Thursday, November 14, 2013

Musings: Council Punts 2491

The Kauai County Council moved into uncharted waters today, recessing its meeting when it became clear the votes were not there to override the mayor's veto of pesticide/GMO Bill 2491.

In what Councilman Tim Bynum termed “a desperation move” to save the bill, the Council recessed until Saturday, giving bill supporters a chance to appoint a seventh member tomorrow who will vote their way. A veto override requires five votes, and the Council is down one member since Nadine Nakamura left to become Mayor Bernard Carvalho's top aide.

The abrupt about-face came after a Council majority decided last week to vote on the veto bill with just six members. 

Councilman Mel Rapozo said he felt the selection shouldn't be driven solely by the candidate's stance on 2491 “and obviously that's what's going to happen. Unfortunately, if someone is opposed to 2491 they won't get consideration for this seventh seat.”

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who previously said she would be “horrified” to use Bill 2491 as a litmus test for candidates, said perhaps they could interview candidates without bringing it up. But Councilman Gary Hooser already has been polling candidates for their stand on the bill he sponsored.

Gary orchestrated the unusual procedural maneuver once it became clear that Councilman Ross Kagawa, the swing vote, would not support a veto override.

Though Gary previously has cited the bill's urgency, tonight he was calling to slow things down. “A decision of this magnitude I believe warrants the time it takes to make a decision properly.” He said a delay until early next week would allow the Council to consider a seventh member “and talk to the governor and Department of Agriculture to see how serious they are about these issues. We could take the time we need to talk to these decision makers.”

Ross, who puzzled many by speaking against the bill from the onset, but voting for it twice, gave a lengthy statement explaining his moves. He said the 18-hour meeting that led to a 3:30 a.m. vote on the bill was a “grueling process. We rushed through a lot of amendments and we should have taken our time. And now look, where are we? Addressing a veto.”

Ross said the mayor had promised he wouldn't veto the bill if his request for a one-month deferral was granted, “but we got excited and shot it down.” He said he had talked with a lot of people and “the community is definitely split on this issue. There is no doubt for me that many more of the people I talk to are against the bill because they believe the state can and should have oversight."

Ross also revealed that when he was living in Waimea Valley, his one-year-old daughter suffered seizures, though the cause was unclear, and “one time we almost lost her.” He said testimony given by westside parents whose children are suffering medical problems that could be due to pesticide exposure was “absolutely gut-wrenching and something needs to be done. But I don't believe this bill will prevent them [the pesticide operations] from continuing. If it's tied up in court, how will the situation get better?”

Ross said he would instead work with the state and Mel, who also opposed the bill, “in getting some answers to those families that are suffering.”

Jay has been trying desperately to get the bill out of the Council, where it has eclipsed all other issues. Though he drove it to a vote after the 18-hour meeting, it bounced back under the mayor's veto. Gary warned in today's meeting that the issue won't go away, even if the veto isn't overridden.

The Council will begin considering a new member tomorrow. Some 20 to 30 candidates reportedly have expressed interest, but Jay has not released the list to the public. It's confirmed that Jan TenBruggencate, Mason Chock and Fern Rosenstiel were nominated. Former Councilmembers Kaipo Asing, Dickie Chang and KipuKai Kualii submitted their own names, along with Pat Gegen, Jimmy Trujillo and Felicia Cowden.

Four Council members must vote to approve a candidate, who could be sworn in as early as tomorrow afternoon in order to attend Saturday morning's meeting. If the Council deadlocks, the mayor will choose a replacement.

If the veto is overridden, both Jay and JoAnn said the bill should go to court for a ruling. Jay said the county might use the pro bono legal services offered by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice attorneys.


irk said...

the scrim continues

Anonymous said...

Game called on account of foul.

Anonymous said...

I hope we chose a council person who realizes we we are servants to the land, the land is not a servant to us.
When we have the opportunity to appoint, we should take advantage of this and appoint someone who we know is a good person, but may not have the political tenacity to win an election.
Someone like Jan could (and probably should) run and win a seat on the council, but when you have a chance to appoint Mason Chock to help guide this beautiful island, you have got to do it.

Anonymous said...

I think Felicia is the best choice. She is very reasonable and she is not opinionated.
She also has big-time knowledge which is essential during the lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

I love tongue in cheek facetiousness!
I almost fell off my chair!

Anonymous said...

You must be thinking of a different Felicia.

Anonymous said...

Jan is the man.

Anonymous said...

Jay and Joanne are liars. They committed to end the madness last night. They lied. I will never vote for them again.

Anonymous said...

We have been treated to the disgraceful spectacle of four moral pygmies without an ounce of integrity or shame among them getting as many bites of the apple as necessary to push their flawed piece of manipulation across the finish line. And to what effect? But after witnessing hours of this sorry drama staged at great expense to us, why should anyone be surprised? We get what we deserve and will be farther from obtaining a decent solution to this dilemma than we would have if the Mayor and Councilmen Kagawa and Rapozo had gotten the state to step up its game and put some money into the program now they have it. Don't forget, in the rush to take advantage of all that scintillating free legal talent on offer, that significant court costs are not part of that deal, and it will fall to us to pay those. That burden will be the true Bill 2491 legacy of the Short by One Four. But if the Mayor, Mr. Kagawa and Mr. Rapozo persevere with the state and federal governments and seed companies, Kauai may wind up with far more through their efforts to achieve results than from all the blather the bill. But that is not really what the pygmies were after.

Anonymous said...

Joanne lectures audience to show keiki how to win and lose gracefully but changes rules when she's losing.

Joanne guts the bill then pules with red shirts.


Anonymous said...

It would be great if we could rely on the state and Feds but I doubt they'll do anything unless theyre forced to take action. The gov talked about the stakeholders except his definition of stakeholder is limited to the pesticide/biotech multinationals and not the citizens who have to breath dust every day.

Anonymous said...

Bill 2491 won't stop the dust.

Anonymous said...

Joan, you missed the biggest story. Ad Tyler, born and raised on Kauai did testify. And he blew the lid off of the GMO 200 dollar a chair save the seat for thew GMO execs debacle. And his testimony rocked. See the Tyler Interview here.

Anonymous said...

Here is Ross when he voted in favor of 2491. Yesterday, he said "We tried to tell you guys the mayor said give him 30 days, and you didn't, and now he voteos, and so now I'm going to sustain him.". Dude, what? You just agreed NOT to give him 30 days. You should have just been honest, Ross. Or do you know what it is you want?

You think because you and Mel went to the state, that only the State can solve this with voluntary compliance? Ross is a waffler. He thinks just let them do it voluntarily. He is living in a dream world. Mel? I have no idea what is going through that man's mind. But I can quarantee you that this morning, neither one of these men are going to look into the mirror and say, "You lookin good. You rock!".

You know what we saw yesterday? We saw a lot of the GMO workers hanging their heads in shame, sitting in chairs with their heads in their hands and their noses to the ground unable to look in our direction. At one point they all virtually slithered out of the room. They stayed out of it after that.

They were ashamed. I can tell you we all have eyes. Video tapes don't lie. And rightfully so. After the testimonies of Native Hawaiian born and raised westside residents told of their stories yesterday for the first time ever, those were their Ohana too. They got it.

And I believe for the first time, those workers felt true shame. They had no victory yesterday. They hand a huge pang of guilt, and you could see it on every single face. I truly felt sorry for them. But not much.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...November 14, 2013 at 10:06 PM
"Game called on account of foul."

No man, that's just a rough game of B-ball like the President plays. Great maneuver.

Tokioka and those frickin' GMO companies has that brass ring in their grasp.

Anonymous said...

Asing, Chang, and Kualii already had their chances and the voters disapproved of them.

Time for new local blood.

It should be either Chock or Rosenstiel. Losing a lady, should gain a lady.

Bet this post has more than 50 comments by Saturday.

Anonymous said...

To the anti-GMO activists-well this is what you get when you use emotions and bullying to get your way-do you really think that the Mayor and the Council are being swayed by your activities? give them the benefit of the doubt that they are actually using their heads instead of their hearts when it comes to making decisions- which is what we all want in our leaders-the bill is flawed as it is now-don't we want to get it right before passing it?
Look what happened when the TVR bill was passed and rushed....

Anonymous said...

Mason Chock just got the nod

Anonymous said...

drum roll . . .

new councilperson is
mason chock

Anonymous said...

I think the biotech companies are the real bullies. They act like their untouchable, infiltrate Hawai'i without any acaccountability. Buying our government officials and leasing Hawaiian lands for pennies on the dollar. We are capable of much more. We can do ag better than that.