Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Musings: Power Grab

Hawaii anti-GMO groups are pushing their candidate slate hard in the upcoming Primary, offering more evidence that securing political power is their underlying goal.

But with nearly all of the funding for these groups coming from outside Hawaii, the question becomes, who really benefits if their power grab succeeds?

The most vocal entity in this political machine is the Hawaii Center for Food Safety Political Action Fund. Tax documents show that its parent organization, Center for Food Safety, took in $3.5 million in 2014. CFS spent $738,569 on the Hawaii office that year, and a total of $425,000 on lobbying. But that's all the information that it has disclosed, and it has yet to release its 2015 return.

So Hawaii voters have no way of knowing who is bankrolling the group's political activities in the Islands, or how much the Washington,D.C.-based CFS is spending to influence elections here.

Other players are the tawdry Babes Against Biotech, which echoes CFS stances and reposts its social media memes; the smarmy Kuleana Coalition for Change, which is soliciting “anonymous” donations to support Maui candidates on the CFS slate; and HAPA, the political advocacy group masquerading as an educational nonprofit, which was founded by Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser and trained several of the slate candidates through its Kuleana Academy.

According to its 2014 tax return — 2015 is not yet available — HAPA has spent its money producing propaganda and holding meetings. Though I previously disclosed that HAPA had received a grant from CFS, HAPA has not disclosed any of its funders.

So how is this totally non-transparent political machine working to influence elections? Using the same kind of deceptive, fear-mongering tactics that have characterized all of its actions in Hawaii:
The CFS PAC is hosting “virtual phone banks,” where callers are directed to share messages like:

Our keiki can't vote for legislators who will protect them from pesticide drift, but we can and it's up to us!

Join citizen volunteers across Hawai'i calling voters from home to make a proven difference for our keiki! Starting at 3PM, a quick and easy training online then jump on the phones to help change Hawaii's agricultural future forever.

[CALLING ALL FOODIES] We need your help! One of the most effective ways to create real change is electing leaders who share your values and will pass legislation to create the future we all want to see for Hawaiʻi!

The "future we all want to see for Hawaii"? I'm reminded of the old Lone Ranger-Tonto joke, with the punchline, “Who is 'we,' white man?"

In order not to run afoul of the IRS, the CFS PAC claims to be “a non-candidate, non-partisan, not-for-profit committee. The activities of this committee are not conducted in coordination with any individual candidate.”

No, not any individual candidate, just their “true food” slate of candidates. Oh, and Rep. Kaniela Ing, since they're doing a phone bank for him. And one for Tiare Lawrence, who is also seeking to represent Maui in the state House.

They've also got a little deal going with Sen. Russell Ruderman, who is facing Councilman Greggor Ilagan in the Democratic primary. In soliciting volunteers on the Big Island, the CFS PAC promises those who “reach the most voters” a $10 gift card to Ruderman's store, Island Naturals. Kinda sounds like "coordination with an individual candidate to me."

Though its funding is non-transparent, the group has been quite clear about the sort of politics it supports. It recently lauded Rep. Chris Lee's $2 million organic tax credit bill:
Besides discriminating against small conventional farmers, the bill was passed through the reprehensible “gut-and-replace” method, earning it this year's Rusty Scalpel Award from Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters. According to League President Ann Shaver:

“This makes a travesty of the democratic process.”

How ironic, then, that it's celebrated by the very same folks who have joined a campaign claiming Monsanto is “poisoning democracy” by challenging the Maui GMO moratorium in court.

The group is also quite open about how it will influence Hawaii elections:

We will use your donation to:

Pay phone bankers and canvassers to get out the vote
Send educational mailers to voters in key legislative districts
Buy ad space in local newspapers and counter the agrichemical industry’s messaging in corporate media.

Which raises another question: Are local voters truly served by candidates running on a very narrow pro-organic, anti-pesticide, anti-GMO, anti-conventional farming platform?

Meanwhile, Hooser is desperately seeking to broaden his appeal among local voters, which prompted him to record a backyard video for Facebook, in which he tells us, in a weird third person narrative:

Nobody likes smoke meat, or likes a BBQ, more than Gary Hooser does.

He's madly trying to distance himself from his failed fireplace bill, which, despite his protestations to the contrary, most assuredly could have been used to ban backyard barbecues, smoke meat, cooking in imu, or the roasting of marshmallows on an open fire, as well as torch lightings, fireplaces or the burning of wood, charcoal or gas.

Though Hooser has his loyal sheeple, many others are smart enough to see through his shibai:

Kalani Kapuniai Nobody likes smoke meat more then the guy who tried to stop us Hawaiians from actually making smoke meat... Let the fires smoke! Let the dogs bark! Time to wake up Kauai‬. I'm not well educated in politician terms but I do know what's going on. And I know this is election year, and to win in an election you need to cast a large number of votes.. And I can help you with that. Go make it right with the real people and leave the puppet shows for story time in keiki corner.. And trust me... Those are where the votes come from... People vote for real people‬.

Listen up.


Anonymous said...

Joan, do you mean Babes AGAINST Biotech...? Instead of Babes FOR Biotech...?

Anonymous said...

KABOOM!! Thanks Joan!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for the info Joan. I had no idea DuPont was spraying so much. No wonder people are so concerned.

Anonymous said...

Hooser, the man would be king (in his own gullible, super ego view of himself). At one time, he was the state senate majority leader. Then, he wanted to become the lt. governor and resigned his senate seat to run for it. Thank goodness, he chose that option. Just think how much damage he could have wrought to the entire state in either position!

After sitting out a couple years, he successfully ran for county council seat. As a member of the council, he co-authored the infamous bill no. 2491 with Tim Bynum. Then, when the mayor vetoed that bill (rightfully), he conspired with JoAnn Yukimura, Furfaro, and Bynum to appoint Mason Chock to obtain a super majority of five to override the veto (bypassing Kipukai Kualii). That bill is now is in the federal Ninth Court of Appeals with has cost the county nearly $500K (including the Joint Fact Finding Group). Legal costs for defending that bill keep on climbing.

His legacy includes the anti-smoke bill (state already has one), barking dog, etc. - all of which restrict our individual rights. He is closely allied to external interests (Center for Food Safety (CFS), Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), Pesticide Action Network (PAN) to name a few). Clearly, he does not think on measures that are within the realm of the county level.

He is man not to be trusted!


Joan Conrow said...

@8:42. Oops! Thanks for catching.

@8:53. They aren't. But thanks for demonstrating the gullibility of the sheeple!

Anonymous said...

in every society we need watch dogs----so whether we like it or not, CFS, Babes, Kelueana Coalition and many other programs and foundations e.g. Food and Water Watch, Jeffery Smith, Pesticide Action Network, SEED and many more advocate for the same precautions, actions and make us aware of things we should be concerned about. With the information we then make our personal decisions . . . . . . then we respect what decisions people make for themselves.
Joan, you advocate that gmos are safe, that the biotechs are not spraying us to illnesses and problems------now let's make room for personal beliefs and decisions. There will always be two sides to debates, who really knows what the truth is in this case. Sometimes we have definite answers, sometimes it takes time to find the truth and facts-----i really don't think we know all there is to know about this very important issue.

Dave Smith said...

So Ruderman's stores are looking to buy votes (in a weird, lefthanded sort of way). Shouldn't that have to be reported as some kind of in-kind campaign donations? Is it even legal?

Anonymous said...

Da Hoos has always been for more laws, more rules and greater control by Government.
But basically, as a person who has known Da Hoos since his days as a Carpet Cleaner thru all of his business pursuits....he is a liar. He is out for himself.
It breaks my Bhakti and spiritual balance to speak ill of another human being, but truth is truth.
Gary Hooser has always been a grandstander, unethical (in all of his businesses and
taxes), and a smarmy guy.
His podunk "chats" from his porch are pure shibai.
The island would be better off if Da Hoos, his boy-toy Mason and JoAnn were off of the Council. These three have done a lot of damage.

Together we can work toward a better Kauai. Inspiring our kids, creating job opportunities, fixing the roads etc.

Anonymous said...

Barking watch dogs my ass! While we may not know absolutely all there is to know about this important issue, 1:50PM, I have absolutely no interest in considering Jeffrey Smith anything more than the Yogic Flyer who promotes some pretty serious bunkum. And pray tell, what is Kelueana Coalition? Are you writing from Fairfield, Iowa, home of the Smith Maharishi Hooch of Hokum? There are many things we should be concerned about here on Kauai, but this particular issue has been covered by a far larger number of governments, non- government organizations, universities and think tanks whose collective work, experience and knowledge dwarfs the notions of the entities you enumerate by a factor in the thousands. You are entitled to your beliefs, and I could give a rat's ass what you decide for yourself. But when your curious beliefs and alarms begin to affect my life, I have no problem examining them and pushing back. Sometimes we simply have to rely on the best available information and move on. And that is patently not represented by your crowd by a long shot.

Anonymous said...

Anti-conventional farming? Organic farming, traditional cultural farming methods, permaculture? Anti-conventional? You must be joking! Go tell that to kānaka who rejected gmo taro to protect traditional non-gmo strains. Your bias shows so clearly in that one simple term you have chosen- anti-conventional farming. So corporate farming by foreign chemical companies relying on laboratory alien gene insertion technology which enables them to use poisons which they produce and profit from is what? Conventional? And farming methods based upon traditional and cultural wisdom are anti-conventional? Think of all the things which were considered "conventional" in the past which turned out to be extremely harmful and unhealthy later. That word "anti-conventional" is a fine piece of propaganda for those who have agendas, wish to create division, or have very rigid opinions which fear the truth. The world needs more truth and less propaganda. Too bad so many who claim "the other side" has an agenda and uses propaganda, do exactly the same thing themselves without ever recognizing it.

Anonymous said...

4:34@. Da hoos, chock and Yukimura are not in charge of the council. Why do you think Mel and Ross with their solid majority of 4 have done nothing? You don't need 7 to run the table, just 4 which he has yet Mel does nothing. Tomorrow the topic is dog doo doo in the park for gods sake. 7 Councilmembers, 7 council staff members plus 2 Directors and the managing director going to blabber on about dog poop for two hours. Doesn't Mel realize how stupid he looks?

Anonymous said...

1:50- Very wise words. Thanks. There is definitely a lot we do not know about the effects on environmental and physical health due to gmo technology. To make claims at this stage in the game that gmoʻs and any poisons they may require are "safe" is not scientific. Those who make such claims either benefit financially from the public believing such claims or are unable for some reason to understand the lessons of history which teach us that such claims are very premature. Determining the safety of gmoʻs and pesticides in our bodies and in the soil, air and water is not so simple as some would have us believe. As 1:50 says, "it takes time to find the truth and facts". Why rush in forming opinions? This is where the value of the precautionary principle becomes so important.

Anonymous said...

Kelueana? kuleana. Hmmm.
4:36 Ditto.
More ag. Less these resort people. Let them go to Florida. They screw up everywhere they infest, then move here to get away from it.

Anonymous said...

"Too bad so many who claim "the other side" has an agenda and uses propaganda, do exactly the same thing themselves without ever recognizing it." You mean like you?

5:58 has no idea what conventional farming means. If you want to educate yourself:


Anonymous said...

6:07. You must be one of those assholes who don't pick up your dog's shit. Close that stupid dog park!

Anonymous said...

All you folks that believe Ag is the savior, it can be done.
1- Buy a million to 20 million dollar ag lot.
2- Build a million dollar home.
3- Plant some Ag. or a get few cows.
4- Work, work, work, hire some day laborers. After a few months and years you will produce some veggies and fruits.
5- Spend all week trying to sell.
6- Go to the Bank and try get a loan - Reverse capitalization with losses at 100 percent....expense income and results. You lose big bucks. No bank will lend. Dilettante farming. But you gots one good house and views and fulfill your BS dream of ties to the land. Oh an aging Hippie- how sweet it is.

Noble gesture. But no reality.
It is good to be rich. So if you are are rich and want to keep Kauai for other new-comers...vote Hooser, Yukimura and Chock. These three will destroy all of the old ways. Tutu will be in the poor house and Food Banks will boom.
Open the flood gates for the wealthy. They are in line with the anti-local three new age, fadists.
Kauai has Ag in her blood. It does not need NS rich folks trying to tell her what Ag is all about.
JoAnn the number one reason rents are high and we are living with three generations per house. Her anti-development has cost us all a lifestyle we can only dream about.
Of course, her little doppelgangers- Da Hoos and Mason lick the same incense stick. And that ain't no Joss Stick.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't and he thinks he's the man with his 3 other lady boys listening to their drag queen.

John McHugh said...

DuPont-Pioneer spraying 16 times (16X) a day? Where do these people get their information? There is not enough time in a day to do that many sprays even if you add up all of the daily sprays across DuPont-Pioneer's 3 sites in Hawaii (1 on Kauai and 2 on Oahu). You can throw the 2 Dow sites into that mix (which is merging with DuPont-Pioneer) and still not come up with 16 sprays a day. This is the kind of hyperbole that undermines the integrity of the HAPA group, such as it may be! Thank you Joan, once again, for bringing a clear-headed, critical thinking approach to the community. You do us all a great service and I, for one, truly appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

6:18 p.m. "Why rush in forming opinions?"

Birth defect claims! Poisoning our water, destroying our land! Pesticide drift's killing all of us! All of your (I'm assuming to put you in the red shirt's camp) lies and now you want to claim calmly "precautionary principle" 2491 rushed in forming opinions.

The bastard tore this island and community apart. After all the claims were made and not verified, you want ALL of Kauai to believe from the start that all you (red's) wanted was to be recognized as that to be cautious!

The silent majority voted the way we did the last time because we saw beyond his BS.

Joan's blog has been calling him out for year now and now you want to be calm and say we want only to be cautious. Remember Joan's blog about how this anti group changes / fine tunes their claims to keep the fearmonger's going. Well, your comments fit that blog post to the "T". go back and read that post.

Hell no! Voting public, do not forget the division of our community. don't forget who caused this hatred. He Lied and continue to lie and created fear for his personal gain.

The facts before the bill should have been done, the silent majority knew that. The silent majority tried our best to get the irresponsible LAIR out of office. This small community based island does not need him as our LEADER, he's not a leader at all. AGAIN, this is the topic of this blog.

You're a sheeply to him. I'm smart enough to know a lair when I see one. I'm smart enough to choose the lesser of two (or 7 in this case) evils. Based on this post, Self serving Lair's don't belong in office.

"Precautionary principle" is just a phrase replacing another phrase: "looking for facts."

And yes, we'll have studies done no thanks to him. We'll move on to find facts. But we won't forget the politician who started all of the other NEGATIVE things that brought us to where we are now.

Anonymous said...

9:02 am - they claim to get that information from court documents. In Gary's world, if it happened once, it happens every day, forever. Just like his claim that the companies are spraying next to schools. No one has sprayed anywhere near a school for many years. Let's use his logic and just say that Gary cheats on his taxes. Once a scofflaw, always a scofflaw. At least in Gary's world. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

Gary Hooser is nearly in the same category as Hillary Clinton when it comes to telling lies. You pretty much know he's lying as soon as his lips begin to move.

Anonymous said...

Whoa! Got some deep seated anger issues going on with some of the commenters. interesting all the angry people blaming Hooser for their personal angst.

Anonymous said...

1:17 p.m. just the facts, in forming an opinion. No different to Joan's posting for years.

dispute the accusations of all these deep seated anger, Sheeple.

Let's keep commenting on this blog to go past 50 comments.

Anonymous said...

4:46 your "barking watch dogs" statement signals that someone, some info is irritating you cuz the watch dogs you refer to are barking---too loud, too long? Yes, it's okay if you have no interest in jEFFERY Smith's teachings. Yes, you don't give a "rat's ass" about my decision (what decision, tho?) and that's good, no need worry and move on! But then, you say that it affects your life--i'm confused! And don't tag me for being on one side of the debate---i haven't made up my mind, i'm still juggling all the info! If you really believe that you don't give a "rat's ass", you should be calm, happy and free from being so harsh and angry sounding.

Anonymous said...

Gary Hooser is not a bad man. Gary is a politician and the rest of the guys and gals get a free pass but Gary and even Tim Bynum (who is no longer a county council member) gets beat up by some comments but certain council members who passed the gentleman AG farm bill and also the grandfathering in of TVR's don't get called out. This was a clear wealth class dividing bill(s). Why is that?

Anonymous said...

Tim Bynum pushed for the "grandfathering" of TVRs on ag land. Mel Rapozo spoke out against it. It's in the record.

Anonymous said...

@ July 13, 2016 at 10:21 AM
At least Clinton is sane. Trump is a crazy bigot.

Anonymous said...

Tim Bynam introduced and worked hard to allow his friends on agriculture lands to have TVR's, before Tim's bill, they were not allowed on Ag lands. It was his bill that gutted the TVR ordinance and made the numbers of TVRs with permits to blow up. Voters spoke and voted him out. Gary's supporters are the gentleman ag estate owners.

Anonymous said...

July 13, 2016 at 3:19 PM: If my post came across as angry, mea culpa; I was trying to express disgust.
July 12, 2016 at 4:46 PM

Anonymous said...

Look you guys, I have a house on Ag land. I worked hard for it and if you did the same maybe you could have one too. Resentment and jealousy seem to be part of politics over here.
I have been involved in environmental issues for decades in LA. I have been here long enough to know that without people like Gary Hooser the large corporations will take advantage of us.
I am grateful I ran into Gary five years ago just as I was buying my land. He is a sincere person and advised me on how to grow some Lychee and Avocados. He is kind and cares about the locals. He tried to explain to me that there was a local mentality, but that the locals really were good people in their hearts. He knows that with a little time and education the local people will fall into line. That is why he has that Kuleana Academy and HAPA. These educational efforts are real milestones and will assist in getting real world situations into the local mindset.
It is hard to speak out against corruption and Gary is suffering the reaction for fighting the good fight.
Someday, I hope the locals will see the light and get educated on the issues that face Kauai. Gary is devoted to fighting development, industrial farming and cleaning up the environment. Just give him another chance.
All development must stop. The roads are crowded and the infrastructure is overtaxed.
All educated and reasonable people will vote for Joan Yukimura, Mason Chock and Gary Hooser.

Anonymous said...

"without people like Gary Hooser the large corporations will take advantage of us."

HAHAHAHA!!! What a joke!!! Oooo...evil corporations!!! But I bet if your not a complete doofus that you've got corporate stock in your retirement plan. If you don't have a retirement plan then you define doofus in any case. Hooser's HAPA is a corporation! DUH!

Anonymous said...

"It is hard to speak out against corruption and Gary is suffering the reaction for fighting the good fight."

OK, 8:54PM Explain exactly where this "corruption" is that Hooser is speaking out against. But first do us a favor before responding and look up the definition of "corruption".

[8:54 is probably Gary Hooser]

Anonymous said...

The anonymous comment from July 13, 2016 at 8:54 PM ... has to be satire. Right? Please let it be satire.

Anonymous said...

8:54 p.m. You're a perfect example of what Joan calls a sheeple. Raise the draw bridge, you're here, you've got yours, now raise the bridge.

You're the kind of person Joan's been posting about (red shirt hypocrite). BS'ing yourself. "Large Corporations" Get out of your car(s) and start walking! your vehicle and the fuel (in general) come from large corporations let alone GMO fuel (oh sorry you buy fuel with no ethanol). Every store you shop on this island is tied to Big corporation (except your mom & pop operations).

big corporations have every right to be here just like you and me. they stay on their side of the island and you stay on yours.

You just provide words to make him look like a decent person. His actions shows he is what Joan's been blogging for a long time now. A freaking clown!

LA! trash flying all over the freeways, over populated! what can we (Kauai people) assume about you moving here for. get away from the rat race. what ever reason, comes down to you wanting to raise the draw bridge now that you're here.

what a joke!!!

Joan, I guess if they say it enough, it's the truth.

Anonymous said...

Holy shit Joan... You have really lost it.

Joan Conrow said...

Yet you offer no refutation -- because you can't.

Anonymous said...

JULY 13 @ 8:54PM says:
"He tried to explain to me that there was a local mentality, but that the locals really were good people in their hearts. He knows that with a little time and education the local people will fall into line. That is why he has that Kuleana Academy and HAPA. These educational efforts are real milestones and will assist in getting real world situations into the local mindset."

"Someday, I hope the locals will see the light and get educated on the issues that face Kauai."

"All educated and reasonable people will vote for Joan Yukimura, Mason Chock and Gary Hooser."

I have never before posted on this blog site, but after much thought, I could not remain silent. Am I being hypersensitive or do these comments seem to be unjustifiably condescending and insulting (and perhaps racist) to "local people"? I could barely believe them when I read them. What would make this person actually think that locals are uneducated, unreasonable, unrealistic and ignorant just because his desires, values, prioritization of issues and preference of political candidates may differ from those of many "local" residents? How offensive is it that he feels-- in his vision of paradise-- locals will eventually "fall in line"?
It is truly sad to see such commentary from any human being.....but it's a shining example of the type of mindset that feeds the growing divide in the community.

Anonymous said...

Looks like most commenters on this blog really donʻt care much about all the problems corporations like Monsanto have caused all over the world. Ignore those problems and instead vilify a county rep or two. Avoid in depth discussion about the awful damage much "conventional" mega-corp farming has done to the soil and environment. And nobody seems to mind that poisons these same "ag" companies create are showing up in our bodies and the bodies of our children. Or that gmoʻs are escaping into the wild with no idea how this will affect the world. Or the misery suffered by many living near gmo fields caused by dust and the insensitivity shown to locals by at least one of the biggest "good neighbors" for so many years. Or the censorship of articles sent in to comments which speak of these problems. Gary becomes a scapegoat while the billionaires at the top are completely ignored. The whole system of government is so corrupt with these billionaires and huge corporations running the country. A revolution of values and transparency is happening all over the world to return power to the people. Yet this blog and commenters seem so happy to focus so intensely and obsessively on a county rep either out of ignorance of the bigger picture, or with an agenda that supports these corporations and totally ignores all the problems they are creating. Talk about diversion tactics! Auwe!

Anonymous said...

Monsanto isn't on Kauai. Gary is.

All agriculture causes harm, even organic. The trade off is food production. Why are YOU focusing only on ag when many other industries produce chemicals and have damaged the environment?

Anonymous said...

9:06PM: You serve up such a dire state of the union with so much corruption, misery and malfeasance, your "bigger picture" problems can't be addressed by our simple forms of government. You need to search out some other place embracing "power to the people" as you construe it. By the way, not all of us who don't share your views are ignorant corporate stooges. But we did miss a full useful discussion of the issues before Gary Hooser ever took it out of Fern Rosenteil's living room to the Council floor. Be thankful we get to replace council members every two years. If enough of us are dissatisfied with Hooser, we will replace him in November. By the way, he's not a scapegoat; he's the goat. Power to the people!