Thursday, November 06, 2014


Hawaii voters are not fools—and they want action on GMOs and pesticides

Talk about scare tactics. The infomercial implied that three year old could get multiple consecutive years in prison and face $100,000 fine for touching GMO plants at home on the family’s lanai.

One of the scare mongers was Paul Brewbaker, the former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Bank of Hawaii and a lecturer at the University of Hawaii since 1987.—Henry Curtis, Citizens Win Against Big Money

by Larry Geller

In his article on Ililani Media, Henry Curtis reveals Paul Brewbaker’s connection with genetic modification. Check out the article for that.

What I resent, as a Hawaii resident, is how frequently political actors treat the electorate as fools. We seem to be marks for candidates or special interests trying to con us into voting on the basis of lies or incredible claims. The more money they have, the better their lies look, or the slicker the deception.

mark (noun): A person identified as an easy target, or "sucker". A mark is always the short end of a joke or scam, and is never let in on what's going on. A mark is usually being cheated out of money. It's origin is from old English traveling carnivals from the late 1800s to early 1900s, where workers would refer to people paying to see their made up shows and games a "mark".

Well, despite being outspent 87 to 1, Maui voters put in place a landmark restriction on GMOs, leapfrogging movements in other states that have so far fallen short of success.

Maui voters are no fools. They know that the chemical companies will take action to invalidate their action, and likely will succeed.

Three Hawaii counties have put in place measures to protect their communities. Far from being naïve about the long-term chances that these efforts will survive, voters and advocates understand the importance of citizen mobilization. The people have spoken. The Maui success has been noted in national media.

Perhaps it’s time for the state legislature to listen up.

With three counties applying pressure, the chances are improved for some action next on Oahu, at the State Capitol. Since committee chairs have already been decided for the coming session, action to educated lawmakers can begin immediately.

Whatever happens will depend on getting boots on the ground on Oahu. No amount of testimony submitted during the session will do the trick—those many seminars one can take about how the legislative process works deceive if they do not emphasize the importance of making multiple in-person contacts with legislators—and in particular, committee chairs, vice chairs, or their staffs.

The influence of the Neighbor Islands at the Legislature is weak unless they can work out with Oahu advocates how to mount a strong enough in-person campaign so that legislators hear what the people want.

Rallies at the Capitol Rotunda have been impressive, but when they’re over, they’re over. Constant contact can work. With all the success at the county level, this is the year to press the flesh on Oahu.

The giant chemical companies will have their army of very well-paid lobbyists doing just that.

And the newspaper seems to be firmly in the industry’s pocket—its power should not be underestimated, each legislator gets the paper each day.

So no amount of emailing testimony will do the trick, though it is important that there also be testimony.

Somehow the islands will need to get together if a statewide law, one which would inevitably be challenged in court but which would be more likely to survive, is to be passed this or next legislative session.


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