Thursday, November 6, 2014

Musings: Scripted

The Maui GMO moratorium vote wasn't 24 hours old before mainland-based Center for Food Safety took credit for “our victory” — with a fundraising appeal soon to follow — and Monsanto announced it will sue to block the measure.

It's almost like it's scripted....

Just like the testimony at yesterday's Kauai County Council meeting, where Mel Rapozo — despite being the top vote-getter by a mile — had to pay serious penance.

His sin? Introducing a bill to repeal Ordinance 960 — the pesticide/GMO regulatory law overturned by federal Judge Barry Kurren, and now on appeal — on the common sense grounds that since it's invalid, it shouldn't be on the books.

His punishment? Listening, for more than two hours, to a woman talking about her intermittent vomiting, another sharing her profound disappointment at encountering a McDonald's when she came to “find” herself on Kauai, a guy telling about his brother on the mainland who has Parkinson's, etc., etc., etc. Meanwhile, Nomi “Babes” Carmona admonished him to “listen to his constituents.”

What makes you think I didn't listen to my constituents?” asked an incredulous Mel, who picked up 13,147 votes, while 2491 sponsor Gary Hooser got just 8,257. “Did you see the election results? I am listening to my constituents.”

As I listened, I was struck, as always, by this observation: How, exactly, do you deal with people who utter complete nonsense as fact?

Like GMO-Free Kauai president Jeri DiPietro: “There is no life in those fields”

Mmm, what about all the crops?

Or Mahana Mari: “Yes, I do live on the North Shore, and they say they don't spray there, but how can you know for sure?”

Mmm, because there are no crops?

Or Nomi, who has finally begun identifying herself as the paid lobbyist she's always been: “Judge Kurren's opinion doesn't have the weight on the appeal that you might think it has.”

Mmm, isn't that the purpose of an appeal, to review a lower court's ruling?

Or The Hoos, on regulating pesticides: “It's our responsibility. It's nobody else's.”

Mmm, so why stop there? Why not take on pharmaceutical drugs, or automobiles, which actually do kill people on Kauai?

I mean, how, exactly, do you work on resolving an issue, finding common ground, talking things out, with people who are so misinformed, dogmatic, grandiose?

How do you compromise with people who won't take one step forward, who can't be bothered to even jot their own alleged pesticide-poisoning symptom on a calendar, yet demand to know everything the seed companies are doing in real time?

“We're not good record-keepers,” sniffed a woman who is a plaintiff in the dust suit against Pioneer, and who scarily identified herself as some sort of health practitioner.

How do you sit down at a table with someone like Gary, who made it clear he's all about hyperbole, posturing and pandering, telling woefully ignorant people he's proud of their testimony, calling the chem/seed company executives murderers, claiming “they are spraying massive amounts of glyphosate” right after he admitted that haven't disclosed their use of that product, so how could he possibly know if it's massive or minimal?

Gary, who accused Mel of lying and political grandstanding, also showed us that he has no humility, no desire to be a team player, no plans to stop beating this one-note drum: “I am certainly not done and our community is not done with this, either.”

Mmm, I think the election results scream otherwise.

Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, meanwhile, prolonged the misery by questioning people who clearly had no grasp of what Ordinance 960 actually says, or would do, even if it is upheld. And though JoAnn admitted that the bill has less than a 40% chance of prevailing on appeal, she relayed the Patsy Mink story — not that anybody in that audience of newbies had a clue who that is — to justify why the county “must leave no stone unturned” in determining the legality of the bill.

Fortunately, we won't have to deal with tone deaf Councilman Tim Bynum much longer, though he made it clear he will use every second allotted him to blather on, proving he still has no clue why he was soundly defeated: we're sick of his whiny yammering.

In the end, JoAnn, Gary, Tim and Mason Chock voted to reject the repeal bill. After all, they reason, the county's legal fees on appeal are capped at $12,000. Chump change. 

Except if you lose, and are ordered to pay the other parties' costs.

So the saga continues, with Kauai, Hawaii Island and soon Maui spending piles of taxpayer money to wage a “David vs Goliath” fight on behalf of a mainland-based political advocacy group, Center for Food Safety, that is positioning itself to grab control of land and water — and thus power — in the Islands.

As I said, it's almost like it's scripted.

Because it is.


Anonymous said...

I read your blogs and marvel at how you can take a socially dangerous and pathetic situation and script it into a delightfully entertaining and revealing story. I too watched the Council meeting yesterday but was so disgusted by the interminable shenanigans that I gave up trying to describe it to my friends. Your description is spot on! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Kauai is at a crossroads, agriculture verses development, except the biggest agriculture companies are also big developers. We need sanity and good discussions and more realism on planning a future for Kauai that local people like. We need food and farms and a way to make money and so much more. Let's stop talking in circles around land use. Money and power is all about the land here.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully they will re-introduce after December 1st! Loved watching Mel ask Nomi if she had seen the election results last night. Boom!

Anonymous said...

Some people think climate change is the most threatening issue of our time. Perhaps it is. I think far more threatening, for Hawaii at least, is the ignorance fueled by the ideaology of the citizenry.

It's reflected in bad leaders passing bad laws while real issues are ignored.

The rest of the country is starting to wake up, as evidenced on Tuesday. But Hawaii is lagging far behind, as if the reality has not yet crossed the sea.

Take unfunded liabilities, couple them with a freshman congressional delegation that are solidly in the minority, and we've a recipe for a rough road ahead.

Here's another gem: GMO activist senator Russell Ruderman named Chair of Ag Committee.

Some people believe liberalism is a mental disorder. If so, there's no known cure.

Certainly chasing business away and lobbying in favor of unemployment, without the means to pay the bills will not fix it.

Anonymous said...

How come you didn't mention about Ross's absent during the testimonies? How come you didn't mention about Mel's departure just before the vote? What's up with the two top vote getters? Just wondering . . . . . . . . just didn't look very good for them. What drives these two . . . . arrogant top two vote getters? Why didn't they have each other's backs? Gotta have their way or they will walk out? I just can't figure out who they are.

Joan Conrow said...

"I just can't figure out who they are."

Perhaps because they aren't part of your echo chamber?

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of listening and watching these fake "revolutionaries".

Anonymous said...

8:44 They were absent because all those liars in the room testifying are not their voters, they are Mainland and Northshore hippies who think that they are fooling people to think they are actually telling the truth. Mel and Ross are not stupid like you, that's why they finished 1 and 2. Not 12th like your boy Jackpot Bynum. Oh yeah they also smoked your other two boys Chock and Looser by over 4000 votes. Who's not serving the public? Are you saying you don't like the people of Kauai? Then leave, don't let the door smack you on your way out.

Anonymous said...

Tactically, they should have waited on this bill until the new council was sworn in. A misstep, perhaps.

Anonymous said...

11:15 They requested to put the Bill on ASAP on Aug 29th, 2014 4 days after the Federal Judge's ruling that Ordinance 990 was invalid. Chair Furfaro, played his political game and put it on the agenda the day after the election because he controls the agenda placement time along with the County Clerk. So go figure. Stupid leadership does this. Maybe they all are intimidated by the Iron Jaw of Hooser. Mr. Bigshot.

Anonymous said...

Joan, I think we should have people who have strong riveting testimony voluntarily do a polygraph test. Then we don't have to guess if they are lying. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

11:38 the Council still had the same members back in August. Should have waited for the new Council and chair. Put it on again so they can hear the same "riveting testimony? Why not? Arryl and Kipukai need to hear it.

Anonymous said...

12:19am The same "riveting testimony" is same as Hooser, full of shit. Nobody needs to hear lies, if they have facts or evidence, give it to the State or Feds, I'm 100% certain that if people are "really" getting sick or dying then they would do something, duh. The EPA and FDA and the State Dept. of Health were in Honolulu Harbor the day after the molasses spill because fish were dying. What is the County going to do? Pass more bad bills?

Anonymous said...

It's not about my or his echo chamber. For me, it's about respect, patience, consideration and DUTY. I respect Mel for sitting and listening to the testimonies, even if he didn't want to.

10:24--I didn't vote for Bynum. So, okay, i'm stupid but i'm not gonna leave the place where my family has lived for 5 generations. By the way, why do you sound so angry and hateful, using negative, ugly assumptions to describe me?

Anonymous said...

12:34 I was joking. Nobody needs to hear it again.

Anonymous said...

please joan, when you get back from vacation,please consider running for council or getting involved more. you have such great passion and vision for our community. your aloha for the local people is commendable. most haoles don't give a rip. kauai needs your kind of peoples.

Anonymous said...

Joan, Re: paying the chem/seed companies courts costs--the companies would have to petition the court, it's not assured that they would prevail and if they did their cost should not be significant--a small price to settle this issue once and for all. This nightmare was created by politics and now can only be resolved by law. Trying to keep it in the political arena is just grandstanding and wasting the councils time.

Anonymous said...

Advice to Ross and Mel, Never defend yourself, never fall into the trap. You two guys have the people at heart and we know it.
Advice to Arryl, don't say anything. Learn. Never engage.
Advice to the next Chairman. Limit all testimony from testifiers and Council people (errr JoAnn and Gary) to the TOPIC on the table. Question Gary on all issues dealing with environment, water, Ag, Chemicals etc. His Presidency of HAPA is a major conflict. I'd ask the County Attorney.
Arryl will not be able to vote on specific GF issues. But he is OK on all others. To all the Fistees out there- Grove Farm is NOT in the Hooser lawsuit, it is their lessees.
Advice to Tim. Shut up, you have done enough damage, maintain an iota of dignity in your last few weeks. Thank God you are gone.
If y'all think the last two years of da Hoos/Bynum BullSh*t was heavy....wait until the economic reality of the County being broke steps in..Bankruptcy is a possibility...and don't be lookin' for a Fed Bailout, the new regime in the Senate will not be likely to give extra dough to a whack job, spend thrift, government union controlled State.
The Feds will say "get your house in order, you guys spent 290 million dollars for an ObamaCare website that never worked and you have a 15 Billion dollar transit system that will do nothing. You Commies are on the bad list. Plus you are Obama's home state and for that alone, you are to be punished."

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks, 2:52. That's very sweet of you!

Anonymous said...

Ruderman chair of senate ag? What does he know about AG? He'll be about as effective as Wooley.

Anonymous said...

4:31 it is VERY common(almost a practice)for the Courts to force the loser to pay attorney fees and court costs. Even if they split the better believe that they are in the millions. Geez, Jackpot Bynum's little Rice Cooker court case cost close to a milyun in lawyer fees court costs. Not to mention his nice little "award".
Gary and JoAnn know the potential cost of this litigation.....but they do not say a darn thing about it.

Anonymous said...

There was a testimony from a healthcare provider stating that she has an elementary school patient who suffers from nose bleeds 4 days out of the week, when he's with his mother in Kekaha. The rest of the days of the week, he stays with his father who doesn't live near any GMO crops. When he's with his father, he doesn't experience any nose bleeds.

OMG, so that explains why my daughter has nose bleeds too! NOT!! My daughter gets nose bleeds all the time and we don't live anywhere near any GMO crops. I took her to the doctor when the nose bleeds first started, and they said that nose bleeds are common in children.

I feel like a lot of people are so quick to blame every single sickness or disease on the pesticides. Almost ALL of these people who are complaining weren't born or even raised here and they live on the opposite side of the island from the GMO crops.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Senator Russell Ruderman. He is now the head of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Interesting times coming!

Anonymous said...

You can't call that testimony, really every ones tired of the crazy lying crap. Hooser must be giving them acting & drama classes, in his spare time. Here we go with the Hoos when I blink cry, when I smile yell, scream, kick, GMO bad and when you on the yellow brick road lie, lie, lie. Hooser should get an Award
for best Bullsh*t. That's why Mel and Ross left, during the testimony they probably went outside to vomit! Sick of the crap

Anonymous said...

5:13. I called JoAnn and another attorney familiar with the case and both said that the chem/seed companies' appeal fees should be quite modest.

Anonymous said...

9:36 I agree that the appeal fee will be modest; however if we lose the appeal the seed companies will likely seek reimursement for legal cost which could be a couple million or more. And, if we win the appeal, then it's only on preemption not the other 15-20 legal issues that will need to be heard back in the lower courts ... which will cost significantly more money. This appeal, with either outcome, is not going to be inexpensive in the long run. Mel and Ross seem to get this and are attempting to be good custodians of our taxpayer money. The rest of the councilmembers, however, are merely pandering to the vocal minority...which I can now say with conviction given the election results. I hope Ross' bill will be reintoduced when more level-headed thinkers replace those ineffective outgoing councilmembers. Someone has to end this insanity including the endless legal tab for us taxpayers to pick up. Stop holding cost cutting workshops when Council themselves cannot curb their spending.

ekcoll said...

So the Center for Food Safety is "Goliath" poised to take over Hawaii?

Joan Conrow said...

Center for Food Safety is neither "David" nor "Goliath."

It's just a power hungry political advocacy group masquerading as a "green" nonprofit.

Anonymous said...

I think they called in the Flat Earth Society to tell us how the sun revolves around the earth!

Chuck Lasker said...

"How, exactly, do you deal with people who utter complete nonsense as fact?"

The same way you deal with evolution deniers. The same way you deal with climate change deniers. The same way you deal with flat-earthers. You don't. They have their faith, facts-be-damned, and there is nothing you can do to change it. Nothing.

That is why all the efforts of the seed companies to "bring everyone to the table to discuss the issues" have been wasted. You can bring a libertarian to the table to discuss Obamacare, but there is zero percent chance they will agree to anything except 100% repeal, because their dogma won't allow them. Same with the conspiracy theorists who think Monsanto owns the planet, GMOs are sprayed from jets, and the hundreds of seed company employees on Kauai are either baby killers or duped stupid locals.

What we CAN do is what we did - what "the people" did - which is vote in reasonable representatives who dismiss the crazy for what it is.

Anonymous said...

7:26 The chem/seed companies could now be seeking the huge damages you refer to if there was no appeal--or can in the future if the appeal is lost. The only way of stopping the potential of their seeking these damages is to win on appeal.

Anonymous said...

Joan, you have about 18 months to decide if you want to venture into politics. I feel you could win in a Council run.
If you have any interest, please let your readers know. The time to put a feeler out is about 6 months from now..
I disagree with you 99.9 percent of the time, but you are intelligent, honest and brave. These three ingredients are usually a death bell for politicians, but it may work for you. The honesty part is what da Hoos, Bynum, JoAnn and Jay lack.
Liars thru and thru. It is hard to look at JoAnn and think she is a liar, since she looks like such a nice, little old lady, but she sure can tell some whoppers.
There is a vacuum of honesty.

Anonymous said...

7:26 Was advised that the chem/seed companies have let the statute of limitations run out on the deadline for filing a legal fees claim.

Anonymous said...

It is not common practice for the losing party to pay attorneys' fees. The exact opposite is the case. Under the "American Rule" each party in civil litigation bares the cost of their own attorney's fees. Only in limited circumstances, such as a contract dispute or in civil rights litigation are fees provided to the winning party by statute. The plaintiffs did not file a motion for attorneys' fees because there is no legal basis, in other words no statute, that provides for attorneys' fees under the circumstances of this case.

Anonymous said...

10:28 You obviously have NOT been sued. You are a bit like Hooser here, telling lies. Judges can rule either way and say who pays. In Civil settlements (arbitration/mediation), usually the loser pays. It can depend on how hard the attorney fights for their fees.

Anonymous said...

In arbitration, a private contractual means of resolving a legal dispute, attorney's fees may sometimes be a part of whatever remedy is fashioned by the arbitrator. Similarly, in settlement agreements, which parties negotiate themselves, attorneys' fees may sometimes be a part of the agreed upon settlement.

The current litigation over GMO/ pesticide regulation is neither a private arbitration nor does it involve settlement negotiations. Accordingly, the standard rule that each party pays their own attorneys' fees still holds true. Judges generally do not stray from this rule unless the litigation involves a statute that expressly provides for fees, or there has been a particularly egregious and abusive pursuit of patently meritless claim by one party. Neither is the case here, so there is no obvious legal basis for an award of attorneys' fees in this case.