Though anti-GMO activists tend to downplay the polarization caused by their tactics in the Islands, a recent exchange at the Kauai County Council revealed the deep antipathy that bubbles just beneath the surface.
The panel had just finished wasting some 30 minutes on Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura's petulance — she was demanding a woman repeat her entire six-minute testimony because she "didn't get it all down,” when she simply could've reviewed the written testimony that had been submitted.
But then, JoAnn has lost all semblance of reasonableness, and the bizarre exchange prompted one Council-watcher to observe that “JoAnn's lost it.” Sadly, she still has another year in her term.
Following this juvenile digression, the Council was visibly frustrated, as was the audience.
Councilman Arryl Kaneshiro, who was chairing the public hearing, asked, “If there anyone else in the room who would like to testify?" And then he laughed, and added, "After that?”
A man in the audience called out, “Aren't you guys ashamed of the way you behaved?”
“Yes, I am, sir,” replied Council Chair Mel Rapozo, who had just said it was one of the worst days he'd ever experienced on the Council, which is saying a lot.
The man continued to call out questions and comments, and refused to sit down or stop talking, prompting several members to say police should be called.
“You're in charge of the meeting,” Councilman Gary Hooser said to Arryl. “Tell him to shut up.”
“No, you cannot act like 2491,” Councilman Ross Kagawa interjected, referencing the unruly hearings held on the anti-GMO/pesticide regulatory bill that was passed by the Council, but overturned by a judge. “That does not happen here.”
And then he looked at Gary and said, “Not like your son swearing at us. That does not happen.”
As the room erupted into chaos and Arryl called for a recess, Gary could be heard saying, “Where is this coming from? I'm sitting here minding my own business and you're like losing your temper. Get a grip on it.”
“You get a grip on it,” Ross replied.
“Yeah, bite me,” said Gary, employing one of his most juvenile comebacks. “What you bring my family up for?”
Uh, because you and your son were the thuggish ringleaders in the 2491 circus? And obviously those antics still grate.
Which brings us — again — to the question: How is Kauai going to come back together after the ugliness of 2491 tore it apart? Especially when some of the lead players have not changed their ways?