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LETTERS for October 23 issue

By Staff | Oct 23, 2014

Anti-GMO initiative will have dire consequences

As the president of the Lahaina-Honolua Senior Citizens’ Club, I, along with members of our club and many Lahaina residents, were saddened and distressed to wake up last week to find anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) graffiti spray painted on trees, telephone poles and stores – even on a tree in our Banyan Tree Park.

Last Sunday afternoon, under the hot Lahaina sun, a group of our seniors with wire brushes in hand removed these anti-GMO graffiti signs. Visitors were impressed to see us “old folks” working so hard to keep our historic town free from graffiti. One New York tourist even took one of our brushes and helped us scrape off the graffiti from one of the utility poles.

Until the SHAKA Movement campaign issued a back door and weak acknowledgment (The Maui News, Oct. 5, 2014) that their followers had been the guilty parties, we were being called to task in social media as the real perpetrators trying to make SHAKA look bad. Seventy-, 80-, 90-year-old-plus seniors – imagine that!

This is not the only negative activity we have experienced in Lahaina and elsewhere. In addition to vandalizing public and private property, large numbers of campaign signs of “Vote No on the Maui Initiative” and supportive council candidates signs have been vandalized.

We hope the people who continue to deface our historic town of Lahaina will cease this type of negative activity.

Please vote “NO” on the Maui County initiative. This initiative will have dire consequences.



Monsanto should work with the county community

Recent ads from pro-Monsanto/anti-Temporary GMO Moratorium groups saying that Monsanto is threatening to lay off their workers if it passes are saddening. Firing their workers in the event the proposition passes is really a choice by Monsanto, and it is far from the company’s only possible response. Monsanto has many options in this regard, being one of the largest and most powerful corporations in the world, ranked 60th on the S&P 500 with a capitalization value of $60 billion – more than five times the annual budget for the entire Hawaii State government.

Choosing to cooperate with the Maui County community can keep these employees on the payroll while the moratorium conditions are met. If, as claimed, there is already existing proof that Monsanto’s seed crop pesticide/herbicide spraying and experimental spray development operations on Maui are benign and safe for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the water in which we swim and fish, then the temporary moratorium’s requirements can be met quickly.

Monsanto can decide to be part of the Maui community, consider their employees ‘ohana and drop the threats against them. I urge the people of Maui County to vote “Yes” to approve the temporary moratorium to clear the air on this health and safety issue out of respect and kindness for the residents and the visitors of our home, especially those that are most vulnerable: the children, the pregnant, the elderly and those already ill with weakened immunities.



Lahaina Wrestling Club appreciates support

We would like to thank owner Ron Panzo of Lulu’s and Deejay Big Mike for coordinating the benefit concert on Sept. 26 for our wrestling club. Special thanks to sponsors Mike Powell of MFL (Maui For Life), David Johnson and Kepeli Robbins of Headstrong Sports and The 808 Gym, and Sheldon Tateyama of Kauhipolani Light & Sound. Also thanks to Ekolu and Malino for providing the music.

Thanks to all of our families and community support. Imua!



The power of unlimited money

In politics, Ka’ala Buenconsejo is totally a creation of two SUPERPACs, who spent almost $200,000 on his campaign in the three weeks from July 17 to Aug. 9, the date of the primary.

The clear intention is to defeat Elle Cochran, someone who has a record of caring about the environment and planned development. I had never heard of Ka’ala B. before receiving an expensive, county-wide mailer about him about July 20, followed by six more very expensive mailers. I had never heard of him in politics, never heard of him in non-profits, never heard of him as pushing some idea or issue for the public good.

In three short weeks before the primary, two unlimited-money SUPER- PACs paid for county-wide mailers, campaign signs, radio ads, surveys and canvassers to pass out flyers for him at $12 an hour.

No other unknown candidate has ever had this kind of investment from off-island SUPERPACs.

The next date for filing campaign spending reports is not until Oct. 27. That is when we will find out how much these SUPERPACs have spent for him since Aug. 9. There is no limit to how much they can spend.

I wish that every voter would make a vow not to vote for candidates who are totally a creation of advertising – totally a creation by off-island SUPERPACs.

Only independent voters can counter the power of unlimited money.



Judge candidates on their ideas

Our constituents deserve the candidates with the best, most impassioned ideas for the betterment of our people. And not the candidates with the most money to spend on television advertisements, public radio and fliers. Public funding should be the source of income for political discourse and elections, not private.

For too long, our government has gone to those who have the largest bank accounts and not those who have the greatest ideas. For too long, we have allowed our government to be purchased by those who seek only to empower those who put them in office. It is time to see to it that campaign finances take a turn towards the populace, and places the power back into the hands of those impacted the most.

I have never received campaign contributions from a union, corporation or individual. My loyalty is only for the people. I do not have funds to advertise, but I do campaign door to door listening and learning from you – which to me is the very best advertising possible.

CHAYNE MARTEN, State House Candidate


West Maui Premise of anti-GMO initiative is weak

I have friends who are farmers who do not understand the reasoning behind the Maui County initiative against GMO crops and the use of pesticides. The initiative states that the farming practices by the commercial agricultural entities threaten the health of our people.

I don’t believe this premise. If that is true, why does Hawaii lead all the states in life expectancy? Many of our seniors worked on the sugar and pineapple plantations and lived next to the fields. Yet they lived long and productive lives while raising their families despite working for “commercial agricultural entities.”

It is nearly impossible to farm without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. The people behind this initiative clearly want everyone to only consume non-GMO organic foods. This is a very elitist attitude, knowing that most of our consumers cannot afford to buy only organic foods to feed their families.

But what really is upsetting is that the proponents are willing to risk the livelihoods of 600-plus families by pushing through this initiative. There is no compassion in this proposed bill for those that will be affected.

The initiative states that “the citizens of Maui County call for a suspension of all GE Operations and Practices.” It sounds like we are all in agreement. Well, do not include me. I am voting “NO” on this


The voices of the proponents are loud and shrill. Most of us don’t say much, but we know that this is bad for Maui.



Banning GMOs will increase use of pesticides

I don’t understand why people are trying to pass an initiative banning GMOs. There is a lot of talk about pesticide use, but GMOs were designed to create their own natural defenses, resulting in less spraying.

Growing conventional or organic crops would require more pesticide application. So, if anti-GMO folks are concerned about pesticides, why are they supporting an initiative that would result in more pesticide use?

I am also wondering why these anti-GMO people are saying that GMOs are bad for you. How would changing specific genes in an organism cause physiological problems in the human body? If it was possible for GMOs to cause some sort of effect in the human body, wouldn’t the person have to first ingest the organism? Is there an issue with people hopping the fences at Monsanto or Mycogen and eating seed corn? What exactly does the anti-GMO initiative hope to achieve?

It wouldn’t affect pesticide use, it wouldn’t have a positive effect on human health, it would cause hundreds of people to lose their jobs, it would reduce millions of dollars going into the local economy, it would reduce the income of local businesses, it would result in jail time and fines for someone growing papayas in their backyard. To me it’s a no-brainer; the anti-GMO initiative brings a lot of negative consequences to our local community and nothing positive. I’m voting “No.”