The sun had barely risen on Kauai when I started getting texts and emails from people appalled at The Garden Island's 40-inch tribute to Terry Lilley — described so aptly by one as “a dangerous goofball.”
Ordinarily it would be shocking to see such an unwarranted puff piece coming from the paper's editor, but Bill Buley has already proven that each time we think TGI has reached a new low, he can drop it another notch.
It's unfortunate that TGI has already given so much print to Terry's hysterical hyperbolic self-promotion — a search found 86 separate entries for Terry Lilley, many of them by his dive buddy, reporter Chris D'Angelo. Terry's a “man on a mission” alright — a mission to draw as much attention to himself as he can.
Remember Terry's whopper about how the North Shore waters were “contaminated” with heavy metals, prompting state officials to explain to Terry (and the public that TGI had needlessly alarmed) that these are naturally occurring elements in Hawaii's volcanic soil and tightly bound to minerals, making them unavailable — and thus nontoxic — to humans or wildlife?
Then there was his totally unsubstantiated Facebook smear against Waipa for supposedly polluting that reef, his equally unsubstantiated attack on Mina Morita and Lance Laney for supposedly causing a breach in the Hanalei River, his threats to sue Carl Berg — a real marine biologist — for exposing Terry's bullshit, and most recently, his claim that the whale that washed up in Hanalei Bay had “gaff marks” even as he simultaneously said it was killed by sonar.
Meanwhile, I've gotten numerous reports from people about Terry camping at Kalalau without a permit, sexually harassing wahine who were working with him and, after he fell down the stairs while drunk, claiming he'd been way-laid and beaten by his critics. And come on, Terry, you haven't gotten even a penny from your pal Mike Sheehan?
Truly, is this the kind of guy who should be heralded in the daily paper?
What's even more disturbing is that Buley runs this crap just days after TGI printed a calm, reasoned piece about the Hanalei coral disease, in which the woman who is actually studying it said it appears to have slowed.
I agree with Terry's contention that we need to minimize soil and pesticide runoff for the health of the reefs, and I've got my own concerns about the military activities. But Terry, like so many in the anti-GMO/pesticide movement, are undermining the viability of their cause by repeatedly serving up exaggerations and outright lies.
It doesn't matter if their hearts are in the right place if they're talking out of their asses.
Like this comment from “Anonymous” left on Friday's post:
I know Andrea [Brower] is not against agriculture, she is against the tons of pesticides being dumped by these chemical companies. They are not in agriculture, they are into pesticides, which have been outlawed in Europe, but are being sprayed by the hundreds of lbs each week into our ground water. If Pioneer or Dow were into agriculture they would be looking into organic growing of vegetables, like ranchers are looking into grass fed beef. This has nothing at all to do with *brown* skins versus *white* skins, or the classes on on how to grow the Hawaiian way would not be packed. This is about living on the aina in harmony. To attack Andrea for supporting a clean environment is ridiculous, or her parents economic status. Do you have something against people who work for a living..like her parents? Because they earned what they have. Andrea has scholarships that pay for her college, because she is an intelligent,young woman with strong values. King of sounds like what you were. Jealous? By the way, many of the workers have had to quit or were fired due to health problems brought on by spraying the pesticides these companies use. Do the companies care that they hurt their workers health? NOPE.
Really? "Many of the workers had to quit or were fired" due to pesticide-related health problems? I talked with the state epidemiologist not long ago, and she told me there hadn't been ONE case of pesticide-related illness among the seed company workers. Surely if this were true the Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety lawyers would be all over it like stink on shit.
Spraying "hundreds of lbs" of pesticides "each week into our groundwater"? First, you can't spray stuff into the groundwater, it leaches in. Second, all the water department reports show no groundwater contamination.
Seeds aren't agriculture? How the hell do you think they grow all that corn and soybeans in the Midwest without seeds, some of which are, indeed, raised on Kauai?
Nothing to do with "*brown* skins versus *white* skins"? Try look at the pictures of the hearings on Bill 2491. The pro-2491 crowd was solidly white, while the farm worker crowd was solidly brown.
Btw, I never “attacked” Andrea for wanting a clean environment or her parent's economic status, just as I never “attacked” her for attending graduate school. I was merely making a point about her hypocrisy in writing about the evils of a system that creates privilege and poverty. At least one reader got it, commenting:
Nobody has a problem with Andrea (or anyone else) going to grad school. It's the breathtaking failure to acknowledge her vast privilege that is offensive to those who DON'T have it.
Kind of like the privilege expressed in Ed Coll's cavalier comment about how if the farm workers lose their jobs they can always join the military. [Correction: Ed was being sarcastic and did not mean for that comment to be taken literally.]
Gee, so progressive. Sort of like the anti-GMO "leaders" Dustin Barca and Nomi Carmona who tried to make a living fist-fighting and showing their tits, respectively. I got news for ya, kiddies. Sex and violence ain't new and it sure ain't progressive.
Still, I did have to laugh that Buley actually quoted Fern Rosenstiel, another “leader” of the anti-GMO movement who is lacking in credibility. Yeah, she "works on the North Shore" — at Tahiti Nui, last I heard. WTF does she know about the reefs?
Curiously, she made this comment:
It’s easy to speculate the causes, as there could be many, like any major ecological and toxicological issue we face today, Rosenstiel said.
But just ask Fern and she'll tell you there's only one cause for every single westside woe — real or imagined — and that's the seed companies.
She goes on to say, about the coral reef disease:
“The short-term solutions to this problem are going to require a comprehensive understanding of what we are dealing with and it’s my understanding that researchers are in the process of trying to do this now.”
But such comprehensive understandings are not to be extended to the seed companies. No, no research was needed in that case — just convict and execute in the “red-shirt” court of social media.
I guess it's fitting that clueless folks are repeatedly given coverage by clueless reporters and editors in a totally clueless newspaper. Still, it's incredibly sad, because clueless people believe it.
Oh, and uh, Bill, it's Makua, not “Tunnels.” At least make an effort to use Hawaiian place names, even if you can't pronounce them.