The Fix is In says Forbes

SOURCE: Brad Parsons (
SUBHEAD: Kauai Council goes rogue with anti-GMO bill, setting course for "legal conflagration".

[IB Publisher's note: We are already in a pesticide conflagration. Trading that for a legal battle will be of some comfort. Yes the fix is in. At least the beginning of a fix for our health and welfare. This article from Forbes is a rant from a corporate worshiping crybaby. We had hoped the take-away from the Supoerferry battle would have taught the corporate types that Kauai is a bad place to do business. Maybe this time the lesson will take. Don't fuck with Kauai. Next target - RIMPAC 2014 and the PMRF!] 

Final Council Vote to overturn veto of Bill 2491. No public testimony.

 Saturday November 26th, at 11:00am, Witness history -  be there!

Kauai Council Chamber
Historic Kauai County Building
4396 Rice Street, Lihue, Kauai

By Jon Entine on 15 November 20143 in Forbes -

Image above: Note the choice of a photo to illustrate this article of corporate anxiety: It's named 
"Anti-GMO-Thugs-March31". It is a carefully selected image that show no women or white people. It shows brown skinned "local" men walking in the rain to protest spraying pesiticide on their families while carrying anti-GMO signs and flags of independent sovereignty. Ooh! Scary! Smells a bit racist to us. From original article.

Anti-GMO activists on the County Council in Kauai appointed a man who they believe will guarantee that anti-GMO and pesticide restriction Bill 2491 will become law—at least for a few hours or days until legal Armageddon likely envelops this once pacific island.

Mason Chock, a favorite of the antis, was selected Friday to fill a vacancy on the council, which should result on Saturday in the panel overriding the mayor’s veto of the controversial measure that has split the island into warring factions. Unlike other council members, Chock was not elected by popular vote.

Rather, the anti block chose him over former council member KipuKai Kualii, who came in eighth in the last election, just short of being elected. The council normally has seven members but has been down one for weeks since Nadine Nakamura resigned to become Kauai County managing director.

In short, a person hand selected by the fierce opponents of crop biotechnology will get to cast the deciding vote on whether one of the most controversial agricultural bill’s in Hawaii’s history will become law.

What’s the backstory in the latest twist in this bizarre saga?

Imagine you have a business dispute and the case goes to a jury trial. It’s a complicated issue and takes weeks to hear all the evidence. The jury listens intently. Then, just as the jurors are about to rule in your favor, they are suddenly replaced—with new jurors who have not heard a shred of evidence. Even more unfair, your legal adversary gets to choose them.

Sounds crooked, right? It would certainly be illegal, as the substituted jurors would not have heard any testimony and would be beholden to those who appointed them. Yet that is just the travesty of justice that has occurred on Kauai.

Kauai County has a hybrid legal system, with powers shared by the County Council and the mayor. Last month when the Council passed Bill 2491 over the objections of the mayor, who pleaded for a one-month delay to review the legal nightmare the bill’s passage might conjure, it was not the final word. The mayor had a legal right to weigh in.

Two weeks later, after the Office of the Kauai County Attorney analyzed the bill, calling it a “legal mess,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. vetoed the measure. That set off shock waves among anti-GMO activists, who were outraged that he would follow the advice of his legal council. They launched a personal and vicious ‘witch hunt’ like campaign marked by death threats, targeting the mayor and bill opponents, which prompted the county to institute extraordinary safety measures during court sessions.

The situation went downhill from that very low level. The original measure passed 6-1. But under Kaua’i law, the mayor could block any legislation. After hearing from the country’s legal staff and discussing the bill’s implications with Hawaii state officials, he decided the bill could be unenforceable even if it should survive a legal gauntlet.

His veto set off a series of legal maneuvers, complicated by the fact that shortly after the vote, one of the council members, Nakamura, has resigned. That left only six members on the council, with five votes needed to override Carvalho’s veto. With a shrunken council, what could—what should—the members do?

Last week, the council went back into session to discuss whether adding a new member at this late juncture to vote on the mayor’s veto would be fair to the new appointee or the county—after all the new person would not have heard months of debate.

The one negative vote on the bill, Mel Rapozo, openly stated his opposition to delaying the override vote until a replacement had been chosen. “I don’t want to see the process of selecting the seventh member be hanging on to this issue, this bill,” he said. “To rest the decision on replacing a council member on one issue, I don’t think that that’s the right thing to do. I don’t think that’s fair.”

But he was not alone. A majority of the council agreed with Rapozo. “We’ve gone through thirteen weeks of exposure to the issue, from testimony and so on,” Council Chair Jay Furfaro said, explaining why he opposed delaying the override vote until a new member was selected. It would desecrate the democratic process, he suggested—akin to a legal adversary stacking a jury with new members who had never heard the evidence.

JoAnn Yukimura, a staunch bill advocate, also agreed that any new council member should not have a say in this dispute. “There are so many important issues facing this community, and what we’re looking for is a much broader set of values and character and knowledge than one issue,” she said, announcing her opposition to letting a new council member vote on the issue. She was “horrified,” she said, that the process of choosing Nakamura’s successor had to be done in the context of Bill 2491.

Even Tim Bynum, one of the bill’s introducers, declared, “If there’s not five votes to override, that’s it. The only way to address these concerns is to start all over with a new bill, which I will certainly do.”

That was fairness and democracy in action. That was last week. Then came this past Thursday, when the County Council met to discuss whether to override the veto. Further complicating the issue, the day before, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, with the backing of the Governor, released voluntary guidelines mirroring the disclosure and buffer zones proposed in the legislation, undercutting the urgency to pass a measure that would without question end up in court with the county saddled with legal fees.

After hours and hours of emotionally laden testimony, the six council members had their say. Mel Rapozo surprised no one by declaring he would not support the override. Council members Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum, the bill’s introducers, along with Yukimura and Furfaro had all stated previously they would vote in favor of the override.

It would all come down to Ross Kagawa’s vote. He concluded his ten-minute testimony, saying, “I’m going to follow my heart and my mind, and I’m going to continue to work with the state, with Mr. Rapozo, in getting some answers to those families that are suffering. I will not be supporting the override.”

Suddenly, all hell broke loose. Bill supporters in the audience began weeping and others stormed out of the courthouse. As for the anti-GMO council members, forget Bynam’s and Yukimura’s and Furfaro’s public pledges that tying the appointment of a new council member to a vote override would be divisive and inappropriate. The promises about defending democracy and insisting that ones view on this one issue should not be a political litmus test—all that went out the window. Expediency and ideology prevailed.

What happened next was one of the most troubling in this nasty melodrama. In a transparent maneuver to derail the vote, Hooser motioned for a recess, arguing that the council should reconvene the following day. It was clear to everyone that he was wanted the anti-GMO faction to hand select and seat the seventh council member to guarantee the veto overthrow.

Was Hooser’s maneuver legal? Maybe, that’s yet to be known. The bait and switch may very well be a violation of the due process set out in the Kauai County Charter. But even if this maneuvering ends up being technically legal, it reeks.

Chock, who officially has heard none of the testimony, is now expected to turn around within 24 hours and cast his first vote as council member on a bill that has been scrutinized for more than 13 weeks over hundreds of hours of public and expert testimony—by every council member but him.

What will happen next? Don’t ever assume it can’t get worse from here. If the override is allowed to stand—a big if that should be answered in the coming week—the county invariably will be sued and will stuck in litigation for months, if not years. The broken process has driven a massive wedge into the heart of this once peaceful island community. This 11th hour maneuver will only deepen the distrust and dissension.

Kauai United

By Staff on 15 November 2013 for Pass the Bill Coalition -  

Thursday, Nov. 14, was truly AMAZING!

The community showed up BIG to testify in support of overriding the Mayor's veto.

Residents of west Kauai came out in force, and shared powerful and compelling stories about the need for protections in 2491. 

Broad-based voices, including a group letter signed by westside fisherman voicing their concerns about reefs and sealife; island-wide first responders contacting Council Members as private citizens about the need for disclosure to protect health and safety;  and long-time westside ohana speaking about the need for respect for health and safety of the keiki from the agro-chemical companies.

There was a feeling of unity both inside and outside the Council chambers -- symbolized by the cutting down of a barricade rope artificially placed between the "sides" by police, after community members from both "sides" objected to this false dividing line!

Kauai's people are united! 
We will not allow false walls between us.


1 comment :

  1. BTW, that's a B.S. blog post by some Jon Entine on Forbes' bulletin board that anybody can post to. I was surprised to hear Mel Rapozo suckered into quoting that blog post like it was a real article from Forbes. LOL! Fooled again, Mel!