Monday, November 24, 2014

Musings: Crystal Clear

A few things have been made crystal-clear recently.

Here was the first: As soon as agriculture becomes profitable on Kauai, it will get taxed to ensure that it has a hard time remaining so. To wit: The bill that places seed production into a new tax category — agronomics — so the county can gouge it a little deeper, all the while pretending, with absolutely no justification, that growing fields of corn, for whatever purpose, is somehow not diversified agriculture.

And who's to say the same policy won't be employed for any other crop that dares to succeed?

Though Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura's amendment did water down the bill that ousted Councilman Tim Bynum proposed, it was only because of her revisions that the bill passed at all. Councilman Mason Chock had been reluctant to go along with Tim's version, but said his concerns were assuaged with JoAnn's changes, and so he voted yes.

Here was the second: If you're a billionaire, like Pierre Omidyar, and you want to build mansions on the ridge above Hanalei Bay, but the community is resisting, and you want to avoid a nasty public fight, it's oh-so-convenient when the County Council passes a shoreline bill that includes an arbitrary “bright line” exemption that excludes your project from setback requirements, and thus eliminates an avenue of public scrutiny and involvement.

The “bright line exemption” — unnecessary, and in no way serving the public's interest — was introduced by JoAnn, and will benefit a only a few developments, including Hanalei Ridge. Why did she push it?

Here was the third: The toxic legacy of defeated Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri lives on. Jake Delaplane, her former first deputy who now works in the Oahu prosecutor's office, was involved in a botched, high-profile gambling indictment there. Though he initially denied that any prosecutorial misconduct took place, and defended his office's actions — deja vu, anyone? — the court didn't buy it.

The judge ultimately found the prosecutors misrepresented evidence, and barred Delaplane and a fellow deputy prosecutor, Katherine Kealoha, from any involvement in a re-trial. They judge went on to say:

Mr. Delaplane and Mrs. Kealoha were over their heads. They lacked the experience necessary to dot the i's and cross the t's and make the connections necessary to present all of the evidence.”

If only Shay had spent time actually training her green deputies, instead of using them to carry out her personal vendettas....

Here was the fourth: The Mahaulepu dairy, also funded by Omidyar, may as well pack it up and find another locale. Since Surfrider has gone to great lengths to show the little stream there is already polluted — by chickens, pigs, horses, sheep and possibly campers/homeless people taking dumps nearby —Hawaii Dairy Farms is going to have a tough time convincing folks it won't add to the bacterial load. Plus it would be automatically fingered for any subsequent pollution, whether it's guilty or not. And you know the folks out there are gonna be watching it like a hawk.

Surfrider has claimed it doesn't oppose dairies out of hand, and would support the HDF operation in another locale. Perhaps it's time for the group to suggest another site that would pass muster — if they're actually sincere, that is.

Here was the fifth: It's a total waste of time to ask the Navy for an opinion on whether its Rimpac exercises are harming the marine environment around Kauai and the rest of the archipelago. I mean, they already did an EIS that justified everything they wanted to do. So why did Rep. Tulsi Gabbard even participate in that charade? To placate Terry Lilley, the nutcase who believes sonar is killing the reefs?

And why the heck did Tulsi join Mary Rockefeller Morgan and Vandana Shiva to shill for the Center for Food Safety — the mainland propaganda group that has seriously stirred the pot in the Hawaii anti-GMO fight? 

Tulsi's little spiel is followed by Vandana Shiva, who claims that CFS “has stood by the farmers to defend their rights.”

Really? Try tell that to the farmers on Kauai, Big Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai who have been screwed, demonized, scrutinized, marginalized and hamstrung by the rabid factions of the anti-GMO movement, driving many to despair and others to file legal actions.

Come on, Tulsi. Do your homework before you put your good name and face behind a bogus organization.

Here was the sixth: Hubris knows no bounds. Though Felicia Cowden, an anti-GMO activist, failed miserably in her bid for a County Council seat, she applied for the position of governor's liaison on Kauai. Uh, hello. Those jobs are given as political plums to the well-connected, party-liners, not fringe outsiders.

Here was the seventh: People are shockingly misinformed. Whether it's folks who think the south won the civil war, or believe their health improved when they stopped eating GMO-laden wheat and tomatoes — even though no GMO wheat or tomatoes are commercially available — it seems that ignorance is rampant, if not bliss.

Surely these dum-dums are just as guilty of subverting democracy as the corporations that funded so many political campaigns. They all work hand-in-glove. Ignorance makes it easy for corrupt and vile politicians to snooker the voters, and the corporations are only too happy to pay. 

Clearly, it's not only outside money that's to blame, but those who are seduced by the false messages that it buys.


Anonymous said...

Re: JoAnn siding with developers over "bright line": she's in a snit because Sierra Club endorsed Gary and Mason and not her?
Why would you put it on Surfrider to choose another dairy site? They'd probably choose Nebraska.
The extreme bacteria count in the Mahaulepu stream: Maybe a septic tank servicer illegally dumping there? It happened not long ago in Wailua Homestead.
Your incredulity that Tulsi would join Shiva in supporting Center for Food Safety: Your world is only beginning to get rocked.
Dow, Syngenta, BASF, Pioneer had combined net profit $11B in 2012. They can afford to be taxed for the windfall privilege of operating in Hawai`i Your assertion that farmers, the real kind, are being "driven to despair" is, in polite terms, without factual basis.
Felicia applying for governor-laison isn't hubris. It's a call to public service. If you don't ask you'll never get it.

Joan Conrow said...

It's only without "factual basis" for someone who has no contact with farmers. But then that's the problem. You folks still have no idea how much angst you've inflicted on the farming community and how much harm you've caused.

Anonymous said...

Kauai Sierra Club endorsement? lol. They have about 5 members and zero political clout!

Anonymous said...

"Kauai Sierra Club endorsement? lol. They have about 5 members and zero political clout!"

but they love joan's work!

Anonymous said...

Ask Joann is her brother to profit from the shoreline bill and ask her if the big unions "no bid contracts" to profit from it also.

How about that luxury bike path, who of her family and friends are to profit from such a ridiclious scheme (5-10 million dollars a mile, over $120 million already spent for concrete near shoreline.

Anonymous said...

JoAnn doesn't have any brother who would benefit. Wtf are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Why say someone who did not win in an election "failed miserably"? Would I say that to my friend or family member or a student in my class? It is true they failed to win. But perhaps they failed "valiantly". In my mind, all the "losers" in the election were valiant winners just because they stepped up to the plate and tried to make a difference. Congratulations to all the candidates, whether you won or lost. Perhaps you even have inspired some of us to run in the future. The best winners are also the best losers

Anonymous said...

And when you lose by 82 votes, there is no shame.