Hawaii Politics

Amen Molokai

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 9.19.50 PMIf you’re looking for an entertaining way to spend your day, a trip to hear testimony given to the Maui County Council on the subject of GMOs may be just what is needed.  On Wednesday, roughly 200 members of the community gave the council their thoughts on a Citizen’s Initiative called PIA-78.  This initiative would place a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms until a yet to be determined group of citizens could deem them ‘safe’.

Those familiar with the subject of genetic engineering may be scratching their heads as they already know that scientific consensus has long upheld the safety of these crops.  On the small island of Maui, apparently that news has not yet reached a very vocal minority of the population.  About 33 people testified about the dangers and evils of GMOs.  In past testimony we have heard how eating GMOs caused corn silk to grow from the throat of one man and another told how aliens were somehow involved in this grand conspiracy.  The latest round of testimony did not disappoint.

One woman told how children eating Wheaties and other (?) corn based cereals were suddenly spurred to accumulate guns in their bedrooms and are the likely cause of school shootings.  Another woman had also bought into the idea of evil cereal as she believes Post cereals containing corn products cause our children to be sterile.  Sorry son, no kids for you.  Several testifiers gave us a laundry list of diseases all caused by GMO.  Of course, most of the illnesses listed have been around for hundreds of years while GMOs have been around for about 20.

One man (a candidate for mayor) signed up to testify and was later ‘tazed’ by the police outside of the council building for ignoring and taunting an officer that was trying to ensure his safety.  You can watch the video of the event here.  The best part is that he showed up late in the day to give us his thoughts on the issue at hand, with hair that was slightly curlier than it was at 8AM.  Need it be mentioned which side of the debate he touted?  A hint: it didn’t have much to do with science.  He was shortly followed by several people claiming that Monsanto adds bubble gum smell to their pesticides and that people all over Kihei and Molokai have been smelling that delightful chewy candy in their yards.  Several biotech supporters were shortly seen chewing big wads of bubble gum.  It can be fun to mess with people’s minds.

Maybe the most entertaining and frustrating part of the day came late in the afternoon.  Those that arrived early to sign up had been patiently waiting for a turn to speak.  Attendees were privileged to hear at least 100 testimonies given via phone from the island of Molokai , as this is a standard practice available at council meetings in which testimony is heard.  (Side note: Maui County is comprised of 3 islands: Maui, Lanai, and Molokai.)  Low and behold, a fictitious name was used to allow 4 individuals to cut in the Maui line.  These people turned the proceedings into a circus and forced the chair to suspend the meeting.  They claimed they had a plane to catch back to Molokai.  These are seasoned testifiers that knew they could give their accounts from their home island, but they flew to Maui anyway.  Since they came with their own camera crew in tow, it would be safe to assume that they had an ulterior motive for wanting to be in chambers.  Too bad for all the other testifiers that they cut in front of, that they didn’t plan ahead well enough to catch the appropriately timed flight home.  Keep an eye on you tube for an up close view of the circus they created.  Watch for the part where they threw out some racial digs at the biotech company employees.  Yes, how DARE they support family members still living in another country?!

Many people in support of this moratorium assured the 600 employees that they would help them find work on organic farms after they lose their jobs with the biotech companies.  They seem to think that organic farms will magically become super profitable on Maui, despite the fact that most current farms of that type are looking for ‘unpaid interns’.  One group promised that they could feed the entire island of Maui on 500 acres with 2,000 employees.  Where’s the beef?  Oh, wait, all residents of Maui become vegetarians on that plan.

One testifier got up and had the gall to say he is a supporter of the moratorium and then expressed outrage that all these people working for the biotech companies were trying to divide the islands and pit neighbor against neighbor.  Ummm, who exactly started this battle?  Oh, that’s right, SHAKA did with their ridiculous initiative of fear.

The good news in all this crazy is that while about 33 people got up telling us how evil the biotech companies are for wanting to do business in this county, 5 times that number stood up to testify against the moratorium on farming.  168 residents of Maui County, many of them from Molokai stood up to talk about what this initiative would do to them, their families, and their island.  Molokai would be devastated, or as one testifier put it: ‘If this passes, all hell will break loose”.  Amen Molokai, Amen.

4 thoughts on “Amen Molokai

  1. And the circus of the anti-GMO club continues to roll in Hawaii. Thanks for the play by play on this latest escapade. Sadly, there will be more to come thanks to new “friends” who have come from the mainland to stir the pot their way.

    • There were comments from the county council today on the same thing – new residents coming in from the mainland wanting to change things in Hawaii. One council member commented that HE came from the mainland originally but approached his arrival in a manner of “what can I learn and how can I fit in here”. The groups trying to implement things like this moratorium don’t want to learn from Hawaii, they want to change the culture that is so rich in our islands.

  2. And after the citizen testimony, they had a conference call with the Deputy Administrator and experts from the Biotechnology Regulatory Service of USDA who dispelled many of the myths and nonsense in the moratorium bill.
    Saving the best for last, there was a conference call with epidemiologist Dr. DeWolfe Miller from the University of Hawaii’s John Burns School of Medicine, who described the bill as fallacious, audacious, epidemiological folly, and said he was shocked that supporters of the bill would ever consider putting people out of work, which actually does have adverse health effects on the worker, their family and the community.
    In responding to the question from a councilman if the bill could be described as unreasonable, Dr. Miller said that would be an upgrade from being just plain unethical.
    Now comes the work to get the message about the evidence and science to the voting public over all the background noise and nonsense.

    • Thanks for your comments Harold. Working to get the pro agriculture message out will be made much easier with the support of the majority of the county council, as well as the mayor. Headlines in today’s paper spoke of our Mayor: “Arakawa says he believes GMO’s not harmful”. Bringing this message to the voters of Maui will be important over the coming months. No need to pit one form of agriculture against another when we could be learning from one another instead.

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