I noticed a quote on Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser's blog site that sheds some light on his delusions of grandeur:
“Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
Except in the case of Gary and his red-shirted followers, it's more like he threw them over the cliff and they drowned, like the lemming “suicides” faked by a Disney crew.
Because the report from the Joint Fact Finding Group on pesticides has shown their litany of claims about poisoning and birth defects and cancer clusters and dead soil and contaminated streams to be fake.
As Scott Enright, director of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture so astutely observed:
“The heated rhetoric of the testimony of Bill 2491 [the GMO-pesticide regulatory bill approved by the Council but overturned by a judge] made a case that the west side of Kauai was drenched in pesticides and that there were these amazing environmental and public health concerns that could have easily been substantiated. A group that took a real critical look at it decided that none of that could be substantiated.”
Yet Gary and the red shirts have been telling that fabricated story for some time now, and they're still sticking to it.
Take this quote from Fern Rosenstiel: "We waited years, the report from the JFFG has only further reinforced our concerns, they are real. Pay attention."
Gary's HAPA: "After years of waiting, the Joint Fact Finding Group (JFFG), a group convened by the State and Kaua‘i County, has validated community concerns about the biotech industry impacts on Kaua'i."
And Gary himself: "It is a tough road to go down but we must say no to industrial dairies and to large scale pesticide intensive research crops that provide zero food for local consumption while polluting our environment and damaging our health."
So how, exactly, do you deal with a group of demagogues who have caused so much trouble and heartache in our community?
Especially when they refuse to admit they were wrong, or even acknowledge this JFFG statement: “The information we assembled does not show that current pesticide use by seed companies and Kauai Coffee plays a role in adverse health on Kauai.”
Especially when the 2014 Council elections, which saw the anti-GMO candidates trounced and Gary straggle in last, proved they do not represent a majority view.
Especially when they show they intend to keep whipping up fear and hysteria.
A case in point is today's article in The Garden Island, in which the usual suspects — Earthjustice, Hawaii SEED, Pesticide Action Network, HAPA — demand the EPA immediately investigate the incident where Syngenta field workers were exposed to pesticides. It prominently featured the usual overblown hyperbole by grandstander Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice:
“Time and again, Hawaii authorities have turned their back on Hawaii’s residents and farmworkers in favor of agrochemical companies.”
Never mind that the state DOA had an inspector on-site when the incident happened, expedited its review and has already sent its report over to the EPA for further review.
Meanwhile, Gary was blithely spreading rumor and innuendo on Facebook:
I checked with Syngenta, which Gary also could have done if he was interested in getting the facts. I learned that 34 people were working in the area, though not all entered the field before the posted re-entry time. All were given the option of going to the hospital for evaluation. Ten chose to do so and were transported by private vehicles. None were transported in ambulances.
Two of the 10 were immediately released as the physician determined they hadn't been in the field. Of the remaining eight, five were released later that day and three were kept overnight for observation. Everyone returned to work, and the attending physician did not recommend any follow up care.
Some of the 10 were contract field workers from California who had been employed under a fixed term. They worked another two weeks, completed their contract and went back home as scheduled.
Like I said, Gary could have ascertained the facts before spreading rumors. But then he wouldn't have been able to falsely portray Syngenta as first poisoning, then abandoning, its poor migrant field workers.
So again, how do you deal with folks who have demonstrated they value deception over honesty, fear over reassurance, chaos over order, a tyranny of the minority over true representational democracy?
l think you just have to recognize them for what they are and make decisions based on the greater good, rather than the demands of people who have shown they will stop at nothing to advance their own narrow agenda.