TGI as apologists' highway

SUBHEAD: TGI is heavily influenced by the corporations, organizations and individuals doing Kauai the most harm.

By Juan Wilson on 2 February 2014 for Island Breath -

Image above: Typical fluff. Front page TGI photo by Dennis Fujimoto on 2/2/14.  Halea Bactad and Jessica Kaleiohi, react to the ice water during the polar plunge Saturday at Kapaa Beach Park. From (

This Sunday the only newspaper on Kauai, the Garden Island News has an unusually heavy number of of neer-do-wells and P.R. flaks pimping for organizations that are under pressure from island residents.

Number 1:
Front page banner headline
Atrazine Hazard Use Down

THE GIST: Don't worry. Even though Syngenta manufactures Atrazine and uses it and many more restricted use pesticides in GMO plant experiments near Kauai neighborhoods you don't have to be concerned because that's just a bad memory fading in the rear view mirror. You should trust our government's regulating efforts and the corporations providing the few jobs left on Kauai.

Atrazine Hazard Use Down
Report shines light on statewide use of chemical herbicide
By Chis D'Angelo on 2 February 2014 for TGI  (

Over the last seven decades, the use of atrazine in Hawaii has declined significantly, from about 400,000 pounds in 1964 to 77,403 pounds in 2012, according to a recent study by the state Department of Health. And much of that drop is the result of the state’s dying sugar industry.

For anyone concerned about atrazine and its potential health and environmental impacts, DOH supervisor Fenix Grange said the report should be “extraordinarily comforting.” “The hazard is going down, not going up,” she said. “But to be sure, we’re going out and collecting samples.”

The legislative report — as well as the DOH’s current sampling effort — is the fruit of House Concurrent Resolution 129.

Adopted in April, it called for the DOH to head up a task force to address the potential data gaps on air, surface water and near-shore effects of the chemical herbicide.

“Last spring they asked for an atrazine study, because atrazine was kind of the flavor of the month,” said Grange, who prepared the report along with DOH toxicologist Barbara Brooks.

The report, completed in November and recently posted online, found that the sugar industry “was and is the largest user of atrazine in Hawaii.”

“The drop in atrazine usage over time reflects the decline of sugarcane cultivation, cancellation of some uses and more restrictive label application rates,” according to the report.

HCR 129 states “it is in the best interest of the state to be at the forefront of a monitoring and regulatory effort to protect Hawaii residents from the potential adverse effects of chronic atrazine exposure.”

Grange said the 63-page report is the first of its kind, a compilation of historical atrazine use data throughout the state. Manufactured by Syngenta,
Atrazine is a pre- or post-emergence herbicide used for weed control. Registered in the U.S. since 1958, it is one of the most widely used herbicides, with 76.5 million pounds of the active ingredient used domestically each year...
Click here for more.

Number 2:
Front page above the fold story
Mayor - Attacks are politically motivated

THE GIST: It must be getting hotter in Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho's inner sanctum to have  a heavy hitting Honolulu attorney respond to recent actions by Kauai residents to have the mayor step down for inappropriate use of a county credit card for personal gain and refusal to testify and so violating Hawaii Statute 78-9. See GasGate article here.

Mayor - Attacks are politically motivated
Carvalho’s attorney responds to public criticism
By Darin Moriki on 2 February 2014 for TGI  (

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. is dismissing claims that he violated state law during a county audit investigation that began four years ago.

The two-term mayor issued a statement on Saturday through his Honolulu-based attorney in response to public claims that he had violated the law.

The allegations, released in emails to county officials, state lawmakers and several media outlets over the past two weeks, called on Carvalho to step down because he did not cooperate with a criminal investigation stemming from an audit of county fuel charges.
“This is old news and curiously comes at a time when the mayor is ramping up a re-election campaign,” Carvalho’s personal attorney Eric Seitz said in the statement. “These allegations are without merit and an examination of the facts will show the mayor has done nothing wrong.”
The audit, published by County Auditor Ernesto “Ernie” Pasion in April 2012, implied that Carvalho and other county employees illegally used county fuel for personal use.
A subsequent review of the allegations by the attorney general’s office found no basis for further criminal investigation.
Because Carvalho invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to answer questions during the investigation, several residents, including Glenn Mickens, Ken Taylor, Michael Sheehan, and Sheehan’s attorney Richard E. Wilson, said state laws specifically call for Carvalho to vacate office.
“Your tenure as mayor has ended,” Wilson wrote in a Jan. 30 letter addressed to Carvalho.
Click here for more. 

Number 3:

Editorial Page Guest Commentary
KIUC top goal remains reducing bills

THE GIST: It's funny that if that is the goal of KIUC for the last decade in that we still have the most expensive electricity in the country. Maybe it's partially because of the over generous perks to the KIUC executive elite. Maybe it's because its the board's refusal to face a future of less consumption and centralization of electrical power generation. Maybe it's because KIUC is not really a cooperative at all, but just another corporation bleeding its customers.

 KIUC top goal remains reducing bills
By KIUC Chair Allan Smith on 2 February 2014 in TGI
Now that the special election on meter fees is concluded, I want to thank the 43 percent of our members who took the time to learn about the issue and to vote.

We're especially grateful to the 74 percent who voted "yes" and supported the decision of their elected board.

I want to make some observations about our member-owned cooperative, about our obligations as directors and about the realities of running a public utility.

As an elected director, I have the fiduciary duty to represent the interests of all members of KIUC.

This includes our industrial and commercial members who represent 60 percent of our revenue as well as our 25,000 residential customers. As a lifelong resident of Kauai, I take my responsibilities seriously, especially when considering how the actions I take today will affect future generations.

Over the course of this election, I've heard some people talk about "making the cooperative act like a cooperative." The way they would accomplish this is to increase the influence of a tiny minority of the members and put operational decisions of the utility up for a popular vote.

Cooperative and democratic principles are not based on the tyranny of the minority, but rather on representing the views of the majority. As for running the utility, I'm confident that the great majority would prefer to leave that to the professional staff and elected board.

As chairman of KIUC's board, I only am one vote of nine. Every action we take must receive the support of a majority of the directors. This is how a cooperative works. This is how democracy works. We must be able to compromise, we *must accept that we do not always get our way and, win or lose, we must move on to address the next issue.

Once the board makes a decision, we have the fiduciary duty to advocate for that decision and explain to members why they should support it. Yet this is seen by some as violating the principles

of the cooperative. To me, it would not only break our commitments as directors but would go against common sense to remain silent on a challenge to one of our decisions.

In the event of future petitions, we will continue to educate our members on why the decision was made and what's at stake for the cooperative. We will ask for their vote to support the elected directors' decisions.

I am increasingly concerned by the process that allows 250 people to sign a petition - less than 1 percent of our membership - to challenge actions taken by the board. Particularly when a repeat petition challenger told The Garden Island that he "was more excited about the high voter turnout than disappointed about the results ... that's good for democracy ... I'm glad that we had the conversation."

It was not a conversation, it was a confrontation,  one that cost the membership well over $100,000 in direct expenses and staff time.

While the petitioners may look upon this as some sort of academic exercise, a challenge to a board action is a very serious matter. We do not take it lightly. And now, for the second time in three years, nearly three-quarters of the members who voted in a petition election defeated a challenge of a board action.

While the petitioner believes the high turnout was "good for democracy," he shouldn't tryto spin the outcome as a win. I took it as a sign that many of our members are fed up.

This was a direct rebuke from the vast majority of members who are tired of seeing their cooperative's time and resources diverted from the No. I goal in our strategic plan: cutting their electric bill.

Now we have another vote coming up. The ballots will be arriving soon for the 2014 board of directors election. I hope our members will remain engaged and will vote after studying the backgrounds and positions of the 11 candidates.

As directors, our job is to make choices. Some choices are more popular than others. But we make these choices in a thoughtful, responsible manner and in the best interests of our members and Kauai.
IB note: This article was not online at time of this publication.

My take on these three TGI articles is an increasing distrust of having no paper of record actually published on Kauai. The news (and the lawyering) is coming from Oahu and beyond. This stuff is a lot of mushy mealy public relations sprinkled with sugar (or more likely HFCS).

I praise the individual letters to the editor and the efforts of some of our on islands reporters, but TGI is heavily influenced by the corporations, organizations and individuals doing Kauai the most harm.

The real issues are related to Conservation, Decentralization and Rehumanization. See more Ea O Ka Aina: A Bargain with the Archdruid.

1 comment :

Eleanor said...

unfortunately, you are right on. But most media is corrupted by the corporations. I like to look at Al Jazeera and the Guardian for more candor.

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