GMO Bill 2491 Endgame Strategies

SUBHEAD: A three sided chessboard -  Hooser-Bynam vs Yukimura-Nakamua vs Raposo-Kagawa; with Fufaro as ump.

By Andy Parx on 25 September 2013 for Parx News Daily -

Image above: A three-way chess board. From (

Governor Neil Abercrombie's little attempt at humor in calling for the chemical companies to "temporarily" release some vague information about pesticide use on a "voluntary" basis via some unknown rules (or laws or Kingly decrees) to be promulgated at some undetermined point in the unforeseeable future, has Kauai doubled over, although it's unclear whether it's with laughter or pain.

But it did do one thing; it exposed how all four Kauai legislators have sold their political souls to their corporate overlords rather than represent the views of the 90% of their constituents who support something a little more specific, like Bill 2491 which is headed for another Kauai County Council committee meeting on Friday at 9 a.m. [IB Publisher's note: As we understand it, Dee Morikawa was not at the meeting with the rest of our delegation and the governor.]

But who expected anything else? According to research by Babes Against Biotech's Nomi Carmona, Abercrombie has taken $34,400 from the chemical companies and their lobbyists ($58,200 if you include wives and kids of lobbyists), Rep. Jimmy Tokioka comes in at a cool $9,650 , Sen. Ron Kouchi has pocketed $6,050 for his campaign coffers, Rep. Derek Kawakami got $2,000 and rookie Rep. Dee Morikawa received $700.

But the good news is that all no one seems to be naive enough to think that the "proposal" will have any effect on Friday's meeting. But you can expect bill opponents, Councilmembers Ross Kagawa and Mel Rapozo to beat their chests and kick up some gorilla dust, waving around Abercrombie's gambit a few times before they all get down to business.

When we last left our merry band of lawgivers some thought they observed a deathbed conversion from Ross Kagawa whose last minute political pivot found him actually endorsing an "environmental study"- the third part of the bill which also calls for buffer zones and real disclosure of pesticide use, including the specific types used at specific times on specific days at specific locations as opposed to the "aggregate" total amounts Governor Abercrombie called for- something that is pretty much required by the state now.

But what we really saw was a different type of conversion, that of a sow's ear into a silk purse after Kagawa and Rapozo realized that Councilpersons JoAnn Yukimura and Nadine Nakamura were going to support the buffers and disclosure parts.

That left the "study" as their only handle to get a grip on the bill in order to kill it. And therein lies the rub because something smells rotten in the state of Lihue and it ain't bubble gum masking agent.

Hawaii state law HRS 343, also known as the Hawai`i Environmental Protection Act (HEPA), is the state's version of the National EPA (NEPA) with each describing their respective Environmental Assessment (EA)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) processes.

And that's the third part of what the bill calls for- a moratorium on new open-air testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and associated Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs). pending the county's performance of an EIS.

Because in fact that's what the facilities out in Waimea actually are- not "farms" but testing grounds for open air chemical experiments with people as the collateral guinea pigs. And despite the obvious need for environmental study one has never been conducted.

But Yukimura doesn't want to use the EA/EIS process calling it a "consultants' retirement plan"- a phrase many of her base supporters became familiar with in speaking to her in the weeks leading up to the last committee meeting on September 9.

Instead she and Nakamura- aficionados of the 1990's Steven Covey "Seven Habits of Highly Manipulative A-holes" (or something like that) series of high priced books and seminars- have suggested their own version of an "environmental study" and plan on introducing amendments to effectuate that version at Friday's meeting.

Apparently the thinking must be that if Kaua`i can take on the feds and state for failing to protect the health and safety of its citizens, we can also rewrite environmental law with our own version of the EA/EIS process.

The "Adler Process," as some call it locally- named after UH Professor and long-time professional "facilitator" Peter Adler- has been dubbed by many as the "Kumbaya Roundtable" where all the "stakeholders," including those who have no intention of negotiating anything, get "a seat at the table" so they can presumably come away with a "win-win" (put that in double quotes), either that or they sit at the table for years if necessary until they either drown in butcher paper (you had to be there), drop dead of old age or they find at least one thing they can agree on- which is usually not to meet any more.

It can be endless and pointless and allows anyone who wants to obstruct any resolution to be the big winner while the rest walk away scratching their heads asking "what just happened?".

Instead of being a consultant’s retirement plan it's a facilitator's career plan.

Oh- did we mention that Nakamura's is professional "facilitator?"

Anyway that explains what Ross and Mel were up to when they suddenly "supported the bill." By the time Nakamura and Yukimura had finished describing their amendments that would turn the EIS into a "facilitated roundtable," two things were painfully apparent to Ross and Mel.

The first was that Nakamura and Yukimura had earlier indicated that were going to support disclosures and buffer zones, if not in the precise form in which they appear on the bill now, then at least close enough for government work. And that would make four votes assuming they and the bill's introducers Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum can find wording that all four of them like- which seems likely.

But Bynum and Hooser are not about to accept the never-ending, shaggy-dog-story of the facilitated "Barney approach" (I love you, you love me...) with Bynum saying that if they didn't call it an EA/EIS but stuck to the precepts described in HRS 343, he- and presumably Hooser- might be okay with that.

Which left Kagawa and Rapozo an opening to if not kill, then severely gut what they can by supporting JoAnn's and Nadine's "make-kissy-face-with-your-opponent" plan, thereby leaving their corporate masters- and, they hoped, the naive public - all singing Kumbaya - and with four votes for the interminable study, one-third of a loaf being better than no loaf at all.
  • Will JoAnn and Nadine risk their political futures by refusing to okay an EIS or EIS-based study?
  • Will Mel and Ross' heads spin around three or four more times during the day until somebody (probably us) throws-up?
  • Will Gary and Tim be able to convince JoAnn and Nadine that this is one of those once in a political lifetime deals where doing the right thing actually lines up with it being political advantageous? 
 And will Council Chair Jay Furfaro feel jilted and neglected by all this lack of attention and sell his vote for flowers and candy?

Tune in Friday at 9 a.m. for another episode of "What Dreams May Come."


1 comment :

  1. Boy, Andy writes well. Some of the sharpest wit anywhere, and out there on a little island.