Monday, December 1, 2014

Musings: Dog Day

Gosh, the Kauai County Council hasn't even been sworn in yet, and Councilman Gary Hooser has already come out swinging, sowing divisiveness and assuming the role of Council crybaby previously held by defeated Councilman Tim Bynum.

Gary even engaged the perennially inaccurate blogger Andy Parx to do the whining for him, just as Tim so often did, using him to stir up shit by claiming Council Chair-apparent Mel Rapozo is trying to "consolidate power" and make "public and Council participation discretionary."

Oh, that evil, scary Mel.

The subject at hand is the Council's rules, or more specifically, a few revisions introduced by Mel as a resolution for adoption at today's inaugural meeting.

Andy, channeling Gary, claims the revisions will “deny Councilmembers the right to introduce bills.” They apparently came to that conclusion because Mel eliminated a provision that says any bill or resolution must be placed on the agenda within 120 days of a written request to the Chair. Mel says the 120-day deadline isn't realistic because legislation must be vetted by the County Attorney's office. Gary automatically took that to mean he ain't gettin' nuttin' on the agenda no more. Paranoia, anyone?

Andy/Gary also falsely claim the rules will “cut public testimony in half.” Mel is proposing to eliminate the time at the beginning of the meeting, where up to six people can speak for three minutes each on any agenda item. Under the existing rules, if they speak then, they're not allowed to testify when the item comes up. While this provision can be useful to those who don't want to wait to testify, it is most often used by Council nitpickers Glenn Mickens and Joe Rosa to ramble on, creating a deadzone at the beginning of each meeting.

Under Mel's revisions, people would still be allowed to speak for three minutes when the item comes up on the agenda, with an additional three granted at the chair's discretion after everyone else has testified, just as in the existing rules. 

This seems reasonable. It's very rare that people actually need more than six minutes to make their point — including Councilmembers. I've found it's often best to testify when the item is being discussed, as often new information has come forward with staff reports or Council discussion. Those who can't wait, or don't want to, can still submit written testimony.

This is a red-herring that Gary/Andy have thrown out to make it seem like Mel is trying to shut down public testimony. Just like how Gary/Andy falsely claimed that Mel's “major rewrite” of the rules would allow the Chair to cut off testimony characterized by “intemperate or abusive behavior or language,” giving rise to “arbitrary and capricious” attacks on free speech.

Which sounds so alarming — except that provision is already in the existing rules.

In going over both the existing and proposed rules, I did notice the provision for the public petitioning the Council, and the process for receiving such petitions, had been eliminated in the new rules. So do petitions go straight in the trash?

Gary's also whining because the Chair must approve workshops under the new rules, which means Gary may not be able to use that process to pander and push his own private agenda, as he's been doing with the bogus, totally unbalanced sessions on groundwater resources in the Lihue area.

Gary needs to face the fact that Mel is now the alpha dog in the Council pack — the hands-down top vote-getter, chosen by the will of the people in a democratic process, to use phrases that Gary and his anti-GMO contingent love to toss out — but only when it suits their purposes. Gary, on the other hand, barely squeaked in at seventh place, which places him at the bottom of the pack hierarchy. And that means submission will serve him better than aggression.

But then, Gary's ego has yet to align with reality. Which is why he sent out a fundraising appeal for his HAPA organization, claiming the group will continue to reap its successes — despite all those failures in the courts — if it can just do a better job at working with the mainstream media, educating the public and building a stronger statewide coalition.

Gee, that's all?

Oh, and by supporting our “friends in the legal community.”

By which he means Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety — two groups that have joined the appeal process for Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, an appeal that Gary voted to authorize.

Gary then goes on to outline the group's objectives, which he has helpfully reduced to bumper sticker simplicity: Taking Back Our Government, People over Profits and Think Global, Act Local (as in doing the bidding of mainland advocacy groups while flashing a shaka and speaking fake pidgin.)

To alleviate all our concerns, Gary added this caveat:

NOTE: H.A.P.A. is not and will not be involved with lobbying or direct advocacy on any issues pending before the Kauai County Council.

Why should it lobby? It's got a member on the Council.

He then goes on to write:

In general H.A.P.A. does not lobby.  We educate, we support grass roots movement building and we support legal efforts to protect and preserve the health and well-being of people and the environment.

In other words, it uses its nonprofit status to hide its donors and serve as a political actor, without actually registering as a lobbyist.

And it will do so until someone calls them on it with a complaint to the Hawaii State Ethics Commission that hopefully includes unregistered lobbyists and HAPA allies Center for Food Safety and Hawaii SEED.


Anonymous said...

Food activists and the industry are looking to a court case between Vermont and a major food distribution association as a bellwether for the future of genetically modified foods.

In May, the state legislature voted to require food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such. If the law goes into effect in 2016, Vermont will become the first state to require such labeling. But first it will have to stand up in federal court: the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which is funded by a coalition of companies including Coca-Cola, Unilever, Starbucks and Monsanto, along with three other industry groups, sued the state shortly after the law passed.

Now, several other states with pending ballot initiatives and legislation that would similarly require GMO labeling are awaiting the district court’s decision. Arguments are tentatively scheduled for mid-December, according to Vermont’s attorney general.

Anonymous said...

When i read Andy's blog, i thought that guy always thinks the sky is falling. Ken, Glenn and Joe R are responsible for the rule to reduce the speaking time at the beginning, we are all tired of hearing them, self appointed to render their opinion on every single topic. They have made fools of themselves while wasting everyone's time. Good rule change. Congratulation's to the council and Mayor

ekcoll said...

If the public's petitioning the council is eliminated there would be no petition to throw in the trash.

Dawson said...

This is a red-herring that Gary/Andy have thrown out to make it seem like Mel is trying to shut down public testimony. Just like how Gary/Andy falsely claimed that Mel's “major rewrite” of the rules would allow the Chair to cut off testimony characterized by “intemperate or abusive behavior or language,” giving rise to “arbitrary and capricious” attacks on free speech.

Looks like Kauai has hatched a new species of bird, the Gandy. Related to the Booby but louder and more predatory, its behavior, driven by an insatiable desire to be at the top of the pecking order, is marked by a compulsive fouling of its own nest and those of other birds. Pedestrians, public gatherings and clean laundry hanging outdoors are at risk of aerial bombastment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dawson. I needed that :)

Anonymous said...

Any rule change that shortens the council meetings is a good one. Get to the point instead of pontificating or playing to the audience.

Anonymous said...

The only few the rules hurt are Mel's allies. Thank Goodness Mel's common sense and desire to conduct real business didn't get influenced by the "nitpickers".
Anyway you slice the GMO infused papaya, Gary's HAPA presidency should stop him from any votes regarding Agriculture, Taxes, Water, Air, Roads, Development and other foofarah.
These are all red herrings, the County is broke. The Council must decide what gets cut or agree to higher taxes. No 2 ways about it.
As an island, we have some big bad issues facing us.

Anonymous said...

Gary using Andy "I never Had A Job" Parx as his public relations/media expert is pathetic. And apropos, Gary is anti-Ag, anti-JOB, anti-Hotel, anti-PMRF...these two are perfect, symbiotic sycophants. Ass-kissing whiners.
Gary's economic plan is for everyone to be a rich newcomer or on welfare.
If you really want to hear Andy screech, cut some of that Section 8 Housing that Andy has been glomming on forever.
Andy could be the prototype of a nudnik (nudnik- a person who makes a situation far better by their absence)---.

Anonymous said...

I hope Hooser is isolated like a serious disease on the body politic of the Council. He is a plague of misinformation, disaffections, persistent feuds, and infectious allies. It seems the only thing he can cooperate in is his own advancement.

Chuck Lasker said...

The old rule of allowing up to 6 people to speak at the beginning was limiting in itself, because if 7 people wanted to speak, the 7th had to wait anyway. It was arbitrary and useless. Mel simply proposed returning the agenda process to normal.

The statement in Parx the Hooser puppet's blog that the first Council meeting is "mostly ceremonial" and that the rules should be discussed by the public was also straight-out garbage. The Council HAS to decide on the rules at the first meeting. Gary knows this, Parx knows this, but, as always, they depend on their fisties to not know the law so they can continue their agenda to divide the Kauai community for personal gain.

It's nice to see some common sense running the Council for a change.