The ink had barely dried on the judge's order vacating Ordinance 960 when the Center for Food Safety began using it to solicit money.
Though no appeal has been filed, or even announced, CFS Hawaii Director Ashley Lukens seized the opportunity to issue a call for cash. Ironically, the anti-pesticide/GMO appeal sports a photo of Hanalei's herbicide-treated taro fields. Ashley then goes on to claim:
I am confident we stand arm and arm [sic] with the people of Hawaii.
LOL! Oh, are you now?
This line in particular was gag-inducing, especially for a mainland-based organization that only opened a Hawaii office last year:
WE ARE wind-resting ‘a‘ali‘i; no gale can push US over.
Though it references an iconic native plant, the plea links to a donation form with a picture of CFS's Washington, D.C.-based director, Andrew Kimbrell, preparing to snuggle with India's Vandana Shiva. What, they couldn't find even one kanaka to pose?
Councilman Gary Hooser, too, quickly hustled out a hustle for kala, begging folks to send him dough under this whiny, paranoiac plea:
For me personally this election has been the toughest one I have ever been involved in and without a doubt it will get even rougher in the weeks ahead.
The attacks driven by industry bloggers and their legions of anonymous commenter’s increase daily and the negative campaigning, rumor and innuendo is sure to escalate as the General Election draws closer.
They are determined to take me out and I am determined to win :-)
Which “industry bloggers” are those, Gary? I haven't seen any “industry bloggers” taking you on. Just lil ol' me — your disenchanted former supporter — and Joni Kamiya-Rose, the Hawaii farmer's daughter.
Gary then goes on to say:
While I will am [sic] running an ole [sic] fashion campaign, knocking on doors and holding signs on the highway, it is critical that I also run an aggressive media campaign to counter that of the opposition.
My focus will be on the positive vision of the future we hold for our community and on my track record of accomplishment, experience and leadership.
What “accomplishments and leadership” are you referencing, Gary? Exactly what have you done in the past two years — I mean, aside from tearing the community apart, alienating the state, disillusioning young voters, burning your colleagues, undermining Mason Chock's political career, setting back progressive politics and costing the county big bucks on your flawed, ego-driven bill? Oh, and getting your name in the national news?
Gary also writes:
Will the decisions of the future be driven by industry and large land owners or by independent decision makers grounded in community, focused on building a sustainable future and not beholden to any financial special interest?
If you're including yourself in the latter, Gary, you got some 'splaining to do about your connections to Center for Food Safety, Earthjustice and all the special interests you and your HAPA group are catering to.
Just so it's clear, though, Gary states exactly what folks can expect if they re-elect him:
I am committed to pressing forward via the appeal process, the state legislature and additional County legislative efforts. If our community needs to sue the State of Hawaii to do its job then perhaps that is also an avenue we must pursue.
I'm not sure who you're using as a political advisor, Gary, but I can't imagine many folks are gonna jump on board when all you can promise is single-issue politics and more legal bills. As for suing the state to do it's job, maybe you should've started there. But then, that wouldn't have suited the anti-GMO agenda of CFS and Earthjustice, now would it?
So what has Gary, and his misguided Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, cost the county?
Let's start with legal fees. County records show that $109,888 has been spent to date, with invoices for July and August, when the court hearing was held, still to be submitted. The Council has authorized special counsel expenditures of $210,000.
Next up, police overtime. The July 31 public hearing at the Veterans Center cost $20,153, while the August 5 committee meeting cost $2,513. Another $33,820 was spent for the various special council meetings in October and November related to Bill 2491.
The county has spent $14,266.96 in payroll since May 1 for the Office of Economic Development (OED) compliance specialist who assisted with all the rule-making outreach and meetings and set up the web page and forms that would have been required by the ordinance. Alas, all for naught.
Then there were the hundreds of hours expended by the County Attorney’s Office and OED on researching and drafting the administrative rules, meeting with stakeholders, amending the drafts, planning and conducting the five public outreach meetings that were held in May, amending the drafts again, preparing for and appearing before the Small Business Regulatory Review Board, finalizing the rules for public hearing and preparing for the rules public hearing that was ultimately cancelled.
These hours consumed the time of the OED director and ag specialist, who could have been working instead on meaningful ag issues, a deputy county attorney and support staff in both offices.
As for the Council Services staff, they also expended hundreds of hours on this bill, with its stressful political theatre and repetitious testimony, in addition to conducting their usual duties. Gary and Councilman Tim Bynum, meanwhile, charged taxpayers $406.40 so they could attend the July 26 Honolulu court hearing on the bill.
And that's not even counting all the time and energy burned by those poor exhausted “red shirts” who begged the Council to pass an illegal bill because they were just too tired to continue the fight to get it right.
So we're at $181,047, with staff time not included and the bills still coming in, and nothing to show for it. Nothing but a legal precedent that confirms what the County Attorney's office had said all along: state law trumps county law.
Yeah, I know. That's still less than former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri Carvalho cost the county.
But let's not forget the voters rejected Shay for her costly, narcissistic behavior.
Please follow me on Twitter @joanconrow
Please follow me on Twitter @joanconrow