What a surprise to see Councilmen Gary Hooser and Mason Chock proposing the politically unpalatable — tax hikes within weeks of an election.
But their shell game is to impose tax hikes only on “tourism-focused companies,” according to today's The Garden Island.
They seem to forget that most Kauai residents work in tourism, so it's really just an indirect — some might say dishonest — tax on residents.
If they want to spend more, did it even occur to any of them to seriously consider cutting existing programs, privatizing services that are being performed poorly by the public sector or address waste? Nope. Just hike taxes.
Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura tried the same thing, introducing two bills before the Primary to raise the vehicle weight tax and fuel tax. They were defeated and she came in eighth — behind Mason, but in front of Gary.
Guess they're all drinking the same Kool-Aid — with disastrous electoral results.
Speaking of Kool-Aid drinkers, back in October 2014, Pat Gegen and other Kauai residents asked the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to “perform a Public Health Assessment on the west side of Kauai due to environmental health concerns associated with pesticide use by nearby agricultural operations.”
The petition letter stated that the local communities might be experiencing adverse and abnormally high number of health issues (e.g., congenital heart defects birth defects, respiratory problems, carcinoid syndrome) related to the pesticides being used on genetically modified organisms (GMO)/crops.
But the agency's response was not to the liking of Pat or the other antis, so they never said nuttin' in hopes it would just get buried, or lost. Instead, the agency's response is now posted on the Department of Health website for all the world to see.
The agency looked at reports, environmental sampling results, human health statistical information and even the Joint Fact-Finding report on Kauai agricultural pesticides. And what did it find?
Based upon the information reviewed, ATSDR is not able to demonstrate scientifically whether people near agricultural fields in Kauai west side communities are being exposed to pesticides at levels of health concern. Accordingly, ATSDR will not conduct any addition [sic] public health assessment activities specifically about the pesticide use on the crop fields at Kauai, Hawaii.
Other key findings from the agency:
“Overall, the scientific literature does not provide strong support for an association of human agricultural pesticide exposure with the birth defects of concerns.”
These include gastroschisis — remember how the antis cravenly used the sad photo of a baby born with its intestines outside its body to promote their cause? — and cardiac defects. The cancer rate is "similar to or lower than that of the rest of the State of Hawaii."
What's more, many of the studies that JFF members Lee Evslin and Doug Wilmore used to claim links between pesticides and westside health problems “have significant limitations” and “mixed conclusions," the agency found. "Household use [of pesticides] or occupational exposure were often found as contributing factors.”
Yet, you don't see any mention of that in the JFF report or its recommendations.
The agency continues:
“It is unlikely that residents of Kauai west side communities are being exposed to pesticides at levels of health concern when they swim in, have contact with, or drink from local streams and rivers.”
Uh, somebody needs to send that to Paul Achitoff over at Earthjustice, so he quits saying shit like the seed company ditches are open sewers of toxic pesticides. Not that he cares about the truth, but just so he knows that we know he's lying.
“Although total volume of pesticides used appear to be greater [than on the U.S. mainland], the opportunity for residents of Kauai west side communities to be exposed to pesticides are probably no different from the U.S. mainland.”
Why? Well, in part:
“Most modern pesticides used on crops tend to degrade fairly rapidly in the enviornment, significantly reducing the possibility that pesticides drifting off of crop lands would accumulate in soil at levels of health concern.”
As for the long-disputed Waimea Canyon Middle School air studies:
"If these results do represent the typical exposures occuring in Waimea, the study results indicate that the local population is not being exposed to pesticides at levels of health concern.”
So if it's unlikely that people are even getting exposed, be it through water, soil or air, then it's equally unlikely that they're suffering health problems. In other words, the antis' fear-mongering claims are a crock.
The agency's letter concludes:
During our review of your request, we did identify a need for providing environmental health education to the local healthcare providers. We will work with the Hawaii Department of Health to provide the local professional healthcare community with an opportunity to learn more about environmental contaminantns and their potential health impacts on local commmunites.”
You mean, like Pat's wife, Marghee Maupin, a nurse who is always making outrageous claims about GMOs, pesticides and health? And Dr. Lee Evslin, who tortured statistics and studies, yet still failed to back up his claim that ag pesticide exposure was harming the health of westsiders?
Curious, how Hooser and the other antis scream for real-time ag pesticide disclosure, supposedly to help health care professionals, but these same professionals aren't even up to speed on how contaminants may impact health.
We know the antis are never going to accept facts that run counter to their ideology and anti-GMO cash flow. But it's time for elected officials to stop pandering to this tiny, loud constituency and wasting money on a wild goose chase.