Thursday, June 16, 2016

Musings: True Democracy

The highlight of yesterday's court hearings on the Hawaii anti-GMO bills came at the very end. 

That's when former state Attorney General Margery Bronster, now representing the seed industry, asked the federal judges to dismiss SHAKA's appeal of the overturned Maui County moratorium:

They're attempting to pursue the appeal simply to force the government to pass a certain type of law, and we don't believe that they have that right. They have not asserted an injury in fact. Instead, their injury is general to the population at large or it is purely conjectural and hypothetical.

GE plants and the parties here have been together for decades in Maui. And yet they have not asserted any specific injury or established any specific injury that would be redressed by allowing this ordinance to go into effect.

That pretty much sums it all up. And it goes for Kauai and the Big Island, too. We've heard ample accusations and anecdotes, choke complaints and concerns. But we've yet to see any specific injury, or harm, established anywhere in the Islands to warrant any of this legislation.

Hawaii has expended so much time, energy and money on this issue, and for what? So activists can move a couple of pawns in their anti-GMO chess game?

Civil Beat has finally recognized — and only because it was spelled out for them by Andrew Kimbrell, director of the Center for Food Safety — that the Hawaii anti-GMO laws have national ramifications. Unfortunately, it has not yet occurred to reporter Anita Hofschneider to then question, gee, is that perhaps why mainland anti-GMO groups are drumming up all this huhu and humbug in Hawaii?

Of course, it's very hard for Civil Beat to report fairly on any of this when its founder-funder, Pierre Omidyar, also funds two of the litigants: Center for Food Safety and Surfrider. It's a conflict that editor Patti Epler refuses to acknowledge, much less disclose. She knows where her bread is buttered.

Councilman Gary Hooser, who skipped yet another Council session in favor of his anti-GMO mission, seems to have forgotten who butters his bread. Is it too much to expect the man to show up for the meetings he's paid to attend, rather than a court hearing where his presence is not required?

Speaking of butter, the newly formed Kuleana Coalition for Change is soliciting it — no questions asked, no disclosure required — to help influence Maui elections.
The group bills itself thusly:

The Kuleana Coalition for Change is a new Democratic based, grassroots political organization, currently filing as a 501c4 Non-Connected, Independent Expenditure Committee.

Then it explains its mission under the ironic heading of Free Speech for Maui:

The Kuleana Coalition for Change seeks to empower individuals in our community to participate in local politics without fear that their business or employment will suffer retaliation from the Power Elite, as has been the way of life here since the emergence of the plantations.

What, exactly, is the connection between free speech and anonymous campaign donations?

Here's yet another example of how utterly clueless they are:

The KCC has been established to provide our community [sic] a political force that has the ideal combination of accountability in spending and individual speech free from oppression.

Accountability in spending, with no disclosure of donors? Individual free speech that's totally anonymous?

They go on:

Donations are unlimited and our donor list is kept private. We are dedicated to exposing political and economic corruption and returning control of Maui County to the people who make it home.

With zero transparency?

And this from the very folks who demand full transparency from others, and describe themselves as “progressives,” no less.

Indeed, one of the candidates they support — Tiare Lawrence, who celebrated HC&S's demise — was featured in a Star-Advertiser puff piece entitled “Progressive faction takes on status quo.”

Yes, it's oh so progressive to be supported by a group that funnels cash from undisclosed donors to political campaigns. Does that means the Koch Brothers are progressives now, too?

The article included this revealing comment from Hooser, who previously pretended his candidate-training Kuleana Academy is “non-partisan,” as is required of nonprofits:

“The Kuleana Academy came out of a belief in the community and around the state that there is a shortage of progressive leaders who are stepping up and running for public office.”

Shoots, these guys are so progressive they don't even need to follow the law. That's just for chumps, like the corporations they oppose.

Other candidates in this “emerging progressive faction” include anti-GMO activist Fern Rosenstiel, who seems bewildered that the ugliness characteristic of her movement spurred “unbelievable hatred” on Kauai. She then whimpers:

“People won’t talk to me or meet for coffee.” 

Gosh, that might make it kinda hard to get elected.

Returning to the Kuleana Coalition for Change:

Make a donation today. Be a part of the People’s Voice and participate in Maui’s positive revolution.

Oh, yes. Be a part of the “People's Voice” without ever raising your own, or even revealing your identity.

Sounds like true democracy to me. I'm so glad these “new progressives” are here to tell us not only how to farm, but also how to govern.

44 comments:

John Kauai said...


Schmear Campaign
https://newrepublic.com/article/133871/big-food-doesnt-want-know

It is mayo or isn't it?

With the food industry spending our tax dollars on marketing their product, shouldn't we be allowed to know what it is they are selling?

Just want to get the discussion off to a roaring start this morning.

Fern said...

Good morning Joan! The irony is that they didn't include the first part of that quote where I said "(there are still some) people who won't talk to me or meet for coffee" and honestly I was directly referring to you and a small handful of anti pesticide regulations people like yourself, who still won't meet me or get to know me a little and how I really feel about all this, but insist on labeling me, misunderstanding me and attacking me. It's easier for you to continue to spew endless hatred based on half truths. Yes as much as you accuse people of such, you are continuing and perpetuating the very hate and division you claim to be against. There are many people working with me to build bridges in this area and I hope that one day you will also make time to meet and talk about my many concerns and perspectives on the issue. You may even find we have much more common ground than you allow yourself to think. And as for my friends picture the other day, an old high school friend I had not seen in years traveled with his family to come to our movie showing on Oahu and it was awesome to see him and meet his children and wife, thanks for sharing his picture he was stoked with it :) Only aloha to you Joan.

nocanswim said...

Very concerned, annoyed really, that Council can conduct business with three of seven members absent. What, exactly, qualifies for excused absence, and who determines this? the Chair? What is the County policy for this; is the policy determined by the Personnel Department, or is this policy solely the jurisdiction of the Council Chair? Is there some number of days beyond which non-attendance is not paid? Is there any position jeopardy (other than re-election of course)? more to say on the anti-GMO proponents but I've used more than enough text space. Thanks, Joan for your eyes and ears and analyses . . .

Anonymous said...

So true. He's not focused on our county issues. He needs to leave office.
---Councilman Gary Hooser, who skipped yet another Council session in favor of his anti-GMO mission, seems to have forgotten who butters his bread. Is it too much to expect the man to show up for the meetings he's paid to attend, rather than a court hearing where his presence is not required?

Anonymous said...

Fern wouldn't be a good fit for our community. She's on a mission to shut down seed companies but won't accept the results of an official JFF Report?
How will she be a good leader for us if she's so naive and angry?

Anonymous said...

joan, you are so right on! keep it up! i often disagree with you but today your words ring clear and true. wish you were running against these clowns; then we'd really have a choice for someone with integrity and uncompromised values.
ps what happened to koko & pulehu and those nice walks in the morning?

Anonymous said...

Off topic,as usual JK. The person listed at the DCCA website as the agent for Kuleana Coalition might be the Brian Murphy whose drug sentence was reduced by a Maui judge to 5 months last year. I'd put my money elsewhere, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Joan why don't you report on Ross who misses more meetings than anyone so he can do to his second full-time government job at the State DOE. The guy has two full-time government jobs and you give him a pass.

Anonymous said...

Per Fern's post, "I was directly referring to you and a small handful of anti pesticide regulations people like yourself," we know what you meant, but it's not what you wrote. just like everything else you say and do, IS WHAT IT IS! Usually! good leaders don't put their foot in their mouths too much.

Per Fern's post, "Yes as much as you accuse people of such, you are continuing and perpetuating the very hate and division you claim to be against."

Woman! what you and your friends did in 2491 was arrogant and nasty at it's worst and yes, that was mostly NS people. Joan' nasty is only within her blog.

think before you write, currently you're just turning people off. Just helping with your election chances.

Hey, good luck on your elections.

Better yet, good luck on having a great weekend with friends and family.

Dave Smith said...

Apparently the political and economic corruption KCC is dedicated to expose is limited to the external variety.

Joan Conrow said...

@9:51 -- I did look into that, most likely after you made the same claim, and found that Ross has an attendance record on par with his colleagues.

And Fern, though you complain about being misunderstood, you obviously misunderstand me. I am not anti-pesticide regulations. Pesticides should be regulated, and they are. I'm just anti arbitrary, unnecessary regulations advanced through fear-mongering with the goal of trying to destroy one aspect of agriculture.

But no, I don't want to meet you for coffee or spend any time with you at all. The phone conversation we had a while back, coupled with your public performances, tell me all I want to know about you. I have no desire to spend time with people who lie to others and to themselves. Which leads me to your closing "only aloha for you Joan." Ah, yes, your comment just exudes aloha. What a phony.

Anonymous said...

mic drop.... yeah ms. joan!!! well not actually mic drop since you're typing.....maybe shoving the keyboard to the side...lol!! keep up the truth!!

Anonymous said...

Joan there are two main groups of people on Kauai who have known and worked with you over the years. About half of them are praying for you and the other half think you deserve the darkness you bring upon yourself.

Joan Conrow said...

What darkness? And you actually believe you know, and can speak for, all the people who have known and worked with me over the years? Get out. Another delusional, self-important critic.

If there's one thing I've learned over the years of doing this blog, it's that I can't concern myself with what people think -- especially the anonymouses.

Anonymous said...

And if the Court agrees with one side or another, what will happen? If he "loses", will Gary return to the Council, tail between his legs and start working for all of us, rather than a small minority? Will Fern give it up and return to Tahiti Nui, where she can drink coffee and talk story with her friends, her one trick pony campaign done already? Will Joan concentrate on beaches and land and power in Hawaii, where it is sorely needed? Will all parties come together and accept the fate of the pesticide/GMO debate as determined by the court? YOU THINK SO? I don't. Just another chapter in this ungodly saga of a poor torn apart, third world country county. Sorry to be anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I have thought for some time now that you, Luke, and Alan would be pretty good representatives in the Council. But then I woke up and realized they could end up like JoAnn and Gary....yikes. I'd rather appreciate your independent research and thinking styles whenever you choose to share them with us. Keep it pure.

Joan Conrow said...

I don't mind if people post anonymously -- unless they're making attacks that they're too cowardly to own.

And thanks, 12:40 and 1:55. :)

Anonymous said...

Joan, Luke and Alan all have one thing in common - they are armchair quarterbacks hiding behind their key boards. They would never risk running for office and losing. Much easier to throw rocks from the sidelines.

Anonymous said...

Its a younger Kauai so get over it. We need younger women on the council. Lots will be voting for her. The young guys are all mix now lots have one haole and one local parent. Most think old uncool people running the show is lame. Most young guys don't like GMOs. Fern will get them out to vote. I am voting for Fern. Bury your head in the sand. Way more young voters then old.

Joan Conrow said...

@5:04. Fern is running for the state House against Nadine Nakamura, not Council. It's no contest, regardless of your vote, which you can cast only if you live Kapaa-Kee.

Anonymous said...

5;04...bet you $100 fern loses, we both send 100 to joan for her to hold like escrow then she can give the money to the winner...paypal ok ?

Anonymous said...

2:16 Alan Parrachini writes well, but he don't got no clue as to what Kauai is all about. He's locked in to some sort of glory seeking. He may mean well, but should breathe the air a little more and relax.

Thank you for your blog, Joan. and 2:16 Joan has been in full view many times. She is one of the last people on the island the council wants to see take the podium. Those 2 ladies from the NS are a couple of others that the Council don't wanna see.
All you gotta do is watch the Council eyes roll as most speakers grab the Mic. When Joan occasionally graces the Mic...the Council listens in fright, that she just might, bring to light, something not all right....... backed by facts. The collective Council panties and thongs all get pinched in a bunch, when Joan hits the Mic.

And 5:04 I don;t know where you live, but Kauai is pretty much all balda head or grey. Gittin older by the minute.

“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Bradley Choquette said...

Wow, I'm from Nebraska and even I knew Fern was running for the State House. @5:04 really demonstrates how little the anti establishment really knows.

Anonymous said...

Wonder why Fern didn't run for a council seat, where she had a chance. Fern, is out of her league running against a real candidate with lots of experience. My vote is unquestionably with Nadine.

Anonymous said...

They burn the bridges down and then say we need to build bridges. They really take us for fools.

John Kauai said...

@2:16 Nothing wrong with recognizing one's true calling and getting the word out about what our elected officials are doing and what is happening in our Community. It takes a special kind of personality to run for office. It takes another kind to monitor what is happening on all sides and coherently put it together in a form the "rest of us" can understand. That you might disagree with Joan's, Luke's and Alan's analysis is no reason to insult their talents. One might ask why you don't write your own blog exposing the "under belly" of Kauai politics. I don't because I haven't the connections required. I like everyone I've never met, but of those I have met... meh!

Anonymous said...

Blogger Joan Conrow said...

@5:04. Fern is running for the state House against Nadine Nakamura, not Council. It's no contest, regardless of your vote, which you can cast only if you live Kapaa-Kee.

June 16, 2016 at 7:33 PM

oh too bad I like them both. Fern should run for council first. Gotta go Nadine then. Darn it... Hey Fern run for council!

Anonymous said...


Hey Rosentiel ,

In three sentences, what is your mission statement?

Or any statement that you think is applicable other than your young and a female.

Let's cut the bull, the longer it takes you to answer,,,, the less votes you get..... Tick tock...

Anonymous said...

Council Seats are harder to obtain then a State Rep. Council needs 8,000+ to clear top 7, State rep needs about 2,600 to win a primary. Nadine got about 3,000 votes in that district on the last election she was in (2012) but with the influx of new voters in that district from Barcas campaign, and the "anti" movement, I don't think it will be a landslide victory that you think. Fern needs to campaign hard in the Kapaa area to get her win, and she needs a high turnout, but it is not impossible. In the last election, Mel Rapozo got about 2,400 votes in that district, Gary got 2,900, Dustin got 2,800, Felicia got 2,500. Her voters are there, they need to come out, which is an uphill battle in itself.

Joan Conrow said...

Fern's going to need more than 2,600 to win the primary. All the House winners received over 3,400 votes in the 2014 primary.

http://files.hawaii.gov/elections/files/results/2014/primary/cok.pdf

Derek Kawakami got 3,917 votes in that district in the primary, with 1,308 blank.

Dee Morikawa beat Butch Kahawai 3,401 to 1,338.

And Jimmy Tokioka beat Dylan Hooser district 3,487 to 1,656.

Fern will similarly go down in flames against a popular candidate like Nadine, who was the top vote-getter when she ran for Council in 2012.

Anonymous said...

Influx of new voters? Even if Fern wins on the north shore by an overwhelming number (which ain't gonna happen) she'd still get smoked in Kapaa.

Anonymous said...


Rosentiel,

Please tell us your greatest accomplishment. And I'm asking like if it's a hiring interview, not a pollitition practicing in the mirror!

Tick tock

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Rosentiel,

Please tell us your greatest accomplishment. And I'm asking like if it's a hiring interview, not a pollitition practicing in the mirror!

Tick tock

June 17, 2016 at 12:38 PM

You first! Bong, bong

Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Influx of new voters? Even if Fern wins on the north shore by an overwhelming number (which ain't gonna happen) she'd still get smoked in Kapaa.

June 17, 2016 at 11:02 AM

You must be new. Kapaa is overflowing with new people most not in favor of GMO. You must not live there Kapaa is full of organic supermarkets restaurants ad shops many supported 2491 what are you even talking about? I seriously doubt you are Kauai person!

Anonymous said...

If they all supported 2491 then why did the antiGMO politicians lose in Kapaa last election?

Anonymous said...


1:28

That's a classy response Rosentiel. If I was running for state senate you would already know what my accomplishments are knuklehead, that's why I'm asking you.

Other than already deviding people and workin the non tax game--- what is your greatest accomplishment? A very simple question that anyone seeking a job should be able to answer.

Tick tock

Anonymous said...

I am not Fern you idiot. Or are you talking to the blowup doll again.

Anonymous said...

Hey tic tock you seem really creep. Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

The whole island is overflowing with new people. That's the problem.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know people sat around the Nui drinking coffee.

Anonymous said...

"The whole island is overflowing with new people. That's the problem."

Yeah, that must be what the Menehune thought when the Tahitians showed up.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The whole island is overflowing with new people. That's the problem."

Yeah, that must be what the Menehune thought when the Tahitians showed up.

June 18, 2016 at 4:23 PM

BEST COMMENT EVER!

Anonymous said...

@ 5:04 pm

I hate to burst your bubble but fact is, registered voters by age......

Age Registered Voters 2016
18 to 29 ......... 1,682
30 to 49 ......... 4,777
50 + over ....... 16,638

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

No, that's what they said when the disease ridden westerners showed up.