Thursday, February 12, 2015

Musings: Hot and Bothered

As the saying goes, if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. And Councilman Gary Hooser took plenty of heat — and got hot himself — at yesterday's public hearing on his anti-burning bill.

Or as a friend observed: “Something is getting smoked — Gary's okole.”

Gary started the hearing by madly backpedaling, claiming it was never his intent, despite the language in his broadly-worded, poorly-written bill, to ban smoke meat, hulihuli chicken, kalua pig and other foods that Islanders hold dear.

Gary said he'd drafted an amendment applying the bill only to residential neighborhoods and ensuring that no outdoor cooking practices are affected. He then pleaded with the audience, “Respect my intent is to do the right thing.”
But folks like Tommy Oi weren't buying it. “The hearing is on the bill that's before us. If it ain't on the paper when the bill passes it don't hold water.”

And when westsider Mike Broyles dared to say, “This is not New York City, this is not the Bay Area, this is not Marin County. But unfortunately, sometimes the wrong kind of transplant comes ashore. One in the likes of Mr. Hooser, one with a special kind of arrogance,” Gary angrily cut him off.

“This is not the time or place to attack me or other people personally,” said Gary, apparently forgetting how he'd allowed dozens of anti-GMO supporters to attack Councilmembers and their fellow citizens during hearings on his anti-GMO Bill 2491. Gary warned Mike not to “raise the race issue” and threatened to use his authority as chair to call a recess if Mike continued down that road.

“Speak in a respectful tone,” Gary scolded, again forgetting how he and his “fistees” had nastily trashed the character and intent of seed company managers and their employees. “Don't denigrate me or my intent.”

“It's not about race, it's about a mindset,” Mike countered, noting that he's hapa-haole. “Go ahead and call your recess. You're the chair. I'm the taxpayer.”

Mike went on to say that "Mr. Hooser should've checked with the wider community to see what we wanted, not a few people. We don't need big government trying to control every aspect of our lives.”

Dozens of Hawaiians and locals spoke against the bill — and presented signatures of another 500 people opposing the measure. Many expressed concerns that those who use wood to fuel their water heaters and cooking stoves would be affected, especially in the old sugar camps. One woman noted that the Island's poorest residents will be harmed the most.

Pig farmer Patricia Lyons was afraid that she and her husband could be busted for cooking the slop they feed to their pigs. Oh, no worries, Gary assured her, because under the state right to farm law, “you can't declare farming a nuisance.”

Uh, so why do you keep trying to pass laws that declare farming a nuisance and gut the right farm law, Gary?

Klayton Kubo, an ardent advocate of Bill 2491, also seemed unaware of the irony of his testimony against the anti-burning bill. “Sometimes it's just jumping the gun. Sometimes it seems like a good thing, but it ends up not to be a good thing in the long run, wasting peoples' time, wasting people's energy. It's like, wait a minute.”

Yeah, tell us all about it, Klayton. 

“It's a very small bill with very large consequences,” said Jan TenBruggencate. He pointed out how it could be applied to activities like woodworking, filling a lawnmower with gas and sweeping out a workshop. “It lends itself to selective enforcement. If you happen to be on the wrong side of someone who has the ability to make a complaint or enforce the law, you get targeted.”

Kilauea resident Lorraine Newman, who had been unhappy with her neighbor for making fire to keep his kids warm, asked if the bill could be amended to include a requirement that “anyone spraying chemicals or toxic substances” must give their neighbors 24-hour notice.

Jodi McDonald testified in favor the bill, saying that wood-burning fireplaces are “a luxury in paradise.” Mmm, not even Gary wants to go down the road of outlawing “luxury in paradise.” Otherwise, who's gonna fund his anti-GMO campaigns?

Then Arthur Brun, who has a smoke meat business, got up to speak. “I feel pity for the McDonalds [the Wailua folks who contend their health has been harmed by their neighbor's fireplace smoke] because you guys just using them to get this message across. Why is dust part of a smoke bill? Because it's still your avenue to get back at the chemical companies you trying to get back at. There's more to this bill than smoke meat. It's nonsense, costing us money, costing us time. We have to take time off work to be here. This shouldn't even have passed the first reading.”

Amen, bruddah. But it did, and next week it will be back before a Council committee, which hopefully will listen not just to the citizens, but to the cops, firefighters and prosecutor, all of whom are saying, "no."

Meanwhile, Chris D'Angelo continues his full-frontal assault on the Mahaulepu dairy with today's front-page “news” on how opponents have brought in a hired gun from Oregon to help them stop local milk production.

Of course, attorney Charlie Tebbutt isn't from here, but that doesn't stop him from speaking confidently and knowledgeably about what what Kauai can and can't handle and the “pristine and sensitive" nature of those old sugar cane lands. Because of course a grass-fed dairy of 699 to 2,000 cows on Kauai is exactly like the confined animal operation with 11,000 animals that Charlie fought in Washington.

They're both deemed “industrial” agriculture, and that's all you need to proclaim that Hawaii Dairy Farm's proposal is absolutely unacceptable, even before an EIS is done. Because according to Charlie, and the mind-set of the anti-dairy folks, “an honest” EIS will point out problems far too significant to surmount. And if it doesn't, well then it's just a dishonest piece of crap.

Because the antis are always the experts, and they know best. Even when they don't know nuttin' but they don't want it. At least, not in their backyard. Let someone else produce the dairy products — and everything else — they want to consume.

Kauai is far too pure to pollute with fireplaces, cooking smoke and agriculture. Bring on that "clean" tourism and more of those "zero-impact" new residents.

29 comments:

Chuck Lasker said...

"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. Power is what all messiahs really seek: not the chance to serve." - H. L. Mencken

Anonymous said...

The dairy farm and sustainability is kind of a catch 22 here. Kauai needs to be more sustainable, but I have to wonder why (of all places) HDF chose Mahaulepu for their farm. I remember how foul smelling Moloaa used to be when they had a dairy farm there. I can only imagine what impact it would have for the neighboring community. Why didn't they choose someplace more secluded like Kalepa? Of course, no one wants the dairy in their back yard -I understand why, but isn't there other AG land available and not so close to the coast and hotels that provide jobs to many of our residents?

Anonymous said...

“pristine and sensitive" old sugar cane lands... Too funny.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for quite some time now but have chosen to never comment but what I saw yesterday at that meeting...

Am I the only one who noticed and am completely appalled that fellow Americans went up to testify in front of a body of government and freely admitted to be discriminated against based on their skin color and NO ONE cared or commented? Not even the people who are the victims realize it...

Joan I know you have a hard on for Gary and his movement and how they have split this island and while I fully respect your right to your opinion I am surprised you missed on the undercurrent in this meeting.

I witnessed a woman sit at that podium and say that she is haole and fully respects local customs but chooses to stay here because this island is beautiful.

You switch a few of those words around from haole to black and local customs to white customs and beautiful island to nice neighborhood and we have a civil rights violation and headlines across the nation.

The fact that it was said in front of a body of our government out loud and caused no notice at all is just... unthinkable...

Joan Conrow said...

11:31 -- I thought I did address that in reporting the exchange between Gary and Mike Broyles, who said this isn't about race, it's about mind set.

Anonymous said...

11:31 am you're the only one who could compare Jim Crow and lynchings with smoking meat.

Anonymous said...

A local councilperson drafting an imprecise bill with good intentions is pretty much standard fare in small-town USA. The bill will fail, and maybe Gary will be able to draft one that is narrow enough to do what he says he was trying to do.

I would agree with other commenters on the racism. It is out of control on Kauai and getting worse. With both sides in the seeds debate invoking race at every turn, the pot is fully stirred. I know at least 4 haoles who work in government who put up with derogatory racial remarks constantly.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure honestly. Sometimes you coyly comment on more sensitive subjects and it may have been the case this time but just to be clear, what I am talking about has zero to do with the bill presented yesterday.

I am saying that a fellow human being and American with the same rights as you and I went in front of the council yesterday and basically said she realizes she is a second class citizen here on Kauai due to either her skin color or because she was not born here and she is okay with that and it went seemingly unnoticed by many.

It honestly saddens me that another human being feels that they are beneath someone else because of their skin color or tenure on our island whether they realize it or not.

For the record I do not agree with the comments made by Mr. Broyles but he is entitled to his opinion. His comments will only serve to further divide the community on this issue and honestly that type of mindset will only cause rifts for the myriad of other issues we are and will face in the near future regarding the future of Kauai. You may not like Gary much but he was right. Mr. Broyles was both disrespectful and out of line in his comments at the meeting and very little positive will come of it. No disrespect meant to you Mr. Broyles if you are reading this. You have a right to your opinion and I respect that.

Also for the record I dislike Gary on the whole. I did not vote for him and in general think him to be slimeball politician.

Anonymous said...

It honestly saddens you that another human being feels that they are beneath someone else because of their skin color? You must be crushed by the racism experienced by non whites everyday and throughout history in this country.

Anonymous said...

So many locals are treated like second class citizens by the haloes

Anonymous said...

Well, what the folks who gave public and written testimony were saying is that all of this has everything to do with another flawed bill, crafted by and supported by misanthropic career politicians who only wish to ingratiate themselves to the people who voted for them. Hopefully, the voters will choose in the next election cycle to show Gary and JoAnn "will an amendment specifying fireplaces" the door. I mean, Gary is not stupid, and I really have a hard time believing that he did not know what a brouhaha would be raised by this travesty, so it looks more and more like another power play. Looks like this time, most of the council members just gave Gary enough rope...
No amount of amendments to this flawed Bill will help. The race card has come up again and it looks like the Bill was authored and designed to do just that. Well intentioned? Take a look at the road to hell....

Anonymous said...

Like I said... on our island. Happening so openly here and for it to go seemingly completely ignored and accepted by our government representatives.

Anonymous said...

This is all horse shit and distraction. The silly, infantile white guilt covering your supposed group racism, thus making yourself better. What a bunch of crap. Mike Broyles is not a racist and he was speaking about an attitude. That of mainland style liberals imposing their wishes upon others. This woman is a crank. The council members who vote for this are cranks. And the voters have had enough of them.

Anonymous said...

Kick Ass, Joan!!

Anonymous said...

Joan re your comment, 11:31, I agree. Broyles was talking about an attitude.

Anonymous said...

11:31 if you do your switch experiment, the big difference is the black didn't come in and take the land.

Anonymous said...

Mind set.
In the past no one was offended by being called by whatever race you is. It was always the adjective that described whatever you is, that was important.
Gary's foray into talking down to the locals that worked in Ag started a whole new division. The mobs and chanting newcomers scared the everyday locals.
Geezo, plenty locals got Haole blood and there are enough Hapas in the Hawaiian movement to test any blood quantum level.
Gary, we get it. You are smarter than most and your support base is growing.
But any reference to the old USA and civil rights etc by an offended person is pure fuck*ng hogwash.
If you step into the political foray, you best be able to take the lumps. Eh Haole, how you like a bunch of locals going up your hale and tell you how for live?

And Mel, you bear plenty responsibility. You can shelve bills for a while. This bill should be rejected flat out...no amendments, no nothing. Say your piece and use the power of the Chair to get rid of this thing.

Leave it to Gary to bring the best out of people.

Anonymous said...

My hair used to be black, then went grey now it is white! My skin was white but now that I live in the Hawaiian sun it is dark brown. I'm still the same person I always was - whether I was good or bad.

Anonymous said...

Just make open fires a part of your worship service, religion. If some can worship with the use of pot and cactus why not fire.
Then it becomes a religious freedom issue.
Because culture = religion...

Dawson said...


4:32 PM wrote:
This is all horse shit and distraction. The silly, infantile white guilt covering your supposed group racism, thus making yourself better. What a bunch of crap. Mike Broyles is not a racist and he was speaking about an attitude. That of mainland style liberals imposing their wishes upon others.

Easy labels like liberal and white, native and haole, and the primitive feelings that accompany them, are sucker bait for the emotional feeding frenzies that profit the island's demagogues. Every glimmer of civility that gets snuffed by the shadow of racism is a ka-ching in the cash register of Kauai's powermongers -- political office holders and otherwise.

While the residents label and name-call and stink-eye each other, the demagogues laugh all the way to the bank and ballot box. It's a pity that the people can't look past their differences and see that they're being played.

Anonymous said...

You can't legislate bad neighbors. This should be in civil court not in front of the council. But the bill has the same issues as they would in court, how do you PROVE intent and how do you PROVE that that is what is causing their health ailments when there can be so many other causes? Very tough situation for the MacDonalds. Clearly they believe this is what is causing it. Sad for them that this bill as written has now made them the punching bag of Kauai when they appear to be good decent citizens. Like they say, real estate is about location, location, location and neighbors as well as neighborhoods are part of that equation. By writing this overreaching bill, Gary has caused more dissent in the community. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Racism has always been with us here on Kauai but not to this degree. Like Mike Broyles said in his testimony against Hooser’s latest divisive bill, it is in large part about how newcomers choose to either fit in or not. The disputes over agricultural methods seem to have brought out the underling resentment of locals against newcomers, especially those who act superior and attempt to instruct benighted islanders on the travesty of our ways and how we must change them to mirror their offshore ideals of how our island(s) should be managed. It is also fueled by the lack of affordable housing exacerbated by the influx of wealthy newcomers who can afford to buy wonderful homes that are out of reach to workforce level residents. Add to this the middle income newcomers who successfully compete with local residents for housing in established neighborhoods and it is obvious why racism has arisen above its previously lower levels. Add to this the activist crap that the likes of Hooser and Bynum puke forth and things have gotten heated. Unfortunately, what Kauai is experiencing is nothing new in our modern world where desirable places to live are discovered by wealthier outsiders who bring unwanted investment and competition to the local residential housing market. This is the inevitable phenomenon experienced in all touristy areas.

Anonymous said...

To me the county should be reviewing this to see if a simple solution like raising chimney heights will correct this issue that only effects a few. No new laws needed that affect the majority!!

Anonymous said...

Haoles only feel racism because they're not treated the same as in the mainland. They come to Hawaii and instantly feel outnumbered and uncomfortable since minorities are the majority. For those who say they've experienced racism in Hawaii probably aren't making things up but they have to understand the history of Hawaii and that Hawaii and a tourism based state which brings haoles, good and bad. Haoles need to understand that its not what they say but how they act towards locals. Local people both haole, Hapa, Hawaiian etc know when someone is stuck up and an elitist. There is racism all over America, but Hawaii has the least intensity of them all. This being said, I'm a haole who's lived in Hawaii and would change a thing about how the locals act nor the culture.

Anonymous said...

"11:31 if you do your switch experiment, the big difference is the black didn't come in and take the land.

February 12, 2015 at 7:33 PM"

^ Nor did ONE SINGLE white person on this island!

Anonymous said...

Too bad we can't be like these guys:

http://youtu.be/vnVuqfXohxc?list=PLbpi6ZahtOH6hgv0s6ygaDqM2bot2jEIO

Anonymous said...

10:03 perhaps you should review the racial demographics on the island. Many people in the county government hear racist statements by their co workers everyday. Review the numerous EEOC settlements paid off by the count. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you equated local Hawaiian customs to slavery or wrongful imprisonment. Give your head a shake. This isn't an attack on a haole because they are haole, it's an attack on the arrogant attitude that people from the mainland have when they come to Kauai and while they moved here because it's "so incredible" and "so natural" with "so much Hawaiian culture" or "Kauai is the real Hawaii"...AND yet on the other hand feel that if they change it to be more like where they came from it would be great.

You have a right to complain about your neighbor burning trash instead of green waste. God knows I've had to endure living down wind of a neighbor that burns plastic, paint and anything else the dump will charge for or won't take. BBQ, IMU, smoke fish/meat, camp fires at the beach THAT is part of Hawaii culture. Not saying it's "Hawaiian", saying it's part of Hawaii's culture, today and has been for quite some time. It's these past times that allow for family and friends to gather, share and be "ohana".

If you don't like camp fires, or smoke food and such, live in a condo...there's plenty on the island. Live in Princeville where that kind of thing isn't allowed.


Oh, I'm haole as they come. I just have been lucky to have lived most my life in Waimanalo and later Kauai. Maybe when your neighbor is having a party or get together, bring a couple six packs, or better yet some poke or fresh fish to put on the fire. Heck, if you don't fish, and you're as haole as haole gets, bring over a cake, or cookies, a roast, salad, whatever. You do that, head over with a smile and you'll have a great time...and if you're lucky enough to have a neighbor that fishes, you might even get some of that smoked fish that smells so good.

Anonymous said...

Reflecting on the local versus haole talk and the whys and wherefores of the phenomenon; anybody remember when the BigFive controlled everything in Hawaii; banking, shipping, business, government, land, education, transportation, social life, agriculture and more? Do you remember when bank loans were unavailable to non whites, giving rise to Central Pacific Bank and others like it? When the best private schools had racially based quotas? The best neighborhoods were segregated -haoles only and some social , sports and business clubs including golf and tennis, excluded non-whites?

No intent to focus on racial divisiveness. History explains why tension lingers. Interested in the story of the total domination of Hawaii's' non white majority by a powerful minority and how it evolved and pervaded life on all the islands? Read Hawaii Pono'i by Lawrence Fuchs. It's an eye opener.