So What Really Happened Yesterday September 9, 2013?

To say the least, yesterday was a bit frustrating.  For those observing the 12 hour session it is clear there were really two meetings – one between council members discussing amendments and one between council members and the agrochemical industry representatives (and a handful of others).

A summary of the amendment discussion portion of the meeting is below…the discussion with the agrochemical industry representatives will follow…in a day or so.

The Committee on Economic Development (agriculture, sustainability) and Intergovernmental Affairs is composed of 5 council members: Myself as the Chair, CM Yukimura as Vice Chair and CM Kagawa, CM Nakamura and CM Rapozo.

As is always the case with every piece of newly proposed legislation it is a given that the Bill can and should be amended to improve and to clarify. 

At yesterdays meeting I presented for discussion three amendments and non-committee member Bynum contributed a fourth.  From our perspective, these amendments were sufficient to keep the Bill strong and allow it to move forward to a full council vote. 

Technically these could have been presented as a single amendment but to facilitate an easier discussion the amendments were broken into four parts:

1) Clarifying the amount of pounds/gallons of RUP’s used  

2) Clarifying and limiting the experimental pesticide provision

3) Strengthening and clarifying the EIS provision

4) Clarifying the buffer zone provision.

CM Nakamura presented an outline of an amendment she has been working on with CM Yukimura that also addressed the EIS portion of the Bill and established a process they feel better accomplishes the end goal of obtaining good data upon which to base future decisions.  While I believe the essential elements of their proposal as presented have merit, the details and language of the actual amendment were not ready for final review at yesterdays meeting.

 CM Yukimura also presented for discussion two additional amendments: One of which was a minor variation of the experimental pesticide amendment I had suggested and the second of which proposed to remove in its entirety that section of the Bill that would require companies growing GMO crops to obtain a County permit containing permit conditions governing those operations.  Needless to say Council member Bynum and I both argued against this proposal.

 CM Rapozo while offering no amendments spoke at length about the need for the State to step up to the plate and indicated that he is requesting that the Department of Agriculture agree to cooperate with and allow the County to enforce existing pesticide laws. 

 CM Kagawa indicated that he was prepared to vote on Bill 2491 immediately.  From past statements it seems clear that he is not in support of the measure.  To be clear, as the Bill moves forward, any and all council members may shift positions.

Non committee member CM Furfaro who is the Chair of the full Council submitted a large stack of letters he has written to State and Federal authorities requesting assistance.  He also indicated his desire that all amendments to Bill 2491 be done in the committee and not at the full council which would ultimately hear the measure.

 While at first glance the progress or lack thereof at yesterdays committee meeting is a bit disheartening, at the end of the day the glass still appears a little more than half full.

Remember 4 votes are needed and CM Bynum and I are two.  CM Yukimura has said publicly that she supports disclosure, buffer zones and some sort of study.  CM Nakamura has said she supports some sort of study and she asked industry representatives very good and pointed questions yesterday such as “Would you offer the public the same notification as you now offer your employees?”  Near the end of last nights meeting CM Rapozo also seemed to say that he would support the Bill if the State does not come through as he is hoping.

I remain hopeful that all of my colleagues recognize the importance of passing a strong and meaningful Bill 2491. 

The bottom line: All members of the committee have pledged to have all of their amendments ready and they will be prepared to vote on September 27.

The real bottom line: This issue will not go away and in fact will only grow and fester unless and until our County deals with it in a meaningful manner.   While we can and should press the State and Federal agencies to do more and yes we can and should facilitate a community process to explore the issues – at the end of the day our citizens deserve the right to know. 

I and many others – doctors, nurses, teachers, workers, farmers, students, mothers, and fathers from all parts of our island – believe that the industrial agricultural activities being conducted by these corporations are causing real and tangible harm to our communities’ health and to our natural environment.  We deserve the right to know, we deserve the right to say stop spraying your chemicals near schools, hospitals and homes and we deserve the right to stop the expansion of these operations until the impacts have been independently evaluated.

Imua.  gh

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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19 Responses to So What Really Happened Yesterday September 9, 2013?

  1. Marie Case says:

    Watched the entire meeting via/web..whew..very powerful,I was so moved by the publics statements towards the end,I was brought to tears also angered by..(well you know)..anyway .Thank you so much for all you bring to the table and how you get to the questions that make it crystal clear ,in other word what is( not said) speaks volumes and you have a way of getting to the heart of the matter………………..Soooooooooo Thank you from my heart Gary,we are lucky to have you!
    Marie Case

  2. Tracy M says:

    Mahalo for the update Gary! 🙂

    • Eve Hands says:

      = ditto!
      The Democratic process IS slow, & frequently frustrating…but that’s the way it goes in a Democracy – which is our Best Hope of bringing these deceitful corporations, who have established themselves in the County of Kaua’i as well as throughout Hawai’i much like ersatz Plantation Owners with their Fiefdoms of land monopoly, to heel @ worst, & getting them OUT/OFF @ best! I believe that sometimes, Slow but Sure DOES win over Fast & Furious; so a BIG MAHALO to you, Messrs Hooser & Bynum, for spear-heading MUCH needed change, as well as keeping us informed of the way in which change is being effected & enacted. My fingers’ firmly crossed for September 27th!

  3. Brian Emmons says:

    Thanks for the hard work–keep it up, for all of us. I live on O’ahu and have been disgusted by our “leaders” lack of action on these issues. I’m hoping strong action on Kaua’i will not only lead the rest of the counties to enact similar laws, but also shame them for taking so long.
    Imua and Aloha, Brian Emmons

  4. Mahalo Nui Loa for the insight on this issue today. I watched throughout the day yesterday until closing last night and could see how hard it really must be to remain composed and professional in your position. It also clearly shows us, the people of Hawaii, who we can count on as our representatives in our local government. Again Mahalo Nui Loa Gary for your hard work and dedication For the People of Kauai and the State of Hawaii!

  5. Robert Bueller says:

    Yes, yesterday was every bill as frustrating as the whole process has been especially for us folks that have been disconnected from whole process for a while for one reason or another. It may appear things are moving at a snails pace while the community that has now been engaged with this Bill for some time now. It seems that the corporations involved are delaying the process by not answering questions posed to them by the council and the community. We simply cannot sit here much longer and watch nothing happen regarding this important issue. By one councilman trying to convince us that this is the states responsibility and saying we need to ask them to help us and that we should wait for them to respond or do their job. The state and the corporations would like to just continue to operate as they are doing but that is not going to suffice for the people that are adversely affected by the chemical drift, pollute reefs and frequent dust storms. Many of us are now thinking including some on the council that we’ve all heard enough talk and a vote on the bill needs to be forthcoming soon. I just pray that those voting are motivated by the right values and remember who they are suppose to be representing.

  6. Mahalo Gary for your leadership, courage and resolve. I believe the Council must act. It is clear that the State is not going to act and neither will the Federal government. Those institutions are already heavily lobbied by the Chemical companies. The fact is, and this is what really matters here, is that it is the County Council’s responsibility too ensure the safety, health and well being of their constituents and the island. I strongly believe that come election time, those who did not support passing this bill will be looking for something else to do because the people will not forget this. This is huge, no one can hide from this. Anyone who doubts how the voters feel about this issue only needs to review the videos of the “Mana March” and what is being said online to know that if this bill fails, those who opposed it will be replaced. We cannot continue to kick this can down the road. That is what the Chem companies want. the more we kick it down the road, we dilute it and then decide to pass the buck. CM’s who vote it down or vote to defer to the State will be “deferred” come election time. I believe that the Mana March sent a crystal clear message that the People want this bill to pass and will hold obstructionists accountable.

  7. Kauaibrad says:

    “The real bottom line: This issue will not go away and in fact will only grow and fester unless and until our County deals with it in a meaningful manner.”

    Yep, that’s it. Sooner the better.

  8. Tristen Daniel says:

    Mahalo Mr. Hooser for all you are doing as your efforts are truly appreciated!!!

  9. Mimsy Bouret says:

    I have the deepest respect for each of our 7 council members. This has been a steep learning curve for them under unprecedented pressure. How much did any of us know or want to know about the pesticide and GMO presence on Kauai a few years ago?
    Call me crazy, but I really do believe that I saw a glimmer of awakening in the eyes of our council people…We will have the votes we need and this vote will dictate the results of our
    next election. For each person who marched, there were 10 more immediate friends and family who weren’t physicality there…. this time but who stand with us…. we the people…. UNITED… under good leadership we will move forward. Imua.

  10. Jennifer says:

    “Optimism, then, is a fact within my own heart. But as I look out upon life, my heart meets no contradiction. The outward world justifies my inward universe of good.” – HELEN KELLER

  11. David Sutton says:

    Thank you for your continued hard work on this Gary! Your efforts are SO appreciated and will lead to a better and safer Kaua’i and world. We are behind you 100%.

  12. LILIAN DE MELLO says:


  13. Vincent Leaf says:

    I respect and ditto, everything Mimsy Bouret stated, above. it’s hopeful now, at least, that council members and state ag inspectors, continue to research the money trails, revealing actual intentions behind Monsanto branch companies. which in history, shows that adding even more chemicals like 24d, lorsban, and (unknown others), will only burn foliage, and further destroy the soils, which they know full well, creates cancers, damages endocrine system, and leaves barren wasted fields. how much more proof do you need, than a testimony from a Vietnam veteran, “what is agent orange”? meanwhile, marine wildlife and reefs, continue to be raped, abused and disregarded as a non existent issue. is that why, those monk seals, had to travel to different islands? just imagine, what those chemicals, taste like! will the state or county, implement emergency actions, to stop this grossly negligent chemical slaughter? excuse me for my insistence, mahalo

  14. rob brower says:

    Gary, you are a hero, no matter what happens with this Bill. People are getting educated and involved. Momentum continues to increase. If the chemical companies continue to fight the tide rather than swimming it, they will fall even harder.

  15. Desiree Duclayan- arsonson says:

    Can’t say Mahalo enough for all you are doing Gary!!! May Mana be your force & Aloha your guide always.

    Thanks for the update!


    Desiree Duclayan-Parsonson

  16. stephen koehne says:

    Gary, I just want to say that you are the man and you are the epitome of a true leader…aloha the real people of Kauai love you….

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