Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Musings: Parting Shots

Tomorrow is the final meeting of this County Council, and with two important bills on the agenda — shoreline setback and removing experimental crops from the ag dedication — it remains to be seen what legacy this body will leave for Kauai.

The key policy issue in the shoreline bill is this: Should the building setback be just 60 feet from rocky shorelines, as the current bill proposes, or 100 feet, as coastal and community advocates desire?

The key policy issue in the “agronomics” bill is whether thousands of acres with actual, legit crops in the ground should lose their agricultural dedication because bill sponsors Councilmen Tim Bynum and Gary Hooser are on a vendetta against the seed companies.

The bill eliminates the ag tax credit for all experimental crops — including biofuel and hemp, which could be problematic, seeing as how Grove Farm has state-designated Important Ag Lands in biofuel. I smell a lawsuit if this bill passes — and curiously Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura and County Attorney Al Castillo are in a tug-of-war over whether his legal opinion on the bill should be publicly released.

The key political issue is this: Should a loser and near-loser, neither of whom reflect the will of any majority, be setting policy with important, long-ranging ramifications for development and agriculture on this island?

Meanwhile, Hooser, the near-loser, sent out a gloating email that chronicled his “happy dance” upon learning he barely eked out a dead-last win. In it, he opined:

My good friends in the chemical industry were for sure high fiving, whooping it up and celebrating my demise during the first and second print-outs (insert facetious smirk). 

Actually, Gary, it was those of us with no ties to the industry who were joyously — and, sadly, prematurely — celebrating the demise of a demagogue whose lies have polarized communities across the state, infuriated and alienated thousands of decent citizens and wasted hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, with no end to the carnage in sight.

Gary went on to make it clear his hubris far exceeds his meager vote tally, while his overweening political ambitions will leave him hard-pressed to fulfill his Kauai County duties:

We need statewide buffer zones, full disclosure, a targeted health and environmental study and a temporary statewide moratorium on the growth of this industry until we can determine and mitigate the impacts on the health and environment of our community.

Mmm, why not advocate for more money for state ag inspectors and health department studies, seeing as how those agencies have insufficient funding to do their jobs? 

And why focus solely on agriculture, when Civil Beat yesterday reported Ken Kakesako, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture, as saying (emphasis added):

About 1,600 people or companies have licenses to apply restricted-use pesticides, and only 25 percent of them are farm-related.

The rest include professional pesticide applicators, such as exterminators that fumigate homes to get rid of termites and other pests.

“It’s misleading to only look at agriculture,” Kakesako said. “It shouldn’t be such a central focus if the conversation is truly about pesticides.”

But, of course, the conversation never has true, nor about pesticides. It's anti-GMO all the way, baby.

Kakesako's comment also reveals the lie that Tim and Gary used to rationalize both Bill 2491 and the agronomics bill: the seed companies should be singled out and punished because they're exposing more people to restricted use pesticides than anyone else.

Will that rationale hold up in court if the landowners sue over the agronomics bill?

Meanwhile, the “Maui Miracle” — to use Gary's term for the the GMO crop moratorium that narrowly passed, against the wishes of a majority of Molokai residents — is tied up in court, along with the Big Island's GMO crop ban. And though Gary is claiming “three of the four counties are all-in,” the political realities are a bit different.

Big Island friends tell me their County Council is considering a repeal of their bill, and would likely be emboldened if the new Kauai County Council also repeals Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, which is dead unless an appeals court resurrects it.

And there's no indication that Oahu folks are on board with any of this — anti-GMO marches there got small turnouts — and they still call the political shots in Hawaii.

So it's not too late to stop this political theatre, which benefits only a few grandstanding politicians and mainland-based advocacy groups, and address this issue in a sensible manner: fully fund the state Ag and Health departments so they can do their jobs, not just with pesticides, but invasive species, substance abuse, an obesity and diabetes epidemic and myriad other legitimate concerns.

To close on a note of levity, I'll leave you with the essay, “A small scale organic farmer wants you to know a few things,” which begins with the line:

Welcome to the farmers' market.

My favorite part:

No, the fucking chickens aren’t grass-fed. Because they aren’t fucking ruminants, that’s why, not because I’m part of a secret rural conspiracy to disrupt the endocrine systems of America’s urban masses. 

You get the drift….


Janet said...

You brighten the day with every post! As one who has worked in ag in Hawaii for over 25 years, I find myself nodding my head in agreement, YES YES YES, that is the truth! And laughing, even though this bizarre saga is so unforgivable and painfully destructive.

I also find myself thinking-- I just love this woman! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Will never forget the image of a ghost-pale malihini, shaking her finger at a Filipina ag worker, admonishing her "No spray, no spray!" The farmworker nodded her head mutely. How could she possibly respond to such contemptible arrogance?

Yet you see it here all the time, the self congratulation and sanctimony from shoppers at Healthy Hut over buying organic and the insane elbowing to get to the front of the line when the horn blows at the farmers' market. Orthorexia masquerading as enlightenment.

Dawson said...

Gary went on to make it clear his hubris far exceeds his meager vote tally, while his overweening political ambitions will leave him hard-pressed to fulfill his Kauai County duties...

"Weening is as wiener does."
- Old Hungarian Proverb

Anonymous said...

Another brilliantly written piece Joan. Hooser has got to be the most dangerous and destructive environmentalist in Hawaii. He must be stopped and we all owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude for your unrelenting commitment to achieving this end. We are there with you 100% and so appreciate the light you are shining on this.

Anonymous said...

Gary is on the Council. Whether with a lot of votes or the by "plunking" of his vapid cultists.
His vote and his input carry the same weight as the others. Just as any person who gets off the plane today has an equal voice and rights as any citizen. Democracy in action.
Jay Furfaro can help his legacy. He should vote No to the Ag bill, and leave it to the future Council. Chances are they will take a machete to more than a few of the weirdo laws that passed under his supervision. Jay can go down as a fair Chairman or go down as a Sell Out to the Fistee crowd and be next to Tim Bynum in revulsion scale.
Tim will make his last emotional, estrogen-fueled quivering admonishments. Thank God he is off the Council. His memory will be purely of Ricecooker jokes and pencil throwing. Tim is a perfect example of a guy who comes to Kauai with a job created from destruction (Iniki), stays a while, gathers some friends, gets elected and slowly disintegrates into an egotistical arrogant know-it-all. The destruction he has caused by promoting the open invitation for everyone to sue the County, his punishing tax laws, his attempts to kill Ag and his hatred of large Land owners may cause more real economic destruction than Iniki, in the long run. A sad case. I pray he gets some help. Some real help.

Setbacks of a hundred feet or less is unimportant. If it is a visual effect we seek, the colors and reflective surfaces have more impact on the eye. I can see P'ville with hunnerds of 8,000 square foot houses with hi-gloss Red Japanese Monier tile roofs radiating in the northshore's sunny stare. It's a matter of taste , ya know.

Dawson said...

Orthorexia masquerading as enlightenment.

Quote of the year!!!

Anonymous said...

The Legacy of Tim Bynum and Gary Hoosier will be the 2015 economic crash of Kauai County. It will be titled "How two red faced and portly fellows took down an Island". Come to Kauai, the true paradise, we were knocked back to 1800s. On your visit you will learn to gather your own food (because none will be available to purchase)live off the land (because hotels will be closed and shuttered)and live the dream of Captain Cook (remember what happened to him once the natives learned he was not Lono.........)

Anonymous said...

Has Hoosier lost his mind? And what fools would put Taxamura in charge of any council committee, much less transportation.

Anonymous said...

12:01 The similarity between Baldwin and Bynum are striking now that you bring it up.

Anonymous said...

Hooser is becoming even more dangerous as he aligns with Walter Ritte, Earth Justice and other enviro nazis. Counting on you Joan to shut this guy down.

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest scams is the Princeville shuttle.

Why is the county funding a failed business venture. The county is rewarding $75,000 a year as a grant for failure.

The PUC shuttle company charges $2 one way? WTF? How are they ever going to operate in the black, it's going to be like the Kauai Bus.

The county has paid millions in consultant fees and lawsuits and now this fraud, waste, and abuse of county tax payer monies on a shuttle device that can't even pay for its daily or weekly gas expenditures.

Is this shuttle also getting county fuel?

Why aren't the businesses and hotels that are to profit from this service paying instead of the tax payers who don't and won't be riding this shuttle service.

A private effing business being funded by tax payers monies- fricking insane!

The county of Kauai government is fricking insane.

Anonymous said...

That link had me cracking up so hard I almost peed!

Hilarious to the max.

I have a feeling that tomorrows meeting will be fraught with danger, lots of dramas, spills and chills. I ain't missing this one, and I'm a gonna belly up to the table n have me a jaw, n say goodbye to a couple of em, and then we gonna have a real shin dig afterwards.


Anonymous said...

One of the biggest scams is the Princeville shuttle.

Why is the county funding a failed business venture. The county is rewarding $75,000 a year as a grant for failure.

According to newspaper article, that $75K came from the group that is planning the expansion of Princeville. I'd call that a bribe, folks.

Anonymous said...

North Shore shuttle up and running

N S business owner posted at 2:03 pm on Mon, Nov 17, 2014.

N S business owner

"Has any one done the math on the North Shore Shuttle?
According to the statements and slides presented at the Nov 12 council meeting, The monthly operating cost is $35,000 per month for both shuttles. The ridership was 140 one way rides for 10days or 420 per month. Even if I doubled the reported one way rides to 900 per month ....$35,000 divided by 900 = cost per one way ride $38.00.
Or use the projected number on the slide at the council meeting from North Shore Shuttle of 1800 one way rides per month ( $35,000 divided by 1800 = cost $19 per one way ride minus the $2 to $5 fare = a loss of $15 for every rider who steps on that shuttle.
And what makes it worse is that North Shore Shuttle are asking local business to cover the $27,000 a month loss by paying $60 a month and local resorts $600 per month. REALLY!!!!!!!!!! Watch the podcast of the council meeting see for yourself."

Smells fishy to me and it's not fried Akule.