What does it say when two people who failed dismally at the polls — Gary Hooser and Fern Rosenstiel — are now hoping to push the overturned Kauai Ordinance 960 (Bill 2491) through the state Legislature?
It says they aren't listening to the will of the people.
It says they think they know best, and damn the rest.
It says they just can't bear to step out of the spotlight — even though voters summarily rejected their platform and agenda.
Besides Fern and Gary, the “go Ordinance 960” rallying call has been picked up by two groups that benefit financially from keeping the conflict over GMOs and pesticides alive: Hawaii SEED and Hawaii Center for Food Safety.
Though Jeri Di Pietro has yet to file the 2015 tax return for Hawaii SEED, the 2014 return shows the group pulled in $229,894 — up from $167,973 in 2013. In 2010, Hawaii SEED brought in just $266.
But that was before the mainland anti-GMO groups decided to try and set a precedent on Hawaii, and started funneling money to the Islands.
Though Hawaii SEED's stated mission is to “inform and educate the public on food security, genetic engineering and health,” they didn't actually offer any educational programs. Instead, they spent $48,230 on unspecified travel, gave $8,588 to the MOM Hui, funnelled $8,329 into a Molokai “benefit” concert, expended $12,291 on a mysterious “Patagona grant” and blew a whopping $8,259 on the opening of the Legislature.
In the five years between 2010 and 2014, Hawaii SEED has taken in $801,174. Yet what do they have to show for it? What meaningful contribution has this taxpayer subsidized “charity” made to the Islands?
Hawaii Center for Food Safety, meanwhile, just posted this on Facebook:
Our opponents call us fearmongers, but we are focused on solutions and know you are, too.
Solutions to what, exactly? The fears that they have mongered? Like Hawaii SEED, CFS hasn't actually come up with any ideas, much less “solutions,” for achieving their oft-touted goals of increased local food production and reduced pesticide use.
We actually would love to see them come up with something other than dinging farmers who are actually are trying to pull off a crop.
Gary, Fern, Jeri and CFS are demanding the state adopt the buffer zone and pesticide disclosures contained in the now-dead Ordinance 960. But the state already announced that seed companies statewide have voluntarily agreed to adopt those measures.
When the state is already facing budget problems, why spend more money to require something that is being provided voluntarily? Especially when there's no evidence that companies failed in that voluntary compliance during the three years that the Kauai Good Neighbor program has been in effect.
Though the fear-mongerers keep claiming that people are “unprotected” and pesticide regulations aren't being taken seriously, the facts are this: people are protected because state and federal pesticide laws are strict. When operators make mistakes there is enforcement.
Shoots, Syngenta is already facing a nearly a $5 million fine for a January 2016 pesticide violation, which shows the system is working. Heck, the EPA is salivating at the chance to bust these guys, especially with Earthjustice and CFS egging them on.
As the state Legislature opens today, it needs to focus its time and money on real issues that truly affect people's lives, like traffic, rural health care, education, affordable housing — not those manufactured to keep demagogues in the limelight and anti-GMO groups in cash.