Thursday, October 2, 2014

Musings: Gobbledy Goop

Like one of those voracious blobs in a bad sci-fi flick, David Black's Oahu Publications Inc. is gobbling up the community papers on yet another island. This time it's the Big Island, where the Hawaii Tribune-Herald and West Hawaii Today will be forced to undergo lobotomies to achieve the same bland vacuity as The Garden Island.

The Star-Advertiser quotes OPI President Dennis Francis as saying:

We purchased The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai last year under similar circumstances, and that turned out to be a good experience. It was good for the newspaper, good for employees and good for the residents of Kauai.

Good for the residents of Kauai to be served up sugary pap on a now-daily basis, while the real news is consistently ignored? Good for the employees who lost their jobs when the paper downsized and moved all the printing operations to Oahu? Good for the paper to be reduced to the print equivalent of Stepford wife

No doubt Maui will fall next, giving Black a complete and utter monopoly over what passes as “news” in Hawaii. That's got me spooked, and Halloween is still a month away.

Meanwhile, like other first-time candidates who want to win, Police Chief Darryl Perry has been hoofing it around to various neighborhoods on Kauai, doing the door-to-door with the help of his wife and a few friends.

This past weekend, he was in Kilauea — a former plantation town that still has a sizable local population, but is surrounded by gentrified former sugar lands. He noted:

It was fun, but I didn't get to as many houses as I wanted to because I was asked a lot of questions — which is good, but it took a lot of time to answer.

When I asked what sort of questions, he replied:

Some were curious about crime and how the criminal justice system works in general. But the interesting thing was that most did not care one bit about GMO. What the people I talked with were most concerned about was the high cost of living, high property taxes and fees. They were worried about not being able to pay their bills, because they were just getting by. Most were not making a lot of money and therefore had to work two jobs; they were in the service industry (hotels and retail stores). Also, they were worried about the future of their kids.

The Chief's comments were fresh in my head when I read an email ad from David Dinner — a retired dentist who lives just outside Kilauea town, in Kalihiwai — on behalf of People for the Preservation of Kauai. That's the anti-Superferry group that also backed the failed charter amendment. The ad states:

Pesticides are the single most important issue facing our island and People for the Preservation of Kaua’i has been working to control them on Kauai by distributing an information card and helping suggesting a slate of favorable County Council candidates.

Their slate — billed as "Keep Kauai Alive, Only Vote for 5!" — included Council incumbents Gary Hooser, Mason Chock and Tim Bynum, but not JoAnn Yukimura, whom David previously supported.

Aside from the uselessness of “working to control” pesticides by passing out an information card (huh?) and backing two North Shore candidates (Cowden and Laranio)‚ who don't have a prayer, I was struck by just how out of touch David is with the people in his own community.

While they're living hand-to-mouth and worried about paying their bills, he's grandly proclaiming pesticides as the number one issue on the island. Really?

And that is one of the big problems with this whole Bill 2491 debacle. By inflating both the danger of the biotech industry and the political strength of their following, Gary and Tim — co-sponsors of the now-overturned law — managed to hijack and divide the Council, distracting it from accomplishing meaningful work this term.

Though Gary and Tim barely managed to get elected in 2012, they somehow set the agenda for the Council, in part because Council Chair Jay Furfaro rolled over and let them.

Gary is continuing to use those same tactics during the campaign. At Tuesday's forum in Waimea, the first question posed to candidates was whether they supported appealing the ruling of a federal judge who overturned Bill 2419/Ordinance 960. Gary responded with a pandering spiel about how if the appeal “saves one child's life” it would be worth it.

Like anybody who doesn't support it doesn't care about kids. And like there's anything even close to life-saving language in that ordinance, which does nothing to actually reduce pesticide use.

Poor Maui is in the midst of a similar 3-D campaign of distortion, deception and disinformation with its anti-GMO ballot measure. Though proponents — folks like Walter Ritte and Nomi “Babes” Carmona, who were paid to push Bill 2491 on Kauai — claim it's not anti-farming, that's simply untrue.

As Kilauea resident Allan Parachini writes in a pay-walled Star-Advertiser guest commentary:

It stipulates that "any person" who grows as little as a single GMO papaya tree or 10 GMO corn plants will be subject to fines of $10,000 for the first violation, which the initiative seems to say means one plant, cultivated on one day. After that, the fines escalate to $25,000 for a second offense (day two for the single papaya) and $50,000 for a "third and subsequent violation."

Pity the poor little papaya, incurring $85,000 in fines for being in the ground for three days.

But that's not all. There is also a section headed "criminal recourse." It says that every single violation is a misdemeanor crime, subject to an additional fine of $2,000 per offense (remember that an "offense" is growing one GMO plant for one day), or imprisonment for one year "or both, for each offense."

So, is this a farming ban? Not exactly, though it is definitely a repressive anti-agriculture initiative that anyone concerned about food self-sufficiency for Hawaii should find alarming.

It's hard to see how this moratorium could withstand a legal challenge, given Judge Kurren's ruling on Ordinance 960, where he found that county ordinances were pre-empted by state laws regulating pesticides and GMOs.

Still, as a friend noted, “Yeah, but it would be nice if the voters simply rejected it, rather than tossing every damn nutball idea to the courts. THAT ain't good for a democracy.

And neither are single-issue candidates.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it was Gary and Tim who caused all of the divisiveness. They just wrote a law and it got voted on. That is their job.
The divisiveness and controversy came from the rabid, sometimes irrational supporters of the bill. If they had not made public spectacle, then other work could have been done also. I saw Hooser at one of the meetings and he was keeping the tone civilized. The crowd was the problem.
I do not blame a politician for putting forth a law that many of his/her constituents support. It was the mob that sort of ruined it. Just like in the TVR mess, it was so mob driven a bi-polar law got hurried through.

Anonymous said...

Democracy ? America ? LMFAO.

Anonymous said...

@10:30 the fact that your commenting on Joan's blog must mean that you are somewhat informed, but clearly not nearly enough. And you sure don't come across as informed. There is so much more to the story than what you comment about. And what you say makes me question if you are just tuning into this subject from outer space. Gary is not innocent. He's an opportunist and a liar and a cheater and does not have anyone's interest in mind but his own. And he's tricky enough to have fooled you as well as many others. Don't be such a fool. Keep reading Kauai eclectic and get out of your echo chamber. It will be good for you (no disrespect).

Anonymous said...

Vote out the taxing, meddling, anti-jobs fat boys. Hey fatty, just because you call it a fee doesn't change one thing. It is still a tax.

Anonymous said...

Chief Perry is correct. Most people are trying for to just live their lives.
Joan- Jay definitely has rolled over to Bynum/Hooser. For all of his bluster about being from from the tough town of Waianae, he sure has abdicated his power to these two effete flabby Fistees.
Most folks just want the roads fixed, the trash picked and to be left alone.
There is a "social divide" as Joan Conrow so eloquently stated. I call it a Local/Haole divide and Jay, Gary, JoAnn Yuki, Chock and Tim have stirred this pot.
We need Good (yep, as in the moral, 'good') People on the Council. People who care for the young, old and in between, people who listen, people who will bring people together.
Chief Perry, Arthur Brun (a real caring and nice guy), Arryl Kaneshiro (a respectful smart kid), Mel ( who will fight for the little guy) Rapozo and Ross ( who brings people together ) Kagawa are the ONLY choices for a better Kauai.
The big taxers and social dividers of Jay Furfaro, JoAnn Yukimura have to go. Chock is an insignificant Hooser sycophant and should be gone as well. Chock got in by sleight of hand and should be gone by a show of no hands.
And it is hard to believe that the Liar Fister Duo of Hooser and Bynum are still around. These 2 have done more damage to the island than anybody. Real damage.
Lawsuits, Anti-Ag, Tax Granny out her Hale, foment hostile local/haole relations, cater to the rich newcomers etc....Shame, Shame, Shame.

Anonymous said...

10:30- Yesiree, Gary of the "million little fists" is a real harmonizer.

Anonymous said...

"Monsanto is donating $4.7 million to the campaign to oppose GMO labeling in Colorado."

As a free market capitalist, I believe that the right to know is paramount to a properly functioning free market.

How does one trust an industry that pays millions to keep people from knowing what they are eating?

Dawson said...

How does one trust an industry that pays millions to keep people from knowing what they are eating?

The answer is that you can't and you shouldn't. No one is suggesting that you should. All of which is off the point of the issue at hand.

The issue is that a number of Kauai's politicians continue to use the techniques of demagoguery (rumor, innuendo and lies to whip up the emotions and prejudices of the populace) in an effort to gain power and votes for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Sad about the Big Island papers. Francis gutted Kauai's paper chopping employees and pulling advertising dollars to Oahu. Little to no regard for true journalism. Profit at any cost. At least Civil Beat is continuing to offer strong, investigative pieces.

Anonymous said...

You know Joan,
I LOVE you, But////
Your comments....... seem to support "da beeeg babooze" da mayo (and he had eaten TOO much) the God Father...and people on the council that have no diagnosis.....
you have been infected by the GMO virus........ and lost your mind....
by your support of the Mayor
(dumb and dumber?)and not imperfect he is....God Bless me Jesus!).....he at least thinks outside the box of the "plantation mentality" which infects all the nice people who like to vote local and not logical.

More of the same. You vote Carvalho and his gang.....
den esxpeck mo'a da same.

and your put downs of people who although not as perfect as you, are at least with their egos, and deficiencies...trying to make Kauai....a better place for all.

But you seem to acknowledge past lap dancer events like Mel, and (where did he get his education?) Ross Kagawa......
Makes me are somkin da wrong da kine weed.

"Nothing personal........just Business"
quote.....The Good Guys Movie
Dr Shibai

Joan Conrow said...

Ah. Yes, of course. I must've lost my mind. The only way to explain having different views than you!

Katie said...

Been reading this blog for a long time now, but I gotta say that even though I think you bring a much needed perspective and I agree with a lot that you say, this blog has also brought divisiveness . The comments are not very constructive or insightful....lots of haters out there...on both sides.

Anonymous said...

this blog and those who comment are in as much of an echo chamber as any other purported echo chamber, a very small , loud minority. The election results will show that. Sorry, but the uber rich are here and the vocal , "I'm organic" johnny come latelys like that idiot "lady Light" dorothy Kulik are nothing more than gnats on their screens. Don't get me wrong i would much prefer the Kauai of old , quiet, simple, country , but those days are gone and money talks and walks. If you play your cards right there'll be work for you. The only real hope is for some form of true Hawaiian sovereignty but the Kingdom of the time sold out as much as the worst of us, ie sandal wood. aloha

Anonymous said...

The comments express the many different views on Kauai. We aren't united or all the same. I appreciate that Joan makes a forum where we Can vent, share, discuss, criticize Etc

PS: Dr Shibai leave pidgin to the locals. Yours sucks

Anonymous said...

seems to me Joan has a superior mind, one quite capable of discerning right from wrong, bullshit from fact

Dawson said...

Anonymous at 11:02 PM said...

this blog and those who comment are in as much of an echo chamber as any other purported echo chamber, a very small , loud minority. The election results will show that. Sorry, but the uber rich are here and the vocal , "I'm organic" johnny come latelys like that idiot "lady Light" dorothy Kulik are nothing more than gnats on their screens.

There's no difference between uber-rich and uber-poor at the polls.

One person, one vote.

Anonymous said...

This blog is good. This blog is another point of view different from The Garden Island News Paper.

An example, Fire Chief discusses the equity of the pay of the fire chief and police chief. article starts with Westermen, the majority of the conversation was with the fire chief, but on the picture, it shows police chief and County Council Candidate, Perry.

That was full of BS by TGI, to place his picture over Westermen's picture.

Why! Maybe to show some questions about his character, honor, responsibility, or even proving he might be a whining candidate.

Dam unfair, the article was a Westermen's interview / comment.

good to have Joan for balance.

Now my question for Ms. Joan. Where else can you post so more readers and general public can view your fair level headed commentary. I'd say with the ability of having ANONYMOUS showing on the screen, more people would comment without fear of retaliation.

Just like others, i don't always share the EXACT same views as you, but i respect who you represent.

From one of the silent voting public, Thanks!