Thursday, April 20, 2017

Musings: Own It

Only Jessica Else and The Garden Island would treat a couple's eviction from the Kalihiwai Community Garden as “news.” I mean, gosh, cutting down a banana tree without permission? Heinous!

But in scanning that tripe, I was struck by this statement from the Board of Directors of Malama Kauai, which oversees the garden in Kalihiwai (and has co-opted the publicly-funded “community farm” in Kilauea by conferring its own name on the project):

It is our kuleana to hold members responsible for respectful behavior and our community garden rules are one way we do this in Kalihiwai.

How curious, that the Board demands “respectful behavior” from its gardeners, but does not hold its new executive director, Megan Fox, to the same standard. 

The Board's statement also noted that the couples' actions were not “the pono way of dealing with such a situation in our small community.”

Hmmm. Is the Board even aware of Megan's own disrespectful behavior, her own ugly history of failing to “[deal] with things in a pono way in our small community” — a community with a long memory, a community she has worked to polarize?

I'm talking about Megan's role in the anti-GMO movement, her participation in the mob mentality that surrounded the GMO/pesticide regulatory Bill 2491. And more specifically, her attacks on longtime Kauai flower farmer Johnny Goriness and his business,Tropical Flowers Express. As Joni Kamiya noted in her blog at the time:

When the issue of Bill 2491 hit the island of Kauai last year, some farmers, who know the agriculture issues in Hawaii, spoke out.  Johnny was one of them.  Others stood in the background instead of taking the risk of being a target.  Little did he know that he was not dealing with local folks, and was barraged with disrespect and hate for submitting testimony for the bill and for a letter in The Garden Island paper.

One of those disrespectful haters was Megan Fox, who arrived on Kauai from San Jose in 2013. Like so many other malihini looking to belong, she jumped on the anti-GMO bandwagon and quickly began trashing anyone who dared to disagree:
Even rabid anti Joanna Wheeler recognized that wasn't “the pono way of dealing with such a situation in our small community.”

But Megan went ahead and left disparaging remarks about Tropical Flowers Express on Yelp:
Yelp later removed at least one of her reviews “for violating our Content guidelines or Terms of Services.”

Now, I think just about anyone would consider it disrespectful for a JOJ — just off the jet — to trash talk a local who has devoted his life to agriculture. Especially when that JOJ knows zero, zip, zilch about farming:
But Megan didn't stop at Johnny. She also attacked others who are pillars in the Hawaii ag community, including Jerry Ornellas, Kirby Kester and Dennis Gonsalves:
Of course Megan, who is now trying to pass herself off as a "farmers advocate" on Kauai, would love to sweep her past under the rug. Which is why, when Joni recently posted about the attacks on small farmers and I referenced Megan's behavior, Megan contacted Facebook to complain, prompting FB to delete the comments for not meeting its "community standards."

When I emailed Megan about her actions to wipe out the FB comments, she replied:

I'm not sure what happened to you to be so vindictive and hateful but I really hope you go back to finding aloha for others and not continue to be so focused on dredging up negative hate. 

Yes, that's how the antis twist things. When you highlight their self-described "negative hate" you suddenly become the hater who needs to find aloha for others. WTF?

Megan continued:

Our community needs to build bridges, overcome the past and work together towards common future to benefit all. There ARE things we can agree on, and focusing on moving those things forward is much more beneficial than mud slinging and gossip. Why you're so against that I will never know.

I replied:

If you’re interested in "building bridges, overcoming the past and working toward a common future to benefit all," you would have taken that opportunity to apologize to Johnny Gordines. Instead, you sought to have me censored by complaining to FB to get the comment removed.

Let me turn your question around: what happened to YOU to be so vindictive and hateful during 2491? To the extent of trying to destroy a good man’s business.

I’m definitely not against finding common areas of agreement and moving forward, though I certainly don’t see you or any of the other antis working toward that. But it really grates to see people who were actively working to harm small farmers now claim to be all peace and love and ag advocates, no less.

Please drop the sanctimony and self-righteousness. It rings hollow.

To borrow a line from sovereignty and social justice movements, "there can be no reconciliation without addressing the past." 

Regardless of how one feels about GMOs, there's no denying that the anti movement sowed an ugly divisiveness in the community that chillingly mirrored the Twilight Zone classic "The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." 

And yes, it does grate to see antis now making like nothing nasty ever happened as they try to recreate themselves as "aloha aina warriors" and "agvocates."

If people like Megan want to enjoy a position of leadership and respect in the community, they should start by issuing an apology and showing a little humility. And since they love to throw around Hawaiian words like "pono" and "malama aina," here's one they should learn: ha'aha'a.

Yes, let's all move forward — from a place of the antis acknowledging and taking responsibility for their bad behavior, their false accusations against farm workers, their polarization, their lies. 

And don't come back with "Monsanto is evil." We're not talking about Monsanto. We're talking about real harm done to real farmers and ag workers in your own back yard. Own it.

Especially if you plan to start holding others to "respectful and pono behavior."


Anonymous said...


Manuahi said...

Well said!

Joan Conrow said...

Per usual, the antis are unable to address the issue at hand. Instead, I've gotten 5 attack comments. Thanks for confirming my point, guys!

Anonymous said...

As you continue to attack you cry about being attacked? What's your point?

Anonymous said...

Everyone has to pick on Joan cause she calls bullshit. Whether or not you agree with her, at least you know where she stands.

Anonymous said...

I've worked in Hawaii's farming community for nearly 30 years, and what you said, Joan, is so true. Thank you.

"We're not talking about Monsanto. We're talking about real harm done to real farmers and ag workers in your own back yard."

Everyone who eats should celebrate Hawaii's hard working and dedicated farmers.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that so many of the antis, like Joanna Wheeler, are realtors.

I know you said it before, Joan, but I didn't really get it until now.
Let's get rid of ag, then we can build more houses so we can make lots of commission from selling them.


Unknown said...

Antis and humility don't mix at all. Same applies to working with people with opposing views. That's how the JFF came up with faulty conclusions. Hence, the hate, lies, and fear mongering tactics will continue for a very long time. *sigh* *sad* Stay strong my friends and stay on the high ground (you won't drown in a flood that way).

Joan Conrow said...

My point, 12:09, is "own it." If you want to disagree with me, fine. You can do that anonymously.

But if you're going to attack me, at least have the balls to own it. And there is a very real difference between criticism/calling someone out and a personal attack.

Anonymous said...

But you allow Never Been on a Jet to Kauai Bradley incestantly comment and give his opinion because he agrees with you and somehow thats different from a JOJ? Hypocrisy as usual.

Anonymous said...

The antis will never own up to what they did because they can't admit they were wrong and they lost.

Joan Conrow said...

@6:23. Uh, let me point out just a few of the differences between Bradley and Megan Fox. Bradley isn't attacking locals or farmers, he isn't trying to destroy anyone's business and he actually knows what he's talking about.

But again, you just can't/won't address the core issue, so you try to shift the blame. You guys are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Give um Ms Joan!

Anonymous said...

The antis don't want peace. They are making war on agriculture so they can control the land and water.

Unknown said...

Johnny is one of the most dedicated, genuine and caring persons I have had the pleasure to work with. How sad that that people are still arriving here ready to preach and spread their vile. And on a topic on which they are uninformed and don't know what they're talking about.

Small communities like we have on the neighbor islands are bonded by respect, trust, shared experiences and tolerance. To explode those bonds over political agendas based on issues of modern agriculture is a continuing travesty. And really good people like Johnny and others get treated unfairly in the process. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Malama San Jose, Megan. That place is needs it more than Kauai.

Anonymous said...

Can't stand it when relative newcomers act this way. It's not that someone new can't have valid opinions just because they are new. But if you are going to go off on a whole business sector and make personal attacks on someone and their business, be sure you are an expert. If you had 20 years as a civil engineer or urban planner developing roads an infrastructure, by all means give the county and state heck for the state of the roads and give your suggestions for making it better. But if you've never been a farmer, a soil scientist, or doctor, don't come in and tell everyone you know what's best for them. Thanks Joan!

Anonymous said...

What you've described in your newest thought provoking post Joan is what I consider the 'Anonymous' mind of a JOJ personality. Island culture mandates that you (should) be influenced by the majority (indigenous) and would do well to 'fit in' and get along. Newbies come from a place of that anonymity- where they believe their opinion is more worthy and their previous 'accomplishments' should be highly valued. Nope, not really. In a more populous area, for example, you could pass thousands of vehicles traveling in the opposite direction and know not a single driver- let alone recognize any random (other anonymous) vehicles. The comfort of noticing familiar folks, let alone All the random vehicles passing by is sadly disappearing from our island (life) style. As one kanak informed me way back, no stick out haole, then you will stick in. To define JOJ, if you were not on island when all but 2 island-wide gas stations were closed every Sunday (including all 3 in Koloa town) you are still, not a local. Great post Joan, from a (very) long time fan and 1st time 'anonymous' commenter.

Anonymous said...

Question: What do you call a conservationist in Hanalei?
Answer: Last year's developer.

That pretty much sums up the newcomers to Kauai. They come here to get their piece of paradise but then immediately want to turn off that spigot. Some call it "draw bridge" mentality. Those that oppose change and development the most are typically the newest to arrive. Now that they have their version or paradise, they don't want anybody else ruining it for them by allowing others to come to Kauai. Yet, for us locals that have been here for generations (3 in the case of our Kauaian family), we need growth to survive. Construction jobs are needed, more so than retired millionaires that want the island preserved as is.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong resident of 65 years, whose grandparents emigrated here to work on a plantation pre 1920, whose haole father came in the 1940's, I've seen so many changes on Kauai. About 10-12 years ago, I started seeing what I call the "pebble in the pond" mentality. JOJ's, as you call them,meet another JOJ with slightly more tenure. The senior JOJ will issue their opinion, whether it is a beach, surf spot, or GMO... Jr JOJ will spread this great knowledge to another Jr JOJ, and away they go like the rings created by the pebble dropped into the pond...They can't hear another opinion, even if it is factual, because they KNOW the truth.
Our parents and grandparents worked in to be 90 to 100 years of age working safely with pesticides. GMO foods are manufactured to give plants more resistance pests, thus reducing the need for pesticides. Without listening to experienced, educated voices, you wind up being swept off a reef, bashed or dead... you end up with rat lung worm disease because your organic farmer didn’t "chemically" control their slugs and why should you thoroughly wash your greens because, after all, they are organic.
If only the "pebble in the pond"ers would educate themselves by reading actual research, hear something other than what they want to hear, open their minds to the possibility they might be wrong, stop attacking someone whose opinion differs from yours without really listening, then Kauai might again be the Kauai I grew up knowing and loving.

Anonymous said...

Mike Fernandes Salling---It is a shame that you had to post Michael Sallings fraud and cheating that resulted in his disbarment from the Bar. Pretty strange since many lawyers do far worse things and still practice.
Mike has always said many things and always with a legal perspective. he should be allowed his comments.
But the overreaching mood is...How the F*ck could a guy who literally sat in the saddle of political power for decades be transfixed to steal from a little old lady?
Mike was in a large plump saddle for years. Auwe. Shame. Pilau
A liar and a thief.

Anonymous said...