Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Musings: True Manipulation

As the Hawaii Center for Food Safety Action Fund employs phone canvassers, ads and even Patagonia to push its “True Food” slate of anti-GMO candidates in Maui County, it's raising eyebrows and questions.

Should a mainland-based and -funded group be heavily influencing local elections —especially when it's complained bitterly about others doing the same? Plus despite all its calls for transparency, CFS has not disclosed how much money it's pouring into the election, or the source of those funds.

There's also the question of whether voters are well-served by single-issue candidates. Because according to its website, the CFS action fund exists solely to support candidates “who will stand up to biotech and agrichemical companies and support local and sustainable farming practices in Hawaii.” Nothing about housing, economic development, shoreline protection, education, substance abuse or other issues.

The Huffington Post recently published an article by an anti-GMO activist that focused on the goal of the “True Food” slate to unseat the current Maui County Council solely on the basis of the GMO issue. It prominently featured Council candidate Alika Atay, who has no political experience other than working with SHAKA and Babes Against Biotech to push the Maui GMO moratorium that was struck down by the courts.

And then there's the questionable character and scant qualifications of the “True Food” candidates.

Among them are Rep. Kaniela Ing, who is awaiting trial on charges of driving without insurance and failing to respond to a court summons to appear.

Kawika Crivello took to Facebook to defend his mother against name-calling by “True Food” candidates Alika Atay and Keani Rawlins-Fernandez, captured on a CFS video:
Meanwhile, Alika and Trinette Furtado, along with their campaign manager, Brian Bardellini, have been involved in a bizarre battle with the folks who are trying to eradicate the little fire ants (LFA) on Maui. One of the workers sought a restraining order against Brian after he and Alika verbally abused eradicators, prompting Brian to respond with his own TRO claim.

The judge dismissed Brian's request, saying he had failed to prove harassment had occurred in the past or was likely in the future. During the TRO hearing, Trinette improperly provided information to Alika, who was sequestered outside the courtroom as a witness.

None of this speaks well to either the character or demeanor of these candidates.

The situation got so bad that Michael Kiyoshi Wailani Adachi, the lead invasive ant research associate at the Hilo Ant Lab, sent a letter to Alika bemoaning the “stressful and controversial” tone of their last two meetings, and explaining the need to eradicate the pest. “Our pilikia should be with LFA, and never with each other.”

Alika is quoted in the Huff-Po article as saying “We the people have the power. We the people are going to make this change.”

But Maui voters need to ask whether Alika and the other “True Food” candidates are truly about people power – or the power of nontransparent mainland nonprofits to influence elections and set policy for their community based solely on one issue.

These are the “True Food” candidates that Maui voters need to carefully scrutinize: Alika Atay, Napua Nakasone, Kelly King, Shane Sinenci, Elle Cochran, Don Guzman, Trinette Furtado, Keani Rawlins-Fernandez and Gabe Johnson. 

And so you know, Tin Roof chef Sheldon Simeon has endorsed this single-issue crowd. Just something to keep in mind when choosing where to spend your dining dollars.


Anonymous said...

Omigod! "Scrubs"? Outrageous. Such awful language. Hope this important news goes viral.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone support Alika Atay, a Maui candidate who seems only capable of:

*Calling hard-working people and agencies who are trying to protect us from invasive species, SCRUBS.

*Acting as a shill for a mainland litigation firm, while pretending to be part of a grass roots movement.

*Harboring the devastating Little Fire Ant on Maui property that he and his campaign manager run, so that the ant has a chance to spread all over Maui. Yeah, that's aloha aina.

Alika Atay ----'NUFF ALREADY!

Anonymous said...

i think the last time i heard someone being called s scrub was back in the 70s when i was in 7th grade. oh the memories

Anonymous said...

These one issue candidates use words as "Pono' "Aloha Aina" yet their walk is far from it. It's sad that this coalition candidates are being funded by mainland one issue minded people. Alika Atay and Keani Rawlins Fernandez should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such demeaning remarks (Scrubs) that angers people and communities all the while their opponents are working to bring communities together. Isn't Keani from Oahu? Didn't she run for Na'i Aupuni recently has a Oahu delegate? I know this. I saw her on the ballot? How can you hold 2 residency at one time? Or did she just move back to Moloka'i. If so? How does she know what's best for that community when she hasn't been embedded and engaged in any community matters? What has she done for Moloka'i? Alika Atay is not qualified not just literally but just by the fact that if those remarks and his following are a manifestation of his temperament? He has no room in my book to be representing any community.

Anonymous said...

Money from the mainland affecting local elections? Look no further than all the GMO-seed companies. How many of them are locally owned and operated?

Anonymous said...

So are you claiming there aren't candidates who are working to further the biotech cause?

Joan Conrow said...

@11:55/11:58 (same person)

Clearly, there are candidates who support biotech -- and all agriculture. I don't know of any who are running on a single issue pro-GMO platform.

Can you point us to documentation that the seed companies actually are affecting local elections — save for donations that are properly reported in campaign contribution forms? Can you show us that have action funds, like CFS, that are seeking to influence local elections around one issue?

Anonymous said...

So, CFS influences local elections, but seed companies do not? Lol. Remember the Gmo initiative on Mauai? How much did Monanto spend? More than a million dollars, maybe?

Anonymous said...

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow Tues. Oct.28, 2014) -

"Opponents of the Maui County GMO initiative have raised nearly $8 million, making history since no other candidate or group has spent that much money in any election in Hawaii.

The proposal on the ballot for Maui County voters would impose a temporary moratorium on the production of genetically modified crops in the county until an environmental impact study could be performed.

The group trying to kill the measure calls itself Citizens Against the Maui County Farming Ban. It reported raising $7.9 million, nearly all of that from industry giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences and a trade group to which the two companies also contribute.

The group reported spending $6.3 million as of Oct. 20 and had $1.5 million in cash on hand."

More at this link-

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, we all know about the spending to try and defeat the Maui moratorium. But that money was all disclosed, as was the source of that funding.

Where is the disclosure for CFS' spending and the source of that funding? Where is the media coverage of the CFS spending?

Plus, as I mentioned, CFS screamed loudly about that moratorium funding. Yet here it is doing the same thing, with less transparency.

Anonymous said...

You'd think Maui would learn from what Kauai went through.

Anonymous said...

And how is that pertaining to Molokai election? Helm Crivello does not have one cent backing from ANY corn company. Not one. You damn right Ag workers are supporting her AS WELL as TEACHERS who have donated to her campaign, FIREFIGHTERS who have donated their time and donations, POLICE OFFICERS who have supported her in their time and donations, PARAMEDICS, HEALTH CARE WORKERS, YOUTH COUNSELORS, LOCAL BUSINESS OWNERS AND WORKERS (One is a well known business of her opponents family RAWLINS CHEVRON.) Simply because they know who's BEEN helping Moloka'i and not just a one issue candidate like Keani Rawlins-Fernandez who hasn't lived on Moloka'i for over 15yrs and has done absolutely NOTHING in Moloka'i community. NOTHING. You don't have to be a politician to want to give back to the community. Keani needs to prove herself that she is TRULY for the community and not for self interest. Moloka'i is not a stepping stone for self promotion. Moloka'i wants someone who's committed. Stacy Helm Crivello has been that and has shown that for YEARS. Way before being elected councilwoman for Molokai. Waaayyyy before!!! Truth!

Anonymous said...

Awesome point which many are asking. Where's the transiency and disclosure in CFS spending. This coalition pac are skating by unchecked until after the election while candidate (incumbents) Has to disclose every single cent and who it's from. Stacy Helm-Crivello does that. Keani Rawlins-Fernandez does not have too. Talk about double standard. Coalition people shouts "Monsanto funded" yet records show not one cent was given to Helm Crivello. You ask Rawlins Fernandez the same question "Who funds you?" What's the answer to that? "I don't know." Because she honestly doesn't know. Until AFTER the election. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Pisses me off to keep hearing about all the money spent by the seed companies to defeat the GMO moratorium thing on Maui. So what? If farmers here on Maui could have afforded to give more to the campaign to defeat that thing, we would have. But how can we defend farming or science against a bunch of mainland antis with lots of money who don't know a thing about farming and scared people into signing.

Anonymous said...

So many issues pale in comparison to the impact invasive species have and will have in the islands.

I wonder if Maui voters understand the role that Alika Atay played in allowing the fire ant to multiply on the property he runs. How irresponsible.

The economic impact of Little Fire Ant on Hawaii Island is estimated at $194,000,000 annually and there is no hope of eradicating it there. But there is still hope that we can get rid of it on Maui, if people cooperate and don't behave like County Council candidates Atay and Trinette Furtado, and their campaign manager Bardellini.

Due to the severity and extent of impacts, LFA is considered among
the world's worst invasive species (Lowe et al., 2000). In homes, schools, lodging, and parks, the Ant stings adults, infants, children and pets. The sting typically causes an intense burning sensation and painful itchy welts that itch for a week or more. Babies can receive numerous stings within a few minutes of exposure. Pets are stung in the eyes, blinding them over time (Theron, 2005). LFA infestations put agriculture crops and workers at risk (Fabres and Brown, 1978).

The LFA threatens native biodiversity, alters tropical ecosystems, impairs human health, impedes tourism, diminishes agricultural productivity, and mars horticulture sales. LFAs sting birds, interfering with reproduction, nesting, and survival of
young. Wild honeybee hives in Hawaii have been swarmed and destroyed by LFA.

Farm workers have been stung repeatedly and plant nurseries can and have gone out of business due to lost productivity, high treatments costs, and a reluctance by consumers to buy infested stock.

Once established, Little Fire Ant can occupy their habitat at an extraordinarily high density. Population size can exceed 80 million ants per acre (Souza et al., 2008).

A 2013 study on the economics of Little Fire Ants estimates that without management, the damages on Hawaii Island alone in costs to nurseries, agriculture, residents, lodging, parks, schools, and other sectors could reach $6.8 Billion over the next 35 years.

Although total eradication of ants from Hawaii Island is not possible, a study published by Lee et al. in 2015 found that an immediate investment of $8M over the next 2-3 years would avoid costs over the next 10 years totaling $1.2B in control and $129M in economic damages.


We can't afford to have people like Atay and Furtado in leadership positions when they clearly have such poor judgement.

Anonymous said...

This is a really sad reflection on Alika Atay. And it's not the first time he used that term to describe good people. I was recently at a public meeting where the State’s proposed Biosecurity Plan was being explained. The plan lays out what Hawaii needs to do to protect itself from the continued onslaught of invasive species like Little Fire Ant, snakes, and disease-carrying insects. Many people there highlighted the good work of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, even though they are severely understaffed --- less than half a percent of the State budget goes to them.
But not everyone was respectful.
Alika Atay came to the front of the room and called employees of HDOA "SCRUBS," which I had never heard before. I looked it up. It means "a mean insignificant fellow, a person of little account or poor appearance, a loser."
Several HDOA staff were present at the meeting - people who work really hard on behalf of our way of life, our farmers, and the environment. It made me feel terrible watching the impact of such disrespect on people who spend hours standing in the hot sun at the harbor, looking at trees and inspecting fruit, flowers, cars, and anything else that might bring unwanted pests to our shores. They are overworked and underpaid.
We need elected officials who appreciate and support our front line of defense against invasive species, not someone who publicly denigrates decent people and thwarts efforts to keep our county safe and free from Little Fire Ants and other dangers.

Anonymous said...

They didn't abandoned their plans to show the movies at the Waimea Theater. They were turned away because the West side wants to see films of importance and relativity to us. Not a propaganda film full of lies and untruths.

Anonymous said...

Alika Atay is the scrub.

Anonymous said...

Iʻm quite taken back by the unprofessionalism displayed by such a candidate here in Hawaiʻi especially him being a Hawaiian. Sadly I witnessed the video of Alika Atay referring to the Maui County Council members as "Scrubs" not just once during that forum but a number of times without any regard to the actual work and accomplishments they have done as OUR ELECTED Officials. To call them "Scrubs" is to call Us "Scrubs" since the majority voted them into office. What made it worst was the "groupies" that was sitting in the room sharing his same sentiments by laughing and clapping which showed their immaturity and nonsense behavior. Not Pono and No Respect what so ever! Atayʻs ego seems to be enormous and heʻs not even in office so please consider the kind of "elected official" he would be should he get voted in and the disrespectful behavior of his backers spreading like the devastating fire ant pests we are having a problem with.

Furthermore, the candidates part of the ʻOhana Coalition have been using the platform of being "Grass Roots" and not being influenced by "Big Money Interest" yet they are part of a SUPER PAC with Big Money Interest groups funding this Coalition with backers like SHAKA, Hawaii Center for Food Safety Action Fund, special heavily funded interest groups from the mainland and other "anti GMO" groups. Yes the Coalition candidates are ALL Single-Issue Candidates which seems to spark the most passion out of these candidates when that issue comes up in forums.

To YOU Alika Atay I say this...."NUFF ALREADY!" Nuff of the B.S. Lies...Nuff of your disrespect...nuff of your ego...nuff of your non-sense...nuff of your rudeness...nuff of your "what I will do" pitch ...nuff nuff nuff Already!

sam small said...

Monsanto and Dow spent well over 8 Million dollars in Maui County two years ago to lie to the public about the GM Moratorium, the most ever spent on a local initiative in the history of the USA, and you are worried about CFS? What a crock!
How much of Monsanto's money do you get? How much did Mayor Arakawa get to make up lies about Papaya Police and how GM seeds in your dog food will poop out and sprout in your backyard causing the police to raid your garden. Such shameful and blatant lies, just like your reporting.

By comparison, Shaka and CFS are not heavily funded as you claim. Their funds spent on spreading the truth pales in comparison to the funds spend spreading your propaganda and mischaracterizations.

You calling anyone out for lack of integrity is the pot calling the kettle black.

sam small said...

We need elected officials who are not sucking the tit of corporations like A&B and Monsanto. The Aloha 'Aina candidates, including Alika Atay, are independent and will work to protect the future of Maui County from corporate exploitation so your children can still call it home. Your bullshit is a measure of how scared you are of the people taking control back from your Masters, you corporate tools.

Joan Conrow said...

I don't get any money from Monsanto and I challenge you to identify one lie in this piece. The moratorium was two years ago. We're talking about now.

Which brings me to CFS and SHAKA and their funding and spending. Are we just supposed to take your hyperbolic word for it? If they're so righteous, why do they refuse to disclose their funding and spending?

It's such a joke to claim Alika et. al are independent. They're tools of CFS and SHAKA, both of which hide their funding and spending while hypocritally calling for transparency in others. Alika can barely articulate a sentence much less speak or think for himself. But then, that's how the puppet masters like it.

Joan Conrow said...

@8:50 You don't know anything about me.

And your delusions are manifold if you think the anti-GMO has anything to with Jesus or righteousness or even Christianity. You folks don't know the meaning of forgiveness or enlightenment. Still, the movement does have everything to do with sanctimonious fundamentalism, so thanks for again making that clear.

sam small said...

As if what took place two years ago is separate from what is going on today? Are you insane? You think Monsanto just walked away from it's 8 Million + dollar political investment? That they are not pulling stings in this election too? Your own bullshit post proves it. No one takes you seriously. You are totally predictable, attack anyone who challenges the corporate dominated status quo.

Like so many things here that are the reverse of the mainland, a nondisclosure superpac is actually a mechanism for free speech. Everyone knows that if your name is published in the Maui News as a contributor to the "wrong" candidate, that is anyone running in order to wrestle our government away from corporate control, then you will see retribution against you at your place of employment or in your business. That's a fact of life since the plantation days. Make waves and they will destroy you. The only people that are upset about nondisclosure are the ones with a vested corporate interest, that's you and your pals.

You cannot pretend that Hawaii is like any state in the US. Especially in Maui County we live under corporate control that dominates our economic and political system. The mayor here lies regularly, on GMO's, on his Anergia waste to energy deal, he calls Hawaiian Spirituality a "made-up religion" and dismisses the public's vote in favor of private deals he makes with large companies like Monsanto. Arakawa and his tool Don Couch want to suspend our community planning system not because the system is broken but because they, and their developer pals, are seeking to exploit everything they can out of Maui, and the people of Maui don't want that. I say the people's will is more important than some off island profit driven corporation.

Shaka has no real agenda for Maui other than to block corporations like Monsanto from dominating our lives. There is no massive big money left wing conspiracy driving Alika Atay to do anything. Do you really think anyone believes you write the bullshit you do for any reason other than to protect the big money status quo?

As for little red fire ants, that's another sweet spot for Monsanto, a chemical company selling chemicals that are not needed and which that other corporate shill, Scott Enright, is pushing on homeowners to use exclusively. The DoA has pretty much become an extension of Monsanto, and does not follow any standard protocol when spraying Monsanto's poisons. They do not confirm that the ants are actually LRFA, they do not survey the area or mark where they sprayed to be able to track their affect, they just enter a property and spray. LRFA do need to be controlled but I don't trust Monsanto and Scott Enright to do it without harming us or our environment. They appear to be only in it for the money and when that is the case our health and well being is usually a casualty we only discover too late.

Joan Conrow said...

You're in so deep you actually believe your own BS: "Like so many things here that are the reverse of the mainland, a nondisclosure superpac is actually a mechanism for free speech."

Ya right. That's rich. And a great way to hide contributions. The system is indeed broken when groups like SHAKA can lobby and do superPACs with no disclosure. You're no better than the Koch brothers and the corporations you deride even as you support them with every purchase.

As for who is believable here, you shot your wad on the claim that the control of little fire ants is a corporate conspiracy and those eradicating them operate without any protocol. Wow. You're truly down the rabbit hole, just like the kooky candidates you support.

But thanks for writing. Your comments just confirm what people are in for if they vote the SHAKA/CFS ticket.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the lunatics are out in full force today.

If I had delusional thoughts like the comments at 7:32 and 11:10 AM, I sure wouldn't write them down. Or put my name on them!

But hey, it's Sam Small, what do you expect?

On Maui, we just roll our eyes when he shows up.

Anonymous said...

Xmas is not till next month. Where did this fruitcake get his information? He's obviously a shill for stupidity as practiced by HCFS, SHAKA,SEED, PAN,GREENPEACE, etal.