In the context of the anti-biotech war being waged in Hawaii, I got an email from an earnest reader who shares my frustration at the inability, or unwillingness, of people to look at the bigger picture. He wrote:
Because most people don’t have the time or the desire to dig deeper, maybe we all want a clear and simple message fed to us?
I thought of his words when a friend told me she'd been asked to sign a petition to get Kauai Rising's 18-page anti-ag charter amendment on the November ballot. Did you read it? she asked the signature-seekers. No, they replied.
They had, however, read the large-print summary, with its clear and simple message spelled out in red: Let the People Decide.
I thought of his words again when I read Chris D'Angelo's abysmally simplistic article on the charter amendment in today's The Garden Island. He, too, apparently read only the summary. Otherwise, surely he would felt compelled to report on the actual “meat” — though it's more like pink slime — of the proposal.
Crazy, absurd stuff like this (emphasis added):
[P]rohibiting activities and practices that result in the intentional or unintentional introduction into [terrestrial and aquatic] such systems of GMOs or toxins that may endanger, or may reasonably be suspected to, endanger or threaten the existence, survival, productivity or natural diversity of organisms comprising such systems, or the ability of organisms naturally present in such systems to thrive.
So right off the bat, we're talking no more chlorinated water. No more prescription drugs, or even coffee, because that stuff isn't removed from treated sewage. No more treated sewage because it uses chlorine. No more cesspools, or even septic tanks. No more cars, because they drip antifreeze and oil. Oh, and no organic pesticides, either, because don't they also endanger the “natural diversity of organisms,” e.g., insects?
But let's back up just a minute. The amendment is a weird, self-contradicting hybrid that's part bill of rights, part ordinance, part administrative rules and part pure bullshit. What it does — and this comes from the actual amendment, not the sugar-coated summary — is create an Office of Environmental Health under the sole purview of the County Council.
The Council would set the agency's budget and pick its administrator, who would be appointed for an initial term of five years, and then allowed to serve indefinitely, removed from office only by a two-thirds vote of the Council. This administrator would implement and enforce all county environmental laws, including Ordinance 960, which is now under the domain of the mayor's Office of Economic Development.
The administrator, essentially untouchable and unaccountable, would have broad powers to enter and inspect the premises of any “commercial agricultural entity” and order the production of records and reports. It also could accept grants from “public interest foundations and research institutions to implement studies, monitoring and investigations related to the protection of human health and the health and sustainability of natural systems.”
The Council also would appoint a seven-member Environmental Health Advisory Committee that would join the Administrator in deciding whether a commercial ag operation seeking to use GMOs or restricted use pesticides had provided “acceptable proof” that their activities aren't harming the environment.
The Administrator, in turn, would have authority to convene “expert panels” — whose members could include mainland groups like the Pesticide Action Network — that would impose elaborate environmental monitoring protocols.
As one example, to get a permit, ag operations:
[M]ust provide evidence demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt, to the satisfaction of Kaua`i County, that any toxin, or any combination of toxins, proposed to be used will not be released from or transported beyond the boundary of the terrestrial or aquatic domain under the control and management of the commercial agricultural entity that proposes to engage in the use of such toxin(s).
Well, that's pretty much an impossibility in this land of big wind, heavy rain and frequent natural disasters.
Let's look at some of the other provisions (emphasis added):
Wow. Super scary stuff, that. Kind of like the Inquisition, or the Salem witch trials.
Kaua`i County, or any resident of Kaua`i County, may enforce the rights, duties and prohibitions of this Charter Amendment through an action brought in any court possessing jurisdiction.
In other words, anybody can go after anybody. And even if you lose, you can recover all costs, including attorney's fees and travel expenses for those mainland lawyers to come and represent you:
Such costs shall be awarded if significant objectives of the action are achieved without requiring that plaintiffs prevail by obtaining favorable decisions or an order granting relief.
Which I assume includes such significant objectives as trying to delay an application, or bankrupt a farmer.
Compensation for the cost of restoring contaminated waters, soils or ecosystems shall be paid to Kaua`i County as trustee of the protected resources to be used exclusively for the full and complete restoration of the waters, soils, food sources, ecosystem or natural community.
Is full and complete restoration even possible, much less economically quantifiable? I mean, look at Kahoolawe.
Prior approvals not a defense. Actions, activities or conduct authorized by any applicable local, state, or federal permit, approval or registration shall not be lawful if prohibited by this Charter Amendment. Any such permit, approval or registration shall not be a defense to an action for enforcement of any requirement under this Charter Amendment.
This alone guarantees this amendment, if approved, will end up in court.
I especially liked this grandiose provision:
Through the adoption of this Charter Amendment, the people of Kaua`i County call for amendment of the United States Constitution to recognize the right of each person to a clean and healthful environment free from governmental pre-emption, nullification by corporate “rights” or any priority for economic interests established pursuant to the interstate commerce clause or by confirmation or ratification of international trade agreements.
Yes, Kauai shall exert its will upon the nation. .
Returning to my earnest correspondent, yes, people do want clear, simple messages, because so many simply can't be bothered to think. Which is why groups like Kauai Rising and Malama Kauai are gaining signatures on their petition drive.
So here is my clear, simple message, with a nod to Rage Against the Machine:
Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!
And reject this crazy, totalitarian amendment.
You should do an investigative report on how the anti leaders really feel about this petition, because now they have even turned on themselves. None of the "leaders" have been willing to endorse it. Just look at their facebook feed. Whatever momentum that Hooser might have gained with 2491, will surely be lost if he lets the lunatics of Kauai Rising take over.
-A Proud Red Shirt
But Joan....!!! "We have to pass the [it] so that you can find out what is in it."
But I just saw a flyer for a free concert with Makana for the petition so it must be good right? He even had overalls on!!
Again? You can fool some people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time! Lets cut this shit out...enuff already!! Quit this JUNK STUFF. We have more important things that has to done. So who's gonna pay the court cost when this goes litigation goes to court? So sickening!
This used to be much more of a journalistic blog, but lately seems to be devolving to an opinion page. Not interested.
Joan, i used to at least respect your work. Now i realize you are a Bio-tech supporter. Could not be more clear. At least admit it who you write for. Your supporters would appreciate it.
Joan...Thanks for giving us the run down on what is "actually" happening with these NUTTY people. You are presenting the lines between the lines and very informational. Please interpret and simplify this amendment so the "people of Kauai" can understand and not have their head covered with Ti-leaves, because many don't understand what this amendment is about. Its all lawyers language...so easy for people to misunderstand its meaning and probably will sign it. It will be like friends signing for friends.
The tone of your blogs is just so mean spirited. I just don't get that. I don't agree with your stance on Bio-tech, but you really seem to have it in for anyone who dares to fight for anything good on this island.
I will say it again for the cheap seats, the only people who support Bio and the destruction they bring are those that benefit from it financially. What's more disgusting, those that stand up against Biotech or those that sell out their own children for $$$?
Do some research people.
i wonder how much money Joan has taken from Bio-tech?
Paid for by Bio-tech.
To 1:16, 1:33 and 1:45 --
I have never been offered, much less taken, a penny from biotech. Please do not attribute views to me that are not mine. You have no idea what my stance on biotech is.
As for who I'm writing for, it ain't the sheeple. It's the people who realize that issues are quite a bit more nuanced and complex than pro-anti, good-bad, black-white, right-wrong.
Simply "fighting for anything good" is not in and of itself laudable. You gotta fight honestly, effectively and smart, or you're gonna get cracks.
I was unsure of this petition until I read your blog. Now that I have a clearer understanding, I will sign this petition. We MUST stop any negative effects on water and land.
This issue has been the Achilles heel of all representational democracies. In a world of information overload public opinion is formed by the most effective propagandist with access to mass media channels. The questions you raise can only be asked by one who has taken the time to read the document itself. This problem that runs very deep, so deep in fact that their are MANY (perhaps even a majority) of non-profit board members that have not read their own by-laws.
Should people that elected board members to represent them be expected to be more familiar with the document(s) than elected board members? There are solutions to this problem, but unfortunately these solutions are difficult to articulate in a slogan or soundbite. Your citing from primary documents followed by asking questions about what was quoted forces propagandists and the misinformed alike into silence or simplistic, angry, ad hominem attacks on you to sidestep and divert attention from the issue(s) you raise.
Ah, Someone getting to the core of the problem. Time to dust off the old copy of "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer and grab a red shirt.
Joan I know you aren't a biotech supporter as some accuse you of. The life you live shows me that you care about the land and the animals and are concerned about chemical poisoning in all areas, not just biotech. I can respect you for trying to bring balance to this hot button issue as much as I dislike some of what you say.
What annoys is the commentary that follows by those who attack all who support 2491 as wealthy nutjobs, trust funders, transplants, etc...overlooking the strong support from the Kanaka Maoli community who are fed up with desecration of our ancestral lands that began with the overthrow of 1893 by sugar planters, the military takeover of our wahi pana Puuloa, which was once the bread basket of Oahu and is now a deemed a "Super Fund" site because of extreme pollution,and the diversion of water from our rivers to feed the thirsty plantations, now the chemical corporations of today. Its easy to fight the newcomers but no one wants to touch the marginalization of kanaka that have been disenfranchised from their ancestral lands. There is deep seated anger that has festered for generations and continues today. That is the perspective I come from and don't want to be caught up in the fight between those who call themselves "locals" and newcomers.
The desecration of ko Hawaii Pae 'Aina on some many fronts in so many ways is painful. I'm old enough to have had a glimpse into the old ways and see the path we are taking today as one of destruction.
A law that says the County Council can punish you for using "toxins" and they can do it "without any proof." It's almost an April fool's joke - it is so unconstitutional.
I'm not sorry to say but, The Haoles(Antis) are abusing the Locals and Hawaiians, they are hiding the Truths and sweeping it under the rug. I hope people won't join this selfish and ridiculous Movement. Just stop making laws base on lies! In our country I believe only our Legislature can make laws. It is wrong to have people sign a petition that they don't fully understand!!
anon at 3:17. That is the point for putting it on the ballot. You don't have to vote for it. You can vote to NOT vote for it. No one is making you do anything. You can simply make sure that it doesn't pass, by peacefully casting your vote on election day, to make your feelings known, rather then whining and complaining about it here.
Why is it so difficult for some of you to understand such basic simple things as , this is something that will be put to the voters to decide. If you don't vote, then yeah you are out of luck for having a say in it. Oh well.
anon 3:20. If I hear one more time, how the 2491 supporters are Haoles (all, total, compeletely haoles, ect blah blah), i think i am going to bust a gasket. If you can't think of anything else to say besides a race baiting, snide, stupid ignorant intolerant and totally incorrect and completely wrong blind deaf and dumb statement like that, you really should not be allowed out of a padded cell.
Anne Punohu. Not Anon. Not now, not ever.
ENTER... The Seed Companies know better about this amendment. Even if its voted in, it won't go into effect. It will end up in court because it unconstitutional! Guess you know who's gonna end up paying. If you signed it, you did a disservice to a lot of good and honest people. You have been recruited in this ridicules Movement. For Kauai its easier to start a Movement than Oahu and Maui because it easier to convince 65k people than 100k people. But....not all Haoles are bad, since I am a Haole myself!
Again.....this will be a BALLOT QUESTION.
For those of you who post here, and actually live here, you will be able to VOTE on it, if you are eligible to cast a vote in the State of Hawaii. If you aren't eligable to cast a vote in the state of Hawaii you will not be able to vote on it.
Over and over we hear how if this had been put to a vote, 2491 would never have passed.
Now, all of you have a chance to either pony up and cast a vote, and shut it down, or finally perhaps once and for all put a sock in it and stop whining when you aren't willing and able to do your "constitutional" duty, and vote.
Haoles from the seed company starting race wars, by claiming that haoles started the 2491 bill is so ludicrous, hilarious and just so Mad Magazine of them.
Sometimes I really wonder what people are REALLY smoking, to fall for that race baiting stuff. Can't you see that it is the Outsiders that are starting ALL of this? And I don't mean "Haoles". I mean "Corporations!"
Can't you blind deaf and dumb poeple see this stuff from both sides? The whole "Locals against haoles", "farmers agannst trust fund babies" B.S.?
How blind do you have to be?
Really none of you should be allowed to vote, if you can't see this very simple correlation!. Why can't you? Seriously I really want to know? Can you people really be that infantile!?
It just totally boggles the mind, seriously. Are you that much of sheeple, that you will allow the total manipulation of your minds like that?
Can't you have some independent thoughts? Look at things for what they really are. Race baiting is the OLDEST trick in the book, and you people fall for it hook, line and sinker!
Swallow the red pill, man before its too late. (Yes, I am a matrix fan. Go ahead, pick that to death too. I don't care it was a great movie!. I am also a Trekkie. My Adopted Dad was a scientist, and worked on the Apollo Space Mission Modules.. (Oooh, now wot?) Anti science...*rolls eyes*(lol)
Proudly signed, never hiding, GMC Tuff,
Anne, please don't feel compelled to respond to every comment posted. Perhaps wait until the end of the day, and provide a summary of your views?
Wow. Take that! This is beginning to look like Crowdfunding for the lolo; they can’t play in their nicely in their Kauai Rising, Ohana, SEED, whatever social media sites; the orders must have gone out to come here to swamp the discussion with caca. Is this the commenter with a bit part featured in the 3:30AM Follies grimacing and grinning up front so all watching could catch the drift? Take a break. You add nothing to the sum of knowledge and stick to TGI unless you have something interesting to add. Fabius Cunctator
Yes, and this is why we're having to go to comment moderation.
"But then if you had a first grader knowledge of science, you would know that. Most Chemical Seed Company supporters don't. They just assume whatever the Seed Companies tell them, they will follow lockstep, and just keep spewing out the same taglines, over and over again. Reminds me of a religious cult, kinda."
Funny, this is exactly what the 2491 supporters are. Pot calling the kettle black.
"That is the point for putting it on the ballot. You don't have to vote for it. You can vote to NOT vote for it. No one is making you do anything. You can simply make sure that it doesn't pass, by peacefully casting your vote on election day, to make your feelings known, rather then whining and complaining about it here."
Why are you against Joan quoting from the thing and educating people what it says ?Then people can make informed decisions. But if you only tell people what you want them to believe is in the thing, then i guess you don't have any faith that if people know what it says, they will vote for it.
Transparency for all sides, including our own.
Excellent piece again. Cutting, rational, and while it shouldn't be subversive, because of the current environment, it is.
Grow up Anne Punohu. Responding to every single comment about "bashing" you or whatever movement you follow, get over it. You're wasting space in the comment section. Comments are not for you to try and see who the bigger tita is, this section is for constructive feedback and discussing varying views on Joan's post. If you feel the need to fight fight fight, keep doing what you're doing and go fight with the council, at least you get air time. And yes, I am anonymous because guess what I don't feel the need to get to know you, email you, or even try to talk to you about my views because you obviously do not hold yourself respectfully because you da kine that always gotta have the last say no matter what. So just shut it already and let the rest of us respond to post.
Joan, keep doing what you're doing! The best point you bring up is the simple fact that most of these looney tunes signing the petition DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE DAMN THING SAYS!!! Same thing with the GMO petition - THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THE BILL SAID!!! Ridiculousness at it's best!
9:08 Thank you! That what I've saying all along. Joan has been very informational. Joan and others have no gripes if they have...it's placed in the proper place! They are just sharing and letting us know the another side of the story. Anne Ponohu you can't deny the facts.
Hammering Shay and exposing her un-ethical tactics, in turn helping Kollar with the opportunity to lead us into a safer Kauai is a huge service, and a brave endeavor you took on. We owe you a ton of gratitude.
Exposing the TVR debacle and providing amazing investigative information is truly top notch. The planning department continues to blow it and we are all very fortunate your team organizes those facts for us.
Blasting young people who are giving there heart and sol, to try and stop the toxic crap that is drenching our island, is lame. It fans the flame and burns good hearted people by casting these huge generalizations. Clearly there are a bunch dip-shits trying to pass 2491, but anytime you are helping Tokioka win his seat, everyone loses.
9:55-- But these aren't young people Gary Hooser and Michael Shooltz (K Rising) are both old enough to know better.
What a Joke. Joan rock on with your self, and this blog. I haven't posted here in over a year, or more but when I see my name on it, that pisses me off.
For the lot of you, frankly, KMA.
None of what any of you say matters for crap.
This blog has sunk to such a low point it is utterly useless.
Whatever Joan may be doing that is "good", oh i know, "good" is a bad word here, it is completely drowned out by the lunatics that post here.
Don't worry you won't be seeing another post form me here. I do not have the patience for it, and it just leaves me with a slimy feeling, and I need about 10 shower after I read it. And frankly, I actually have a life, and am quite confident that I can live without posting or reading this blog.
If any of you little anon here have the guts to approach me when you see me, and identify yourself to me as the brave ones who said such brave things about me on Joan Conrows blog, I promise to give you the attention you deserve, and a one finger salute for your efforts.
I really feel sorry for you people.
Get a life.
And on that note, enjoy yourselves, your snark, your belittling, and your schoolyard bullying comments.
Joan, I really hope you print THIS comment, as it is the last time I will EVER attempt to post here, or read this blog. I am sure that will make many people ecstatic.
I hope so, it is prolly the only joy they will have in theirs
With as much aloha, as you give me, AP.
"Blasting young people who are giving there heart and sol, to try and stop the toxic crap that is drenching our island, is lame."
That quote is a perfect example of the jingoism that Joan is exposing: the mindset that rejects the reality of complex people and complicated issues, and substitutes the chauvinism of labels and symbols.
People can work through differences of opinion and values, given a bit of empathy and some feeling for the long-range (both future and past). But not when they're running with the pack and high on the self-serving emotional rush of Good vs. Evil. Then their humanity goes cold, their brains turn tribal, and they become territorial.
Joan's writing on these issues is layered and long-view -- qualities that are missed by myopic readers who, like the self-proclaimed groups that manipulate them, reduce complex issues to emotional soap opera.
They're answering the ancient call to dumb down the world to the satisfying simplicity of Us vs. Them. My Tribe vs. Yours. Me vs. the Other. We all know it well, that heart-pumping feeling of social combat and conquest. And really, that's what it's all about.
Those of us that are not for 2491 or for the GMO companies want to see change that is sustainable and viable. Bring in a crop that will give us that, provide jobs for the people that are currently working for the GMO companies and push them out using their own tactics. No bill, whining or fighting is going to do it. We need solutions that will be realistic. Get us a crop that will make more money, be more sustainable and provide jobs. Bottom line. Mahalo Joan for your reporting.
What if both sides are equally right?
Supporters of the bill are making the rightful claim that we need buffer zones and further study. That is true.
Detractors of the bill are saying that it’s legally indefensible, will cost the county a lot of money, and was overly polarizing. That may also be true.
And I don’t think those two claims are exclusive of each other.
The movement that formed 2491 was genuine, grass roots, and empowering for those involved. If you grew up on Kaua’i then it’s impossible to not feel the environmental decline of our island. And we all are frustrated. 2491 was the result of that frustration. For the first time people felt that they could make a difference. It was not a movement of big money. It was a movement of mostly Kaua’i youth crying out for a change in the status-quo. The details of the bill, to many involved, were irrelevant. It was standing up for the fight that mattered.
But, what Joan is bringing to light is incredibly relevant. While the birth of 2491 was grassroots, why is there such powerful vested interest in the outcome of this fight? Whenever big money gets involved, we need to ask “why?” No matter how grassroots the birth of it was, not matter how empowering for everyone involved, ultimately it’s become, as Joan says, a fight of big money vs. big money. Does either side now really care about Kaua’i? Maybe they do, but we should be weary of their intentions.
We need real dialogue, not just rhetorical bombs. Doesn’t everyone agree that Kaua’i is in environmental decline? Doesn’t everyone agree that the status-quo isn’t working? I just heard this timely quote from a friend yesterday: “it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to say there’s a problem…” We have a massive, structural, enemy-less, multi-faceted problem on Kaua’i that we are all complicit in. How are we going to fix it? I have no idea, but, I have this unyielding faith that collectively, as a community, we can do it. And I think it starts with acknowledging the validity of both sides of this argument and keeping the dialogue solutions based. Disagreement is healthy, polarized rhetoric isn't.
The problems are complex and the answers will be even more complex. There is no easy out.
Thank you, Luke, Faith and Dawson, for your very thoughtful comments, and especially for owning them.
Luke, perhaps one way to create community-centric solutions is by focusing on shared values, rather than competing agendas. I shall see if I can develop that into a post.
No, Luke, not everyone agrees that Kaua'i is in environmental decline.
It used to be common on the Westside to see pesticides sprayed from helicopters onto the sugarcane fields, which were then burned at maturity, without any attempt at removal of the drip tape that was used in areas that couldn't be flood-irrigated. Miles and miles of polyethylene reduced to millions of half-burned scraps that float and flow towards the rivers, towards the ocean, in each heavy rain, and will continue to do so for hundreds of years. All that smoke and all that plastic pollution, so that cane could be sent on barges to the mainland for processing into empty calories for junk food. Were you ever on the west side for a burn day, the sweet toxic smoke heavy in the air with each wind change, waking to a lawn dotted with pieces of black ash?
How about when it was legal to burn trash in open backyard pits, and in some neighborhoods this was the default disposal method?
Ah, the memories!
Oh, I know, how about when cesspools were the standard for construction, and no one had a septic tank because they weren't required? That was a while back, but so very many cesspools are still grandfathered in, remnants of a more careless time, just like the lead paint now slowly crumbling off all the houses built through 1977, the mercury in fish from coal burning before scrubbers were required for power plant chimneys, and the arsenic in canec and some sugarcane land, pernicious and lingering threats to public health, especially the development of children.
Surely you aren't yearning for the bygone era of Agent Orange and DDT, both used widely on Kaua'i just a few decades ago.
Tell me, how exactly is the environmental health of Kaua'i in decline?
As a complete disclaimer, while understanding of the drive behind 2491, I was not personally involved. My main point above is that the polarization we're seeing is not productive. If we have any hope of moving forward, we need to bridge our divide, listen to the other side, and start talking about solutions.
As far as environmental decline, I mean that broadly. Yes, I would agree that the farming practices of bio-tech are better than sugar. And yes, we are producing electricity from cleaner, more renewable sources of energy. But, those are not our only environmental markers:
- we are losing access to many of our islands most valuable places (i.e. Kilauea Falls, Papa'a Bay, etc.);
- we have rampant development without the infrastructure to support it (i.e no hope on the horizon to deal with our massive traffic problem);
- our reefs are dying;
- our oceans are overfished;
- as an article this week in TGI highlighted, we are pumping sewage into the ocean a few hundred feet off shore in Wailua (a part of the ocean that I commonly frequent);
- our native forests are being decimated by invasive plants (check out the Australian Tree Fern in the Alakai swamp);
- our landfill is over capacity;
- though our carbon emissions on Kaua'i from electrical generation are trending down, our cumulative emissions (transportation, shipping and consumption of food and materials goods, etc) is still rising, slowly ticking the carbon clock forward to an undeniably scary climactic tipping point;
- on the topic of climate change, we are heading towards a future hotter than anything in human history;
- we are all globally complicit in the planet's sixth great extinction.
Yes, that's a mix of global and local issues, but they are all related. We need to acknowledge them and do all we can to address them. The status-quo is the cause, can we all be part of the solution?
Most of the problems I mentioned above are rooted in the underlying issue of incessant growth. Since we have an economic system reliant on growth, yet an island (and a planet) with finite borders can't we agree that we at least need to slow growth down?
just got my gun permit today...
Just in case ya know.
All you are describing is an over populated island.
You think it's fixable by educating the populace to behave in a manner you describe.
Those site are unavailable because people don't care. Can you educate them to care enough not to go to the pretty places? Do what, stay at home in over crowded extended family housing.
they got the means they are out and about crowding and trashing...
Human history, a couple of rotations in this planets spin through the vacuum.
You don't get a break from evolution just because think you deserve an eternity of humans.
What ever happened to zero population growth...
It looks to me that the charter amendment is applicable to commercial agricultural entities which is defined as using GMO and over 5 lbs or 15 gallons of restricted use pesticide. So two classes of farmers are being created which will be clarified in the lawsuit against the county.
As far as the GMO issue the right to know is very different from the right to grow.
The European ban on chemicals focused in on the presence in the water and set levels lower than we have in the US. So all chemicals that were present in water above a certain level were banned so plastics, cosmetics and farm chemicals were restricted. The problem of course is that a new chemical would have to show up in the water over a certain level to be included in the ban but the ban applies to all uses of the chemicals if the exceeded the threshold amounts in the environment.
This charter amendment goes after the user and in defining the user the charter amendment is applicable to some farmers and not others and some users and not others.
So and outright ban on GMO would affect all farmers but the charter amendment only applies to farmers who use GMO.
So an outright ban on chemicals would apply to all farmers but the charter amendment would apply only to farmers who used more than 5 lbs or 15 gallons.
I am not an attorney but it doesn't look to me that this charter amendment or 2491 would pass the equal rights test.
You gotta admit we live in "A Separate Kingdom". You gotta be tough to live on Kauai. We beef.
Luke, your comments are well received, but what do your cited problems we face have to do with "commercial ag" and the companies affected by 2491 and this charter amendment?
All the ills you mention can be traced to over population and over development, yet the supporters of the movement you commend included many in real estate who are part of the problem. Was is a grass roots effort to blame the agriculture industry for the woes of the island instead of the real estate and development sectors?
If the supporters of 2491 and this Charter Amendment get their way, 5 companies that employ about 1000 Kauai residents will leave the island. Who will take their place? If there was another crop, it would be here. You will not see a lot of small farmers as we have available land now and not enough farmers. Will the land be developed? We can't ask landowners to sit on fallow land forever.
Then where will the island be when the ag companies that have improved practices over their predecessors leave? It won't solve any of the problems on your list, it will just lead to more development and greater unemployment. I don't believe that is the solution the majority of the people of Kauai want.
Thanks for the question. You’re right. For the most part, the environmental issues that I mentioned don’t have much to do with commercial ag or 2491. I listed them in response to this question: "how exactly is the environmental health of Kaua'i in decline?”
My main point is that we need to find common ground. Most of us can agree that Kaua’i is in environmental decline and the status-quo is not working. 2491 was the release of a massive vent of pent-up frustration in that vein. And from that perspective, I understand and sympathize with what they’re saying (as I am also extremely frustrated), yet I don’t think that targeting bio-tech is the answer. And, while I strongly support the concept of buffer zones and further study, I also agree with you that 2491 is not a solution to our systemic issues. Instead of all of us taking sides (i.e. red shirt or blue), why can’t we agree that we’re all perpetuating an unsustainable system and work on solving it? On that note, I really appreciate Joan’s solutions based post today and her persistent effort to look at the bigger picture.
One very positive outcome is the fact that we’re all actively engaged in this dialogue. A conversation we weren’t having two years ago.
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