Sunday, February 7, 2016

Musings: Reconnect to Reality

I knew they were out there, that rare alignment of five planets, very visible on this moonless dawn, and I wanted to see them, but I was sleepy, snuggling in, telling myself, “maybe tomorrow.” But then Paele got up, and so we all did, which is how I found myself gratefully gazing up in wonder at that celestial arc of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Mercury and Venus, sparkling silver against a backdrop of black-becoming-blue.

Now that's something special and thrilling, starring in a sky near you all month long.

Not so special was the state's recent clean up at Kalalau, which resulted in officers issuing 70 citations over the past few weeks to people who did not have camping permits. 

Though it's always sad to see kanaka arrested — Alekai Kinimaka was busted for four petty misdemeanors, including landing a jet ski with a passenger on the beach — he's been offering illegal transport services out there for how many years already?

The worst, though, was watching (11:16 on the video) the tons of opala being hauled out – full-size lounge chairs, surfboards, fishing poles, rubbish, bongo drums, full-sized coolers, a five-foot-long plastic table.

Oh yeah, they wanna be part of that “pristine wilderness” – but with all the comforts of home. And let someone else clean up the mess.

At the end of the video, there's a DOCARE guy (I think it's Kauai Branch Chief Francis “Bully” Mission) saying:

“It really upsets me, just to see a pristine area like destroyed with all the trash and illegal activity. It really saddens me... and more so the attitudes. They say they take care of the aina and clean up the area – but then we come back here and have to clean up the area for them. It's just really upsetting and saddening to see that sort of stuff going on.

Yes, so often we see that sad gaping disconnect between the rhetoric and actions of those who believe — and claim — they love the land.

Which brings us to HB 2574, the pesticide disclosure bill that passed out of the House environment committee Thursday afternoon. Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing wasted no time cashing in. That very same evening he sent out an email citing his vote and asking for contributions, with the message:

He has our backs, let's have his.

At best, that's blatant pandering. At worst, it's selling votes.

But hey, fear for sure sells, which is how Ing and the Center for Food Safety, which sent out its own “pony up now” email, cash in. First, they make you afraid. Then they promise to save you from the danger they've amplified. But only if you send enough money.

It's not unlike the people who used to prey on an elderly friend of mine, sending him letters asserting that he'd been cursed, but if he sent $5, they'd remove it.

Here's the biggest disconnect of all: Though they claim they are protecting the keiki, aina,  kupuna and other Hawaiian words, they only want agricultural companies to disclose. Yet as farmer Larry Jefts pointed out, ag accounts for only one third of all restricted use pesticides (RUP). Even the hated Monsanto uses just 1 percent of the entire statewide RUP total.

So who is using the bulk of the RUPs? You got it: Pest control and termite treatment companies. They are using the most, in structures inhabited by keiki and kupuna, yet state law explicitly grants them an exemption from disclosure. 

But somehow, this does not faze CFS, Councilman Gary Hooser, Pesticide Action Network and others who are demanding disclosure from ag under the guise of “our right to know.”

It's not like these pest control products — advertised as “Great for trenching, soil drenching and wall foaming” — never migrate off-site when applied in a residential neighborhood. And they're certainly not benign: Sulfuryl fluoride, commonly used in termite tenting, is described as a “toxic gas..Inhalation may be fatal due to respiratory failure.”

Shoots, these products are even produced by the same “corporate criminals” and “pathological liars” — to borrow phrases used by those testifying in support of the bill — who operate the seed fields.

But pest control is given zero scrutiny by the activists. Is it any wonder that so many of us see bills like HB 2574 as targeted attacks on agriculture?

Though some have urged passage, saying it would “ease the worries” of concerned citizens, Allan Parching used his testimony to point out the dark side of the legislation:

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of this bill is the provision that would permit anyone in the general public to file litigation to enjoin use of pesticides in a particular location on a particular date and stack the deck against the agricultural entity seeking to use the pesticides—even with all appropriate and required state and federal permits and authorizations.

Both Parachini and Jefts said the bill should apply equally to all agricultural users of any pesticide, including so-called organic farms, and all other users of any RUP pesticide, especially golf courses and termite control contractors.

Or as Jefts elaborated, "If the true intent is to reduce pesticide exposure and increase the safety of families and community" homeowners should have to go through an education process akin to hunter safety training to show they know what they're doing before they can buy pesticides.

What struck me about about the testimony submitted in support of HB2574 was its sameness, as in 98 percent regurgitated the canned spiel that the activist groups had fed them. Which means they a) can't think for themselves, b) are essentially puppets, c) have insufficient grasp of the issue to craft their own testimony or d) all of the above.

I was also struck by how little of the testimony came from people who actually live near Kauai Coffee and the seed fields — the only entities that would be forced to disclose pesticide use. Much of it came from people living in Princeville — uh, go check out the poison closet there, guys — and Honolulu, which actually had the highest pesticide levels in the state, despite being devoid of agriculture.

Those who did go off script probably shouldn't have, like Rebecca Sydney of Makawao:

Do you not see that EVERYTHING on Maui is contaminated and potentially unsafe for its life forms? The soil is poisoned with chemicals! The water we drink is full of toxic chemicals! The air we breathe is still toxic with smoke and chemicals from agriculture and golf courses! The ocean is acidifying and dying from chemical runoff and the dumping of waste! The food sold in the stores is covered in chemicals (except organic) which can’t be washed off! 

Geez. Might as well slit your wrists right now. Or, get educated, alleviate your fears and reconnect to reality.


Anonymous said...

Agree Joan. This measure should apply to all. Would you Larry and Allen support it if it did so?

Anonymous said...

On point Joan as usual on point...If that person thinks Maui is so poisoned....why the heck did she move there and even stays there? This fools get so many other fools to believe them its scary .

Anonymous said...

Kalalau is loved to death. Abusive relationship.

Anonymous said...

It is so obviously NOT about pesticides. It's about controlling the land.

Joan Conrow said...

10:10 -- I have problems with some of the language in the bill.

Like this: As a result, the public is unable to evaluate the full extent of any impacts accruing to Hawaii's environment or its residents and to decide whether the risks associated with the large-scale commercial agricultural use of the pesticides across the State are acceptable.

Even with disclosure, the public, and especially the antis, would not be qualified to evaluate pesticide risks or decide if those risks are acceptable.

And especially this:
Any injured citizen of the State who acts in the public interest, at least sixty days after first giving notice of the alleged violation to the department and the alleged violator, may bring an action to enjoin violation of this part in any court of competent jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

The old rule in back country camping was that when you leave, you leave no trace of your having been there. "Leave no footprints," was one version of how to show respect for a beautiful place.
Abandoning your coolers, plastic tables, tarps and unbiodegradable trash. What disrespect.

Anonymous said...

Kalalau is loved to death and is promoted commercially world wide. It's time for the State to treat it as such. I for one have enjoyed it's bounties through my life long romance with the area. It's invigorating to jog from Hanakapi'ai to Hanakoa. Camp at Hanakoa and enjoyed the o'opu nakea for dinner. A good bath under the falls using the sap from ginger bulbs was also rejuvenating. Kalalau was bountiful with orange trees full of fruit, mango some papaya and water crest in the stream (remnants from the last Hawaiian villagers who called Kalalau home). The river also provided o'opu and opai and pristine drinking water. For the meat eaters an abundance of goats. All of this is mostly gone since the tourist traffic can range in the thousands for a week. People will haul in there provisions and be so tired after a long camp and hike that they will leave their burdensome opalla behind. The State needs to view Kalalau as they do Kalaupapa and the likes. Have a State kiosk at the entrance for permit purchases for hikes and camping. A designated paid parking area for over nighters so as not to interfere with the Ke'e beach crowd. You could also purchase hiking and camping permits online at a discount. The state gave out 70 some citation and the bulk of the citations will require a court appearance and fine. How many tourists will return for their court date? A loss of time and revenue on the States part. For the residents of Kauai , a Hawaii drivers license would give you free hiking. You would only need to pay for the camping permit. The State needs to put a plan together to manage the area daily not sporadically.

Aloha na hoaloha

Anonymous said...

Joan, always love your musings. The bill only targets the large agribusinesses and discounts everyone else, including individuals who are not certified to use pesticides. It would open a can of worms and am certain that the bill will not pass muster by the entire legislature in the end.

Anonymous said...

If for some reason this bill becomes law, it will fail in court as it illegally targets only certain users of RUP's as opposed to ALL users.

Anonymous said...

Joan. As a matter of principle, do you believe large users of pesticides should be required to disclose their usage? What about buffer zones around schools? Any merit at all to the core principles surrounding these proposals?

Anonymous said...

Several years ago there was a Hawaiian caretaker in Kalalau, serving as sort of police against the rubbish leaving hippies in Kalalau. After he reported DLNR agents seducing young girls with alcohol, the DLNR agents arrested him and the park has gone to pot ever since they took him out. Maybe law enforcement can go after the former law enforcement who bleach fishes the reefs too.

Hilary dresses like Kin Jong Il .... She and governor Christie should diet together.

Anonymous said...

2/7 @ 2:13 pm, as Federal law already requires ALL users (not just large) of Restricted Use Pesticides to disclose their usage, what is the point of your question? The requirement for buffer zones around schools has merit, as long as it is based in solid science and applies to all. Do you think there is merit to those core principles?

Anonymous said...

DLNR is so stupid, all they have to do is have an officer parked there everyday and do and head count and also a weather alert while checking for passes instead of waiting all that money on rescues and clean ups.

But it's all for the tourism dollars and the locals front the bill like idiots being played by county and state officials.

When will the people ever learn?

They bet every single time that Kauai people are so ignorant that they can't tell when they are getting hustled.

Their winning and even when they don't win, they will cheat by suing their own selves because it's not their money; it's the ignorant popluace's dime that keep the big ol greedy machine running like a slot machine open 24/7 in Las Vegas. Oh yeah and you all pay for their quarterly, semi annual, and annual trips to Vegas to spurge your nickel and dime on their bet against you each and every year that you dummies let them get away with their rackets.

Anonymous said...

The old man would take advantage of the tourists because he was boated in and boated in with the loads of alcohol.

He would find his customers for the illegal transporting in and out of kalalau through a jet ski and boat at $100-$200 to get in and out of kalalau and also charged $50 to $100 per baggage depending on the size.

It was a lucrative and illegal business ran by...

Keith said...

I agree that this is an attack on agriculture. Specifically going after the seed companies which is our best hope for keeping land in agriculture production. CFS and others think that us Hawaiians are gullible and will jump on their bandwagon. At one time the Hawaiians was one of the most literate nations on earth. Very tactical on their part, they are trying to use the Hawaiians who are already upset about the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian nation and try to tie that to the land. I hope the Hawaiian people(all ethnicities)see through to their plan to destroy us all from within. I see the truth, so should you.

Anonymous said...

Used to spend a couple very long weekends or a week or so in Kalalau every summer.Usually with a couple other hunters. Sometimes only took a cooking kit, a gun, and pepper. Lived off the land, opihi, vi, goat, luau, guava, taro, watercress,made salt, sometimes other stuff. Never saw hardly anyone except Dr Wheatly on occasion. A friend. Had to explain guava's down side to him when he got a bit constipated once.Stopped when I got dysentery and had to jog out and go to emergency room.
More ruined Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Sad. Never to be the same.

Anonymous said...

Again you entertain our anti itch Joan! Bravo!
Find much amusement in the last sentence, "Geez. Might as well slit your wrists right now. Or, get educated, alleviate your fears and reconnect to reality."😵

Anonymous said...

Nobody is anti-ag or they would be anti-survival. Stop the propaganda.

Anonymous said...

Keith you are insulting Kanaka Maoli with your comment saying they are "being used" - you suggest "they" are easily led? They are leading the awareness. Are you suggesting anyone has ever told Klayton Kubo what to say or do? He has been fighting this longer than anyone else. You just fall deeper into your delusions when you deny who is being impacted by the chemical corporations and pretending it makes sense for anyone to be anti-ag. your mistake is that you see only one solution, that happens to be tied to your paycheck. It screams bias and dilutes your message.

Anonymous said...

Kubo is about as much Hawaiian as Dustin Barca. Zero.

Anonymous said...

What hypocrites the state of Hawaii lawmakers are. They let GMO seed companies but won't let GMO fish in Hawaii.

Hawaii bill would ban growing genetically engineered fish
Feb 10, 2016 02:25 PM
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii lawmakers say they don't want genetically engineered fish grown in the islands.

Lawmakers are moving forward with a bill to ban farming genetically engineered fish, which critics dub "frankenfish." The bill was introduced in response to the United States Food and Drug Administration's approval of genetically engineered salmon in November 2015. AquAdvantage salmon is the first genetically engineered fish approved for sale and consumption in the U.S.

Opponents say the ban is premature because the fish aren't currently grown in Hawaii. They say it would be difficult to grow salmon because of Hawaii's warm climate.

But supporters of the ban worry about whether genetically engineered fish is safe for consumption. They also say the fish could threaten native species if accidentally released into the wild.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed