The failure of Hawaii's anti-GMO movement to gain political traction was confirmed yesterday by the death of the GMO labeling bill in the state Legislature.
Heady with success after Kauai County adopted its GMO/pesticide regulatory law, Molokai activist Walter Ritte proclaimed that labeling would be the next achievement. But even with the support of Rep. Jessica Wooley, a sympathetic legislator, the bill quickly died in the House Agriculture Committee she chairs.
Wooley used the controversial “gut and replace” technique to strip the language from an existing bill and replace it with the labeling language.
Anti-GMO activists and Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser have bitterly criticized other politicians who used this method. But they voiced no objections to Wooley's move, offering yet another example of how the movement has embraced hypocrisy and an “ends justify the means” philosophy.
Though Wooley revived the bill, she seemed to give little thought to how the bill might actually be implemented. Or perhaps her response to enforcement concerns raised by other committee members reflected her decision to join Gov. Abercrombie's administration as director of Office of Environmental Quality Control:
"If we want to try to move this forward, we cannot burden the state agencies with the enforcement aspect," Wooley replied.
No, we wouldn't want to do that, especially since enforcement has never been the state's forte — especially when it doesn't want to.
Meanwhile, the Division of State Parks has issued a notice of violation to Kelley McMillan, who wrote a dreadful piece about spending 10 days in Kalalau for Details magazine. Though the campground was already filled to capacity, McMillan had been granted a special use permit to spend two days and one night in the wilderness valley for media access.
But McMillan abused the privilege and overstayed, a selfish, irresponsible move that no doubt will make it harder for legitimate journalists to gain special permission in the future. Way to go, Kelley. Though McMillan probably won't ever be prosecuted for the offense, given that extradition is unlikely for a petty misdemeanor, perhaps a warrant could be issued so that McMillan can't return to Kauai without risking arrest.
In other news, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has officially filed for re-election that he is certain to achieve, given that he remains popular and faces no credible competition — another indication that anti-GMO activists are unlikely to influence Kauai County elections, even though the "Babes" vowed to remove him from office.
The Council race will be the one to watch, with a number of viable political newcomers eying a run. They include Arryl Kaneshiro, a young up-and-comer who works for Grove Farm, and Police Chief Darryl Perry, who can run without relinquishing his top job at KPD.
Curiously, Counciman Mel Rapozo is the only incumbent who had even taken out papers, as of yesterday. It will be interesting to see whether Councilman Tim Bynum seeks re-election after settling his lawsuit against the county, and if Gary Hooser runs again or moves on to livelier pastures.
And finally, the chem companies filed another round of reports on their use of restricted use pesticides through February. Though Kauai Coffee reported no RUP use in January, it did apply some last month.
GMO = Gross Morbid Obesity
Ms. Conrow, wish you could have been at the House Ag Committee hearing yeasterday. After a certain Kaua'i County Councilman testified in support of the labeling bill, he was called back to the podium for questioning. The onslaught of questioning began with Rep. Onishi and finished off with Rep. Tokioka.....Hooser got his okole handed to him
I understand there were about a dozen people at the hearing. So much for overwhelming support for labeling. What a crock.
I like the idea of trespassing reporters getting a break. If it was reporting, and if she was telling the truth.
Capital insiders know Gary. When he speaks for a bill, it is a kiss of death. Memories in the Leg are long. Gary is well known for pure self-promotion and double dealing.
A legacy of lies.
It is good to see new blood in the Council race. Kauai needs people who care for Kauai.
It would be ultimate Chutzpah if the schlub, "I Hit the Jackpot" Bynum runs.
What were the questions?
I don't understand your constant berating of the anti-GMO activists Joan? I am bewildered by what appears to be your gloating of the movements failures. That above all else befuddles me because your personal beliefs align more with the anti-GMO movement then the other side, yet you seem to relish in shooting the "red-shirts" down. What about those who didn't put themselves out there on the front line to be ridiculed but firmly believe in regulating the chemical corporations from poisoning our finite resources? We seem to be overlooked in this discussion.
I take no joy in knowing that our out of touch legislature fails to pass a bill that the majority of the people in Hawaii want - labeling. The movement for this has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and will continue to gain momentum in Hawaii and nationally. WTF is wrong with wanting to know what food manufactures are putting in their products? Why can't government make it easier for us that want to know? Instead, we have to go 100% organic to completely avoid GMO's which many families in Hawaii can't afford. I make the personal choice to do that and forego money on other things, but it isn't easy by any means.
No movement in history affected change immediately or smoothly, or without making missteps and egos getting in the way. As a grandmother I want to ensure a healthier food system for my mo'opuna and from that perspective, I don't appreciate your constant harping on the mistakes of leaders in the movement. You're focusing attention on the negatives, how is that productive in advancing better legislation?
And to anon 1:19 PM - therein lies the problem in the lege. Too many good old boys been there too damn long(and hold all the power) thus the long memories. What legislator is above "self-promotion and double-dealing?" I would venture to say a handful if any.
You say you don't appreciate my "constant harpings" on the failings of the "leaders" of the movement. Well I don't appreciate people who didn't know WTF they were doing trying to run a movement of this importance. Especially those who were using it for self-aggrandizement. And no, I'm not gloating over their failures, because GMO labeling and pesticide control are where my own sympathies lie. But I'm not going to ignore them, either, because there is that part of me that can't resist saying "I told you so."
Here's the legislature's rationale (as told to them by Dow, Monsanto, DuPont, etc.) You won't understand the data so why alarm you with knowledge?
I think we got it months ago that you didn't appreciate the mistakes the leaders of this movement made. Why continue harping on it aside from it feels good to say "I told you so"? Again I ask, how does that help the movement by continually focusing on the mistakes? How do we advance our goals from this point forward? Continually ridiculing Gary, Tim, Babes, Paul, Walter, etc serves to fuel the other side and is non-productive if our ultimate goal is achieve real change.
Wow Joan , You sharp today!
8:28-- By "ridiculing" the "leaders" I am hoping to expose them so people stop following and supporting them. And by "harping" on the mistakes I am hoping people learn from them and also realize these tactical errors have closed many doors and will impede the movement for a long time to come.
Hawaii Independent has a good report on what happened at the hearing:
Joan, i agree with grandma, posting at 6:20! Yes, we are all imperfect, but we try to do our best in what we believe in. And why do rep. onishi and others dislike hooser>>>>most likely cuz he doesn't agree with them.....they are ALL driven by their gigantic egos. Don't rub salt on someone's wounds because we are all imperfect---and if you want us to see the imperfections of people like hooser, lay it on the line and tell us up straight exactly what they are---i sure would like to know. Maybe the person who posted at 1:19 can tell us about the lies and double dealing---but then, what would hooser have to say for himself?!
So who/what is the alternative to the current "leaders"? I don't think they were all guilty of self-aggrandizement but more likely got caught up in the passion of their convictions. I don't think Gary/Tim were not sincere about their intentions when they wrote bill 2491. Maybe the hero worshipping that occurred by the followers skewed their perspective. JoAnn and Nadine were the two biggest culprits in screwing the county process and taking the teeth out of the bill.
If you're going to call out the leaders of the anti-gmo crowd, the chemical corporations and their lobbyist should be called out equally as they are as guilty of misleading the public. In their case the misleading has dire consequences to human and environmental health.
I think Walter and his 'ohana bring an important component to the movement statewide. He represents the Kanaka Maoli viewpoint that is sorely lacking. I personally appreciate all the hard work that Earth Justice has done for Hawaii (Makua Valley, Na Wai Eha to name a few) and applaud the efforts of the Center for Food Safety that have successfully litigated against Monsanto and the like. Why would we walk away from help like that?
If anything you commentary has helped to sour me on public involvement in our bullshit democracy. Maybe you could offer some clear cut alternatives along side your criticism?
Gadzooks Batman- Are these questions about Hooser's honesty serious? or just from newbies?
Well Robin- As you know many of the Hoos' minions ride celestial perfumed unicorns. Reality is an illusion.
All a fistee has to do is ask anyone who works at the County about the Hoos and you will git da truth. In confidence of course, the Hoos and his retribution (revenge) is a also a reality.
March 21, 2014 at 6:20 PM,
I can't speak for Joan, but my problem with the anti-GMO activists is that they think the end justifies the means. They simply make stuff up, relying on the general scientific illiteracy in our society to ensure that nobody will question their propaganda of hysteria. But inventing "facts", contorting (not just twisting) data, preying on people's fears, and leveling false accusations are not ethical behaviors. They are throwing science and reason under the bus, creating a monster that will come back to haunt us all.
Joan "Shoot the Messenger" Conrow strikes again. You seldom fail to make the perfect the enemy of the good, Joan. You're not kidding anyone with your line about where your "sympathies" lie. If your sympathies were truly with labeling and control of chemical companies you'd have attended the hearing on the "gut and replace" bill and reported the real news coming out of it: that the notion of putting "enforcement" duties of the Dept. of Health is inappropriate for a measure like this which can be enforced by the consumers and the organic food growers and retailers in the courts if they find out that the "food industry" is lying about the ingredients in its products. As I said elsewhere in my comments about what I heard at the hearing (and the testimony I presented) Rep. TOKIOKA and his Ag Committee colleagues who oppose labeling were pretending to have great concern for procedural niceties in order to run out the clock and make Chair Woolsey look bad, when they would never raise such objections in a hearing chaired by one of their allies. They were happy to waste time during the committee berating Chair Woolsey and Sen. Hooser for using the "gut and replace" method of getting this bill in front of the public for debate, knowing full well that it's standard procedure in our legislature, and something they would not hesitate to use in trying to get their pet measures passed. Because progressives like Woolsey and Hooser have gone on record opposing this legislative technique IN PRINCIPLE in the past does not mean they should be banned from using it. Until this less than 'democratic" tactic is banned for all parties and for all purposes, progressives should definitely take advantage of it, for the good of the consumer, and the public at large. In the next session of the legislature I would like to see a bill that proposes a an amendment to the state constitution giving Hawaii's citizens the right to know whether GMO ingredients are contained food sold in the marketplace. If passed, the bill would give voters the opportunity to decide this issue.
With sincere aloha,
What surprises me the most is the utter failure at any common sense.The food that arrives at the shores of Hawaii, are produced, packaged and labeled elsewhere. If anyone thinks that they would relabel before shipment to Hawaii, think again. When the nation wide label laws change, when a big state like California passes the law, then labeling will happen for Hawaii food as well.
Until then, read the label, no soy canola or corn products or ingredients that are not labeled organic.
Now please enjoy the day, eat ORGANIC
Label what you know is truly GMO free. Everything else contains some form of modification. When kids eat school lunches or restaurants serve food or food at parties, etc. do we ask if any dishes contain GMO products? Would we refuse to eat them?
Methinks that if you want to eat GMO eat GMO. If you don't want to eat GMO don't eat GMO.
Just shut up and get off of the social agendas and get the Gov to fix the roads, schools, jails, parks, etc.
On another note, can you observe Councilman Chock always looking at Council Hooser for approval? Check his searching eyes. Such love.
Kauai has only 2 council guys that are focused on improving Kauai.
They already label for export to countries that have banned GMO so I don't see the difficulty. Biotech companies have other crops in the pipeline including Salmon, not just corn and soy. Easier said than done buying organic all the time.
Mike Salling- I agree politicians should never stand on ethics, they should change as their whims and convenience dictate. After all what do standards have to with politics?
What a crock.
“You cannot believe a liar even when he tells the truth”
"he who seeks to deceive will always find someone who will allow himself to be deceived.”
I agree, 8:03. What's the point of opposing something on principle if you don't also oppose it in practice?
Thank you for posting Kelly McMillan's essay on Kalalau. I was very curious: why did you think it was "dreadful"? Did you see it as sensationalist, or ??
I agree, 8:03. What's the point of opposing something on principle if you don't also oppose it in practice?
So how do we effectively get any bill heard let alone passed in our dysfunctional legislature? With all the wheeling and dealing, manipulating and maneuvering games that they play, the public doesn't stand a chance. Public polling shows a majority want labeling. If we are going to have true choice, label it. MSG, Aspartame, artificial colors and flavors are all labeled, three little letters is all it takes. Take the guessing out of the equation and make it easier for consumers to make informed choices. Those who don't give a fuck can consume gmo's to their hearts content and those who do, can consumer non-gmo. It's call a democracy. Informed choice.
1:10pm. I thought the piece was sensational, presented an inaccurate and highly romanticized view of Kalalau and encouraged people to engage in illegal and culturally and environmentally insensitive behavior.
not to mention the writer romanticized a violent person and cared little for Kauai's resources. It was a crappy article.
Now I know why Klein wasn't prosecuted for attempted murder.
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