Friday, October 16, 2015

Musings: Bugger Off

How many ways can you tell a Kauai County Councilman to piss off?

Quite a few, according to the results of Councilman Gary Hooser's attempts to collect data on glyphosate use.

Hooser spent nearly two months — and untold hours of Council Services staff time — pressing golf courses, government agencies and seed companies for details on their 2014 glyphosate (Round-up) use. 

Why? To make political hay, of course. Though he offered a more noble explanation in his solicitation form letters — all of which were sent on county letterhead:

In light of increasing public concerns as a result of the World Health Organization' s International Agency for Research on Cancer ( IARC) unanimously declaring that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic to humans"... Given the potential health implications, it is important that the scale of glyphosate use in our community be known and potentially evaluated.

But curiously, he never did ask any of the resorts, landscaping companies, nurseries, taro farmers, ranchers or other likely users how much glyphosate they applied. Nor did he ask Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Home Depot or BEI how much they sold for public use.

So how, then, could the true scale of glyphosate use be known — much less potentially evaluated?

His inquiries were made only to the county departments of Parks and Recreation and Public Works, state Dept. of Transportation, Kauai Coffee, BASF, Syngenta, Pioneer, DOW, Prince Course, Kauai Lagoons, Princeville Resort Clubhouse, Makai Course, Kiahuna Golf Club, Kukuiolono Golf Course, Poipu Bay Golf Course and Puakea Golf Course.

The Makai, Kiahuna, Kukuilono, Poipu Bay and Puakea golf courses blew him off completely, as did Pioneer. So right out of the starting gate, the "screw you" tally is six. 

The three government agencies also ignored him, taking us up to nine. But as public agencies, they had to respond when Gary later filed a records request.

Public Works reported a total of 148 gallons — though Gary mistakenly claimed the total as 118 in one of his blog posts. Parks and Rec used 35 gallons, which includes maintaining the Wailua Golf Course. As for state highways, “We purchased a total of 64 gallons of Round Up last year.”

The state Department of Ag, after reminding Gary there were no legal requirements for glyphosate reporting, noted:

Your request for reporting of glyphosate information may be better suited to pesticide dealers in Hawaii who distribute pesticide products throughout the State and who may be better able to determine the scale of glyphosate use in the Kauai community.

So that brings the "get lost" tally up to 10.

The Prince Course was compliant, reporting that it used 5 gallons, while noting:

4 oz of Glyphosate diluted with a gallon of water covers 250 sqft. The total annual coverage was 40,000 sqft or just under one Acre. The areas of usage consisted of Cart paths, Rain Shelters and around Permanent Structures.

Guess we'll never know how much of what was applied to create this effect at the Prince Course:
Kauai Lagoons, meanwhile, reported it made 21 applications using a total of 14.84 gallons of Roundup over the 450-acre resort during 2014.

Gary responded to both of them with a form letter that cooed: 

Your kokua in this regard enables me, as one of Kaua`i's elected officials, to obtain an accurate understanding of the scale of glyphosate use in our community.

Which is odd, considering he's bashed the “Good Neighbor” restricted use pesticide reporting as meaningless because “there is no government oversight, no verification of the accuracy of the reporting, no accountability and no penalty for providing false information. This is industry self-regulation and is insufficient. To be meaningful any disclosure program requires independent verification.”

But there's obviously no need verify anything from the golf courses because I've got it on very good authority that golfers never ever lie. Well, except maybe Tiger....

Kauai Coffee sent the request over to its attorney, Wayne Goodman, who initially replied:

I can appreciate that individual members of a county or other municipality's council may have their own personal areas of interest or focus. At the same time, however, no doubt you also can appreciate the burden that would be imposed on companies such as Kauai Coffee if, without official County action or authority, individual members of the County Council were able to impose on the County's corporate citizens additional, or new, reporting and related requirements which arise from such members' respective personal areas of interest or focus.

Gary responded:

I understand fully that I have no legal authority to require Kauai Coffee Company to provide the information requested. However, the lack of that authority does not preclude my right to make the request, and my hope is that Kaua`i Coffee Company will continue to demonstrate strides toward being a good neighbor by providing the requested information. In short, I am attempting to simply do my job and fulfill my responsibilities for which I was elected.

To which Goodman replied: may be more than amply assured that Kauai Coffee Company, TLC (" Kauai Coffee"), to borrow your phraseology, "will continue to demonstrate strides toward being a good neighbor ...."

In addition, and at the risk of appearing naive with respect to such matters, I remain stunned that your request— whose genesis you have acknowledged is one only of a personal focus — would be transmitted on official County letterhead as though it were provoked by official County action.

Yes, others of us have experienced that same stunned sensation at Hooser's misuse of county letterhead.

OK, now we're at 11 "bugger offs."

Mark Phillipson of Syngenta responded initially by asking for clarification, while noting:

Any concern about the recent designation by the World Health Organization IARC must be considered in context. For example, working nightshift, or as a barber/ hairdresser, or with high temperature frying are also in the same category as glyphosate.

But after Gary sent him the same form letter he'd sent to Kauai Coffee's attorney, Mark essentially responded, though in a very nice way, with "take a hike, buddy."

BASF initially replied:

We will await clarification as to the basis and authority for your request so we can put this in context and provide further response.

But once BASF got the same form letter making it clear that Gary's request had no basis in authority, the further response was crickets.

Which brings us to DOW, whose attorney is former state attorney general Margery Bronster, Gary's nemesis. Though you can't really compare them, because she's so much smarter, as was made clear in her reply:

Your June 12 letter suggests that you misunderstand the role of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and its recent classification of Glyphosate. The enclosed explanation of this recent development from Western Plant Health Association should help.

This letter also addresses another issue. Your June 12 letter was prepared and sent on County letterhead, making it appear as though you are acting in an official capacity on behalf of Kauai County. Your letter requests that the information you seek be sent to your office and not to anyone else associated with Kauai County or the State of Hawaii.

Gee, there's that pesky misuse of county letterhead issue.

Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren ruled last August that Ordinance 960, which sought disclosures about pesticide applications, is invalid and unenforceable because it is preempted by Hawaii state law. Indeed, Judge Kurren determined that the State of Hawaii has exclusive authority over pesticide regulation and specifically enjoined the County from requiring disclosures about pesticide applications. Your June 12 letter, on County letterhead, seeks precisely the type of disclosures that Judge Kurren has ruled that the County cannot compel.

Accordingly, both because your letter misunderstands the perceived health risks posed by glyphosate and because there is no authority to demand the disclosures you seek, DAS respectfully declines your invitation to send you the information your June 12 letter seeks.

Which takes us to 11 full-on "piss offs," three required responses, two unverified replies — and a very sketchy picture of glyphosate use on Kauai.

Don't you just love effective politicians making good use of your tax dollars?


Anonymous said...

Great read to start my morning! And my Kaua'i coffee taste ono all the way here on O'ahu!

Anonymous said...

Hooser is an sneaky, egotistical bully who is being manipulated by much smarter and even more conniving business interests who don't give a damn about the health and welfare of normal Kauai families.

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was interesting that Kauai Coffee started reporting when they spray roundup when they implemented the Good Neighbor program. It isn't too often, but enough people must have requested it for them to do that.

Chuck Lasker said...

Don't worry, Hooser's misuse of county letterhead will stop next year, as his 179 vote 7th place "win" last year won't be repeated. I could be wrong, though. He might take home some letterhead and keep using it as a civilian, with just as much authority as he has now.

Robin Clark said...

A timely blog as I just filled a 5 gal sprayer with glyphosphate (mixed with water of course, I am open to full discloser).

The U.S. EPA classified glyphosate as Group E, evidence of non-carcinogenicity in humans. The U.S. EPA does not consider glyphosate to be a human carcinogen based on studies of laboratory animals that did not produce compelling evidence of carcinogenicity.

The IARC classification as a class 2A ("potential carcinogen") is in complete contradiction to all known studies. Note that IARC does not actually do any testing. Other 2A potential carcinogens include fried foods. Note that among actual carcinogens (class 1) are alcohol, solar radiation, wood dust and estrogen (a naturally occurring hormone and drug). Of course one must consider the dose.

I have worked as a medicinal chemist for over 30 years and developed a commonly used cancer chemotherapy adjunct. I have been involved in numerous mutagenicity and carcinogenicity studies so I do know a little more than those who rely on the internet for their information.

It is disheartening to have a public official such as Gary Hooser trying to scare the general public with his constant dissemination of false information. I would think that as a (barely) elected public official he would have more pressing issues to deal with than glyphosphate. How about paving Puhi road for example!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Robin Clark!

Anonymous said...

Right on Joan! Let's focus our life on Gary again today! Do you really think this blog is going to keep him from being elected in 2016? Don't you understand the answer the companies gave Hooser is the answer he wanted? His intent from writing these letters is to prove in writing that the companies refuse to disclose glyphosate use! Now he has the documentation to back up his verbal claim and to prove once again the companies are not good neighbors. Expect more of this to come out in the future. This is a strategy Joan. Don't you see it. The big fist is simply laying the ground work.

Anonymous said...

This roundup of responses is hilarious! As the characters on Parks and Recreation would say, "Gary Hooser is the worst!"

Joan Conrow said...

But wait, isn't that the same strategy he used before introducing 2491?

Anonymous said...

It is surprising to me that the County lets Da Hoos get away with these sly mongoose tactics.
If I wrote a letter on my corporate letterhead requesting things for me personally, that were not sanctioned by the Corporation, I would be shitcanned.
Perhaps Mel agrees with this behavior, it sure increases the power of every individual that works for the County.
P'ville by using 4 oz per gallon is using double what will kill any mahiki grass. 4 oz a gallon is for the strong buffalo grass and haole koa, li' dat.
A thousand l'il Fistees flying in the air, led by a person with questionable integrity.
All we need is Felicia as Gary's backdrop...come 2016 there will be a Felicia, Da Hoos, Mason and L'il Fistee Dylan on the Council. Then there will be a roundup on the Roundup.

Anonymous said...

So I guess you not gonna acknowledge how Hooser has snookered the 4 chemcartels huh? Really Joan, who do you think is getting the last laugh here? The big fist is a little mosquito in a small tent and is costing these guys big money to dance to the red shirts tune. They have scaled back their operations tremendously. They are catching dirty lickings in the press all over the world for messing around with little ole Kauai and there is more to come.

Anonymous said...

@4:02 you got your nose so far up Hooser's ass you're losing consciousness.

Dawson said...

10:45AM said:
This roundup of responses is hilarious! As the characters on Parks and Recreation would say, "Gary Hooser is the worst!"

Awww, people should try to be more understanding of the poor guy. Narcissism symptoms are like baseball cards -- he's just trying to collect a full set:

- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Having a sense of entitlement
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

State highways used to show signs of more than 64 gallons of roundup. Are they using machines and manual labor to get rid of those grasses that are spreading everywhere?

Anonymous said...

4:02 The Seed companies and Kauai Coffee are subject to international markets. If Corn or Coffee go do our crops. Sugar went bye bye because of this.
Next the Fistees will go after Tourism and PMRF. Then all that is left is welfare, foodstamps and charity, just like Gary's hero Walter Ritte's island Molokai.
Molokai 90 percent government subsistence. Wake up Kauai, Gary is anti-any business, unless it his kids, friends or his.

Anonymous said...

One must wonder if Gary is upset about the loss of revenue to other chemicals and their backers. Glyphosate use increased while more dangerous chemicals were replaced by round up. It is considered far less harmful than the ones state and county and most people were using. Gary,my sweet,if you really cared,you would be focused on not just this one chemical.
And why doesn't this misuse of county council result in sanctions,gee even throwing pencils used to be reason enuf?
And the request to the golf course certainly should have been for all pesticides used or all restricted use ones to get a picture of the burden on the people nearby.

Anonymous said...

State DOT has done a fantastic job of reducing pesticide use and switching to the right machinery and hard work from the crew, great job.

Anonymous said...

State DOT especially on the Westside, are doing a great job. You see them spraying around guard rails, signs and poles, then weed whacking where mowers can't reach and even sickling around boulders. These workers are fighting a losing battle because the very invasive Guinea grass grows so fast. Whoever brought that grass in...shame on you. As for roundup, I need it to kill my weeds which is easier than weed eating...especially where mowers can't go. Hooser, please work on bringing down property taxes, trash fees, water rates. Sewer rates and vehicle registration costs.

Anonymous said...

The most toxic compound of the human condition is GUILT/SHAME. If we can lovingly correct or guide each other to use our power more wisely, then we will more cleanly resolve all problems. While misuse of power is not appropriate, a public lynching is not as well. No buts about it. Heal thyself and pray for all. Amen

Anonymous said...

Accordingly, both because your letter misunderstands the perceived health risks posed by glyphosate and because there is no authority to demand the disclosures you seek, DAS respectfully declines your invitation to send you the information your June 12 letter seeks.

Margery Bronster hits Hooser MASTERFULLY with this one!

Anonymous said...

Hooser and the rest of the Kauai council should be investigating these matters instead of rounding up nonsense. 5 million a year since 2013 is a little excessive yes or no? Wonder why Kauai taxes go up each and every year?

All KPD has to do is hire 30 reserve police officers at a part time salary of 30K-40K a year and it will save the county of Kauai nearly 4 million a year.

Knowing that KPD is an unaccredited police dept (meaning they are civilians with a badge and gun), shows Kauai that they aren't trained or educated on being fiscally responsible.

Overtime Expenditures Out of Taxpayer’s Pockets
by admin | Oct 14, 2015 | Blog, Government, Government Waste, Research & Commentary |

By Joselyn Olinares

The money spent on overtime expenditures is not “free money”, it comes from somewhere (or rather someone). Any guesses to who that someone is? — It’s you, the taxpayer.
Kauai taxpayers are on the hook for public employee overtime and benefits, which have shown a growth in spending in recent years.
In Hawaii, overtime is calculated into a public employee’s pension. If a public employee can spike their overtime, this also spikes their pension, and Police Departments have the most generous pension calculation formula.
This has led to overtime and pension spiking across Hawaii’s Police Departments, and Kauai is no exception.
In 2005, suspicion arose when the Kauai Police department had a $321,628 budget overrun. According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin[1], the Chief of Police commented saying, “This is not a blame game; this is a learning experience,” However this learning experience is taking a toll on taxpayers.
In 2011, the County of Kauai spent $5,774,743.07 on overtime alone. Kauai Police employees accounted for the bulk of overtime expenditures that year, at 35.39%[2].
Overtime costs on Kauai have averaged over $5 million since 2013[3]. The Kauai Police Department accounted for about 56% of the total overtime expenses for the county of Kauai.
According to Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., president of the Grassroot Institute, “Overtime is a necessary option to serve the public good, and most government employees do not abuse it. Unfortunately, since overtime is still calculated into a public employee’s pension level, there is often an incentive to ‘game the system.’ This practice needs to be monitored and reformed.”
Dr. Akina continues, “Our new transparency website,, is now available as a tool to help Kauai’s citizens hold their public departments accountable.”
Data on shows Police Officers raking in the top ten highest overtime payouts for fiscal years 2011-2014 [4]. The highest amount received for overtime by a single Police Officer was $59,590.65 in 2011; $60,037.55 in 2012, $79,874.27 in 2013; and finally $45,091.69 in 2014. This data shows that for the years 2011-2013, the highest amount of overtime paid out steadily increased and only in 2014 did it decrease[5].
For example, one officer on Kauai with a maximum base salary of $76,710 made more than $79,874 in overtime, and $64,511 in retirement and other pay, totalling to $221,095 for one fiscal year — all on taxpayer’s dime.
Officers on Kauai with high overtime payouts also received among the highest benefits for retirement and other pay.
Although police overtime may be needed in some cases, it’s hard to justify overtime numbers that are double the maximum base salary. This kind of overtime is not only unnecessary, but it’s also abusive to the taxpayers pockets, who pay even more when this is used to spike a public pension[6].
As said before, money is not free, someone has to pay it. Question is— have you, the taxpayer, had enough?

This article originally appeared in The Garden Island.

Anonymous said...

The officer that received double his salary should be fired and it his supervisors should be relieved.

This kind of excessive wasteful overt time payments is no difference as the GAS theft ring of fire fighters and probably the rest of the over times goes to fire fighters.

Where is the oversight? That's probably why the county of Kauai doesn't want to hire a qualified auditor.

The county of Kauai is a mess and someone has to have the courage to clean it up because there's certainly no one in office or as an administrator right now has the huevos to do so.

Dawson said...

Joselyn Olinares in the Garden Island wrote:
For example, one officer on Kauai with a maximum base salary of $76,710 made more than $79,874 in overtime, and $64,511 in retirement and other pay, totalling to $221,095 for one fiscal year — all on taxpayer’s dime.

Good Lord! Between the real estate industry driving up housing costs and public employees raking in overtime, Kauai is covered in leeches sucking her dry.

Anonymous said...

Good question: where is the oversight? Those who believe a volunteer police commission that meets once a month for a couple of hours can deal effectively with matters like these is completely delusional. The buck stops with the Chief. The Chief needs to be accountable to someone who will hold him accountable, i.e. The Mayor.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor?

He gave a private business (friend) 150K for a 3 month run on the Princeville to Hanalei shuttle. That's $50,000 a month and on top of that the owner and his private business got whatever he collected from the customers who rode the Mercedes Benz shuttle.

Did the county get anything from it? At least a GE tax receipt I hope.

The Mayor is a Joke!

Anonymous said...

You have a former cop (and always a cop) as chair of the council. You can bet he will not be rocking this boat.

Anonymous said...

The chicken BS!!! The public should demand and audit of the departments that costing the tax payers over 5 million a year.

5 million a year is half of the county budget has risen every year since this Mayor has taken office.

The citizens deserve better leadership. This all you can eat Budget Buffet is out or control.

Imagine if the Mayor got away with building the food court in the old big save? We the tax payers would be feeding these cronies not only in over bloated salaries but free food three times every day of the week and possibly on the weekends.

Only in Chicago style corrupt politics does Kauai puts its trust in.

Kauai is already bankrupt like the state of Hawaii thanks to this Mayor.

A surplus of $60 million to Bankrupt in the last 8 years. Where's the Fuoughs Mayor? Now is the time for real FURLOUGS instead of the faux BS one that you fraudulently invoked before.

Anonymous said...

@7:22 nail on the head. That's why this police dept gets to cruise in new tacoma's and get paid out settlement after settlement. Blank check time as always at the county. Sad.

Anonymous said...

Everyone from the Police Chief and down should be held accountable for the blatant abuse of overtime.

Does anyone recall when the county of Kauai solid waste division did the same thing with regards to sick pay and overtime pay.

What did the outside agency report say about the county of Kauai and it's blatant theft of tax payers monies without being charged vacation time, sick days, over payments and a whole slew of fraudulent abuses.

I guess if someone is getting there's then everyone who works for the county want there's too.

This is sickening and for the county council and the Mayor and his admin to know about all of this is absurd.

Kauai's Mayor will be known as the biggest FAILURE in the history of Kauai and the state of Hawaii.

And to think he says that he wouldn't mind running a third term!!! 10 years of this his shit is enough.

Joan Conrow said...

To 10:48, and the others who commented on the police overtime editorial by Olinares.

Here is Chief Perry's rebuttal, which was printed in a subsequent edition of TGI and offers quite a different perspective. He contends that much of her information is inaccurate and intended to sensationalize.

I would have printed it sooner, but I couldn't find it online.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't online but printed in TGI.

Anonymous said...

alphabets are one thing, reading is another, understanding what you read is something. everybody reads and think differently. I get dyslexic sometimes, especially when someone tells me they know everything.

Anonymous said...

It means that you are smarter than everyone else and everyone else is beneath you.

Just keep on believing that and you will live a good life.

Anonymous said... fucking way for a 3rd term for the mayor. Is he drunk? Well he has his Filipino drinking buddies...what a jerk!!!