Gary Hooser is still up to his old tricks, making up stuff up to frighten people about the seed companies, as The Garden Island plays along.
Though Hooser was soundly defeated by the voters, The Garden Island gives his propaganda prominent play, providing him a bully pulpit to continue the very tactics that led to his political demise.
Hooser's most recent rant is an attempt to keep the Council from removing an illegal law — Ordinance 960 — from the Kauai County books. He starts by claiming:
Because the courts have already invalidated the measure, repealing it serves no useful purpose. This is simply a political power play.
So what purpose would be served by keeping it on the books, rather than allowing Hooser to ace a political power play? But since he lost the election, he doesn't get to influence the Council any more.
The unconscionable part, though, is how Hooser uses the flawed Joint Fact Finding report to again fan the flames of fear and shore up his own totally baseless claim:
The data gathered during the JFF process indicate that Westside residents suffer from numerous health conditions at higher rates than residents living anywhere else on Kauai.
The science is clear. The pesticides and chemicals used by these companies are dangerous; harm at varying degrees is occurring to health and the environment.
In fact, the JFFG found the exact opposite: the science isn't clear, and harm is not occuring in any degree. What's more, the westside health conditions can be caused by many factors, with pesticide exposure the least likely source.
Hooser goes on to write:
Closure will only occur when the chemical companies fully disclose their pesticide usage, agree to reasonable buffer zones around schools, hospitals, homes and other sensitive areas, and the comprehensive testing of soil, air and water as has been recommended by the state/county JFF report is conducted.
Huh? The seed companies are voluntarily disclosing pesticide use and have created buffer zones. The state is preparing to conduct environmental testing and monitoring programs, and has set aside money to do so.
The only thing preventing closure is Hooser, and The Garden Island's crappy coverage.
Meanwhile, Mark Sheehan of SHAKA is beating the same drum over on Maui. In his guest editorial he claims that Mayor Alan Arakawa is “callous and indifferent” to public health and environmental issues before writing:
While in the neighborhood he might want to talk to some of the distraught moms who still worry about their children’s long-term health and wonder why neither the county nor the state can do anything to protect them.
You mean, other than all the many laws, regulations and processes that are already in place to protect them? Especially since no one in the entire state has actually come forth with any documented illness caused by, or even linked to, exposure to pesticides used by the seed companies.
Like Hooser, Sheehan is both fact- and truth-challenged, madly spinning the federal court decision that invalidated all three Hawaii GMO and pesticide laws:
The outcome of this protracted battle is critically important because, under this new preemption attack used by the seed industry in court cases across the country — this Monsanto Doctrine — regulatory agencies are neutered in efforts to protect our food supply and public health.
The preemption doctrine gives national and state agencies an empty authority devoid of any real ability to regulate the toxic agrochemical companies that own and rule our food supply.
First, this pre-emption attack was not started by the seed industry. It was launched by the antis, who were trying to pre-empt state and federal laws with local ordinances. They lost, and now they are refusing to accept responsibility for pushing this issue to the limits.
Second, the Hawaii court rulings have zero impact on the federal agencies — FDA, EPA, USDA — that regulate pesticides and GM crops. The feds and state still can — and do — regulate and enforce. The rulings only made it clear that people like Mark Sheehan and the other anti-GMO activists can't use local laws to advance their own political agenda.
So they resort instead to the staples of their trade: fear-mongering and lies.
Kauai voters have already said no to these tactics, relegating Hooser to the sidelines.
Sadly, Maui hasn't yet wised up. Sheehan is likely setting the stage for things to come with antis seeking to take over both the council and the mayor's office — Elle Cochran has announced plans to run — in the 2018.
Voters across Hawaii must continue to push back against these demagogues by denouncing fear-mongering, and demanding evidence-based decision-making instead.