Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Musings: Calling All "Victims"

In a strange reversal of events, anti-GMO activists are trying to drum up supposed victims of westside Kauai “pesticide pollution” to satisfy a news team.

In a Facebook post yesterday, anti-GMO activist Laurie Cicotello wrote:

NBC is planning to come to Kauai to do a piece re west side pesticide pollution. It will be on Nightly News and Dateline or Frontline.
We need exposed/affected residents/fieldworkers.
This is a great opportunity for nationally and possibly internationally getting the word out.
Please PM Marghee Maupin if you would be able to be interviewed or if you have any suggestions. Thank you.

Now, if people actually had been the victims of westside "pesticide pollution," wouldn't you have them in place before you pitch a national news team on the story, rather than try to find some victims to satisfy the spin you've already created?

Wouldn't those supposed victims of westside pesticide pollution already be well-known to the anti-GMO groups — especially Marghee, who presents herself as the health care advocate for westsiders? I mean, wouldn't she have the health records of folks, and thus be able to easily identify them — and document her claims — without having to do a call-out on Facebook?

Come to think of it, why hasn't Marghee or anyone else from the anti-GMO movement — including its Kauai leader, Gary Hooser — been able to provide any documentation of anyone affected by "pesticide pollution?” Surely, if people are suffering from “pesticide pollution” Marghee and the others would be able to provide blood and/or urine tests showing elevated levels of pesticides.

Especially since none of the environmental tests done on the westside have documented any pesticide pollution whatsoever.

Yet the complete lack of documentation didn't prevent Marghee from writing a letter to the editor recently in which she tried to make a case that Kekaha students have low achievement scores because of pesticide exposure. She wrote:

Kekaha Elementary School children are chronically exposed to up to 90 pesticides on a regular basis. A very dangerous pesticide, Chlorpyrifos (originally manufactured by Dow), was found in air samples four separate times at Waimea Canyon Middle School. It is likely that air samples at Kekaha Elementary School would show similar exposures, given that Chlorpyrifos is the most heavily sprayed restricted use insecticide on Kauai.

This is the kind of flawed thought process that characterizes Marghee — who, as a health “professional,” should know better — and too many others in the “red shirt” brigade.

First, just because ag chemicals are applied on the westside does not mean that Kekaha students are “chronically exposed.” And just because chlorpyrifos was found in air samples at Waimea Canyon Middle School doesn't make it at all “likely” that the air around Kekaha school would have the same results.

And what Marghee, Hooser and the others who like to fear-monger always and intentionally fail to note is that the pesticide levels detected were well below federal accepted limits.

Five pesticides were detected in the indoor and outdoor passive air samples and the high volume outdoor air samples collected at Waimea Canyon Middle School. Those pesticides were chlorpyrifos, metolachlor, bifenthrin, benzene hexachlorides (BHCs) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs). BHCs and DDTs, likely from past uses and ubiquitous throughout the world, were detected in all air samples collected from Kauai. Concentrations of the pesticides and MITC were well below health concern exposure limits or applicable screening levels.

The same air samples that found chlorpyrifos also identified 29 chemicals associated with stinkweed, which DOH determined to be the cause of the school kids getting sick. But though Marghee will accept the report's pesticide findings, she refuses to accept the stinkweed finding.

You just can't have it both ways — unless you really have no interest in facts, the truth or public health, and instead are just trying to hammer an anti-GMO ideology. Which is why there's so much misiformation floating around.

Meanwhile, Hooser's HAPA group is moaning on Facebook about the “collapse of journalistic standards” because some reporters writing about GMOs supposedly failed to identify scientists who supposedly had ties to industry.

No, the collapse of journalistic standards occurs when HAPA sends The Garden Island a press release, which the newspaper prints verbatim, and when the anti-GMO movement pays reporters like Chris Pala and Paul Koberstein to write anti-GMO stories peppered with fake “facts” — like the supposed pesticide sickening of Waimea school kids — and then uses those inaccurate articles to keep promoting its bullshit.

And it happens when groups like HAPA and Center for Food Safety make up problems and then try to drum up media coverage of undocumented harms.

If NBC does come to Kauai, let's hope it comes without a preconceived bias and actually does some digging to document whether pesticide pollution is indeed occurring, and if so, the culprit. We've seen so many inaccuracies perpetuated about the situation on Kauai. And let's really hope NBC does its own source scouting, rather than accepting victims presented by someone like Marghee, who has zero qualms about lying and thus zero credibility.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Especially since none of the environmental tests done on the westside have documented any pesticide pollution whatsoever." I beg to differ. Chlorpyrofos, atrazine and other pesticides were found in both air and water on west side when tests were conducted by SDOH. The State has conducted tests only twice and pesticides were found both times. Small amounts but they are not supposed to be there. Small amounts in air and water every day for decades? Seems like a small dose day after day after day cannot be a good thing.

Joan Conrow said...

minuscule amounts do not equal "pollution" or a health risk.

Anonymous said...

"minuscule amounts do not equal "pollution" or a health risk." Spoken like a true paid industry shill. Two times they test two times they find pesticides. Do they do further tests to follow up? No. Is pesticide residue supposed to be there? No. According to Joan, this is our new life. Accept it. Suck it up. Stop whining about pesticides being found in the air of your schools and in ever single stream that was tested. It's just a little bit. Live with it.

Allan Parachini said...

This is the most suspect media pitch I've ever encountered. First of all, were there not about 150 plaintiffs in the class action suit against Pioneer that went to trial in Honolulu, but in which the judge found no grounds to justify bringing in phony evidence of pesticide responsibility and allowed the case to go forward relating only to dust claims? Were there not dozens of alleged West Side pesticide victims trotted out a long series of County Council hearings? Their identities are all contained in public county records. We are approaching the point at which the rantings of anti-GMO people can simply be characterized as wacko and ignored.

Anonymous said...

"minuscule amounts do not equal "pollution" or a health risk." Truthfully Joan. Are you ok with breathing, drinking or swimming in these small amounts, day after day and year after year? What if you were pregnant? As a pregnant woman are you ok with breathing small amounts of chlorpyrofos day after day?

Anonymous said...

NBC people would love to come to Kauai on a paid vacation. Interviews to last a week or so, maybe check out Haena and Waimea Canyon between interviews. We do have the right to free speech. Whether it be truths or lies, we do have free speech. We have Joan to thank for the truths. If not for her we would be living in a whole bunch of lies and untruths. We were taught to tell the truth and be honest. As one grows up they forget this and find out that telling lies is easier to get trough life. No conscience I tell you these guys.

Anonymous said...

This is about the westside: quiet, humble, "no make trouble", keep it to yourself, don't buck the big boys, fear of stepping outside of comfort zones type of people---there have been a number of people who incurred injuries while working at the biotech companies. Here at home, we know these people, they tell us their stories but will have great difficulty telling it to strangers who will print, voice their stories. I wish they will step up, but i am quite sure most of them won't. Don't buck Maughee, she has witnessed her share of junk that happens to employees of these companies. Are you not aware of the recent revelations about roundup, neonicotinoid and the recall of enlist-duo? More will be revealed----and yes, 9:26 pesticide pollution is a fact--even small amounts can cause problems for people who are very sensitive to these pesticides!

for life said...

Yes they are still trying to kill the seed companies........Please note REAL ESTATE sales are at a all time high.....Thanks Joan you are very good at digging up the truth

Keith said...

This is getting ridiculous. You would probably have the same results in Hanalei and Princeville where the seed companies are no where near. I am truly disappointed that these anti GMO people are continuing this crusade in light of the overwhelming facts that they are dead wrong. I think the seed companies should go after those making false claims and sue them for defamation. They probably won't because they are too nice to these obviously disturbed and unstable so called knights in shining armor. Knights they are not, rather more like clowns on donkeys. Auwe!

Anonymous said...

10:13 Hate to break it to you but you are already breathing, drinking or swimming in these small amounts day after day.

Anonymous said...

Pesticides were found to be at higher levels in urban settings , not sure why other than to be rid of west side agriculture, the only place that concerns these people is the pesticides on the seed farms. Why not a word about the many pesticides recently used to kill all the grass on the golf course, or the sad reality of the new housing in princeville being located by the princeville pesticide mixing station, or the recurring use of restricted use pesticides on the golf courses in princeville. No, it is not a good thing to find pesticide residue, but let's be real about it.

Joan Conrow said...

9:26/9:56 and 10:13 -- It appears you'd prefer to be driven by your fears, but if you do want some facts, take a few minutes and read the DOH report I linked to. I quote, emphasis added:

Studies of pesticides in ambient air have previously been conducted in Lompoc, Parlier and McFarland, California. These studies established screening levels (SL) which were described as “the calculated air concentration based on a chemical's toxicity that is used to evaluate the possible health effects of exposure to the chemical” (3). When available, the California SL’s have been used for the present study. For example, the Parlier study had screening levels of 3000 ng/m3 for MITC and 850 ng/m3 for chlorpyrifos based on 14-day exposure. Levels of MITC observed in the Parlier study were 377 ng/m3, and the levels for chlorpyrifos were 96.1 ng/m3. When California Screening levels were not available, the EPA No Observable Effects Level was used and then volume of air typically inhaled was used to estimate exposure. The concentrations of chlorpyrifos, metolachlor and MITC in ambient air on Kauai were approximately 24-, 650-, and 220-fold below the California subchronic screening levels.

So, no, I'm neither an industry shill nor afraid of exposure to pesticides that far, far below even sub chronic levels.

Anonymous said...

Because they only SUE farmers and have done so at an alarming rate.

Check the FACTS

Anonymous said...

All of you Anti-Everything people need to move to Alaska or catch the first flight to Mars. Hell, I would pay good money out of my own pocket to help send you there. Do you live in a cave? NO. Do you drive a vehicle? YES. Do you wear clothes? YES. Do commercial airplanes fly on and off of this Island Paradise multiple times day and night? YES. Well there you have it, you are exposed to chemicals every day weather the seed companies are spraying chemicals or not. You are all scientifically illiterate fools! STOP THE FAKE FEARS, LIES, AND BS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

MS. JOAN!!!! are you covering the Council Hearing??? Major fireworks!!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the contents of vog from the Big Island. It has sulfuric properties. How bad is vog versus pesticides? Is our "air" being compromised by vog?

Anonymous said...

2:11 PM

The contents of the VOG are far worse than the pesticides. The VOG complainers better leave immediately if they know what's good for their health, because I don't think we can install a cork on the volcano to contain the gasses. I know...maybe we can pass a law making it illegal for the volcano to emit harmful gasses into the air of our beautiful AINA. if it does we can impose ridiculous fines for the volcano to pay. Gary LHooser, why don't you work on trying to pass a law on this one. I'm sure the million man march up Rice Street is just around corner for this one.

Anonymous said...

Joan you keep avoiding the question. I did not ask if you were afraid, I asked that if you were pregnant, would you still be ok with being exposed daily to even very small amounts of chlorpyrifos during the 9 months of your pregnancy? And while your child attended pre-school and then elementary school, are you ok with your child breathing small amounts of this same chemical daily for decades? I know you will not answer this question because there is only one answer a mother would give and that answer is NO!

Joan Conrow said...

I did answer the question, 5:45. It just wasn't the answer you would have given so you wouldn't accept it.

But you do illustrate so well how the antis not only stoke fear, they insist upon it.

Anonymous said...

5:45PM. Why don't you tell us all where you can find better quality air than Waimea- and move there while you are at it. You are becoming a tiresome termagant.

Anonymous said...

I just started watching today's council meeting.
A nice young woman won a scholarship, and the council members are ll congratulating her.
Ross Kagawa injected a mini rant about all the "bad decisions" the council makes and the "B&B laws" into his congratulations to this achieving young woman. It made his congratulations look phony and instead he chose to use to the girl's moment to make a political speech instead.
Just one anon's 2 cents but I thought Mr. Kagawa was very rude.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you answer 5:45's question Joan? How would you feel if you were pregnant or had children and you knew you and your children were breathing small amounts of chlorpyrifos every single day of your life? It is a reasonable question and relates to the reality of the situation. This is not a hypothetical but is the reality for people who live in that area. Would you be ok with that?

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, it is hypothetical because they aren't breathing small amounts of these pesticides every single day of their lives. But no, as I did already previously answer your question, wouldn't be afraid of exposure to those minuscule amounts. I'd be more worried about kids' prolonged and close exposure to flame retardants and the lead and asbestos in so many of those old houses. Now that is a real issue that does cause real health problems, and can be remedied, but the antis choose instead to obsess over a hypothetical problem.

Anonymous said...

7:10 Kagawa cares, you may think its rude, apparently the majority of voters disagree with you :). These TVRs and B&Bs are ruining our island. I agree. Entitled transplants who think they are soo much better and smarter than the locals. Are you one of them?

Anonymous said...

Kagawa was acting like a third grader today. He is an embarrassment to the island. Between his temper, his ego and his inability to speak proper English I cannot imagine anyone who is paying attention will vote for him. Wait! This is the problem. People are not paying attention!

Anonymous said...

The nice young woman happens to work at planning and has gotten stuck implementing the poor TVR law, so Ross was not off base, but as everything you must know the context before judging others. Ross was right on today as usual.

Anonymous said...

8:24 and you must be so smart, articulate, and calm. Why don't you run for council entitled one? You can be on the bottom with Bynum and Hooser. Transplant!

Anonymous said...

I just finished watching the meeting. I agree Ross should not have brought the zoning issue into the Marissa's moment - even though she works at planning. It was distasteful.

However, the commenter who said there were fireworks and compared Ross's opinion to a Hitler rant is completely off base. He did nothing of the sort. He expressed a strongly held opinion and his reasons for it. I personally think he tends to confabulate TVRs with B&B's and he tries to lump them together as "tourist operations" when the two are totally different. I would bet that there have not been any complaints from neighbors of B&B's in many years. There are many about TVR's. B&B's have almost no impact on anything. TVRs can ruin neighborhoods, as we have seen. I wish Ross would have an honest and open mind in a discussion about IMPACTS of B&B's outside the VDA before committing to vote against them. But he does seem bent on demonizing them as if they are TVRs.

And the investment banker who bought the 1.6 million dollar house on ag land 5 years ago should only blame her own lack of due diligence for buying a house to run a B&B where such a use is prohibited. She almost made me embarrassed to have a haole mother. What an obnoxious transplant. Just awful. Overtime I hear racism against caucasians, I thin op people like her who inspire it. Back in the day Planning Dep't employees WERE telling people they could short-term rent rooms in their houses, but that was long gone by 5 years ago. Such a smart business woman should have known what she was getting into.

I also think demanding neighbor approval is a mistake. One gets a permit and one doesn't being based on the personality of a neighbor seems arbitrary in some way. It is like government passing its responsibility to properly evaluate these to applications objectively to neighbors. Its not fair to the applicant or the neighbor. And some neighbors might just be total assholes with agendas. Neighbors should certainly get to oppose applications but they should state concrete reasons why the B&B is offensive or what negative impacts it has. But an applicant's failure to get a neighbor to sign a letter of support should not be fatal to the application. Some neighbors are mentally ill. Some are assholes. Some don't want to get involved. Instead of delegating government decisions to people's neighbors, the government should be deciding these applications based on objective criteria and a fair assessment of real impacts.

I would suggest the decisions to allow B&B permits should require proof of 1) no adverse impact on the neighborhood and limited to 2 people per bedroom; 2) owner must live onsite; 3) does not run with the land and can be revoked if it is misused; 4) must upgrade cesspools to septic; and 5) use and taxes paid prior to the ordinance effective date - and no new ones can start after the ordinance passes, for now at least.

As for B&B's on ag land - not gonna happen. But in a house in a residential district with permitted bedrooms, the owners - not the council - ought to be able to decide who sleeps in their spare bedrooms.

My final thought on this meeting was that Mel also made many good points, However, his lecture to the planning department about always making excuses that they don't have the resources to enforce the law seemed personal and a little unfair. His idea about making a schedule of fines to generate revenue for extra manpower for enforcement at planning was a good idea. But until that happens, he should support the planning department and find some money for another enforcement position (and then not let the mayor fill it with anyone other than a qualified TVR hunter).

Rollo

Anonymous said...

Homestays..B&B's whatever you wish to call them should be illegal outside of VDA's..period, regardless of perceived or estimated impacts on neighborhoods. No arbitrary permit approvals, no burdens of proof on neighbors or anyone else. Not in a VDA equals no permit. Any currently running B&Bs outside of VDA's, regardless of how long in operation will have a set amount of time to wrap up their operations. Going into one's own business...any business, is a risk. Just because a business has been going on for 5 or 10, or 30 years is no justification or imprimatur for it to continue. The majority of small businesses are not subsidized in the same way it is proposed that Homestays/B&Bs should be.

Also: no transfers of certificates or permits with the sale or transfer of deed or property: either for homestays or TVRs. TVR's and Homestays permits and certs die with the sale or transfer of the property. Also, TVRs and homestays still on cesspools? You get a set amount of time, maybe 6 months, to make the required improvements, or cease and desist! That's what zoning laws are supposed to address. My wish is to see property taxes for non commercial users go away entirely, in favor of a VAT or have the county take a portion of an increased sales tax, with all island residents covered by a "prebate" system. Less monies for the county...maybe they would be more interested and focused on staying within a realistic budget that does not see an increase in use fees for residents every single year (read: tax increase). The council attempts to balance the budget on the backs of those who DO have budgets they must live within. Anyone with any common sense could see that eventually the state would start cutting back or eliminate the counties share of the TAT, just as we all know that all Hawaii counties will run into trouble very soon contributing to underfunded pension funds that have promised a 5%-8% return in the past. No one will get even half that return "political promise", just as so many pension funds have been systematically robbed since 2007. We all have to suck up the empty political/financial promises made by misanthropic office holders over the past 30 years.

Anonymous said...

The solution to the problem of unfair interactions between B&B applicants and neighbors is obvious. As Mel, Ross, Kipu Kai and Mason have suggested, confine B&Bs to the VDA where they belong. PROBLEM SOLVED.

Sam Lee said...

About the Homestay Bill

I attended the Council meeting yesterday to weigh in on the discussion about the Homestay bill. What I saw and heard from the perspective of a resident concerned about the uncontrolled spread of vacation rentals of all types into residential neighborhoods and farm lands, gave me hope. Led by Chairman Rapozo, Vice Chairman Kagawa and Planning Committee Chair Chock, the discussion made it clear that members of the Council are concerned and are willing to do something about it. Testimony was given by citizens for and against the proposed ordinance, a good thing. More opportunities to do the same will be available in the near future. Get involved, speak your mind, the stakes are high on either side of the issue. Council members have done their own extensive research and are aware of what is going on across the island. Public testimony and consituant inputs round out the picture. Obviously, members are concerned and are passionate about their belief that changes need to be made. While some criticize this passion as juvenile or heavy handed, corrections of the magnitude that need to be made will only happen if the council is dedicated and passionate about the task looming ahead.

sincerely, Sam

Anonymous said...

Joann wasn't listening so she wants the lady to repeat her testimony? All the others were paying attention except her. That's so Joann.

Anonymous said...

Getting back to the topic on hand, "Calling All Victims!"

I'm not willing, but if someone is willing to infiltrate the lions den, volunteer as a victim, find out when NBC comes around, and then turn the tables like the people of Molokai did to the ignorant califonian woman. It would be nice to have someone let them know about the true Kauai.

Here's the true Kauai. even when the NBC cast comes to Kauai, they'll look at all our beauty of this island (grand canyon of the pacific, Hanalei Valley TARO agricultural fields) water falls in the back ground and say, wow! this is paradise.

And yet, some people say, it's not paradise, it's contamination at it's worst! I went up Kokee hill yesterday and looked down at the fields of corn, same place where Kubo went to describe his horrifying death exposure and i see, freaking beauty as far as the eye can see, rural country living at it's best.

I see Waimea and Kekaha residence NOT leaving their towns, no mass for sale signs. What i see is people living their own lives, in their own way. VOTING their own way. Which is! Supporting politician's who support their industry and their way of life. Go back to the voting records, and i assure you, it wasn't for the bottom 3 elected officials.

Here's my point! Can someone infiltrate the media and ambush them when it counts.

Tell them how the majority of the westsiders feel about being exposed to pesticides every single day (which is the least of our worries or none existent). Drugs (theft), housing, our rights to the beachs and the mountains and the cost of living and how are we going to pay our bills is what we worry most about on the west side. The actions on the west side speaks for itself. We love it on our side of the island.

Anonymous said...

And yes, Hooser did tell Kagawa to "bite me"

Anonymous said...

I used to joke around with my east side friends about west is best and east is least. But we are all one island. I cheered for Kapaa High School during the State Football Playoff. Kauai is a very special island. We have almost all the nationalities of the world. We deal with life issues. Today is today, yesterday was yesterday. If there wasn't a "lie" on the island, we would almost be in Utopia. LOL. Not going happen. Is there a different between a lie and bullshit?

Anonymous said...

You might be a corn scarecrow but you cannot deny that west side residents sued and won a civil lawsuit against the seed companies.

There's also another lawsuit in regards to the Waimea canyon school.

So take your horse blinders off and enjoy the view and not only your view but others as well.

Anonymous said...

Let's be real, the operators of B$Bs, hotels, multi family rentals did not apply for TVR permits, because they are and were and still are illegal. Multi family vacation rentals simply are not allowed outside of the VDA, the law has always been clear. So they did not apply , hedged their bets and kept operating. The permit for them was and is a Use permit, no one prohibited them from applying for one. They should be operating in the VDA, where these uses are allowable and the infrastructure is present.

Anonymous said...

The west side residents won a lawsuit about dust, not pesticides, no matter your revisionist tendencies.

Anonymous said...

9:57 a.m. it ain't horse blinders. and you're still not looking at the facts (again). The silent majority said, we are all good to go on the westside. Yes, I agree, Red dirt law suit is correct. they had a shit load of dirt. dirt. dirt. dirt. dirt. not pesticide. Sorry 10:16, i just wanted to state what you said in a different format. Plus, someone in that law suit was blood to me (congratulations to them). but it's still dirt.

8:54 a.m. I wore green that day in support of our kids too!

10:16 a.m. that's another way of telling 9:57 to stick to the facts.

Find a scare crow that can write on this blog, then i'll say yes, i'm a scare crow.

Stick to the point! All the actions of the Westsiders (majority vote) said we are good to go. you don't like it, head north!

Tell me more about the WCMS lawsuit, my kids go to that school. I want to get into that money action.

Seriously, tell me more. I really need to know. My cash reserve is getting low.

Joan, did i miss this next law suit? Please post your LMK. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mel and Ross are right. The buck stops at the Planning Department. They propose the rules, they issue the permits, supposed to enforce what they issue. They manage the zoning code and and have the duty to deal with all uses; both legal and illegal. Remember, Plannings' screwups go back years and years. It isn't like they were doing great and just lately have begun to mess things up for lack of resources, or whatever. If they'd done their job, we wouldn't be living with the TVR disaster. Screwing up, letting things slide is part of their DNA. If it weren't for pressure from the Council there would've been no cease and desist letters nor attention given to some of the most blatant violators. For as much press as the supposed crackdown got, it has sputtered and pretty much died. Election coming up, you know. So go get em Mel and Ross. We tired of excuses and manini results. For Planning to say they don't know how many vacation rentals are on the island while they propose ways to issue more permits is INSANE. Meanwhile we drowning in TVRs and B&Bs. Seems like plenty money to spend on fancy plans in Lihue and other places, but no more money to enforce violations? Something wrong.

Anonymous said...

You are too stupid to help out.

Why don't you park on the rocks in Kekaha and sell drugs or smoke Meth because that's all you are good for.

Anonymous said...

8:37

that's called harassment.

Anonymous said...

9:11 trash talk. Doesn't help with answering 9:28's question. Kekaha ice dealers don't post on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Must be 1 of the 4 limp dicks to say it's harassment for someone to repeat the pertinent points in their testimony.

This is from a person who doesn't like or respect Yukimura, Hooser or Cock.

Anonymous said...

9:11 excellent comment. As not pesticide killing kekaha kids. As meth drift. As why they so stupid.
Keep up your logical thinking.

Anonymous said...

9:11 excellent comment. As not pesticide killing kekaha kids. As meth drift. As why they so stupid.
Keep up your logical thinking.

Anonymous said...

BINGO 5:51