Monday, February 13, 2017

Musings: Creagan's Attack on Ag

As chair of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Richard Creagan is systematically undermining farming in the Islands.

Ironically, Creagan is a farmer. But of the well-heeled, gentrified, “made my money elsewhere, don't depend on a harvest to live” variety. Which may explain why he's been pushing measures that over-regulate commercial farmers and allow ag land to be used for purposes other than farming.

Last Friday, his committee passed HB 778, which would allow housing on privately-owned ag lands with a C,D or E classification, and no associated farm use. It's ostensibly intended to promote affordable housing. But the way the bill is written, it's going to result in either more gentrification, ag shanty towns, or a combination of both. Why? Because the bill contains this disturbing line:

the authorization of dwelling units under this paragraph shall not be subject to regulation by a county;

The preamble references the use of water catchment systems and composting toilets to minimize infrastructure costs, and metal roofing and other low-grade building materials to keep construction costs under $100 per square foot.

It also references, ominously, what is perhaps the true motivation for the bill:

On another island, Ireland, agriculture has been supported and enhanced by the on-farm presence of thousands of bed-and-breakfast accommodations and farm-stay units.

Oh, so is that where this is headed? A tool for legitimizing illegal TVRs on ag land? And opening up even more ag land to tourism? It would seem so, given another bill that Creagan co-sponsored promoting “ag commerce” and repealing a law that required counties to adopt ordninances regulating ag tourism. Fortunately, that bill now appears dead.

Curiously, Creagan has been pushing bills advanced by the anti-GMO crowd that give counties home rule in regard to pesticides. But he doesn't want to give counties any say over substandard housing and tourism on ag lands.

As the state Land Use Commission noted in its opposing testimony, HB 778 would impact 91 percent of the state's ag lands:

“With no requirement that such residential dwellings be accessory to agricultural activity; the State Agricultural District will become meaningless."

So you cripple productive “big ag” with unnecessary regulations — pushed by the anit-GMO fear-mongers that Creagan caters to — and then you render the rest of the ag designation meaningless. Who wins? Why the real estate agents, of course.

The state Office of Planning's testimony nailed it:

“Land values would increase due to the residential allowance, making it more costly for farmers to acquire land for agricultural production. Rural sprawl would make it more difficult and costly for the county to provide public services and infrastructure including roads, water, and sewer.”

As Scott Enright, chair of the state Department of Ag, noted in his testimony:

This measure states that single-family dwellings can be built on land classified within the Agricultural District without showing the connection with a farm, or where agricultural activity provides income to the family occupying the dwelling. Long-standing State and County planning and zoning laws are contradicted with this measure and we respectfully ask that this measure be deferred.

The only testimony in support came from Board of Ag member Simon Russell, who also serves on the Hawaii Farmers Union United — an organization comprised primarily of yardners, gentleman farmers and dabblers who produce very little commercial product but are keen to dictate how ag should be done in the Islands. Gee, wonder why they aren't worried about the rising cost of ag land?

According to Big Island video news:

Creagan’s [campaign] website also states that he supports “the emerging role of the Farmer’s Union United as a strong voice for the small farms and family farms of Hawaii. The Farmer’s Union supports the small farmer in competing for land and water with the GMO seed corn companies who contribute nothing to the food needs of Hawaii.”

It's unfortunate that Creagan has bought into this myth. Surely as chair of the Ag committee he should know there are thousands of acres of fallow ag land, just waiting for farmers. So where are they? Why hasn't HFUU produced any? 

Creagan and his supporters are also keen to ignore the fact landowners can have their property reclassified into the rural or urban district if they want to develop housing. Passing a bill that opens up virtually all of Hawaii's ag lands to wholesale, uncontrolled development is a travesty — except to the anti-ag/anti-GMO folks who have found in Creagan a champion for their goal of destroying viable farming in the Islands.

On a related note, isn't it a tad inappropriate for Edward G. (Ted) Bohlen, a deputy attorney general assigned to the state Department of Health, and legal counsel for the Hawai'i Environmental Council and Office of Environmental Quality Control, to be advocating on behalf of the Hawaii Center for Food Safety's political action fund?
And finally, KKCR has firmly cemented its role as official Kauai echo chamber with its newest talk show host: failed politician Gary Hooser.

Yes, starting tonight Hooser will have an hour to make any kine, using the taxpayer-funded public airways of Kauai's supposed “community radio station.” It's going to be tough to avoid those prohibited “calls to action” while encouraging listeners to "engage and impact both policy decisions and the political landscape at all levels.” But hey, maybe he'll be the one to finally cause KKCR to lose its license.

In blogging about his new show, Hooser also referenced — without a trace of irony — the KKCR-Kekahu Foundation mission statement. It directs the station to “reflect the diversity of the local and world community...provide a forum for overlooked, suppressed, or under-represented voices.” 

Yeah, so let's bring on one more mainland haole repeating more of the same old shit you hear on all the other KKCR shows. The Kauai anti-GMO propaganda machine just keeps on churning....


Anonymous said...

Edward G. (Ted) Bohlen...this is completely inappropriate! Thanks Joan for calling this out, Bohlen needs to be yanked from his posts ASAP. Partial? Right.

Anonymous said...

"Failed politician" at the moment Joan. Is this how you describe every politician that loses an election or only ones your are obsessed with? I suspect Hoosier will have the last laugh in 2018.

Anonymous said...

So disappointed in Souki's choice of a Creagan to chair the Ag committee. Saw this coming from day 1.

Anonymous said...

Read two articles in the Garden Island Newspaper and the StarAdvertiser which troubles me. Sunday's TGI LTE, a person wrote an article about "Island Earth" clueless about the subject matter. She obviously depicted who the target audience was - totally scientifically illiterate, gullible, willing to spread misinformation, vocal, etc. In today's StarAdvertiser Business Section, there was an article on the value of agriculture in Hawaii. Featured in the article was a picture of leafy lettuce production. Clearly, the farmer had to use pesticides to have rows without weeds.

With this move to ban pesticides in Hawaii and our commitment to produce more food for our residents, we must see that our legislature do the right thing.


Joan Conrow said...

@8:43 -- Hooser didn't just lose "an election." He's lost several -- Lt. Gov, U.S. Congressman and most recently, Kauai Council, where he was 9th. He's in a downward spiral, and since there is no dog catcher's position, it's hard to see how he'll ever resurface. Not to mention that he obviously hasn't done a very good job of campaigning, seeing as how even a supporter like you doesn't yet know how to spell his name correctly.

Anonymous said...

I dont see how we should think that Hooser will come on top in 2018....Not again like you said Joan,, he had his time...we are done with him....and thanks for keeping us up to date on all of this...greatly appreciated

Anonymous said...


Really disgusting how it's politically incorrect to call out the "progressive" activist legislators for conflict of interest.

House Chair of Agriculture Creagan (are you still a Board member of Yardners Union United? Or is it just your wife who's on their Board?) owns 100 acres of only partially cleared ag land that could benefit very nicely from the bill he wrote, introduced, and passed out of his committee. Windfall! He can put up at least 5 cheap alternative houses and get the rest of his acreage cleared by WOOFER types or, better still, he can rent them out to tourists as B&Bs. Short term vacation rentals by another name. Oh and no home rule interference allowed on this one...activists only want home rule when it benefits them.

As Creagan states in his bill, "If some of these units are rented for short-term agricultural tourism, there would be a significant increase in transient accommodations tax revenue."

Yeah, not to mention the significant increase in your bank account, Mr. AGRICULTURE Chair.

And what about Senator Ruderman, another anti-real-farmer legislator. Why isn't he forced to recuse himself on the fear-mongering anti-conventional farming, anti-biotech bills? He profits personally from every person who is scared into running to his Big Island "health food" stores to buy "natural." Every anti bill that gets enacted lines his pockets.

Anonymous said...

Joan, If you object to someone having a show on KKCR, then why don't you show us what KKCR is capable of doing in a more positive way by having your own show on KKCR? Easy to complain. Not so easy to do something more productive by setting an example yourself.

Mark said...

"...that's 12,000 gallons/pounds of poison being applied to our beautiful island. This is if they are telling the truth about what they are doing. These companies tend to minimize their destructive ways."

So says the letter writer in Sunday's TGI. Then again, many of the activists seem to maximize their misinformation. "Gallons" and "pounds" are not interchangeable and differ by a factor of 8. Which is it? Either way, it's a great example of people having information but lacking knowledge and understanding. And TGI doesn't care about even the grossest of factual "alternatives." It's more important than ever in today's America to pay attention to your sources.

Joan Conrow said...

@10:44. Years ago I did do a number of shows on KKCR -- before that crowd turned on me -- but even then I could only fill in because people had been in all the regular time slots for years. It's a big clique up there and shows are doled out accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I have an even better idea, Joan. If you ask Gary politely, maybe he will let you co-host his show. The ratings would be off the charts!

Anonymous said...

@10:51 AM, not even knowing concentrations. Gallons = solutions that require concentrations. Pounds = concentrations also. Formulations do have inert materials. Need to report only active ingredients, not solutions. She also confused with DOW. It, in this case, refers to Department of Water (fully qualified to sample and test water), not DOW Agronomics.


Anonymous said...

Joan, you one haole from the mainland, right? How do you differ from the ones you chastise?
Are you trying to be local---trying to get more locals to be in your circle? So you are a good mainland haole?

Anonymous said...

Hoosier just won't go away. Oh well, it doesn't matter. Only the antis listen to KKCR. I only listen if there is someone important speaking. Lately there hasn't been anyone, not for a long time now.

Joan Conrow said...

@11:21. Why would I want to give Hooser any credibility or help his ratings?

@11:45. No, I'm definitely not trying to be a local. I don't want to be one and I've been in Hawaii long enough to know it's not possible, anyway. I was merely stating a reality, and since I am one myself, I have that right.

Anonymous said...

Today's TGI headlines regarding Keli'i Akina OHA's rep) says it all about the craziness of world affairs: "politics is not about the truth."
. . . "That truth will triumph when we all get to heaven."

This was from Kauai's Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday. God, indeed, works in mysterious ways!

Anonymous said...

While OHA hoard 600 million dollars when their people are homeless, suffer from addictions, under educated, go hungry, abused, and lied to. This is the great OHA and it's great members taking care of their own.

Anonymous said...

Estimated cost for Honolulu rail is 11+ billion for 3 miles and has not been completed in over 10+ years.

Estimated cost of Mexico wall is 22+ billion for 1,250 miles to be completed in 3+ years.

Can you see the problem?

Anonymous said...

Joan and Gary co-hosting a radio show? Hahaha1 I would definitely take time out to listen to that!

Anonymous said...

Bohlen testimony on pg 165 here:

"Comments: Please ban dangerous chlorpyriphos"

Anonymous said...

2:53 the problem is someone is lying.

Anonymous said...

Will Congress investigate Trump's deals with Russia or does Putin have pictures of Republicans and hookers?

Anonymous said...

Aloha Joan,
Keep on reporting. Some people really do not enjoy having their feathers ruffled. You are not in the same category as some other people not born here. Your heart is Kauai. Thank you for sticking up for the less informed. Have a Happy Valentines' Day.

Anonymous said...

11:45 Joan has never been one of those been here three years talk pigeon types. She has always stood for what she is. And she is many things, from darling of the NS elites to their now much maligned Beelzebub. But she has never pretended to be Local, li' dat.
Her KE has changed politics. This blog is read by many, feared by more and a salient source of Kauai news. Plus she writes good.
Somehow one may think that she has an extraordinary fixation on Da Hoos. Perhaps this is well founded. Keeping the errors of the Da Hoos' past in the presnt, may well prevent his re-election in 2018. There are a few seats opening.
But the reality is...our island is still harvesting the bad fruit Da Hoos and his not to be mentioned minions created on Kauai. The worst is the sharp knife he put in the forever simmering Local/Haole divide. Da Hoos brought back the F-word in front of the H word. But then again, dem locals like to put the F word in front of the Hoos name as well.
Get plenny Haoles over here and plenny more Hapas.....but until the Council actually listens to a unknown Haole without rolling their eyes back and having somnambulatory action..we are still in the the BS created by 2491 and the mobs of these hi-nosed Fistees lecturing the Council. The bad feeling and memories linger.
Da Hoos is still lying any using anus technique to keep his nose in the news. He has many followers, particularly the Garden Island Paper.
Just watch and see. The GI will be steady in Hoos News. But, we that know him, know that Da Hoos is Bad News for Kauai.

Anonymous said...

People had better start looking at HB180. This bill would allow the State to reach over to the county's real property taxes and double the tax rates as a surcharge to the State. This proposed bill is to help fund the Department of Education for teacher raises and infrastructure improvements. Rather than look at reducing positions at the top-heavy DOE, the HSTA union just wants to find more ways to "feed the beast". If this bill passes, expect to see property values come tumbling down as most residential real estate in Hawaii only provides a rate of return of about 1%-3% before the proposed tax hike. Doubling the taxes will also lead to increased bankruptcies for those properties that are leveraged with mortgage financing. While I think the Hawaii teachers deserve better, what they really lack is better governance. Right size the workforce at the top before asking for more money at the bottom. Throwing more taxpayer money at the problem is not an ideal solution ... unless, of course, you are the union.