It looks like some political drama will persist past tomorrow's election.
The “red shirts” who endorsed the GMO/pesticide regulatory Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, which was killed by a federal judge before it took effect, are making a last gasp effort to salvage that piece of crap. They'll be rallying at Wednesday's Council meeting to protest proposed Bill 2562, which would repeal the invalidated law from the books.
This time, though, they'll be wearing black arm bands to mourn their defeated champions — informal polls show Councilmen Mason Chock and Tim Bynum are out, and Gary Hooser is barely hanging on by his fingernails — and chanting DON'T PASS THE BILL.
What's that old saying? Oh, yeah: “Karma's a bitch.”
Kauai Ohana member Fern Rosenstiel issued the tepid rallying cry on Facebook:
Its last minute and its late notice, but lets get together our ohana's and huis and be there to insist on supporting 2491 and provide testimony for NO REPEAL of 2491!!!!
Insist on supporting 2491? It's a little late for that. Haven't you heard it's dead, girl? As in the county is barred from implementing it on the grounds that only the state, and not any of the counties, is empowered to regulate GMOs and pesticides.
Which is why I shake my head when Kilauea resident Elif Beall says silly stuff like, “To abandon protections at the County level is to abandon looking out for our local residents' health and safety.”
Don't you guys get it? There are no protections at the county level. Ordinance 960, which didn't actually protect anyone's health, is DEAD. Even if it's not repealed, the county still has no power to regulate the chem/seed companies.
Gary showed he doesn't get it, and never will, when he labeled proposed Bill 2562 “an unfortunate example of political opportunism at the expense of our community.” Mmmm, you mean, like your entire last term on the Council, Gary?
Gary went on to say that “the Council may and should pursue other regulatory initiatives.”
Give it up, Gary. There ain't gonna be no more regulatory initiatives on GMOs and pesticides. You shot your wad, buddy, and you got nothing to show for it, save for legal bills, bad vibes, a big win for the seed/chem companies and sweat-stained red tee-shirts.
Councilmen Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa, who introduced proposed Bill 2562, say they want to repeal the dead law to stop the county from spending any more money on an appeal.
It's unclear whether a repeal would totally halt the appeal process, since Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety and other mainland groups have joined in. But if Ordinance 960 is repealed, winning on appeal would mean nothing, since the law would be off the books.
Meanwhile, Kilauea goat farmer and “red shirt” Louisa Wooten was absolutely right when she wrote, in a recent letter to the editor:
The voters in Kauai County and throughout the state need to pay attention and wake up to who is trying to control the power, land and economy of our home.
They sure as heck do. Make no mistake, folks, this is indeed the latest battle for land and power playing out in Hawaii. And it's mainland groups like Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network and Surfrider that are jockeying for control of land and water in the Islands.
These groups have turned Hawaii into a “ground zero” poster child for their fundraising efforts. They're also using the Islands as a “test site” for experimental legislation and an anti-ag political agenda that they want to impose elsewhere. They're starting here because it's small, insular and easy to con the gullible into believing they're “malaming the aina,” even as they actually do nothing to reduce pesticide use or improve human or environmental health.
Every action these groups are taking is geared toward destroying big ag, which is essentially the only profitable ag in the Islands. When ag succeeds in Hawaii, land values level off. When it fails, land values are driven up. Hence the reward for the upscale Realtors who are also backing this movement.
A press release issued by Andrea Brower for the Coalition for 960 includes a comment from Aria Castillo, leader of the Kauai Young Democrats, saying she “hopes voters turn out in large numbers on November 4 to show their support for a council that is more willing to work together in the best interests of all of Kauai’s people.”
That's exactly what the voters will be doing. Which is why we're going to see a slap-down of certain candidates, a new power bloc on the Council, and a renewed focus on important county issues like roads, landfills, sewage, drug treatment centers, affordable housing and property tax reforms, rather than the single-issue politics of mainland advocacy groups that dominated this past term.