Let’s start with a few highlights from 2015:
My kids both got married. The weddings were fabulous and Claudette and I positively love the partners both have chosen. Kelli-Rose and Justin went first on Oahu in August and then Dylan and Leeona followed in September on the north shore of Kauai. Yes, two weddings within 45 days of each other 🙂 Both assure me that it is too soon to be talking about grandchildren, while I assure them that Mom and Dad are ready anytime.
In late April I went to Switzerland with a small Kauai contingent and spoke to 900 Syngenta Shareholders and Board of Directors during their annual meeting in Basel about the negative impacts of their company in my community. Watch this 4 minute video if you like (notice as security attempts to stop the filming). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0zz7cV_Qe8
Serving as volunteer Board President for HAPA has been a fulfilling challenge and an opportunity for personal growth as well. We have a great statewide team of very talented individuals committed to the goal of “catalyzing change and empowering communities”. It is an honor to be a part of this new and vibrant nonprofit statewide organization whose mission also includes environmental, social and economic justice issues. http://www.hapahi.org
Did two, count them…two Grateful Dead concerts – One in Santa Clara and another in San Francisco. Mahalo plenty to the Kreutzmann’s for their generous support of the work we are doing to protect Kauai and all Hawaii.
Went to the beach more in 2015 than I did in the prior 5 years combined. Claudette and I also have enjoyed many days watching Dylan and friends play soccer on Sundays, sitting among friends and family, sharing snacks and stories and then enjoying a post game barbecue.
Had an interesting year on the Kauai County Council. Would not call it particularly productive but it was never dull. Though I tried really, really hard, it seems the 4 man majority that controls the agenda had other ideas. Two of the worst of those ideas was a repeal of the “barking dog ordinance” and new rules forbidding Councilmembers from asking questions during public testimony #youcantmakethisstuffup – For an incredulous and sad chuckle read my blog piece on this here: https://garyhooser.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/youcantmakethisstuffup-the-kauai-county-council-passes-new-rules-prohibiting-councilmembers-from-asking-testifiers-questions-of-substance/
Visited Mom, Dad, Brothers and Nephews in Georgia and had a wonderful time hanging out, eating way too much pecan pie and doing some bike riding on the Riverwalk that runs along the Chattahoochee River.
Got waaay behind in my yard work. Back yard is a jungle. A good and productive jungle full of banana, ulu, lemon, lime, papaya, assorted vegetables and the best avocado in the world – but a jungle none-the-less.
Good news on the agrochemical battlefront – though Kauai County, Maui County and Hawaii County remain in court (our appeal before the 9th circuit is pending), it is clear that this industry has reduced its footprint on Kauai by at least 20%. While imperfect in its implementation and flawed in its voluntary foundation, there is now more pesticide disclosure and greater buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes. This comes as a direct result of the work our community has been doing on this issue during the past two years. Much work is yet to be done, but our past efforts have definitely had a significant, tangible and positive impact.
During the closing months of 2015 the EPA announced their intent to ban an especially nasty pesticide called Chlorpyrifos used extensively in Hawaii. The industry operating under the so-called “good neighbor policy” is fighting this every step of the way, proving once again they are not good neighbors by any stretch of the imagination. My final blog piece of 2015: “They Really Are Poisoning Paradise” https://garyhooser.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/they-truly-are-poisoning-paradise/
And yes I did announce my campaign for reelection in 2016 to the Kauai County Council. Please check out my updated campaign website! http://www.garyhooser.com
In conclusion, I want to say mahalo to all who have touched my life and that of my family during the past 12 months. Some of you I see almost daily and some I have never actually seen at all but only communicate with via text, email or perhaps on FaceBook. But I want to tell you and communicate to you somehow now, that your involvement and your friendship is important.
There are so many of you who I want to thank, and hug and share a smile, a fist bump or a high five with. You know who you are and I look forward to working with you more, getting to know you better and sharing more hugs, and more smiles, fist bumps and a high five or two during what is sure to be a fabulous year 2016 which starts today.
(luckiest man on the planet)