Kaua’i Council appoints 11th-hour Member

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Frank and the angry seas of Kaua’i, Credit: KJHvM

Bill 2491 on the Island of Kaua’i has had its share of controversy, both scientific and political. The bill, concerning pesticide use and genetically engineered crop research, was substantially modified from its original version, passed by the County Council, and subsequently vetoed by the Mayor. On Thursday, the Council was to vote on whether to override the veto or accept it, and when some of the Council Members realized that they would not have enough votes to override the veto, they did something that they said they would not consider – they recessed the meeting, to appoint a new member to the council so that they could override the veto. The new council member would have less than 24 hours to decide on an issue that has been discussed for almost half a year. Jon Entine at Forbes has the full story.

Fix Is In On Anti-GMO Bill As Kaua’i Goes Rogue, Setting Hawaii County On Path To Legal Conflagration

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Karl earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics at UW-Madison, with a minor in Life Science Communication. His dissertation was on both the genetics of sweet corn and plant genetics outreach. He currently works as a public research geneticist in Madison, WI. His favorite produce might just be squash.


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27 comments to Kaua’i Council appoints 11th-hour Member

  • Keith Hayes

    I don’t get it. If the bill is “unenforceable” what would a veto override accomplish?

  • Kauaian

    The council just overrode the veto.

    The members who voted yes believe that the county attorney’s opinion is wrong. Besides, attorneys with anti-gmo groups claim they will defend the county pro bono. Hey, what could go wrong with that? /snark

    Sad day for science on Kauai.

  • Kauaian

    First Officer, I hope you noticed the snark tag in my post. :)

    I doubt those “earth justice” attorneys will even pay the filing fees! And obviously they have a conflict of interest since they will be promoting their “death to Monsanto & all GMO crops” agenda rather than the county’s interests.

    BTW, I appreciate your comments on Entine’s Forbes blog.

  • Oh, so the activist attorneys will work for free. Sounds like they’re about to be Dovered.

  • Kauaian

    Thanks, First Officer. My favorite Sherman song is Camp Granada, perhaps because I was banished to summer camp for years during my youth.

    I’m grateful to have found this site and have learned a lot. I wasn’t in the loop about all the GE broohaha, but had to catch up quickly when it all went to hell on our island. From various emails, statements randomly made around the island, etc., I had an uneasy feeling about GMO food. Recent events have forced me to pay attention and investigate. I’m from the sputnik generation when science was honored, so it’s been enlightening and rewarding to return to my roots and actually read the research.

    As a resident of Kauai, it is heart breaking to see our home torn apart. I learned today about the vandalism on a coffee farm. For people elsewhere, coffee and papaya are major businesses, but they are being assaulted here and on the Big Island. As is tourism. We are under attack.

    Last week I was approached by a kupuna in a parking lot. She found a note on her car that was very anti-haole. She is an honored elder with alii and haole heritage. Someone saw her light skin and left a hateful note on her car. She was so stunned, she didn’t know what to do and turned to me just because I was walking by and she needed comfort.

    And that’s the anti movement here. No science. No discussion. No honoring our heritage and the appropriate way to discuss disagreements. Lots of newbies telling us how to live. Yes, some locals have joined the choir, scared of the things they have been told. But we have time honored ways to discuss the differences without resorting to vilification.

    I rant. Apologies all around. I appreciate the discussion here and constant calm call to reason.

  • Kauaian

    Not that I’ve heard. Unless there are security cameras in the fields, it’s unlikely that the vandals will be caught.

  • First Officer

    Sad news. The big island passed bill 113. The mayor may yet veto it, though. I wonder if it’s not too late to petition China for, “Scientific”, asylum.

  • Kauaian

    “I wonder if it’s not too late to petition China for, “Scientific”, asylum.”

    Singapore grabbed a lot of the best US stem cell researchers when the Bush administration limited research. So, hey, why not China for biotech? I have friends in the non-fossil fuel energy business who have set up shop in China and are doing quite well as China goes all out to prepare for the future.

  • Kauaian

    And here’s the latest on Kauai. We are about to be invaded.

    “The Kauai Project, according to a press release, is “designed to look at Kauai as a microcosm of biotech agriculture and its impacts both on local communities and on the world’s food supply.”

    “….Over the next two years, up to 10 Media Consortium member news organizations will send reporters to Kauai. Reporters will collaborate, sharing sources and story ideas. Outlets will publish jointly across different media platforms. All will cross-promote each other’s content using a joint website. Outlets taking part in the first phase of this project include Earth Island Journal, Truthout, Specialty Studios, KCET/LINKTV and Yes! Magazine.

    “….Kauai is the subject of this project because it is not only a microcosm of the issues surrounding biotech agriculture such as pesticide-based pollution and GMO food, but also a microcosm of other important issues facing communities all over the world.

    Money in politics, overbearing corporate influence, corruption, new solutions for sustainable local economies, indigenous rights, rights of nature, and state and federal influence and preemption over local governments to protect the health and welfare of their people, are all strongly present on Kauai and make for a rich set of stories that need to be investigated, reported on and shared with the world.”
    http://thegardenisland.com/news/opinion/editorial/what-s-the-real-story/article_d0554362-5fd1-11e3-a3d8-001a4bcf887a.html

  • Kauaian

    Meanwhile, the anti-science people are (not) surprisingly quiet about the DOH report on the lack atrazine poisoning on Kauai and throughout the state, except for a handful of them yelling about a government cover-up. http://lauhala.com/hinano/20131226-011422-DOH-Atrazine12-13.pdf

  • Has anybody heard or read whether Kauai actually enlisted pro-bono lawyers and if they got them to pro bono all expenses too?

  • theoldtechnite

    It looks like Kauai did get two offers from two singular lawyers.

    http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/pro-bono-defense-offered/article_83297e58-8fc1-11e3-acae-0019bb2963f4.html

    However, they are questioning Kauai’s expectations that pro-bono attorneys pick up the litigation costs as well. Boy, are they in for a shock when they find out the Council wants them to pay for their organic dinner parties as well !

  • theoldtechnite

    Kauai rejects the pro-bono offers as insufficient and because of the lack of resources the pro-bono offers can bring to bear:

    http://www.kauai.gov/Kamaaina/PressReleases/tabid/346/Default.aspx

  • CaliforniaGirl

    http://WWW.EWG.ORG is a website created by SCIENTISTS. They breakdown everyday toxins we expose ourselves to that are not regulated (but should be) and a whole list of reasons why people should eat Organic Labeled food. I don’t see what the big deal is, if people want the industry to label their foods better then just label them and move on. People have a right to choose what they consume. If you can scientifically prove that GMO’s are 100% safe to be consuming then I don’t think we would be having problems right? I believe in science by the way. Also, there are some things that pass as safe even with low levels of toxins, which is fine but isn’t it better if you choose that same product by a different company that has zero toxins. I just think one thing may be fine, but the other way is probably better…unfortunately that means loss of money and jobs, so maybe that’s why people get so defensive. Anyways, I’m sad to hear Kauai is socially torn by this subject, I love visiting there. It’s terrible that people would be acting out towards others and vandalizing rather than peacefully protesting…but people are passionate about this. I think it shows (though in a terrible way) how much people want the best for themselves and their families. This must be very frustrating…but I think if people want to eat Organic great and if people want to buy whatever else, that’s their choice. Some people just don’t care about what they consume. I think though if GMO’s were totally safe we would be hearing from doctors and scientists that are not paid by companies that own/sell GMO products & processed foods.

    • CaliforniaGirl

      Okay, I just read a bit throughout this site and some points for GMO… I see your point. To my previous post, the mass consumer probably won’t like the raise in costs, the look of of an organic item with a bug on it etc. Also, I see you are a non-profit, sorry about judging you haha. Oops. But I do think people should have a choice and we do, the people that don’t care should be able to maintain the way they live and eat no worries… I remain skeptical because sometimes science creates things pills etc that initially go to the general public and then are removed and considered unsafe. I’m curious to see how this whole thing unfolds and if 30 yrs from now we see the effects of GMO’s in a negative way … what about when you are pregnant and have to stay away from lunch meats? What about added nitrates and nitrites? Fit for consumption but must be avoided during pregnancy? I could rant about this all day

  • Kauaian

    Can you “scientifically prove that” so called organic foods “are 100% safe”? No, that’s not proven, nor that they are more nutritious or flavorful. Why the different standard for plants that are carefully and in a targeted way bred, as well as subjected to strict testing that so called organic foods are not? GE food products have not caused anaphylaxis, unlike the old fashioned bred kiwi. GE products also did not cause 162 cases of hepatitis A last summer. An organic fruit blend did.

    If the concern is toxins used in agriculture, then you should be concerned about organics as well. Contrary to the spin, chemicals are used.

    If someone is concerned that they might eat something that is genetically altered by modern tech rather than old, untested tech, they can buy food labelled organic. Most people just don’t care for good reason. A gmo carrot would still be a carrot, as would an organic carrot.

    As for Kauai, the majority of people are fine with the opportunities provided by the presence of the agriculture businesses. Contrary to stories being promoted, there are no scientific findings or health department records of a poisoned environment, spraying the schools, increased cancers or birth defects, and so on. Fear was created to get a fatally flawed bill through the county council by outside organizations promoting their anti-science agenda. Council folded and obeyed when the wiser approach would have been to find a problem before creating a law to fix an imaginary one.

    This fiasco was created by mainland organizations targeting a small island that can ill afford the legal and financial fallout. Those groups are now trying to intervene in the court action, proudly proclaiming that they are the driving force behind the law. They admitted in their Motion that they “vigorously supported” the bill, partially wrote it, and “actively participated in the legislative process to ensure its passage.”

    • theoldtechnite

      It’s time to hold a recall vote on the Council and vote out some members. Then make a deal with the plaintiffs against Ordinance 960, stipulating they’ll drop the suit and any financial claims when 960 is repealed.

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