The San Francisco-based Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) sent out a fundraising appeal to its mainland email list under the subject heading: A victory for Kaua'i and beyond!
The less-than-truthful message read, in part:
A diverse coalition of local advocates, including Hawaii SEED and Ohana O' Kaua'i, led the creative, powerful campaign to "Pass the Bill" — collecting more than 50,000 signatures, coordinating a march of more than 4,000 people, and packing the house at multiple marathon council meetings. And PAN was with them.
Testing has found the known neurotoxin chlorpyrifos in the air, and the potent endocrine disruptor atrazine has been found in the island's drinking water.
Support communities in action » Kaua'i residents took matters into their own hands — and won! The new law requires public disclosure of pesticide use on the island. It puts more protective buffer zones in place. And it requires that pesticides be monitored for their effects on community health and the environment.
With your gift today, you'll help continue this important work. Momentum is building. Working together, we can overcome the power and influence of the pesticide industry — in Hawai'i and beyond.
I suppose they figure it's their due, considering they paid for the Stop Poisoning Paradise website and funded “Kaua'i-based organizer” Jennifer Ruggles, who arrived on the island a few months ago.
And why slow the momentum with such dreary details as it's not yet a “new law,” it will be another two years before any pesticide disclosure occurs and the Environmental and Public Health Impacts Study (EPHIS) — whose scope remains undefined — won't be pau for 40 months?
Speaking of EPHIS, my ears pricked a bit when I heard Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura suggest that perhaps the Ceres Trust or Hawaii SEED could fund the study. Really? Mmmm, or how about they split the bill with the chem companies and then we can be assured of a totally discredited effort?
Which leads me to another bizarre twist in this saga: an email that Blake Drolson circulated to his GMO Free Kauai mailing list "in gratitude to JoAnn for her work in passing Bill 2491." In it, JoAnn denies that the angry crowd in the Council chambers pressured her into voting for the bill, rather than a deferral, as blogger Andy Parx speculated in his post “How fast can you turn on a dime?”
Her statement was supported by her husband, John Wehrheim, who wrote:
The most important point I want to clarify is the rumor that JoAnn was in any way swayed by the exhausted, frustrated and emotional outburst of the crowd when she began her convoluted rational of why she was voting for the bill--leading with why she had wanted a deferral!!! This was an almost tragic rhetorical error [that lead to a near riot...] but typical of JoAnn's indirect and tortuous style of speech.
To think for a moment that JoAnn’s vote was in any way swayed by the crowd’s outburst that night is to completely misunderstand her very tough and stubborn nature. JoAnn cannot be swayed by threats, anger or outbursts. They only make her more stubbornly fixed in her position.
I never believed JoAnn was going to vote for a deferral or kill the bill. Why should she, when her amendments had already successfully gutted the measure and introduced loophole language that chem company lawyers can exploit?
What struck me was the way she apologized for not getting to the point sooner, so as to prevent that "near riot" that John referenced, rather than chewing out the disruptive rowdies for their lack of civility:
I was trying to explain my reasoning in my exhausted 3:30 am speech. In retrospect, I should have started with my conclusion to vote against deferral, but instead, I led to my conclusion by first outlining my thought process. In retrospect, this was not very smart.
No, let's not waste time with reasoning, or decorum, or any public discussion of the final weakening amendments that were hashed out entirely behind closed doors after midnight.
Momentum is building, so all aboard......