Thursday, September 11, 2014

Musings: Right Down the Middle

I got a voice mail from Councilman Tim Bynum the other day, saying he wanted to talk to me about what I'd been writing lately, especially the Sept. 1 post, which I ended with:

Vote wisely, and avoid single-issue politics and politicians. Agriculture and food issues are far too complex for simplistic, jingoistic approaches, even if they're well-intentioned, and especially when they aren't.

Tim ended his message with: “Move to the middle, Joan, the middle is where the story is. You're right about that.”

“Middle” is the new buzzword these days, bandied about by those who enjoyed pandering to the fringiest of the fringe during the hey day of Bill 2491. But now they're scurrying to the middle, hoping to collect the votes that are concentrated there.

So I went to Tim's Facebook page, just to get a sense of how middling he really is, see who is following him and cheering him on. Guess what? It's the same old “red shirt” crowd. In a Sept. 8 post, Tim writes:

Since the introduction of 2491 I have more than 600 new Facebook friends! I appreciate all the messages of support and thanks for my courage and hard work and you know I share your passion.

HOWEVER this is an election year and I need my new passionate friends (and the passionate old ones) to step up and make a donation at timbynum.com. Today. There is a huge difference between a grassroots candidate like I have always been and a Corporate one.

He then goes on to take a swipe at first-time candidate Arryl Kaneshiro, who scored a remarkable third in the primary:

As of today I have one individual donation greater than $100.00. That’s it just one. No landowners, no corporations. Compare that to Arryl Kaneshiro who reported $16,150.00 in large donations from 34 sources including Larry Bowmen [sic] and our friend Allan Parchini [sic].

Actually, a review of Arryl's campaign reports shows he raised $27,665 from 15 sources, including his dad, Hawaii Government Employees Association, Louis Abrams, attorney Dan Case, William Sanchez, Malina Ranch, Koloa Rotarian Hugh Rowe, Hawaii Operating Engineers Industry, ILWU, civil engineer and former water department employee Heath Prow and yes, Larry Bowman and Kilauea furniture-maker Allan Parachini, who gave just $150. What exactly about that makes Arryl the “corporate candidate?”

Or is Tim just jealous because his impoverished campaign is being subsidized by state taxpayers? He goes on to write:

I have collected $5,150 from 87 small donations of $1000 or less. I do receive State-matching funds for about $4,000.00 of that. So total funds for my campaign so far less that $10,000.00. Just one week of radio on Kauai is about $3000.00.

Interestingly, one of those donations came from policeman Mark Begley, whose EEOC claim against KPD is now before the Council. Hmmm. Small conflict of interest, Tim?

Tim isn't the only member of the anti-GMO slate — which includes Gary Hooser, Mason Chock and Felicia Cowden — desperately drawing from the same shallow well. 

As I previously reported, Gary sent out own his own paranoiac plea shortly after the court overturned 2491. And Felicia recently distributed a “campaign strategy letter” where she co-opts the Hokulea image to bill herself as “a steersman for a cloudy day.” She admits to burning through $20,000 before the primary, before confessing: "The weak area for me was with the absentee ballot voters who mostly voted BEFORE my advertising came out, and this was largely the Filipino community."

Yes, Felicia, I'm sure they didn't vote for you only because they missed your ads.

As further evidence that Tim is nowhere near “middle ground,” he posted a link to Gary's fact-challenged guest editorial in The Garden Island, the one where Gary trots out all the old unsupported allegations — birth defects, sea urchin die offs, sickened school children, health complaints — to convict only the seed companies, while giving  Kauai Coffee's pesticide use a free pass.

Tim prefaced the link with this glowing endorsement:

This is a must read for anyone on the island regardless of your position or who you support in the coming election. There are new developments daily and people on Kauai are starting to focus on the truth before us and less on the divisive rhetoric that does nothing to inform. Share widely.

Truth? Non-divisive rhetoric? As just one example of the serious shibai, Gary wrote:

Ordinance 960 was a modest attempt to deal with those concerns by requiring disclosure, buffer zones and a study to determine health impacts. Rather than disclose to our community the quantities and types of pesticides they are spraying and allow us to study those potential health impacts, the companies have done everything possible to keep this information hidden.

Gary and Tim are apparently unaware that under the good neighbor plan, the companies voluntarily contacted residents within 500 feet of their operations — Kauai Coffee expanded it to a 1,500-foot radius — to ask if they wanted to be on the disclosure list. Syngenta and DOW went house-to-house, while Kauai Coffee sent out a mailer.

Those on the list are notified before spraying commences, and told what pesticides will be used. This was done before Bill 2491 even passed, and it continues to this day. About 110 are on the Kauai Coffee list, while just 10 signed up with Syngenta. I don't have the figures for DOW.

BASF has no fields near homes or public facilities, so it's not engaged in that same disclosure. Waimea residents are not getting disclosure from DuPont Pioneer because either they are or their neighbors are suing the company over dust, and Pioneer is legally prohibited from contacting plaintiffs in a lawsuit.

The companies also have voluntarily adopted 1,000-foot buffers around schools and hospitals, where they have let the land go fallow. They have 100-foot buffers between their fields and homes, and in some sensitive residential areas, are neither planting nor spraying.

As for studying health impacts, I recently learned that it is possible, through blood and urine tests, to determine if  75 chemicals — including many used by agriculture — are in the human body.

While Gary and Tim are fond of citing claims of pesticide poisoning, I cannot recall hearing of any lab tests confirming it. And I can't help but wonder why. Are these tests not being ordered by nurse practitioner Marghee Maupin and the always unnamed doctors that Gary likes to reference, even though they believe pesticides are the source of the patients' problems? Why the reluctance to gain evidence?

Perhaps because allegations have proven so much effective than facts in fomenting fear, gaining political clout and attracting new Facebook friends.

Which brings us to this: Can the county, and its citizenry, really afford to let the fear-mongers hold sway over public policy? If people are truly being harmed, let's find out and deal with it. Mechanisms do exist to find answers.

But let's not let the craven continue to use overblown rhetoric, unsubstantiated claims and outright lies to divide the community and distort the issue for their own selfish political ends.

Yes, the middle is where it's at if you want to heal this torn and battered community. But try as they might, Gary, Mason and Tim just can't move there while still maintaining cred with the fringe.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can one trust a politician who changes his/her stance just to keep the job. This merely reveals that he (or she) lacks conviction and honor. Tantrum Tim and Liar Gary are coming out of the closet and are hungry...hungry to eat the words they've been saying all along up to now. Trust them? No way! For them it's all about money. That's why they've pandered to the rich Northshore Realtors and faux farmers.

Anonymous said...

Many think Tim's time at the council needs to come to an end. Vote anybody but Tim

Anonymous said...

One again! Well said, Joan! You speak with the voice of wisdom and honesty. you provide facts; not falsehoods. It's probably why the anti-GMO crowd is criticizing you so. They need more Anti propaganda; not more truth.

Anonymous said...

Spot on Joan. Thanks for caring more about the truth than the agenda. Too bad our elected officials don't have this same ethical calling. Gary, Tim, Chock, Yukimura you will not have my vote this time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for articulating the situation so well. The slander and lies that come from the anti-GMO group is mind boggling and sad. It's amazing to me how much hate and fear has spread over our community and how quickly people jumped on board. I'm appalled at the lack if wisdom and compassion.

I'm also amazed at the inefficiently of the fringe-five (joanne, mason, Tim, Gary, jay) and thier total waste of time and resources during their time as council members. It seems they are unwilling to make decisions and lead. It's ironic that half of them came from Leadership Kauai. I guess just because you graduate with a "leadership" certificate doesn't make you a leader in the real world.

The real leader that stands out to me is the Mayor. Making the tough calls in the face if adversity. Showing up with a positive attitude in the midst if so much negativity, showing compassion to a community divided and not letting this past year slow him down or make him bitter. He has shown great strength as a leader and Mayor. What a great example. Now if only we could get a team of council members in with that same positive, fearless, spirit.

Anonymous said...

Tell it! Thank God for you, Joan!

Allan Parachini said...

I am proud and delighted to see that Tim Bynum thinks giving Arryl Kanashito is a fat cat political donation. Geez, Tim, for $150 I'm a fat cat? Why don't I feel like one? Joan, this post is truly right on about the need to determine if there is a problem and, if so, objectively what it is.

Tim Bynum said...

I tried to see if it was possible on this blog to engage in a meaningful dialog by responding to questions using my real name not hiding behind Anonymous.

Judging by the Anonymous comments that disparage me and even my children, the comments about my fat body and repeating the BS about my lawsuit etc. it is clear that no meaningful exchange on real issues is possible here. So do you believe that this blog is focused “on the truth before us and less on the divisive rhetoric that does nothing to inform”? My father taught me that selective truth that misleads is deceit.

Yes Joan I called because I continue to be surprised about what you choose to focus on and what you choose to ignore. I'm also sad that you are so angry and like your Anonymous posters you now state peoples intentions as if they are fact.

Do you really believe that the concerns about pesticide and chemical company practices here are not real and I am working with Gary on the issue because of self-interest? Do you really believe that I am anti-ag and my real goal is to open the west side for resort development? Why do you give voice to these notions?

But rather than return my call, you choose to mis-characterize the voicemail I left and right this blog post? The middle I refer to are the majority of people on Kauai that are not in any camp, they are confused. Yet they are also starting to see through the rhetoric and finding that there are serious problems here that are not being dealt with. The chemical companies new operations here have violated all of our health and safety laws and defrauded Kauai's taxpayers. Why aren’t you concerned about that?

Don’t go to my Facebook page go to timbynum.com and read the position papers there, we can’t keep covering up the issues and hiding behind confidentiality while we after the fact permit law violations because the people breaking the law are well connected.

So I will post this and it will lead to more Anonymous posts that disparage and lie about me and others others. And yes I am overweight and have health issues, go ahead anonymous posters have a field day. How does that help?

Joan Conrow said...

Tim, why are mischaracterizing me as angry? And even if I were, so what? Btw, I'm not, but you and others keep trying to claim that, perhaps to discredit me.

I have no idea if the concerns are real or manufactured. I continue to be surprised that neither you nor Gary seem inclined to find out. I

I didn't return your call because I didn't have an hour to burn listening to your monologue. As for a dialogue, I did ask several reasonable questions after you commented on the ag tax post but you chose not to respond. Why?

Anonymous said...

Seriously Tim, You mean someone forgot to mention your drug problem? I think anyone who lossess their train of thought about 5 times in one meeting, certainly has a problem.

Donna Takiguchi said...

I cannot find one single response from anyone in this blog that talks about Councilman Bynum's weight or lawsuit!

Anonymous said...

Tim, please back up this comment.

The chemical companies new operations here have violated all of our health and safety laws and defrauded Kauai's taxpayers.

What health and safety laws have the broken? They've really broken "all" of them?

Anonymous said...

Yes Bynum did sue the county and initially said he wanted to prove his case in court. But he lied and instead settled out of court for $290,000. Instead of proving corruption by planning and the prosecutor's office, he settles and puts the taxpayer's and his voter's money in his own pocket. Now he asks for your vote again. Have a nice day. Not!

Anonymous said...

You have to give Tim credit for using his name on this blog and letting it all hang out. But once you enter public office, you open yourself up to criticism and certainly can't whine on someone else's blog about name-calling and rumors. When you do something that ticks people off, they can voice their opinion however they want. You should have been wearing your armor and Superman Underoos when you decided to run. Joan and her followers can write anything they want, hopefully true and based on fact. If it's not, then oh well that just how the internet works. I myself don't care that Tim is fat, unhealthy, has a criminal son or got a settlement for that fawkd up prosecutor or whatever else folks been saying. What I care about is Tim's bad decision to help move the anti-gmo agenda without real-time data about the poisonings, birth-defects, etc. I would like to see a report that says - a kid born with this particular defect was caused by the mother ingesting this particular chemical or this individual got this disease because of this chemical. No inferences or speculation. The law introduced by Gary and Tim was good intentioned, but flawed from the get-go. It should have been re-written and not forced down it's doomed path. What was so bad about giving it more time to get it right?

Dawson said...

I cannot find one single response from anyone in this blog that talks about Councilman Bynum's weight or lawsuit!

A few blogs ago there was one poster who ridiculed Bynum's physical appearance and the misbehavior of his child. That post was immediately slammed by other posters as inappropriate, and the poster said he was sorry for the comment.

All of this, of course, merely feeds Bynum's playing of the martyr card -- a technique typical of demagogic politicians. To no surprise, Bynum's rhetoric and behavior fit most of the qualifications of a demagogue cited in Prof. Patricia Roberts-Millers paper, "Characteristics of Demagoguery."

The paper is at http://www.drw.utexas.edu/roberts-miller/sites/www.drw.utexas.edu.roberts-miller/files/demagoguery.pdf

For those familiar with Bynum's M.O., the paper is astonishingly on-target
.

Anonymous said...

Oh Tim. Stop victimizing yourself. Poor you? I don't buy it! Nobody does. Well maybe a few victim mentality fringe, but not enough to get you re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Gary and Tim in my opinion have shy'd from the facts. The simple solution would have been to have the air quality tested in and around the homes of the so called affected individuals. And as Joan suggests if someone is claiming to be ill from chemical exposure a simple blood test could prove negligence or not. Gary and Tim remind me of the Left Winged Anarchist who have problems with dealing with authority. They need to be the center of attention. Too much ego and not enough results.

Oh and Tim you should have listened to your fathers advice. Secondly, I'm in the middle and I'm not confused. Ag with regulations that are enforced is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

Let's not focus on the negatives. Tim is out. Now the question is who do we want as a replacement. Rapozo, Kagawa, Kanashiro, Fufaro, and Yukimura will get in. That leaves 2 slot for Kualii, Brun or Perry. Good luck and see you all on the 4th of Nov.

Allan Parachini said...

Tim, I never post anonymously. The "middle" means undertaking EPHIS, or something like it, to define the problem. The testimony you have heard was impassioned and sincere, yet you really have no way of knowing how accurate it was from a true professional public health perpective. One of your physician witnesses who testified with certainty that pesticides were sickening the Westside was an orthopedic surgeon. I single him out because he had treated me. He is a competent orthopod, but he is not an internist qualified to diagnose pesticide reactions. Legislation should be a response to known and documented problems. What you did was pass legislation based on assumptions you and others made that you cannot document. So a good epidemiology study is what is most needed here, along with pressure on the state to do its job--MUCH more than has been the case previously--backed up by a federal consent decree, if necessary. But, Tim, first let's move to the middle and document the problem. Surely you can't disagree with that. And Tim, I hve been saying the same thing since long before I became, at $150, one of Arryl Kaneshiro's fat cat donors.

Anonymous said...

Why would the Filipinos vote for Felicia when she tried to destroy their jobs?

Anonymous said...

Tim
Joan has not posted some of the real sh*t about you. She must be protecting you. Anonymous posting is fun, I might be your next door neighbor, Tim.
Anyone who sues the County and and KEEPS the money should never be elected. If you sue, for teach the County, then teach, but go give the money back or at least donate the $290,000 you put in your pocket. The county eats the other million in attorney fees.
Tim is against all Ag CPRs except if he owns it Or if they are Ag condo mini Hotels.
Tim supports raising rents on ALL renters and businesses.
Tim has difficulty keeping his mind on one subject (if this is a mental deficiency, I apologize).
Tim has tantrums.
Tim throws pencils and sh*t.
Tim is disrespectful and demeaning to his underlings (they do not like him)
Tim thinks he is the smartest person in the room.
Tim is a one agenda, anti Ag guy.
Tim is against local single family housing.
Tim is is not for the working stiff.
Tim will say or do anything to get re-elected.

Anonymous said...

Tim says-
My father taught me that selective truth that misleads is deceit.
Tim says-
The chemical companies new operations here have violated all of our health and safety laws and defrauded Kauai's taxpayers.

WTF, in one communication, he does the ol' Hooser/Bynum double talk two step.
Tim, you are saying that the largest landowners on the island are complicit in Public Health violations and Fraud.
Shucks Tim, call the f*ckin' cops. These are misdeeds and punishable. Or better yet, get the proof, get some facts and go to the Prosecutor (the new one, not Shaylene, she might just smack you in your crybaby puss)

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the term limits the voters put in?

Anonymous said...

Fraud is signing a farm dwelling agreement and turning it into a resort. County making them legal, now that was a very good deed by Mr Bynam for his friends.

Anonymous said...

#SHAMEONYOU Tim, for suing the county and criticizing the seed companies for doing the same.

#SHAMEONYOU Gary, for not paying your taxes and criticizing the seed companies for allegedly doing the same.

We need leaders who lead by example. Gary and Tim are liars, thieves, and cheats. THEY'RE OUT! Who's excited for November?

Chuck Lasker said...

For all the awesomeness of your blog posts, Joan, Tim's comments serve even better to show Kauai his true nature. We need leaders on the Council, not whiners.

And don't forget, Joan, don't look at what Tim says on Facebook - ignore his actual communications with people - go to his website, cleansed for your enjoyment.

Manawai said...

Tim, this is what your limited vision misses. Sure people are concerned about pesticides and some with GMO, but being concerned is vastly different from having actual evidence that these pesticides are not being used responsibly as the manufacturers and the two levels of responsible government require and are in fact hurting anything or anyone. Even the Waimea case exists only because of dust nuisance and not pesticides. What’s happening here is that we have so many so-called 99%’ers who hate corporations. Aged hippies and youthful misguided idealists. So that anything a large corporation does, in their minds, is evil. That profit is evil. And when a large corporation uses pesticides, these people automatically believe, or at least say, that their use is evil and deadly to people, animals and the aina. The tough job for you is to be intelligent, informed and strong and to lead these misled and less than informed people to the truth. The truth is that the seed companies are using pesticides in a safe and responsible manner and NOTHING is harmed. You and your constituents have been unable to show that any harm is being done. Look at Joan as an example of leadership, where she stands up and faces many detractors because she is sure she’s is telling the truth, no matter how unpopular or un-PC it may be. Do you have those guts, Tim?
But you obviously are using the unfounded fears for your own political gain because those simple folk are the only ones who are voting for you. Do you get this, Mr. Bynum? You are acting like a political demagogue who pumps up fear in his constituents for his own personal gain and not for the truth. Tim, this is why people hate you so much and not just disagree with you. I am so hoping this election will see the last of you and your type.
PS – People use Anonymous because they don’t trust you and your followers who have been known in the past to enact retribution against those with whom they disagree or who grow GMO foods. You don’t see this behavior on the other side; only your side of this argument. And in deed it is an argument; not a discussion. Curb your false hoods and your rhetoric and your lies. I don’t believe you are so stupid to believe that what you say is true. You, you your buddy Hooser, are simple panderers and afraid to try and support yourselves in private industry.

Your said, “The chemical companies new operations here have violated all of our health and safety laws and defrauded Kauai's taxpayers.”
Prove, or even show, the violations that you claim. (You can’t because you lied)
Prove, no just show, how the seed companies have “defrauded Kauai's taxpayers.” (You can’t because you lied)
Tim you are the most viscous liar I have ever encountered and you should be put down like a sick dog that you are.

Anonymous said...

Too bad the process leaves us with little choice. It's either the extreme "the seed companies are evil" or "pesticides? What pesticides?" Meanwhile, the State Departments of Agriculture and Health get a pass. Wise up, red shirts and demand action from your state legislators. The County is a dead end.

Anonymous said...

Manawai- Right on

Anonymous said...

@ 3:20 PM: You got it wrong. The middle is reserved for sane people. Sorry, we base our decisions on facts and facts only. And a EPHIS is not part of the Middle. Facts regarding air quality is what we are waiting for. If you don't have facts you have no case. Don't waste our time.

Anonymous said...

Joan your last two blogs were fantastic. While I in no way want to detract from your readership, there's a new Kauai blogger that did a couple of well written pieces on property taxes. Check out http://onkauai.blogspot.com/

While the author offers no solutions, he clearly defines the problems at hand in a way most readers will understand.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh 6:47 PM! Finally someone got it right!

Anonymous said...

The other big lie is that Tim is taking credit for finding $1 million in owed taxes from Grove Farm for the Parcel Makai of Walmart leased to Pioneer. He claims it but off course Grove Farm is totally fighting it. So until it's billed and collected, which is far from the truth, Tim, stop lying. And your damn record on taxes to individuals speak for itself, you voted for all tax hikes including the gas, tipping fee, vehicle weight, trash, car registration, you name it. It will be all over soon, you will not be missed at all. Eastside and Northshore, worry about your own side of the island, we don't need your dam 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

This is my first comment to Joan's blog.....I have been passively reading her column on and off for a while, to balance my approach to work, and life. I choose anoniminity because I've known Tim, Gary, Jay & JoAnn for a LONG time....I use to respect them, support them, even vote for them.....BUT, I'm over it now.

I'm proud to be a fence sitter - I'm in the middle, by choice. Joan - and this blog -can get a bit....committed....but damn, she does her research....she is a bit opinionated, but more often than not, she's making me THINK. And I end up agreeing with many (not all) of her points.

Their unproven rhetoric is mind boggling. I still haven't seen a concentrated push to DOH or the State for health studies, changes to law, etc. Their group's constant referral to generalities regarding adverse health impacts is tiresome - PUT UP, or SHUT UP! As politicians, you all KNEW there was an alternative way to process your concerns - you were told, by several good attorneys...but no, you chose to be adversarial - at the public's expense. And you still don't get it.

True or false - Jackpot Tim has sued both the State and County, and gotten settlements of public $. He lost his State counseling job because of an accusation. Was he arrested? Same for the father and son tag team - I know Gary ripped off the public by failing to pay taxes - what % did he repay? I've seen reference to Dylan going the same way as his dad. Is this the first father and son team to be both arrested for different things, and running/holding political office?

They even THINK about appealing the decision? Put up your OWN $$ to prove up or shut up - go ahead and fund raise from the red shirts. They've pissed away public $$ for so long it doesn't even phase them. Public service is no longer for the public, only their condescending egos, and for Jackpot, to feather his nest whenever his feelings are hurt.

I am excited for November - I want to see if Kauai is going to go same old, same old - or are they over it too? If there is no change, we're in for more of the same. Me? I'm doing Mel, Ross, Aryl, Kipukai, Art. Sorry, redshirts Barca & Cowden were one trick ponys. I sure wish Luke was running.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:07pm

My thoughts exactly. Well stated and see you in the middle. Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Me ? I'm also doing Mel, Ross, Arryl, Kipukai n Art. See you all in the middle.

Pat Gegen said...

Aloha Joan,
Regarding the testing of the 75 chemicals you referenced - tests are available to test for specific or groups of chemicals and the metabolites they produce but they are very costly and not covered by health insurance. A basic test I am aware of that covers approximately 75% of the chemicals identified in the Waimea lawsuit used by Pioneer costs over $750.00. A test to determine the level of glyphosate in a person's system by it self cost me just under $100.00. Those are large amounts to spend on testing for individuals.

The doctor who expressed concerns that some birth defects may be 10 times the national average and need to be studied was Dr. Raelson who works out of KVMH. This was based on babies just delivered by himself and a few other providers on Kauai (study size was approximately 750 births if I recall correctly) - This does not include folks who may live on the westside but delivered somewhere else due to higher risk situations. His letter is in the public realm as it was submitted as testimony during deliberations of 2491.

Joan Conrow said...

Thank you for your throughout and informative comment, Pat, which I've expounded upon in a new post.