Challenge to Kauai Democracy

SUBHEAD: It can only be our efforts to educate and protect Kauai, it's people, and it's future that will eliminate this growing cancer.

By Michael Shooltz on 1 November 2014 for Kauai Rising -

[IB Publisher's note: This article has been updated twice since first posted. It now includes letter from recently re-elected councilmember JoAnn Yukimura on the issue of charter amendments.]

Image above: The 2014 Kauai County Council voting recommendations from Kauai Rising. Get rid of Yukimura, Fufaro, Rapozo and Kagawa (l to r).

I am resending the email below (dated July 24th 2014) in which I used the metaphor of Cancer spreading on Kauai. That deadly spread continues.

In addition to all described below there are actually now on the ballot for County Council two candidates directly representing the Chemical Seed industry. One works for Dow Syngenta, and one works for Grove Farms who owns much of the land being used for the Chemical Companies toxic research here on Kauai.

In addition the original email below reiterates which of the county council incumbents care about your voices being heard, which of them honor the democratic process, and which ones DO NOT. Your eight thousand signatures continue to be locked in the County Clerks vault.

Your vote, and the votes of your Ohana are absolutely critical. Ross Kagawa and Mel Rapozo have already added to the County Council agenda for November fifth, the day after the November 4th election an effort to repeal Bill 2491 (960).

Nothing has changed. The Chemical companies continue to dump at lease 30,000 pounds of toxic chemicals on Kauai and its people every month. The research continues to grow proving the lethal nature of these chemicals. The Federal Agencies allegedly charged with protecting the public continue to approve more and more lethal chemicals.

It can only be our efforts to educate and protect Kauai, it's people, and it's future that will eliminate this growing Cancer. This Mayoral and County Council election is so very important.

Please speak to at least one or two of your Ohana and share with them the urgency of electing those who share your vision of a healthy, sustainable, abundant Kauai for all of Life. Together we can.

Let's stay positive about the heartfelt vision of Kauai that we hold for the future, and get out the vote that will support that vision.

P.S. For County Council voting suggestions from the People for the Preservation of Kauai:
Gary Hooser
TIm Bynum
Mason Chock
Tiana Laranio
Felicia Cowden
[IB Publisher's note: Because of our promise to council members who voted for GMO Regulatory Bill 2491 we at Island Breath will be voting for JoAnn Yukimura and Jay Fufaro.]

Below it is JoAnn Yukimura's reasoning on the issue on August 1 2014 in response to the Michael Shoolz email on July 24, 2014.

Letter August 1, 2014
Aloha, dear friends—

I have received many emails regarding my July 23, 2014 vote on the charter amendment, "A New Article XXXIII Protecting Right To Clean And Healthful Environment From Hazards Of GMO Agriculture, Establish Administrator Of Environmental Health, And Provide For Enforcement.” Thank you, especially, to those of you who have inquired about my position in a respectful and courteous way. You cannot know how much that means to me.

What exactly was the recent council vote about?

First, it must be emphasized, as I have said repeatedly, that the question before the Council was only about proper charter amendment process. Specifically, we voted solely on whether or not the charter amendment petition met all legal requirements prescribed by the county Charter. The vote was not in any way about the merits of the proposed charter amendment itself—i.e. whether or not we should create a Department of Environmental Health for the purpose of protecting the environment.

Why is it important to follow the Charter?

The Charter’s purpose is to give order, fairness and efficiency to how representative government works at the local level and how we make decisions together as a community. These rules are part and parcel of our representative democracy. One cannot have a democracy without rules by which to operate. As councilmembers we are bound by our oath of office to follow the County Charter.

Does the county council have the authority to block charter amendments?

The Charter has different procedural requirements for getting a matter on the ballot depending on the nature of the proposal. In order to determine which procedure applies, one needs to first determine the nature of the issue (the “cat vs. dog” question).

If a proposal seeks to change the basic structure of government, it is a charter amendment and must meet the charter provisions governing charter amendments. If it seeks to regulate any particular activity (in this case, pesticide use or growing of GMOs), it needs to follow the charter provisions for initiatives.
JoAnn Yukimura

Email on Thursday, July 24, 2014
Aloha Kauai Rising,
After today's Kauai County Council meeting I was moved to look up the definition of "coup d'etat". The following definition was found on Wikipedia:
A coup d'├ętat:  also known as a coup, a putsch, or an overthrow, is the sudden and illegal seizure of a government,[1][2][3] usually instigated by a small group of the existing state establishment to depose the established government and replace it with a new ruling body, civil or military. A coup d'├ętat is considered successful when the usurpers establish their dominance. When the coup neither fails completely nor succeeds, a civil war is a likely consequence.
 Today a coup d'etat was successfully executed on Kauai. As stated in the above definition it was "instigated by a small group of the existing state establishment", namely the County Clerk (although his questions and statements throughout this process seem to have a high likelihood of having been generated by some other source), the County Attorney, and four members of the County Council.

It was most likely aided and abetted by the Mayor behind the scenes as the efforts of this cabal have been consistently in line with his actions and the County Attorney is his appointee.

Today these six or seven individuals thwarted the legal, democratically established Charter Amendment process and the Amendment presented by Kauai Rising and the nearly 8,000 signatures of Kauai citizens who stepped forward to support Charter Amendment 33.

The Kauai County Council voted 4 to 3 today to refuse to accept the Petition signatures presented to them to place the Charter Amendment on the ballot in November to allow the citizens of Kauai the right to vote on the contents of the Charter Amendment.

The four Council Members voting against acceptance,(JoAnn Yukimura, Ross Kagawa, Mel Rapozo,  and Jay Furfaro) chose to "depose the established government" (as clearly defined in the existing County Charter) "and replace it with a new ruling body", namely themselves.

There is absolutely no authority given in the County Charter to either the County Council, nor the County Attorney, nor the County Clerk in the County Charter, to refuse to accept a citizen generated petition to place an amendment on the Ballot, nor to judge the content of such an amendment.

However this Cabal, attempting to cloak their movement under the excuse of an "opinion" by the County Attorney who offered not a single reference to any aspect of the content of the Charter Amendment, nor any reference to any authority in the County Charter which would give the Council or the Clerk the right to reject the Petition.

The reason they have chosen to block the receipt of the petition signatures is that, according to the Charter Amendment, once the Petition is "presented" to the Council (again they have no authority to block it) it requires the County Clerk to validate the signatures.
If enough valid signatures are present the Amendment automatically goes on the ballot and the citizens of Kauai get to vote on the Amendment. This handful of county officials have usurped the peoples rights to vote on this Amendment and claimed that right for themselves. As most of you know this is the second time that the County has used an illegal action to block the Charter Amendment process.
A cabal: is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views or interests.......often by intrigue.  The term can also be used to refer to the designs of such persons or to the practical consequences of their emergent behavior, and also holds a general meaning of intrigue and conspiracy. The use of this term usually carries strong connotations of shadowy corners, back rooms and insidious influence.
By definition the Charter Amendment process from it's inception has been intended to be a critical piece of the Democratic process through which the citizens of Kaua'i have the clear right to place an Amendment on the ballot without the influence, hindrance or approval of the County Council, County Attorney, Mayor, nor the County Clerk.
The three minority Council Members (Gary Hooser, Tim Bynum, and Mason Chock) concurred with the fact that Council had no authority to block the presentation of the Petition and voted to follow the existing Charter Amendment guidelines as currently defined by voting to accept the petition from the people of Kauai.

As is well known, Kauai is Ground Zero for the testing of GMOs and up to 93 various toxic formulations. There are approximately 1,000 pounds of toxins dumped by these Chemical Companies on Kauai daily, which is 30,000 pounds every month. It is unknown how long this island and its people can survive such a violent assault. 
The people, nature and the animals of Kauai are the guinea pigs in the test tubes of these Multi-national Corporations that have invaded this island. These Chemical Companies are a cancer on Kauai and that cancer is manifesting on three different levels.

First, and most critical, it is manifesting as very serious cancers, birth defects, respiratory problems, nose bleeds, skin disorders etc. in the people of Kaua'i as confirmed over this past year by every aspect of Kauai's professional health care community.
In addition numerous scientists and researchers have visited this island to share their findings of links between the Chemical Company operations and the diseases manifesting on Kaua'i. The science is clear, growing rapidly and available to anyone who really wants to see it.
And last week when we reported that hunters on the west side were finding the pigs and goats they are harvesting are infested with tumors, we received additional responses sharing that the same tumors are also being found now on the east side as well (where the test fields have spread.)

Second, this cancer is growing rapidly through the spread of the GMO test fields across Kauai. When referring to the GMO "test fields" on the island there is a perception that this is  a "west side" problem. However, the reality is that it has crept into Lihue across from the Kukui Grove shopping Center, then on to the fields across from the airport.
And now a drive up to Wailua Falls reveals massive acreage of GMO test fields in full growth all the way to the edge of the Wailua River on property owned by Grove Farms. The spread is insidious.

Finally the third form of these cancers introduced on Kauai by these Chemical companies, which is spreading equally rapidly, is in the form of political and economic manipulation. Since the people of Kauai have begun to find ways to insure that these Chemical Company operations on Kauai be proven safe before being inflicted on the island and its people we have witnessed the following: 
The County Charter Commission has been influenced to try to quadruple the number of signatures required for the citizens of Kauai to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot. This requirement has been in place for approximately 50 years and has never been changed.

The Kauai Chamber of Commerce was influenced to attempt to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot also attempting to quadruple the number of signatures required to place an Amendment on the ballot. (They felt that 5% was too low a number of people to change the County Charter. Their effort died when they were unable to gather the required 5%.
Apparently the people of Kauai were not inspired by efforts to limit their voices in the Democratic process.) To our knowledge the Chamber of Commerce has never before attempted to place a Charter Amendment on the ballot.

The former lawyer for Dow Agrosciences here on Kauai has been appointed the new CEO of both state hospitals on Kauai, which includes the hospital in Waimea, ground zero for the GMO testing here on island. We are told that the health care professionals are much more reluctant to speak out on the health issues they are finding in the community with the former Dow lawyer as their CEO.
The Chairman of the Board of the West Side Business Association was forced from his Chairmanship after resisting the influence of the Chemical Companies as they tried block BIll 2491.

 This week a visit to the County offices revealed that the aforementioned growth of the GMO test fields on the Grove Farm properties all the way to the Wailua River has been done without any record of the legally required grading and grubbing permits for at least the last decade. This is typical.
While recent water tests of the islands rivers and streams revealed the presence of numerous toxins the state declared that these one time tests would not be continued due to lack of funds.

And finally today, we watched this cancer reveal itself in the Kauai County Council as four members stripped one of the last bastions of democracy from the people of Kauai. Once again, as acknowledged by the County Council, the Council has never before in history taken action to block the submission of a Charter Amendment Petition.

Their justification was that an "opinion" from the County Attorney raised enough questions in their minds that the stripping of the rights of the citizens of Kauai was justified. The County Attorney's "opinion" was in response to a series of questions submitted through the County Clerk's office.

The questions asked began with the following statements:
  1. Can the County reject a submission?
  2. Can the County refuse to process a submission?
  3. Can the County challenge the validity of a proposed Charter amendment?
  4. Can the County reject a submission?
  5. Can the County challenge the validity of a submission?
It was quite revealing that none of the four Council members (Yukimura, Rapozo, Furfaro, and Kagawa) questioned the obvious bias and intention of this line of questioning. Rather than looking for ways to insure an efficient and legal democratic process, as is the County Clerks role, it is so blatantly clear that the formulator of these questions had a very clear intention of finding a way to kill Charter Amendment 33.

 And while these four Council Members repeatedly stated that the County Attorney "is our attorney" and all felt that they must honor that opinion, even though they had passed Bill 2491/960 against the County Attorney's opinion, and in spite of the fact that only weeks ago the Council entertained a vote of No Confidence in the County Attorney, and the opinion itself acknowledged that they had every right to choose their own course of action.

These Council Members not only usurped the democratic rights of the people of Kauai, they also usurped the rights of the judiciary system, again by giving themselves the authority to be the "judge" who would under existing law be the arbiter of any legal questions that might arise in this process.

That would only occur, under the County Charter, after the Amendment has gone to the ballot and been passed by the citizens of Kauai. These members of the County Council have chosen to take away the rights of the people and to appoint themselves as the Judges. They are far, far away from the original intention of what the Charter Amendment was meant to be as a voice of the people in the democratic process.

And they have attempted to set an extraordinary precedent where in the future, if they have any question about any aspect of a proposed Charter Amendment, they claim that they have the right to kill it. They claim that they are not required to point out any specific aspect of the Amendment as justification for refusal, nor justify their actions according to the existing Charter Amendment which gives them no such authority.

Theirs is an extraordinarily profound attack on the rights of the people in a democratic system both now, and in the future if these illegal actions are allowed to stand.

I will offer one final definition that I heard somewhere years ago.  Cancer: a group of cells living on a body while consuming more than their fair share of the resources of that body, until it actually kills the very body that gave it life in the first place.

It's ironic that for the cancer cells themselves, the disease is a form of suicide.

We are witnessing the cancer brought to Kauai by the Chemical Companies in at least the three ways described above. Charter Amendment 33 addresses all three of these levels of cancer. It calls for the Chemical Companies to prove what they are doing is safe in terms of it's use of toxic chemicals. It calls for a limiting of the spread of GMOs through drift.
And it calls for a transparent body of independent experts, as well as a new officer of Environmental Health on Kauai. And it empowers the people of Kauai to have a say in the process.

On the one hand the Chemical Companies do not want to see these remedies occur here on Kauai. On the other hand the people of Kauai have stepped up with nearly 8,000 signatures in support of, at a minimum, giving the people of Kauai the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would like to see these remedies applied. In the face of those many thousands of signatures these six or seven people have set themselves up as a new form of government.

Council Member Yukimura's favorite mantras are about "we are a country of laws" and "I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution". Under current law on Kauai it is legal for a Multinational Chemical Company to come to this island and dump toxic poisons on our island and it's people. (In some cases it isn't even legal for them to use these same toxins in their own countries). 
And current law says that it is illegal for the people of Kauai to say "No", you can't dump poison on my family or my island. One would like to think that there might be some connection between law and justice. It is time that justice becomes the focus.

When Council Member Yukimura chants about her oath of office she does a deep disservice to the many thousands of women who, for decades, went to prison, died, and suffered, standing up against unjust laws and the very Constitution that said that it was illegal for a woman to vote, let alone hold office.
Those women deserve to be honored rather than have their efforts be mocked. Without their efforts it would still be illegal for Council Member Yukimura, or any other woman, to sit on the County Council.

The following are the email addresses of the four council members who feel that you do not deserve to have your voice heard and that you do not have the right to vote on these serious issues on November's ballot. It might be nice to let them know how you feel about that.
You might keep these four addresses handy and when you come across an article about GMOs, or health issues, or democracy. You might continue to let your voice be heard by them and forward the articles to them with your comments.,,,,

I apologize to you for the length of this email and I applaud your perseverance if you've read this far. Today's actions at the County Council hearing profoundly affect many things. Initially we joined together to face the issues of GMOs thinking that the Chemical Companies were the challenge.
Then it became clearer that in addition to GMOs this is also a very political issue. And it has now evolved even further into a clear Human Rights issue. The people's rights are being trampled.

We believe that today's County Council actions will only make us all stronger. There are differences in opinion on approaches to the GMO issues. But there is very little difference of opinion when the democratic rights of the people are stripped away by a tiny minority.
That action affects everyone and every issue we all face moving forward. It will serve to unite us even further in stronger ways. Today's Council choices cannot be allowed to stand.  We will continue to strive for the shared visions of a healthy, abundant, honest island for all. We will achieve that shared  vision.
The Light is continuing to shine very, very brightly on the dark revealing many things for us all. That process of revelation is a necessary step in the healing process. These continuing revelations empower more effective choices.
Michael Shoolz


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