDERS on Kauai. It's not random that these cases are not solved.

I am very proud to see someone like General Hertog serve as a Kauai Police Commissioner. You have to watch her on the police commission monthly meeting, she is outstanding and an inspiration for men, women, and children as well as our elder (kupunas). If Kauai can attract a lot more of these exceptionally meritorious human beings to serve the island in professional excellence then I believe we as an island will heal our wounds and grow stronger.

I hope that she will one day be in one of Kauai's Executive positions. I also hope that one day General Shinseki will leave federal service and return to Kauai and turn this corrupt island back to a safe paradise we onced knew it to be.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr. Shibai!

-one of the "stupid people".