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LETTERS for October 2 issue

By Staff | Oct 2, 2014

GMO initiative could have dire consequences

Contrary to recent comments, the “Maui County Farming Ban” initiative targets far more than only two companies. The initiative is poorly written, and if passed, could have massive unintended consequences that are far-reaching and dangerous to our Maui community as a matter of policy.

It would be unconstitutional for a bill to single out individual companies. Indeed, the bill does not exempt large farms or backyard gardeners. Rather, in five locations, the initiative targets “any person or entity,” and defines a person as including “natural persons clubs and associations.” Fines on individual farmers could reach $50,000, and penalties are $2,000 per day plus possible jail time.

The dire consequences of this harmful, deceptive and costly initiative were recently discussed by Dr. Jack P. Suyderhoud, professor of business economics at the University of Hawaii, who told a Maui gathering that seed companies have an annual payroll of $17.8 million and cumulatively invested $100 million in Maui County.

He went on to say, “What is not controversial is that if Maui loses this part of its economic base, it will be impossible to replace in the near future, and there will be significant adverse economic effects on both Maui and Molokai.”

One additional adverse effect will be the massive cost of increasing the size of county government to take on tasks it is unequipped to carry out.

MICHAEL A. LILLY, Former Hawaii Attorney General


GMO/pesticide program creates unavoidable hazards

Voters approving a GMO (genetically modified organism) farming ban want safety studies done of genetic engineering farming riskiness before it continues in Maui County. You might think Monsanto would welcome a chance to show off their highly advertised research… but apparently not.

Much GMO farming relies on boosting crop tolerance to increasingly toxic pesticides designed to combat proliferating resistance in wild plants and insects. Although GMO boosters claim it’s “improving nature,” there are problems.

Harmless and sometimes useful plants and insects are destroyed along with the few that damage crops. Many poisons accumulate and concentrate in nature over time, magnifying mortality in combination with other poisons. We’ve already learned that DDT contaminated mother’s milk everywhere in the world.

Mathematically unavoidable hazards result from this GMO/pesticide program. Stronger poisons are needed to keep suppressing perpetually emerging bug and weed immunities. GMO crops, some already designed to produce their own poison, could spell doom over time for humans. Unlike the rapid and abundant reproduction of plants, ainsects and microbes, humans are very slow to develop genetic resistance. Eventually, we may need safety clothing to go outside. Relatively mild food allergies could become deadly.

The great variety of foods we’ve developed from nature may survive chemical attack by disappearing into remote areas. We could credibly be reduced to eating GMO grains and engineered animals. You might need regular injections of resistant genes to survive the new foods, but it’s predictable there will be a company around to provide your latest genetic upgrade – for a price.



GMO initiative a farming ban

It is not true, as some claim, that no GMO crops are grown on Maui. Actually, local Maui farmers grow GMO corn, squash and Rainbow Papaya and sell their products in Maui grocery stores – and have for years.

This false argument that ignores the variety of farming on Maui is another indication of the destructive nature of this expensive, complicated and poorly written 12-page initiative.

The initiative claims to be a temporary moratorium, but in reality, it is an immediate and permanent farming ban. Large and small farms on Maui, Molokai and Lanai would be shutdown – even small backyard gardens – and the regulatory hurdles in the initiative are contrived to make it impossible to reopen farms.

In fact, it requires a “super majority” of a two-thirds vote on the County Council to reopen a closed farm. The ban includes fines for farmers of up to $50,000, and 600 jobs will be lost.

Equally dangerous is the harm that will come to farmers who safely apply pesticides to protect their crops. The uncertainty of what will be allowed and what will be banned is causing increasing concern among Maui’s farmers, who are worried about their ability to continue farming.

Please vote NO on this harmful, deceptive and costly farming ban initiative.

JAMES “KIMO” FALCONER, President/Owner, Maui Grown Coffee


Hawaii is ‘ground zero’ in GMO battle

Why we are… where we are… for such a time as this. We are fighting the battle of the GMO and taking no prisoners. No matter who wins, we lose because of the ugly scene before us. If you think GMO is bad for your health, consider what arguing and quarreling is doing to you.

If Hawaii is considered “ground zero” for the GMO fight, what kind of example are we setting for the world to resolve this issue… hate mongering? What happened to “ALOHA?” Aloha means the breath of God. Yet, we are dealing with this situation as if the acronym GMO stands for God Missing Overall.

We have had GMO crops for 50 years in Hawaii, yet we feel such a sense of urgency to eradicate them immediately and not consider the ramifications of that decision.

What if everybody set aside their differences and laid down their pride to come together for a common goal? Just put a moratorium on the hate and anger and bitterness.

We have an opportunity to make history that we could all be proud of, and show to the world that peaceful resolutions are possible. Hawaii is unique and recognized worldwide; what if we joined together to turn the tide on the production of agriculture in Hawaii?

We would work together toward a common goal of getting all crops that are able to grow here and livestock to make our islands sustainable. How long would that take? If the importer and buyers and markets and restaurants and the consumers all do their part, then in no time, we will have accomplished a goal together.

here is such a global concern over the GMO issue. No matter how much perception of corruption, the testing for safety will undoubtedly uncover the health risks and negative environmental impacts.

While this is being accomplished, we will have diversified farming and farm management practices. Hawaii’s agriculture will be diverse, just like the people that make up the islands. This plays to our strengths and will perpetuate the spirit of aloha.

As the story unfolds, we can embrace whatever the outcome is; and, in the meantime, provide locally grown food that is better tasting and higher in nutrients than the produce imported. It will provide more jobs and opportunity for economic growth, so our need for housing and infrastructure will increase.

Are you willing to work together to create an environment that can accomplish all this and do it peacefully? Please consider to stop the hate and cooperate for a better Hawaii. We will call it the Pono Policy… do what is right!



Beyond buying local, invest local

Buy local. It’s a well-known strategy for small towns. Keeping your grocery money close to home keeps the grocery store close to home.

Economists tell us that every dollar spent at a locally owned business generates two to four times the economic benefit. But what if we take it to the next level? What if we “invest local,” too?

The concept is an extension of “buy local” campaigns that urge us to capture the multiplier effect of commerce by keeping our spending money close to home. You already see it all around you in small towns. Often, it takes local citizens to see opportunity where an outsider would overlook it.

Local residents, rooted in place, are often willing to take a financial risk to make their small town a better place. Imagine if more of us joined them, investing locally. Creating a vibrant future for your small town really is in your hands.

BRIAN DePEW, Center for Rural Affairs


McKelvey listens

Geez, I hate the mudslinging this time of year, but I gotta weigh in on one race. I don’t want to say anything bad about anybody, but I gotta say that no legislator has ever listened to me more than Angus McKelvey!

When we were in county negotiations about trading park credits for Honolua, I asked Angus to attend to explain the new “important ag lands bill.” He showed up to explain.

He later crafted a bill to save important surf spots. I helped by providing the names of the points, from Puuiwa to Punalau. But this was when the economy was in a full crunch, and other legislators said, “Great – we’ll have a surf contest every weekend and make a ton of money.” All of a sudden, I had to back-peddle and go against the bill, knowing that was NOT what the community wanted.

Then during the last election, I saw Angus on the side of the road sign waving and stopped to talk. I explained to him that county efforts were going nowhere and asked if he could help. He asked me if I could set up a lunch with himself, me and Ryan Churchill, president of Maui Land and Pine.

Many lunches with many different key players later, Ryan said, “Let’s write it up!”

Long story short, I am voting for Angus McKelvey!



West Maui Forum should be held on GMO ballot question

Dear “Citizens Against The Maui County Farming Ban,” as most of you know that are speaking on the TV commercials, growing up your whole life here in Hawaii Nei, the Hawaiians have a long-standing method of sitting down and talking things out with aloha when issues get heated up or the mana’o is not pono.

It’s called “Ho’oponopono,” or to make things right between us. NOT ONE PERSON in Hawaii wishes to ban farming or take jobs away from anyone. In your hearts, I truly wish to believe that you already know this.

What I propose is a mediated town hall meeting, so we can talk story about the facts and make things pono for all TRUE citizens of Maui Nei. All persons on all the TV commercials are invited to sit on a panel, where you can come and educate the citizens of Maui County as to what you believe the facts to be; and we, the people of Maui, can ask you questions and maybe even educate you a bit as well? One of the ladies on the TV commercial said this moratorium has “no aloha.”

What I am proposing is with pure aloha to all concerned, so that we all can benefit from the truth. This would be very pono of you.

If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, you may contact me by e-mail at shawn@ itouchmedia.com.

I also feel it would be pono to video the town meeting, so that we can spread the aloha to all who could not attend.