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LETTERS for September 4 issue

By Staff | Sep 4, 2014

GMO moratorium targets chemical companies

Heads up, Maui – Monsanto is at it again. They are circulating letters asking people to join the “Citizens Against the Maui Farming Ban.”

When did a GMO (genetically modified organisms) moratorium become a “farming ban?”

The GMO corporations in Hawaii are granted more open air, experimental crop permits than anywhere else in the U.S. Some 119 permits were issued last year alone, and a huge majority of those are for chemical-resistant crops. All of this while they grow NONE of our food.

That is not farming; that is chemical testing… and they think you are too stupid to know the difference.

This moratorium targets chemical companies, NOT farmers. Show me one local farmer who will go out of business if this moratorium is passed. Show me one farmer that uses GMO seed to grow food for us on Maui. Except for a few papaya growers, there are none.

And what has become of the Hawaiian papaya industry? We are left with surplus of unmarketable papaya, because GMO foods are becoming harder to sell to the public.

Monsanto, Dow, and all the other biotech companies, if you want to have a conversation about GMO crops in Maui, by all means, let’s. Give the public a little credit when we do though, and stop calling a moratorium on GMO crops a “farming ban.”

Please stop using the local farmers who grow our food as pawns in your propaganda campaign. We know that a HUGE chunk of Monsanto’s $14 billion profits last year were from your GMO corn seed plus Roundup weed killer package. That’s not farming – that’s a business model based on creating a need for your latest chemicals.

We are tired of being lied to by greedy and reckless biotech companies, so they can make billions while they dirty our air, water and soil. I can’t wait to cast my vote in support of the moratorium in November, so they can finally be held accountable.

Please check out shakamovement.org for the correct information for the initiative on the ballot in November. Vote yes! Also vote for Tamara Paltin for mayor! She supports the people of Maui, not the biotech companies!



Schedule a debate on GMOs

As I sit here wondering what we’re facing, I see it as a huge opportunity.

We’ve recently done something unprecedented. In collecting enough of a community response to pass the ballot initiative, we have shown that in Maui County, we want to have a debate on GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

Let’s do it. I… WE… publicly challenge Monsanto to a debate, televised and on social media, or both. Let’s have several debates, actually.

There are a few questions the citizens of Maui County have for you, Monsanto. Or the moderator can come up with a few. Or both.

I’m sure I could come up with a volunteer that would be willing to look one of your chosen representatives in the eye and ask a few questions. And answer yours, of course. Happy to…

If no one else steps up, I will. I don’t have a lot of fancy degrees, but I’ve been paying attention. And I have a few questions.

You see, this is a debate we need to have. I hear through the Coconut Wireless that you want to have a conversation about food. Awesome – me too! Would you like to start, or shall I?

Today, I was kind of in a hurry, so I stopped at Jamba Juice. But when I asked if it was GMO soy in the Protein Berry Workout, the cashier gave me a blank look. It seems like a valid question, right? The other people sitting in the shop looked over and kind of shrugged. They didn’t know either.

So, let’s have the conversation. I’ve got a few friends that would watch it, I’m sure. Maybe DVR it, so we don’t have to watch any crummy commercials.

We could also do it via statements and letters to the editor, but face to face seems better. I look forward to your response!



Super PAC trying to unseat council incumbent

Smell anything fishy in our local political arena lately? How about a Super PAC funding over $100,000 to a rookie candidate with no political background, Ka’ala Buenconsejo? The Maui Timeshare Ohana, from Reno, Nevada, is just one of the Super PACs trying to unseat Elle Cochran.

Elle was voted Maui’s best elected official two years in a row in the Maui Times. She is known for asking the hard questions during testimony in front of the council that has the mayor’s administrators sputtering. She questions the mass testimony from Monsanto’s newest hire-ons, union and timeshare workers, who are on the clock wearing their matching T-shirts. They are parroting corporate sentiment that wants nothing but a yes-yes, rubber stamp council.

Any candidate accepting Super PAC funds has already sold his soul to the devil. Representing the voters? Doubt it! A radio barrage, large color newspaper ads and dozens of glossy mailers to clog the landfill. All corporate white wash. Sorry, Ka’ala, I don’t trust where your money is coming from.



Support a park at project site

I am so grateful to Mr. Dropinski, that his letter to the editor gives me license to respond about an issue that I am passionate about. I believe Kahoma Village should be stopped and a community historical park developed. I hope the Lahaina News will indulge me to respond in a couple letters, as there are several topics to address.

I would like to say that I agree wholeheartedly that it is an “easy fix: buy the land… pay the taxes every year… leave for everyone to enjoy.” I had written a letter to the Weinberg Foundation two years ago with a visual plan for a park and questions regarding what would be necessary to make that happen. I was sent a very polite letter from an attorney with a “no.” I accepted that, because it is their land, and one does have property rights. I was unaware at that time of the historical significance of the land and the threat that the development poses to the near-shore waters.

Property rights, however, do not give people license to freely do as they please with the land they have been entrusted with. Property owners must comply with regulations and laws. They must protect the environment and history, and are accountable to God, who entrusted the land to them.

In the event someone reads this and would like an opportunity to leave a living, lasting legacy, here’s your chance. It will take $15 million to $20 million to secure the land and develop the quality of park that the West Side deserves, as West Maui produces a significant portion of the revenues for the state. This land represents the last of the historical capitol of the Kingdom of Hawaii available for the enjoyment of the people. Recognizing these facts may aid in securing grants to help establish the park.

I do not want it to be a county park; no offense, but I want a nice, well-maintained park. Our county is overwhelmed with the upkeep of the existing parks on Maui, so I do not want to burden them. Nor do I want the park to be a tax burden. I am researching New York City’s Central Park, which is operated by a conservancy.

I believe that various organizations like the Rotary Clubs, veteran groups and other foundations and families may be interested in providing and maintaining the playgrounds, covered picnic pavilions, amphitheater, fountains, trees and the other park features.

The development of a park, in addition to protecting the ocean, preserving the history and providing a recreational area and scenic vista, will also provide sustainable jobs. The employment would include park maintenance, conservancy store/office staff and security personal.

How fun will it be to have movies, concerts, plays and other free events in the park for the enjoyment of all? Picnics and parties and puppet shows, volleyball and horseshoes, walking, biking and skating, yoga and yoyos, talking, laughing, playing, community – whatever we dream. It can be. Let’s make it happen and save this land.



Wainee Street in bad shape

Aloha and thank you so much for your weekly news. Please allow me to express an opinion on the condition of Wainee Street; it’s rotten.

How is it, with 13.4166 percent tax on every visitor room night, and 4.166 percent on absolutely everything else purchased in the state, that the state/county can’t scrape together enough to fix Wainee Street? I find it rather difficult to grasp, if only from a purely business standpoint. Here we have one of the top income-producing areas per square mile on the island (for the small businesses), and just a block from the famed Front Street, we have a road that was perhaps imported from a USED four-wheel-drive test facility.

There are no sidewalks, so to walk the road at night, for some of our older visitors, is no doubt a barrel of monkeys; dodging the pot holes and tree roots growing next to the road.

Well, honestly, I guess it’s best to let it go… keep patching Front Street instead. After all, we don’t want to deprive the state of the “much-needed” rail system on Oahu, which fully .0043 percent of the state’s visitors will certainly enjoy, along with .000457 percent of the residents.



Dogs killing chickens at Launiupoko farm

Dog attacks over the past six weeks have killed over 100 young laying hens at The Neighborhood Farm located in Launiupoko/Makila, West Maui. The most recent attack was Wednesday, Aug. 27. The Neighborhood Farm has been located on Punakea Loop for over seven years with an extensive free range egg farm that supplies stores, restaurants and delis throughout West Maui. Our business has steadily increased, and the farm now produces 50 dozen eggs a day.

Neighbors, I need your help. Two dogs have been sighted. Both are medium-sized dogs. Both are black. One has pointy ears and white on his chest. The other is shiny black. There are no reports of packs of wild dogs, so these are most likely friendly, family pets. Please e-mail me at thefarm@hawaii.rr.com or text me at 264-6480 if you have any information about these dogs or if you have seen other dogs, running free. I can also send a photo of the dog that was seen on the property.

If you own dogs and keep them in a fenced area, please check your fence for openings. If you let your dogs run free, please lock them up.

Farming is hard, hard work. Dealing with natural predators – owls and mongoose – is part of the job. Facing the challenges of drought, high winds and torrential rains is also in my job description. Picking up piles of mauled, dead chickens, killed by family dogs trespassing on my 15-acre farm, should not be a task I am faced with daily.

This community has repeatedly asked for more farms, more farmers’ markets and more locally produced food. If it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes that same village to ensure the survival of its food supply. We all need to work together if we want local farms to survive. Farmers cannot do it alone.

THEO MORRISON, Owner/Farmer, The Neighborhood Farm