Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Musings: On Human Wastage

Driving over to the beach, well before dawn, I passed a young woman parked in the place where the tweakers always wait for their ice delivery. Our eyes met, and I sent her a silent prayer of hope and healing. Down at the water, I walked by a man passed out in the sand, watched his bleary-eyed companion stagger out of their tent, beer bottles strewn around the campsite.

Saddened by the human wastage, I kept walking and looked up, where the boobies and iwa were soaring overhead, heading south to fish. The sun peeked up over the horizon, and a rainbow arched through a gray cloud. And so dawned another day in “paradise.”
Remember Lance Collins, the Maui attorney who challenged the county's attempt to obtain pro bono legal services to defend the pesticide/GMO regulation bill in federal court? And when finance director Steve Hunt denied his protest, he still pressed on, demanding a hearing before a state agency, threatening legal action?

What ever happened with that? I wondered.

Turns out it was a big “nevah mind,” with Lance agreeing before the hearing to drop his protest as moot. This is just one example of how people who don't even live here waste our county's time and money to pursue their own ideological, political and publicity-seeking purposes.

Another example is Bob Yuhnke, the Colorado-based attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund who drafted the anti-ag charter amendment that folks are now trying to get on the ballot. The document, which is is actually an ordinance disguised as a charter amendment, creates an omnipotent environmental czar. Its language basically tells the county to ignore state and federal law, violates the commerce clauses of the U.S. Constitution and runs roughshod over due process:

Strict liability. Any action, activity or conduct, or failure to act, that violates this Charter Amendment is an offense without requiring proof that the defendant knew or intended that such action, activities or conduct, or failure to act, would cause or contribute to the violation.

I keep waiting for someone to stand up and speak against it, someone like a respected local attorney, or a council member — other than Gary Hooser, who endorses it, even though he is sworn to uphold the law and do what's best for the people of Kauai.

But nobody's saying nuttin', except for Felicia Cowden, who is using her publicly-funded KKCR radio show to promote both the charter amendment and her bid for County Council. I tried to call in to her program yesterday, where she was allowing Yuhnke to speak unchallenged for 40 minutes, and she refused to let me ask a question. That doesn't speak well for a Council candidate.

And it doesn't speak well for a community radio station, especially one that is in the middle of its fund drive. And it got me wondering, where is KKCR getting its money? Is it getting paid to single-mindedly advance an anti-GMO/anti-seed company message? Because we haven't heard any other point of view for well over a year.

So I checked out its 990 tax form, and discovered its most recent filing was 2011, and all the donations are lumped together. Which means we have no way of knowing whether the station sold out last year to special interests, or if its station manager and Board are simply unwilling to provide any sort of balanced programming. Indeed, four of the nine Board members used their own shows to actively lobby for the pesticide/GMO regulatory bill.

[Update: Station manager Dean Rogers kindly sent me a copy of the most recent tax returns, which are available for review at the station.] 

But aside from Ed Coll, whose Spinning Wheels Turning blog has chronicled the station's dysfunction and recent unraveling, nobody is sayin' nuttin' about the demise of public affairs programming on our community radio station. Or at least, not publicly, though I hear lots of private stink talk.

Meanwhile, I hear the state isn't going to fund any additional ag and pesticide inspector positions for the Neighbor Islands. It's apparently taking the position that if the counties want to regulate pesticides, they can pay for the inspectors.

Which is fine, except right now the county is dealing with a serious budget shortfall. And we're still facing an unknown legal bill to defend Ordinance 960 — written by Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice — and, should it get on the ballot and pass, the charter amendment, as it will absolutely be challenged.

But what do CFS, Earthjustice and Yuhnke care? They're not paying property taxes on Kauai.

As I told a friend, Kauai's smallness makes it too easy for wackos to hold sway and too hard for people to speak up who should. Which means, be prepared to pay.


Mel Rapozo said...

Joan, I have requested a legal analysis of the proposed charter amendment as I believe it is legally flawed. I will keep you posted.

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, Mel, for requesting that analysis and for speaking up!

Anonymous said...

We are not all lawyers. "IF it sounds good.....lets do it" is the mantra of many.

I was disappointed to hear that Felicia would not take your phone call. The whole show was a bit like listening to CSPAN....very boring and over the top of my head.

KKCR anti-GMO proponents are convinced that they are in the RIGHT and these foods are not good for eating, nor for the environment. I doubt the station is getting money....since the station is always scraping the barrel for cash.

IF the station was FOR Monsanto, Syngenta, etc. and BP oil.....Boy!...would the bucks roll in!

For the rest of us....its all smoke and mirrors.

If you think this station is opinionated, you should "try listening" to "conservative talk" shows....for Love is a warm gun.

Zero Seven

Anonymous said...

Councilpersons also have a responsibility to propose changes to the law and whats best for the people of Kauai is in the eye of the beholder.

I am also not sure if the interest of democracy is served by having the County Attorney review a proposed change to the charter initiated by citizens. I believe that only the individual knows best what is right for them and what is legal is ultimately determined by a court of law.

People's ideas no matter how wacky is protected by our system or should be protected by our system. Will the charter amendment make it to the ballot? Citizens will determine that. Will it pass? Citizens will determine that. Is it legal? A court will determine that but only if it passes and only if someone sues for judgement.

A vote of the Council with advice from the County Attorney and review by the Mayor exposed us to the liability of 2491.

A petition by citizens will place the amendment on the ballot if enough people sign and a vote by citizens will change the charter if enough votes are cast approving it.

I know how I will vote and I won't sign the petition but I don't think a legal review should affect the effort.

Anonymous said...

"Pau are the days of the 'alamihi way." -Hawaiian proverb.

Anonymous said...

"without requiring proof"

doesn't that go against every tenant of judicial equity that we have long fought for in this country? What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Now this is truly Eco-terrorism.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Now the Anti's are showing their true colors. They really are the
Eco-terrorists no doubt, now they want to control what we suppose to eat!

Anonymous said...

@ 3:42 "Without Requiring Proof"

Agreed. This mindset has sunk to a new level of disturbing.

By the way, just out of curiosity, does KKCR receive federal or state funding as a "public radio station"?

Are they not somehow accountable for all of the slander that they are promoting?

Anonymous said...

What do these provisions mean?

“Entity” shall refer to any natural person . . .

"It shall be unlawful for any entity to violate, or interfere with the exercise of, any right secured by this Charter Amendment."

"Right to Clean and Healthful Air, Water and Land. Each person has the right to breathe clean and healthful air free from air pollution, and drink and use clean and healthful water free from contamination with GMOs and toxins."

Does this mean that we can't do anything that would pollute the air or water? I'm pretty damn sure that the people who are in favor of this charter amendment violate its principles every day. We would all become criminals or stop living in the modern world.

Anonymous said...

As written this amendment would create rights that the government cannot fulfill but will be liable for. Take leptospirosis that is often found in our streams. The Eco-Twits will soon be suing the County for not keeping our steams free of this pest.

Anonymous said...

This is Felicia. I did not refuse to take Joan's call. I asked to put her on hold so he could finish the explanation. He had been speaking on it, almost uninterrupted for more than 10 minutes. It is a complicated document, and I was allowing him the time to clarify it. This is kind of standard for me with any primary source guest. LISTEN first, then ask questions; simple respectful behavior. I had announced that I would be taking calls at the top of the hour. They came in at 35 minutes after the hour. Standard show formatting. Thanks for listening Zero Seven, whether you liked it or not. And yes, the station is always scraping the barrel for cash. No one is on the take with a specific agenda; especially one that is purchased.

I have yet to pull papers to run for office. I announced at the very end of the show that I intend to do so. Just because Joan falsely reported that I had left kkcr last week over a political run, does not make it so. I was in fact, quite surprised to read that in her blog announcement. It was news to me.

Anonymous said...

"Right to Clean and Healthful Air, Water and Land. Each person has the right to breathe clean and healthful air free from air pollution, and drink and use clean and healthful water free from contamination with GMOs and toxins."

Isn't that precious! Are they going to sue Madame Pele for the vog?

Anonymous said...

The educational system teaches to look for what is wrong instead of focusing on and looking for what is right results: progress is hindered.

Joan Conrow said...

Felicia, your response is simply untrue. When I called in he had been speaking uninterrupted -- except when you chimed in to agree with him -- for nearly 30 minutes. I pointed out that if we waited until after the hour for questions, he would have been presenting his opinion unchallenged for more than 40 minutes. That is wrong, especially in the world of radio, where many people listen for short periods. I also pointed out to you that he hadn't been talking about the charter amendment, as he'd spent a good chunk of time talking about GMOs and "poisons on the westside."

I read the charter amendment. I didn't need to listen to his sales pitch. An intelligent, informed question would have improved that monologue, since it was clear from your comments that you were fully on board with his opinion.

As for your last day, I was privy to an email exchange with Hawaii Dairy Farms in which they were told they had to come on the air with less than one's day's notice as April 29 was going to be your last show until the end of the year. Why were they told this if that wasn't your last show? Why did you claim on Facebook they had "cancelled at the last minute", when in truth they hadn't been invited until the last minute?

And if it wasn't your last show, and since they were unable to appear on the 29th with such short notice, why didn't you accommodate them this past Tuesday? Instead, you focused on a topic that you know will be an issue with the voters you intend to court.

You are using our community radio station to campaign and to present biased information, Felicia, and that is wrong.

Anonymous said...

on it goes….try listening to the other shows KKCR..the cavalier conspiracy gents spouting off in step with national AM radio format. Pretty mind numbing nonsense. Thomas's music is epic and always fun. The 11am NPR show is nice while in traffic. Don't like it, don't listen. Can't get your 2 pennies in, maybe next time.
I like Mel's word…go with legality. anything else is just hear say.

Anonymous said...

Felicia's irresponsible babblings have cost this community dearly. she has set people at each other’s throats, instilled irrational fears about things that don’t exist and generally fed and encouraged paranoia, mistrust and bigotry.

Anonymous said...

Joan what question were you going to ask Bob?

Anonymous said...

Mel Rapozo what happened with the State legislature and the additional pesticide inspectors? You said you were going to fight for them but I never heard anything from you or Ross Kagawa since that public hearing for 2491. Did you testify at the legislature?

Anonymous said...

Joan how long did the seed company CEO's speak for before calls were allowed when they were guests at KKCR?

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, just drove my car. Whoops, flushed the toilet. Oh no, turned on my computer. Good thing KPD can't come to arrest me in their air polluting vehicles. Besides, they're too busy arresting people as they get off those air polluting jets at the airport.

Joan Conrow said...

1:30 -- I was going to ask why he'd written an ordinance instead of a charter amendment; why he had included a provision that violated Constitutional due process; and how he thought he could justify the language that allows people to collect legal fees even if they don't prevail.

1:33 -- I have no idea. I don't generally listen to KKCR. I don't think anyone should be allowed to speak unchallenged for 20-60 minutes, nor that people should be put off when they call in with questions. It's always more interesting when there's dialogue, rather than a monologue.

Anonymous said...

So by this crackpot writing a screwed up charter amendment, he takes and wastes everyone's energy and desire for a pesticide free Kauai. If he wrote a real charter amendment without the BS in it, people would not be wasting the energy of the momentum and we get less pesticides, but by writing it convoluted and illegal, guarans it will be challenged should it make it throu the vote. No wonder he wouldn't take your call, can't have real dialogue here, no no just go with the flow of BS

Anonymous said...

thank you HPR2 for making it easier to listen - cause now I don't have to support or listen to KKCR anymore - YAY