Friday, June 17, 2016

Musings: By the Numbers

Numbers don't tell the whole story, but they reveal a lot. Here are a few I've compiled that bear relevance to local and international issues, and topics frequently covered in this blog:

$196,469 – The amount, through April, that Kauai County has paid Honolulu attorney David Minkin to defend Bill 2491/Ordinance 960, not including costs and fees associated with Wednesday's appellate court hearing. His primary defense? The case should be sent to the Hawaii Supreme Court, where he'll presumably be able to rack up even more fees.

0 — Amount of those legal fees that will be charged back to Councilman Gary Hooser and the other red-shirts who pushed the bill.

$600 – Hourly rate that Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff charges taxpayers when he's suing governmental agencies.

70 – Percentage that agricultural productivity needs to improve by 2050 to meet the world's food needs
34 – Number of years before a world food shortage with the potential to spark wars is imminent, unless something changes

7,500 — Number of farms in Hawaii
152 —Number of certified organic farms in Hawaii
60.4 – Average age of a Hawaii farmer

8.6 million – Number of Hawaii visitors in 2015.
$15 billion – Total visitor spending 2015
Four – Number of consecutive years for which tourism records have been broken
1,431,603 – Hawaii resident population on July 1, 2015

38 – Average age of a Hawaii surfer
59 – Percentage of Hawaii surfers with fulltime employment
144 – Days per year a Hawaii surfer hits the waves

Half a billion – Pounds of pesticides used annually in America
171 million – Pounds of pesticides used in California crop agriculture in 2013 
55 – Percentage of that total applied to USDA certified organic crops in Cali
0.7 – Percentage of American farms classified as organic
$5.5 billion — Value of U.S. organic farm production 
$2.2 billion— Amount of that total grown in California

$60,000 – Amount that HC&S employees donate annually to United Way
600 – Number of HC&S workers to be laid off when the plantation closes this year

15,000 to 21,000 – Estimated number of feral cats on Kauai
42 – Number of native Hawaiian bird species protected by Endangered Species Act
Photo of i'iwi by Walter Enomoto of Maui
300 – Number of rat traps set in Alakai Plateau to protect native birds
1 – Number of kooks coming to Kauai this weekend to preach zero euthanasia of feral cats

487 – Number of Hawaii homeless per 100,000 people, the nation's highest per capita rate
27,000 – Number of affordable rental units needed in Hawaii by 2020
800 – Number of affordable rental units funded by Hawaii lawmakers in 2015
40 – Percentage of Hawaii's homeless people working at least part time
30 – Percentage of Hawaii's homeless people who have mental health or substance abuse problems that prevent them from maintaining a home.

One – Number of illegal Haena vacation rentals operated by a nonprofit offering a tax deduction for the $395 nightly rent
$10,000 – Amount of the fine issued with the Notice of Violation to the aforementioned illegal TVR


Anonymous said...

well that puts a fun perspective on things!!

Anonymous said...

Mama, don't let your sons grow up to be surfers.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and sobering numbers.

Apparently we have a lot more to worry about than chemtrails and GMOs.

Maybe we should all finally do what that overly-used phrase instructs us to: "Wake up!"

Anonymous said...

So if you surf but are homeless and work part time for a seed company you get a free pass. Got it.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Joan, you're testing us (your blog readers). this is what I take out of this post.

I thought the Council said the County wasn't paying anything to defend 2491? I tried googling the article / record to show that the County of Kauai will be held free of paying the bill to defend 2491. I thought the attorney's said they'll do it for free?

I thought we (County of Kauai) will set aside XXX amount of funds to defend this "no evidence bill".

Please refresh us all on the promise made by the 2491 bill writer.

Again, I'm thinking you're testing us with this statistical post. Yes?

Hey! Friday! Have a awesome weekend.

Anonymous said...


--let em be consultants and such---

I know I'm old fashioned 51 year old , but 600 bucks an hour for a divisive Lawyer that pretends he is a dogoodin for the people.-- and the people end up paying him? Thanks Joan, now that put things in a prospective.

I was going to say I'm in the wrong line of work. But I got this thing called a conscience . I don't want to say these folks are evil,,, but they sure as hell sleep at night dreaming of bigger scams for us suckers. I think it's hard to combat that if you were raised by this wonderfull thing called a mother .. And if your lucky , a good man as a father!

Anonymous said...

Loved that post

Anonymous said...

If you take the 8.6M visitors and divide it by an average stay of 7 days, it's the equivalent of 170,000 or so full time residents. Compared to a year-round population of 1.4M, that equates to about 13% of the year-round population.

Anonymous said...

15,000 - 21,000 feral cats!?.. do we really need trap, spay, neuter and release programs? HELL NO! We need to eradicate feral cats as quickly and aggressively as possible, before we don't have any endangered birds to worry about.

Feral cats are a major problem and the result of irresponsible owners or at the very least, careless owners.

Anonymous said...

12:15 Love your tourist. They support the State and County.
Realistically, about 40 percent of all adults on Kauai at any time are visitors. For the challenged, that is almost half. Costco - 60 percent of the dollars are from visitors.
Pockets laden with cash and spending it so we can live here.
Take away the tourist and we have a broke down, crime ridden filthy island.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you left out how much the big biotech and chemical companies spend on lobbyists, buying our State legislature and spend on public relations and astroturf bloggers.

Is that going to be in part 2?

Anonymous said...

A diversified economy is the only stable economy

Anonymous said...

OK Who is the number "1 kook comming to Kauai to preach zero euthanasia"?

I'm I the only one that doesn't know? Darn please let it rip about this kook Joan.

John Kauai said...

Nice numbers Joan. I've book marked it for future reference.

I was happy to see that most of them had links to original sources. The "kook" link was one I recommend everyone follow. Here's a link to Winograd:

I believe that there are way too many cats on Kauai and I support controlling them. I don't believe "no kill" works. Winograd's theories as presented in the link above sound dubious.

When is he coming and where is he showing his film. I'd like to see it and see who else might attend.

What happened to Penny is disgusting. I recently read that the internet and social media have a lot of influence on people's actions when they think that it is somehow OK that they call names and insult other commentators. It has something to do with the fact that they don't see their "victim".

Unknown said...

Astroturf blogger work pro-bono, which is about as much a Paul Achitoff should be paid for his contribution.

John Kauai said...

WRT Winograd, I understand he is going to be at the Kauai Beach Resort on 26 June. It is suppose to be the movie followed by a workshop. Don't know the time.

Anonymous said...

"70 – Percentage that agricultural productivity needs to improve by 2050 to meet the world's food needs"
Rather than cheaper food at any cost which is contributing to over-population focus should be on encouraging slowing population growth

Anonymous said...

so 10:10, are you advocating for starving the masses to slow population growth?

Unknown said...

@ anonymous 10:10: Are you proposing to control population growth through starvation?

How about education, economic development, and access to contraception? Since birthrates everywhere are going down, I think that we should stick with what's working. Also, it's worth noting that in most of the developed world where we have access to "cheaper food" (Western Europe, US, Russia, and some Asian countries) the birth rate is hovering around replacement or has gone negative.

Anonymous said...

I got a kick out of this letter (to the Ed) in the G.I. (June 18) from Petra Sundheim. It pretty well sums where these Antis' heads are. So entertaining!

"When it comes to GMO foods, Monsanto has been ousted in India and Third World countries after thousands of farmers committed suicide, basically due to the high cost of seed and failure of the promised food production. Yet we let these companies poison our little island.

The forces of light are increasing our planetary frequency and opening up hearts to their love identity. Our planetary destiny of self-destruction has been shifted to creating heaven on earth calling for a complete system change to support a new humanity.

In cooking jelly, the scum comes to the top for removal. So it is in cooking politics. Voices from the non-physical forces of light have indicated that Bernie Sanders is to be our next president. Pay attention and vote with your heart."

Anonymous said...

If Nathan Winograd is sincere about savings feral cats I urge him to return home to the mainland with as many as he is permitted to load on the plane.

Joan Conrow said...

Dear 9:48 -- I'm sorry I didn't post your comment when it first came in. I somehow missed it.

Yes, we were told the defense of the bill would cost taxpayers nothing, and pro bono attorneys would do all the work. Indeed, both Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice and Andrew Kimbrell of Center for Food Safety wrote to Mayor Carvalho, before his veto: "We urge you to allow Bill 2491 to become law. We will be there to defend it."

But Achitoff is only representing the citizen groups that joined the defense, which left the county itself in need of counsel. When the county advertised for pro bono counsel only two attorneys, Teri Tico and Peter Schey, applied. But Tico left herself an out, claiming it was against the professional code of ethics for an attorney to pay all costs of litigation and in any case, as a solo practitioner, she couldn't afford to bear the entire financial burden, even though she was applying as a team with Schey. She also claimed (falsely) the county had botched its defense by releasing the County Attorney's opinion, which was critical of the bill. Tico either didn't know that the mayor had every right to release an opinion that he solicited, or she wanted to make him look bad.

In any case, Tico and Schey ultimately were deemed non-responsive to the bid and unqualified to handle the defense. So the county had to hire Minkin. The Council initially allocated $75,000 for the defense, but later agreed to spend up to $210,000 on fees, while paying court costs.

Hooser characterized this as, "In essence this means the law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon LLP is offering to conduct the appeal for free other than what the County has already allocated ($210,000) and some miscellaneous hard costs estimated at $12,750."

Yeah, sure, "free" and "$210,000 plus hard costs" are totally interchangeable concepts. Spin on, Gary. Spin on.

Anonymous said...

Joan not sure what your last sentence means? The County paid the $220,000 almost a year ago for the basic legal representation and has paid no more as a result of the appeal. The amount that the County has gained through captured back property taxes from these companies far exceeds the legal fees. Those back taxes would not have been collected if not for the good work of Bynum as he was digging into the 2491 details.

Joan Conrow said...

You're not sure what my last sentence meant? It meant it's total bullshit to claim that something that cost $210,000 + hard costs is "free." And anyone who tries to present it as such is madly spinning the truth.

I don't know where you're getting your info, but I checked with the County Attorney's office last week and was told the county had paid Minkin $196,000 for work on 960 through April and was expecting another bill soon for the oral arguments.

Since you got that wrong, please provide documentation to support your claim that the county has recovered more than $210,000 in back property taxes from seed company leased land. But even if it has, that has no bearing on how much has been spent on legal fees, or whether that has been a good use of taxpayer money.

Unknown said...

Silly question: Why did the county appeal? If shaka wasn't going to pay the counties share of legal fees, then why bother? They had their ass handed to them in the first trial. FIFIRA has been the law of the land since the 1920's. the Ban didn't have a snowballs chance in hell of surviving any legal challenge. SO, why throw more money down a bottomless rat hole? Is the county going appeal again (after they lose this appeal)?

Anonymous said...

11:56 Oh Gawd. You are wrong.
The only thing on 2491 that Bynum/Hooser have done is cost the County Attorney fees. Split the ethnic groups and made it so any Haole who testifies before the Council is perceived a know-it-all, whiny, goat raising, wealthy newcomer. Also they made Big Land far more cautious with any dealings with the County. Bynum was a failure. And now we buy plastic bags instead of having them for free.
Bynum/Hooser other tax ploy raised taxes on rental properties and voila, higher rents for the people.
These two Bozos were at one time fairly receptive to true County needs, but as they immersed themselves in power their swollen egos and self-importance made them target social engineering projects, fad issues and other BS that took away from fixing roads and other tasks.
Plus Tim's suing the County at a cost of a million is another issue. And then there is his condemnation of all Ag Estates, whilst he, his own-self lived in one. Bynum or Da Hoos, a toss up betwixt which has done more damage to Kauai. Hypocrites and liars.
The list can go on and on.

Anonymous said...

At least Bynam gracefully faded into the sunset!

Anonymous said...

Why should I do your homework for you Joan.

Joan Conrow said...

I don't expect anyone to do my homework. I merely asked you to do yours. Which obviously you can't. As I suspected, you were just yapping with no facts to back it up.

Anonymous said...

6:32 Mr Evslin great comment but nonworking single parents get free housing, free food, and get subsidized for just about everything else. The more children they have the more income they receive. So why should they work or care. We need to clamp down on welfare fraud.

John Kauai said...

Here are the details on the Winograd workshop next weekend.

Anonymous said...

Luke thanks for the insight that would be counter to laws of nature where a glut of food leads to over population. Looking at population growth maps it is indeed the more destitute areas of our planet that are experiencing explosive population growth Possibly the silver lining of mass GMO food production is the reduction of human population... ultimately saving our planet

Anonymous said...

Why would mass GMO food production lead to reduction of the human population?

Anonymous said...

11:04. I'm trying to understand you. But it is likeyourcontradicting yourself.

But your last sentence pretty much summed up your imperical thinking? In a way that is very spooky!!!

Correct me please if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

I understand that GMO and pesticides seem scary. But now we have come to a point that we let people starve to death to save us?(as long as they don't effect our island?

Forget how absolutely wrong that is in a human way, but that you have no faith,,, in the human race,,,, as third world they might be to help solve this problem?

I guess if you live Kauai your so god damm rightious that you can pull the trap door on others? Let em starve?? For the ultimate hope that your gonna make non profit monies while you pretend that your a "good" person that will stop the evil empire that is trying to do what? Hooser you make me sick asshole.

We all over use the word shamefull(me included) but ,,,????

Their is right and their is wrong but letting millions of people starve because of where we were born is so so wrong that it is unjustifiable.
That is the humane REALTY of what we have come too is sick.

Anonymous said...

Thanks John for the info. I have know idea what you look like , but it would be fun to meet you. And no, your not a newbie z.

Ill be smoking a Cuban Cigar in the parking lot , and I got one for you. I got em from some Danes and I dontthinkthey are illegal anymore!

Anonymous said...

Kill the stray cats. As a car owner I will say they are a curse.

Anonymous said...

If you believe in global warming and all the hazards and turmoil that it will present, then logically you must also consider the results of masses of starving people and what they will do. Same school of thought.

Anonymous said...

Joan, thanks for all the information! Is the $210K mentioned for 2491 defense the absolute cap for now? For any funds beyond that subject to the council's approval? Best move to save money would be the county dropping its appeal and let the outside interests pay for the appeal.

Unknown said...

@ 11:04,
Yes, but we are not rats. Human population growth is much more complicated than access to food. And regardless, trying to reduce population growth through mass starvation is no different than genocide. So, let's stick with what works (education, contraception, economic development) and support agricultural research to continue the trend of producing more food on less land. I'm not entirely sure what you mean with the second half of your comment.

@ 6:42
Three million American children live in households earning under $2 per day. Yes, some of them come from families that may be taking advantage of the system, but all of them rely on government support to survive. Nicholas Kristof had an interesting column in the NY Times last week:

"So here’s where I come down. Welfare reform has failed, but the solution is not a reversion to the old program. Rather, let’s build new programs targeting children in particular and drawing from the growing base of evidence of what works.

That starts with free long-acting birth control for young women who want it (70 percent of pregnancies among young single women are unplanned). Follow that with high-quality early-childhood programs and prekindergarten, drug treatment, parenting coaching and financial literacy training, and a much greater emphasis on jobs programs to usher the poor into the labor force and bring them income."

@ 6:01,
Yes-- without a doubt. Which is why education, economic development, and access to contraception are so important. But, trying to reduce population through increasing the price of food is not a solution (as 10:10 above inferred). Check out Venezuela right now. Eighty-seven percent of people there aren't getting enough food because their economy has collapsed-- and so fields are fallow because farmers can't afford fertilizer, shelves are empty, people are rioting, the government is unstable, and children are starving to death. That's what happens when a country can't produce or import enough food. And yeah, that is increasingly the world that we are living in.

Cheap food isn't the problem-- it's part of the solution.