Sunrise at Kapaa Beach Park, women and older couples walking the path, derelicts rousing themselves from the naupaka, the boys already — or perhaps still — dealing drugs in the parking lot, a hen and her tiny brood devouring rice from a Styrofoam plate lunch carton flapping in the breeze.
As tourists slumber behind the mostly closed and curtained sliding glass doors of their oceanfront Kapaa hotel rooms, another world unfolds.
Speaking of other worlds, I've been exercising my reportorial due diligence on the westside, accepting a long-offered tour of PMRF, where I watched Capt. Bruce Hay, the base commander, deftly maneuver a pulled pork sandwich without spilling a drop of barbecue sauce on his dress whites and stood upon Nohili dune for the first time since the rocket launch protests 18 years ago. More on that later.
I also spent a long day visiting all four of the westside seed companies, where I saw Pioneer's poison container, a demonstration of Dow's sprayer, Syngenta's fields nearest Waimea Canyon Middle School and BASF's rice paddies on the Mana plain.
I left convinced that purt near everything Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum and the anti-GMO contingent have said about the companies and their operations here is complete and utter bullshit, and so egregiously incorrect as to surpass mere ignorance and move into the realm of deliberate distortion and fear-mongering lies. More on all that later.
While we're on the topic of lies, let's delve into another one. After I reported that Gary had been busted trespassing on Pioneer (G&R) land, Anonymous left this comment:
Joan I just asked Gary directly and he said you were full of it. No citation. No notice. No trespassing. Apparently he was standing next to the road or sitting in a parked car next to the road while a camera guy took pictures of the fields. Why feed the trolls Joan? It does no one any good and only further divide.
Well, I saw photos of Gary — his paunch, jowls and garish blue shirt unmistakeable — standing in Pioneer's fields, well behind the yellow gate on the old haul cane road, next to a man who has been identified as French reporter Martin Boudot. The shots were taken last Friday.
Boudot and a companion, driving a car registered to anti-GMO activist Fern Rosenstiel, had been stopped two days prior while trespassing onto Syngenta's fields.
How ironically inappropriate that Gary, chair of the County Council's public safety committee, is engaged in trespassing onto private property, and aiding and abetting a foreign journalist in trespassing.
Doesn't this rise above the offense of throwing a pencil, which resulted in Council Chair Mel Rapozo seeking sanctions against former Councilman Tim Bynum?
Coupled with Gary's other transgressions in the past six months — lobbying for his HAPA group at the Lege, his “bite me” comment to Rep. Jimmy Tokioka in open session, rudely cutting off testimony during the fireplace smoke bill, his personal letters to the Lege written on Council stationery with Council staff listed as contacts, and missing a Council meeting to fly to Basel, Switzerland to propagandize Syngenta shareholders while identifying himself as a Council member and lawmaker — surely there's cause for his Council colleagues to take some sort of disciplinary action.
Meanwhile, the anti-GMO initiative on Maui appears doomed, with U.S. District Court Judge Susan Mollway sharply questioning SHAKA attorney Michael Carroll, whose specialty is real estate and construction law, in a hearing this week on the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment.
Yet he, like the Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety attorneys who saw their anti-GMO legislation overturned on Kauai and Hawaii Island, is confident he can win on appeal, even if he loses the first round. Translate that to: keep sending money, while I milk this for all it's worth.
Civil Beat helpfully posted a link to the legal arguments that almost, but not quite, made up for Anita Hofschneider's piss poor reporting on the issue, which included an “it sucks” crybaby quote from SKAKA founder Mark Sheehan, who also happens to be a high-end Maui Realtor.
The plaintiffs argued the initiative is invalid because it's pre-empted by state and federal law, and violates multiple provisions of the Maui County Charter, thus rendering it unenforceable. The Kauai and Hawaii county laws were already overturned by a federal judge who found they were pre-empted by state law, a legal tenet that presumably will also apply in this case.
SHAKA claimed the moratorium is needed because seed companies “use the land in a more destructive way than commercial agriculture, which results in higher risks for pollution and health problems” and no laws protect Maui County from the harms. Except, of course, all those state and federal laws regulating pesticide use and other environmental issues.
The brief does acknowledge that none of its claims of harmful health effects on residents or farm workers have been “scientifically evaluated” before citing Hector Valenzuela, who is a UH crop specialist, not a physician, as saying there's “urgent need” to study these “potentially harmful” impacts.
Carroll, in arguing for Maui County's right to regulate GMOs, cites its regulation of “smoke, soot, poisonous gases, dirt, dust and debris into the open air.” Gosh, that's the very same ordinance upon which Gary modeled his own unsuccessful nuisance bill, under the guise of controlling fireplace smoke.
In the end, SHAKA's brief contended that even if the moratorium part of the measure is found to be invalid, it could be severed from the ordinance and all the rest would remain valid. Uh, sorry, but it doesn't work quite that way.
Mollway promised a decision in a week or two, at which time it will likely be made clear that all the anti-GMO legislation in Hawaii was a giant flop, save for clarifying that the state does, indeed, have pre-emptive powers, and all the associated angst and drama was for naught, save for lining the pockets of a few activists and attorneys.
Is anybody feeling a bit used?