There's nothing so exquisite as the smell of hot sun on evergreens — except, perhaps, a sub-alpine meadow sprinkled with dozens of native wildflowers, all blooming their little hearts out in a riot of pollinator diversity.
It's one of those natural wonders that money can't buy — nor replace once it's gone, which makes it all the more precious, wherever it's found.
Money is certainly at the core of the GMO controversy on Kauai. The seed/chem companies want to make it, which is why they're busy experimenting, planting and shipping out their creations. The Realtors and land developers want to make it hand-over-fist, which is why they're trying to destroy agriculture on Kauai in favor of gentrification.
And the Kauai County taxpayers are destined to spend it, defending Bill 2491/Ordinance 960 — the pesticide/GMO regulatory/disclosure law — and dealing with the citizen ballot measure that is a lousy initiative masquerading as an even worse charter amendment.
Both issues will come to a head this Wednesday, when a federal judge hears the chem companies' motion for a partial summary judgment, and the Council is asked to allocate another $50,000 — on top of the $75,000 already approved — to keep fighting the lawsuit. Can you say ka-ching?
Syngenta, Dow and Dupont-Pioneer are asking the court to rule on seven of the claims — one, three, four, five, eleven, twelve and thirteen — in its complaint.
The issues at stake in this hearing go the heart (and guts) of the bill, starting with pre-emption, or whether the county has the authority to regulate pesticide use and GMOs, both of which are already regulated by the state and feds.
There's also the question of whether the bill violates the companies' 14th Amendment — equal protection and due process — rights and the county charter, which requires an initiative “to embrace but one subject.” The charter also prohibits the Council from assigning duties to administrative agencies — in this case, the Office of Economic Development, which is charged with implementing and enforcing the new law.
The companies also want the judge to strike down the provision that allows the county to impose civil fines of $10,000 to $25,000 for violations of Ordinance 960, without any prior notice, hearing or opportunity to rectify.
Last but not least, the judge is being asked to decide whether the Council violated state law when it winnowed down the list of candidates to fill former Councilwoman's Nadine Nakamura's position in secret. The companies are arguing that Mason Chock, who cast the vote to override the mayor's veto of Bill 2491, was improperly selected and so his appointment should be voided.
And wouldn't that open an interesting can of worms for Mason, who is running on a platform that includes his dedication to — ahem — “integrity.”
All of this dovetails quite nicely into another action set for Wednesday. That's when the Council will vote on whether to allow Kauai Rising's GMO/pesticide/environmental czar petition measure to move forward, or stop it dead in its tracks.
As you may recall, they deadlocked July 9 when Jay Furfaro, Mason Chock and Ross Kagawa gave it a thumbs down. Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum — co-sponsors of the legally flawed Ordinance 960 — gave it a thumbs up, and JoAnn Yukimura didn't say nuttin', which counts as a yes.
Now it's up to Mel Rapozo to euthanize this creepy weird dog-cat hybrid and put it out of its misery, once and for all.
Blogger Andy Parx — apparently channeling Bynum — is claiming Kauai Rising will sue the county if it keeps the measure off the ballot. But that's doubtful, seeing as how the group has no money, aside from what Kilauea uber-richie Joan Porter funnels in. And rich people don't usually throw money at lost causes, unless you're Michael Sheehan, who's still fighting the county over his bogus boatyard on the Hanalei River. Btw, the Council is also being asked to kick down another $20,000 to fight his appeal.
Getting back to the Kauai Rising craziness, big expenses are guaranteed if that measure moves forward, whether it's staff time wasted verifying the signatures, printing costs for an 18-page ballot measure, legal costs associated with seeking a court determination on what the hell it is and — if the voters ultimately pass it — triple digit special counsel fees to defend it against the lawsuit the chem companies have vowed to file.
But before it gets that far, why not take a tip from claim 11 in the chem companies' lawsuit over 2491/960, the one on how "an ordinance may embrace but one subject"? It's already clear the Kauai Rising measure is not a charter amendment, nor is it a proper ordinance, since it deals with a number of subjects.
In short, it's got lawsuit and big legal fees written all over it. So why has it even gotten this far?
Oh, yeah, it's an election year, and certain people are afraid to alienate a movement that they still believe has way more power than it actually does. But maybe, just maybe, a Council majority will put a stop to the expensive silliness.
Or to paraphrase the Kauai Rising slogan: Wake Up, Face Up, Buck Up.