The Kauai county manager proposal is finally dead.
Councilmembers on Wednesday voted to receive a proposed charter amendment that would have stripped power from the mayor and given it to a Council-hired manager, while also broadly expanding their powers and extending their terms.
Why? Not because it's an inherently bad and expensive idea promoted by a few disgruntled nitpickers, and a wild power grab by the Council. No. That makes too much sense. It was nixed only because state law would require a manager be selected under the full civil service selection and hiring process.
Which means the Council couldn't hire/fire the manager and control him/her.
So of course they're not interested, with Councilmembers saying, in effect, if we don't get to do the hiring, what's the point?
Meanwhile, as Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Gary Hooser attempt to legitimize unpermitted homestay operators who have already been told to pack it up, some of those folks are now facing criminal charges.
The Office of Prosecuting Attorney yesterday filed cases against homestay/B&B owners Bill and Cathy Cowern, Darcy Summer, Patricia Enderlin and John and Lorna Hoff, charging them with zoning violations and unsworn falsification, both misdemeanors.
Over on Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has appointed mediator/facilitator Peter Adler to that city's ethics commission, pending approval by the city council. I mention it only because Peter is the guy who is running the Joint Fact Finding Group on Kauai pesticides, a process fraught with questionable ethics, bias and the resignations of a third of its members.
But hey, it was awfully smart to release the JFFG's bloated “draft report,” with its many references to activist-funded unpublished studies and unsubstantiated health claims. Even though the final report, due out later this month, is supposed to be revised to reflect the many concerns raised by the public and seed companies it targets, it will be hard to dial back the misperceptions perpetuated by the draft. It's gotten tons of publicity — most recently in the Hawaii Business magazine article on pesticides, which gives much ink to the proposed recommendations and says the report “suggests a way forward on the issue.”
Oh, yes. A way crafted by the very same people who pushed the anti-GMO legislation through in the first place. Because even though the discussion is now framed as “concerns about pesticides,” let's not forget it's all based in an attempt to destroy GMO agriculture in the Islands.
I thought about the Hawaii anti-GMO movement as I cruised around the fertile Willamette Valley in Oregon yesterday, enroute to a string of waterfalls that rival those in the Islands. We passed fields full of Christmas trees, nursery plants, grass being grown for seed. But nobody in Oregon is bitching about using farmland to grow non-food products.
It's only in Hawaii that you hear that sort of nonsense, thanks to non-farmers like Councilman Hooser who try to claim that growing seeds somehow isn't really farming. Oregonians are smart enough to recognize that non-food crops are valuable agricultural exports, and a desirable alternative to urbanization.