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MAUI COUNTY WANTS TO HEAR YOUR 2018 BUDGET WISH

As a prelude to the trainwreck that will be Maui County’s 2018 Budget Hearings, starting tomorrow, the County has created a survey so you can express your opinions on spending.
CLICK HERE TO VOICE WHERE YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR TAX DOLLARS SPENT IN 2018’s BUDGET.
They even made a video!

The survey is a pretty crude approach; on several broad categories you get to choose to keep current spending, increase or decrease by 5%. The fun part is that you have to jigger your choices till you come in at a balanced budget. You want this? Then that has to go! You do come away with some sense of the balancing act the budget must go through, but the real process is much more nuanced than this.

They also want your opinion on a few specific projects:

* Do you want the County to continue operating the Waiehu Golf Course at a financial loss? Would you prefer that the County keep, sell or lease the Golf Course?  If privatized, would you support a County program to subsidize efforts to assist youth and elderly golfers who currently frequent the course?
Where would you like to see the approximate $3 Million dollars re-allocated within parks (if course operation by the County is discontinued)?

* Are you in favor of construction at the Kamehameha Ave. and Maui Lani Parkway intersection in order to alleviate traffic congestion? How important is this issue to you?

* Are you in favor of a $1.9 Million project to retro-fit street lighting in order to create a more environmentally friendly street lighting infrastructure? The project is projected to eventually save taxpayers close to $700,000 per year due to rebates and less energy use.

Come join in the fun. This is our chance to press our legislators to evolve the existing Good-Old-Boy network of political and economic patronage into a county governance that truly serves its people.   

  • March 30, Kihei Community Center, Main Hall, 303 East Lipoa St., Kihei
  • April 3, Lanai Senior Center, 309 7th St., Lanai City
  • April 5, Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Social Hall, 91 Pukalani St., Pukalani
  • April 6, Paia Community Center, Social Hall, Hana Hwy., Paia
  • April 10, Mitchell Pauole Community Center, Social Hall, 90 Ainoa St., Kaunakakai
  • April 13, Helene Hall, Social Hall, 150 Keawa Pl., Hana
  • April 17, Lahaina Civic Center, Social Hall, 1840 Honoapiilani Hwy., Lahaina
  • April 18, public hearing at the Council Chambers, 200 South High St., 8th floor, Wailuku.

All district meetings will begin at 6 p.m., with the exception of Molokai with a 6:30 p.m. start.

Visit MauiCounty.us/2018budget for meeting schedules, documents, agendas, announcements, and other information relating to the budget session. Testimony may also be emailed to bf.committee@mauicounty.us, referencing BF-1.

For special accommodations during any of the meetings, please call 270-7838 at least three days in advance.

 

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Arakawa Kills EARTH DAY

CALL THE PARKS DEPT AND DEMAND OUR EARTHDAY EVENT PERMIT BE APPROVED!  (808) 270-7230

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is striking back against his many critics by denying our community the opportunity to assemble, celebrate our connection to Mother Earth  and organize for political change that supports sustainability rather than corporate exploitation.

Maui County Parks Director Ka’ala Buenconsejo, who Awakawa appointed to his job as a reward for running an illegal smear campaign against Elle Cochran in 2014, and who has no qualifications to be Parks Director, cites PONY RIDES as one of the reasons to deny the Earth Day 2017 event application.

Maui resident Bruce Douglas has been staging Earth Day celebrations in Maui County parks for 19 years and for the past seven years its been a very successful gathering at the Keopuolani Amphitheater.

The event features information booths for over 50 environmental and social awareness organizations and governmental agencies.  This year the event was to feature the new pilot program championed by Elle Cochran that brings Maui’s Parks Dept. together with the environmental group Beyond Pesticides to find alternatives to heavy chemical use in selected county parks.

But because our community has become increasingly vocal and successful in supporting political change that protects, rather than exploits the environment, the Mayor has killed Earth Day.

Below is Buenconsejo’s denial letter which offers only minor issues from past events as the reason for this year’s denial. It includes Pony Rides as a problem. Seriously? We know better.  This is an attempt to muzzle our community’s voice and we must stand up to this kind of oppression. Please call the Parks Dept. at (808) 270-7230 and demand our event permit be approved.

Here is Bruce’s rebuttal to the County’s allegations of wrong doings:

1) Parks:  “With an anticipated attendance of 800 participants, has grown to exceed safe usage of that facility.”
Earth Day:  The number of participants of the Earth Day event has remained steady since it was move to Keopuolani Park Amphitheater 7 years ago, and is well within the park’s capacity with no residual effects to the park grounds.

2) Parks:  “Failure to dispose of trash generated from the event within the time allotted by the issued permit.”
Earth Day:  This occurredonly once, 2 years ago, when a heavy rain on Sunday night filled the trash cans with water.  On clean up day Monday the volunteer vehicles could not move heavy wet garbage and the dump closed at 3pm.  We hired a truck and move it Tuesday morning, 12 hours late for our permit.  This is a case of extenuating circumstances.

3) Parks:  “Non-compliance of permitted event hours.”
Earth Day:  The published facility hours are from 7am to 10pm.  We shut down main stage at dusk.  We have sometimes allowed acoustic music to continue in the dome stage after dark that has never cause a noise complaint that we are aware of.

4) Parks:  “Allowing of unsafe vehicle access in prohibited areas during the event.”
Earth Day:  Vehicles have always been out of the event area before opening ceremonies start at 10 am.  Vehicles have never been allowed into the event area until after the main stage has been shut down and most of the participants have dispersed.  The lower entrance (jogging trail) is used for handicap access as well as musician and vendor drop offs, as is done for every other event held at this amphitheater.  Sometimes people have parked along the jogging trail even though we post signs saying forbidden.  This has never created an unsafe situation.

5) Parks:  “Unauthorized addition of activities not approved by the issuing permit, such as pony rides.”
Earth Day:  We have had pony rides on 3 different years under the observation of parks officials and this is the first time anyone has called this use a problem.  We see nothing in the permits or parks publications calling this use unauthorized.

6) Parks:  Failed to satisfactorily clean or restore any park or recreational facility.
Earth Day:  In the spirit of environmentalism, we have consistently restored the park to a cleaner situation then when we found it.  There has never been any lingering impact to the park with the exception of one sprinkler head being damaged, which our park deposit was used to pay for.

Respectfully, Bruce Douglas, Director of the Maui Earth Day Festival

Mahalo for your support.

 

 

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Maui Causes #44 Christopher Fishkin on the CoverUp of County Abuse that Allows Developers to Avoid Enviro Studies and Shift Infrastructure Costs to The Public

Christopher Fishkin is a Legal Assistant and Public Advocate. Here Chris discusses some of the conflicts of interest that have resulted from Maui’s Planning Dept. and  Corporation Council’s manipulations of SMA (Special Management Area) permits that have allowed countless developers to defer significant infrastructure improvements with absolutely no accountability. This shady practice has cost taxpayers (that’s you) millions and millions of dollars and benefitted only those who are well connected to the power elite.

Its a smoldering scandal that the Mayor, Corporation Council and specific members of the County Council are doing their best to hide, but which is slowly making its way to the public.

One of the things to watch is the upcoming budget approval process. Mike White has intentionally not included an assessment of the value owed to the county in order to keep the issue under wraps, but public advocates are forcing the issue to the surface.

Maui Time Weekly published an article on this scandal several years ago and it is still smoldering. You will be hearing much more about all this in the coming months.

Maui Time Weekly Jan 17 2013 Article

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Proposed Charter Amendments to Reign-in Mayor’s Hiring Entitlement and Allow County Council to Get Legal Advice Independent of Mayor’s Appointed Lawyers.

abuse-of-powerCome testify on Friday Aug 5th to support two proposed Charter Amendments that will have significant impacts on the balance of government in Maui County.
Resolution 16-96  proposes to additionally require council approval of the managing director and the directors of the departments of Finance, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Planning, Housing and Human Concerns, Transportation and Environmental Management. If the resolution is adopted on second-and-final reading, which requires a yes vote by at least six council members, the proposed charter amendment will be placed on the general election ballot for the public’s consideration.
As noted in Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Report 16-110 , requiring council concurrence for all of the mayor’s appointments of department directors will “ensure transparency in the appointment process and the appointment of qualified candidates.”
Resolution 16-96 also would allow additional qualifications for department directors to be established in the Maui County Code. As stated in the committee report, “the charter sets forth general qualifications for department directors,” but the committee determined the council should be allowed to “establish more specific qualifications by ordinance.”
If the proposal for council approval of all department heads is endorsed by the public on Nov. 8, it will take effect after the next election for mayor in 2018.

Resolution 16-97, also up for second-and-final reading on Friday, would allow the public to consider giving council staff attorneys the authority to render formal legal opinions to council members. Currently, the Department of the Corporation Counsel, housed in the executive branch and led by a mayoral appointee, employs the only attorneys who are authorized to give legal advice to the council.
Committee Report 16-111 recommended approval of this charter amendment by citing “a need for the council and its members to have ready access to independent legal advice, particularly when there is an actual or potential conflict or disagreement between the executive and legislative branches.”
Taken together, these charter amendments have the potential to establish a more equitable balance of power between the mayor and council.
Resolutions 16-96 and 16-97 were approved on first reading at the July 15 council meeting. A video replay of the meeting is available on demand at mauicounty.us.

9:00 a.m., in the Council Chamber, located on the 8th floor of the Kalana O Maui Building, 200 S. High St
Wailuku, HI 96793

 

 

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MAUI COUNTY is a HOUSE OF CARDS: Testify in Support of a Professional Town Manager

PLEASE READ AND FORWARD TO FRIENDS, NEIGHBORS, AND FELLOW CITIZENS

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: JUNE 27 @ 9 AM, 8TH FLOOR, COUNTY BUILDING

ALERT.  To have any chance of getting the council-manager proposal on the November ballot, the Council must hear from you when the Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs (PIA) Committee takes up the Special Committee’s recommendation in favor of council-manager government on June 27.

Some argue this is a “rush job” (after years of inaction by the county) and that more time is needed to educate the community.   Some simply say “kill it.”  Based on past behavior, more time means no action. There are three + months before the November election during which this and other issues will be vetted in every corner of our community.  Every council seat is being contested this election.  Many council candidates favor a change in structure.  While every candidate’s position has not been identified, at least one candidate in 7 of 9 council districts supports the council-manager structure and letting the people decide.  So too do candidates in the south Maui and Upcountry state representative contests.

Yet, some Council members believe the people should not decide this question in November.  We disagree.   Voters are able to assess whether Maui County government is working well or whether it’s time for a charter change supporting council-manager government – to bring professionalism and expertise to management of county operations (roads, water, waste management, planning, finance, etc.)

We think you, the voters, know

  • Whether the relationship between the mayor and council is effective, collaborative and working in the people’s best interests, or not;
  • Whether the county’s planning and implementation functions are timely and working, or untimely and broken;
  • Whether the mayor and managing director put the interests of citizens before their own political interests;
  • Whether the complexity and population of our county have increased significantly since our “Strong Mayor” form of government was adopted almost 50 years ago;
  • Whether selecting our chief executive/operating officer (mayor) based on criteria in the current charter (can vote, is at least 18 years old and a county resident for at least 1 year) is adequate, or not;  
  • Whether department head selection is subject to rigorous screening, based on updated job descriptions and minimum requirements, or whether some appointees have little or no background, education or experience in the fields they are to lead;
  • Whether showing all directors to the door with each mayoral election promotes continuity, cost effectiveness and selection of the best directors; and
  • Whether our local government is transparent and accountable to the people.

So come and let the council hear your voice.  You will not have another opportunity like this for decades to come if the council does not advance the question!

Maui News Editorial, 2/28/16: “Go directly to the people.  As the Special Committee on County Governance continues its study of whether to maintain the current strong mayor-council form of government or to recommend a change to a council-manager setup, we have a suggestion: Urge the County Council to put the measure on the ballot this fall and let the residents of Maui County decide . . . .”

 

IN A NUTSHELL: THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION:

  1. Three Basic Changes:
  • The managing director should be hired by and report to the council through a selection process that is open and based on defined job-requirements.

Now: The mayor appoints the managing director in a closed process. The managing director is an aide to the mayor with limited authority. Job requirements are minimal. The job term is defined by elections, not performance.

  • The managing director should hire directors.

Now: The mayor appoints directors, except those hired by commissions. Job requirements are minimal. Job terms are defined by elections, not performance.

  • The length of service of the managing director and his/her hired directors should be based on job performance.

Now: All must resign with each mayoral election. Job retention is not performance based. The structure is political.

  1. Three Key Goals:
  • Bringing professionalism to the managing director role and to department directors: length of job service should depend on performance, not elections, and management selection should be based on professional criteria, not politics. The role is that of a fully accountable manager.

Now: “We are all political,” per the current managing director. Every appointed director must resign with each new mayor unrelated to performance on the job. The managing director’s role is weak. Getting the mayor re-elected is a key job focus[1].

  • Creating continuity of management and career opportunities.

Now: Director terms are limited to 4 or 8 years based on political fortunes.

  • Creating a collaborative work environment.

Now: Squabbles and poor communication between branches characterized by posturing. name-calling, communication barriers, and finger pointing.

[1] “Ultimately, I think what Rod [Antone] is saying is that our primary goal above all else is to get the mayor re-elected. Nothing else really matters . . . .” Keith Regan, current managing director, quoted verbatim in the Maui News, 10/11/15, at p. A4.

For more info reach Mark Hyde via forthegoodofmaui.org <http://forthegoodofmaui.org/>

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SHAKA in Court Wed, June 15th, 9am Watch Live Streaming Video from Courtroom

SHAKA in Court
Wednesday, June 15th, 9am

Watch Live Streaming Video from Courtroom

Click HERE to Watch LIVE Streaming Video
http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/live_oral_arguments.php
Wednesday, June 15th, 9am
xzl9th Circuit Court Hearing on Hawai’i GMO Cases
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that they will hear The SHAKA Movements Appeals of Judge Mollway’s decisions at 9:00 AM, on Wednesday June 15th, at the Federal Bankruptcy Court Building in Honolulu. The Court also announced that the same 3 Judge Panel that will be considering the two SHAKA appeals will also hearing the Appeals of the Kauai and Hawaii County – cases as decided by Magistrate Judge Kurren. The oral arguments presented will all be distinct and not combined.

Visualize these 3 judges making the highest and correct decision for the people.

Sidney Runyan Thomas is a 62 year old Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He was appointed by Bill Clinton. His chambers are located in Billings, Montana. He has a reputation for being even handed.

Consuelo María (“Connie”) Callahan (born June 9, 1950) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Her chambers are located in Sacramento. On February 12, 2003, Callahan was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

On September 20, 2005, the New York Timesnamed Callahan as a possible successor forUnited States Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor[2] She was supported by someDemocrats and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as being more moderate than many of Bush’s other appointees.

Mary Helen Murguia (born September 6, 1960) is a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, based in Phoenix, Arizona. Murguia is one of seven children of Alfred and Amalia Murguia, who emigrated from Mexico in 1950. On March 25, 2010, President Obama nominated Murguia to a fill a vacancy on theUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Watch Court Live starting 9am Wed, 6/15

tinyurl.com/HiGMCourtRuling

I am writing to let you know about an important new petition, asking concerned citizens to stand in solidarity with the People of Hawaii, the SHAKA Movement, The Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice in their historic effort to overturn the democracy-threatening Monsanto Doctrine: which is the shocking new power of agrochemical corporations to do whatever they want in defiance of local laws.

Click Here to Sign da Petition!

On June 15 a panel of federal judges from the Ninth Circuit Court will meet in Honolulu to hear oral arguments from four important cases that may result in the most important GMO-related decision in history, the environmental equivalent of a Citizens United decision.

The appellate court will either uphold or overturn four recent decisions by the lower federal District Court in Hawaii that invalidated the power of county governments to enact laws that protect public health and the environment.

In cases involving the islands of Kauai and Hawaii a federal judge struck down local government laws that would have required buffer zones to prevent pesticide spraying near schools, and open air genetic engineering experiments that were seen as threatening to local organic agriculture.

A different federal judge from the same Hawaii court made history last year when in two separate court decisions (involving the islands of Maui and Molokai) the result of a citizen’s initiative, that passed during the 2014 election, was invalidated.

Under this new Monsanto Doctrine (you can watch an animated two minute video about it here), the regulatory agencies created to protect public health and the food supply of our citizens have been reinvented as legal shields to protect the world’s most toxic agrochemical companies from the authority of local government to provide that very protection to its citizens.

If left standing, this same Monsanto Doctrine will be employed as a weapon against common sense health regulations around the world, through international trade agreements like NAFTA, the TPIP and (if unstopped) the TPP, preventing entire countries from safeguarding public health.

Please join the people around the world who are signing this petition to restore the essential human right of the people, through our democratic institutions, to protect public health and our environment.

With gratitude, affection and ALOHA,

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Community Farmland Council fails to get required number of signatures

Screen Shot 2016-06-13 at 11.28.29 PMFor immediate release: June 13, 2016

Press Release by:
Danny Mateo, County Clerk (808) 270-7748
Office of the County Clerk
County of Maui

Community Farmland Council fails to get required number of signatures

WAILUKU, Hawaii – The Office of the County Clerk has certified that the Community Farmland Council has not collected the required amount of valid signatures needed to advance to the Council a petition to establish a program to acquire and lease agricultural lands, County Clerk Danny Mateo announced today.

Initiative Organic Farm Land

“On April 18, the Community Farmland Council submitted an initiative petition that contained 11,339 signatures, and a supplemental petition on June 1 that contained 6,827 signatures,” Mateo said. “Our office has reviewed both submissions and determined that 7,305 registered voters in the County of Maui have signed the petitions, while 10,861 signatures have been deemed invalid.”

Twenty percent of the total number of voters who cast ballots in the last mayoral general election, or 9,201 registered voters, were required to sign the petition to have it formally submitted to the Council.

“Our office has carefully and diligently reviewed each line of the petitions to ensure a thorough and fair review for all sides of the issue,” said Mateo.

As examples, Mateo noted that signatures may be deemed invalid due to duplicate signatures, insufficient or incorrect information provided, or illegible handwriting. Signatures would also be counted as invalid if a signer was not registered to vote in the County of Maui.

Initiative-Organic-Farm-Land (1)According to the Charter requirements, each individual signing the petition must also provide their printed name and place of residence.

“Our office looks forward in assisting the public to utilize their rights as citizens of Maui County,” said Mateo. “We will continue to provide fair and unbiased assistance on all issues presented to us.”

Mateo said the ratio between valid and invalid signatures on the Community Farmland Council petition is fairly consistent with previous initiative petitions made in other counties in the State of Hawaii.

The 2014 GMO petition in Maui County submitted by the SHAKA Movement had approximately 46 percent of those signatures deemed valid. Additionally, the Hawaii County Clerk’s Office received initiative petitions in 2006 and 2008, where approximately 45 percent of those signatures were deemed valid in each year, respectively. In comparison, the validity rate for the Community Farmland Council’s petitions is approximately 40 percent.

To access the Maui County Charter or to find additional information, visit www.mauicounty.gov/clerk.

# # #

June 13, 2016: Certification of results letter

Download (PDF, 81KB)

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With a Few Last Minute Arrivals, All County Council Seats Now Contested

June 8, 2016

By BRIAN PERRY – City Editor (bperry@mauinews.com) , The Maui News

All nine Maui County Council seats will be contested, and most Maui legislators face primary and/or general election opponents.

Only two Democratic Maui County legislators – Central Maui Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran and Kahului-Puunene-Old Sand Hills-Maui Lani Rep. Justin Woodson – escaped filing deadline day with no opposition, effectively getting re-elected. Two Maui senators – West-South Maui Sen. Roz Baker and East Maui-Upcountry-Molokai-Lanai Sen. J. Kalani English – are midway through four-year terms, so they can sit on the sidelines this year.

8-candidates

Also in the midst of four-year terms, the governor, lieutenant governor and Maui County mayor will not be running this year.

The Maui County Charter provides that council races with two or fewer candidates advance directly to the general election. This year, that will be the case in five council residency contests: East Maui Council Member Bob Carroll will take on a challenge from Shane Sinenci; West Maui Council Member Elle Cochran will face Ernest Balinbin; Kahului Council Member Don Guzman will be opposed by Vanessa Medeiros; Lanai Council Member Riki Hokama will defend his seat against Gabe Johnson; and Molokai Council Member Stacy Crivello will be tested by Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.

Two council seats are being vacated by the term-limit departures of Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu Council Member Mike Victorino and Upcountry Council Member Gladys Baisa. Those seats without hard-to-beat incumbents have attracted nine candidates overall five for the Wailuku seat and four for the Upcountry seat.

COUNTY OF MAUI COUNCIL CANDIDATES 2016
EAST MAUI
CARROLL, Robert (Bob) P.O. BOX 157 HANA 96713
SINENCI, Shane P.O. BOX 343 HANA 96713
WEST MAUI
BALINBIN, Ernest Z. Kanamu 5045 L. HONOAPIILANI RD., #6 LAHAINA 96761
COCHRAN, Elle 10 HALAWAI DR., #1 LAHAINA 96761
WAILUKU-WAIHEE-WAIKAPU
ATAY, Alika P.O. BOX 3075 WAILUKU 96793
BLACKBURN, Joseph G., II P.O. BOX 1673 WAILUKU 96793
KANE, Dain P. P.O. BOX 104 WAILUKU 96793
REGAN, Keith A. 1823 WELLS ST., #2A WAILUKU 96793
STEEL, Hana S. P.O. BOX 1495 WAILUKU 96793
KAHULUI
GUZMAN, Don S. 46 KAMAIKI CIR. KAHULUI 96732
MEDEIROS, Vanessa A. 588 S. PAPA AVE. KAHULUI 96732
SOUTH MAUI
COUCH, Don P.O. BOX 1212 KIHEI 96753
DELEON, Richard 140 MANINO CIR., #101 KIHEI 96753
KING, Kelly Takaya 72 KALOLA PL. KIHEI 96753
METCALFE, Jerome V. (Tiger) P.O. BOX 1625 KIHEI 96753
MAKAWAO-HAIKU-PAIA
FURTADO, Trinette K. 342 KULIKE RD. HAIKU 96708
KAUFMAN, Alan D. P.O. BOX 297 KULA 96790
WHITE, Mike 1135 OLINDA RD. MAKAWAO 96768
UPCOUNTRY
GREIG-NAKASONE, Napua P.O. BOX 880163 PUKALANI 96788
MOLINA, Eric John P.O. BOX 881171 PUKALANI 96788
MONIZ, Stacey Suemi P.O. BOX 880761 PUKALANI 96788
SUGIMURA, Yuki Lei Kashiwa P.O. BOX 901362 KULA 96790
LANAI
HOKAMA, Riki P.O. BOX 631258 LANAI CITY 96763
JOHNSON, Gabe P.O. BOX 631620 LANAI 96763
MOLOKAI
CRIVELLO, Stacy Helm P.O. BOX 1097 KAUNAKAKAI 96748
RAWLINS-FERNANDEZ, Keani P.O. BOX 935 KAUNAKAKAI 96748

For the Wailuku seat, those candidates are: Alika Atay, one of the leaders of the SHAKA Movement for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms; Joe Blackburn, a former Maui firefighter and police officer who has tried twice before to win the seat; Dain Kane, a former council member who held the seat from 1999 to 2006; Keith Regan, the county’s managing director; and Hana Steel, the county’s recycling coordinator.

(Steel’s employment status with Maui County was incorrectly reported in a Maui News story published May 15 on Page A3. She remains the county’s recycling coordinator, although she has been placed on administrative leave with pay, “against my will and wishes” and has not reported to work since July 2014.) Steel filed a federal age discrimination complaint against Maui County, and there have been recent steps to resolve the matter, she said.

On Tuesday, county spokesman Rod Antone said he could not comment other than to say Steel is the county’s recycling coordinator, and that her pay scale ranges from $59,736 to $88,404.

Blackburn said his reason for seeking the Wailuku council residency seat is to help working families.

“We are pricing and pushing our local families out of Maui County,” he said Tuesday. “While the economy is better in 2016, housing and rentals are worse. I want to serve the silent majority, our working class of Maui.”

Blackburn said his more than three decades of work in public safety, both as a fire rescue captain and police officer, “helped me understand how our public services impact the community.”

Regan said his strength also comes from his experience in government. He said he’s the only candidate in the Wailuku council race “who has the unique experience of managing the various departments of the county and helping to formulate the county’s annual budget for a span of more than seven years.”

That experience, combined with having owned and operated a small trucking company on Maui, earning a master’s in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration and his continued community service, “I believe I am the best candidate,” Regan said.

Regan said he advocates a change to biennial budgeting for the county, and he’s critical of the current council budget system as being “time-consuming, cumbersome, inefficient and forces the entire legislative process to shut down for months . . . This is unacceptable; and it must stop.”

Kane said that over the past year he has been approached and encouraged by many people in the county to return to public service.

“I’m offering our citizens a candidacy with a proven track record of experience, with an understanding of the complex inner workings of county governance, and in particular, county legislative governance,” he said. “I’ve consistently demonstrated an ability to work with my peers to accomplish important objectives, with a focus and commitment to further our community’s interests with a sense of fairness, dignity and respect.”

Atay said he’s running for the Wailuku council seat because he believes that “decision-making should be for the community and people first, and not for corporate profit and gains.”

He said he’s running for “aloha ‘aina.”

“I’m committed to delivering and addressing the vital issues that affect the people of Maui County: from protecting our natural resources, especially our drinking water, to addressing the issue of providing truly affordable homes for local family residents, to increasing economic development in the areas of agriculture and the ‘green-collared’ job/career opportunities,” Atay said. “I strongly believe we must continue to embrace the Maui values that keeps Maui no ka oi.”

Steel did not respond to questions sent via email Tuesday morning.

For the Upcountry seat, the candidates are Women Helping Women Executive Director Stacey Moniz, kumu hula and businesswoman Napua Greig-Nakasone, community leader and former congressional field representative Yuki Lei Sugimura and Pukalani resident Eric Molina.

Moniz said she’s served as a community advocate for 30 years, and “I believe my ability to address complex challenges with multifaceted, broad-based solutions is just what our community needs right now.”

“We are facing environmental and economic challenges compounded by uncertainty and will need leaders with critical thinking skills to navigate us through,” she said. “I’m a critical problem solver who looks at the entire system before making important decisions.”

Affordable housing is the critical issue facing Maui County, Moniz said, emphasizing that more needs to be done to provide housing for the community’s entire spectrum of needs – “from ownership to affordable rentals and transitional housing for special populations like people with disabilities, elderly, domestic violence survivors, people getting out of prison or substance abuse treatment.”

Greig-Nakasone said she decided to run for office “because I feel it is my responsibility to use the education, experience and opportunities that have been afforded me to serve my community in this capacity. With the new types of challenges we face here in Maui County, it is imperative the next generation take an active role in leadership.”

She said her experiences as an educator and businesswoman make her a strong candidate.

Working with students of diverse backgrounds, “I must be able to walk a mile in their shoes to help all students come to a similar understanding,” Greig-Nakasone said. “This is a skill that is essential in leadership as this is a time when ‘building bridges’ in our community is urgent.”

Sugimura said she has been inspired to undertake community service by her father, Dr. Lester Kashiwa, a physician for the Wailuku Sugar Mill. “Growing up, patients would call for him in the middle of the night and no matter the hour, my father always answered their calls. He served the community by putting his patients first and serving the community as a whole.”

She said her Upcountry council candidacy is a continuation of her own 25 years of work on “community convening and improvement projects (that) have been built on the lessons of service from my father.”

“I want to connect our communities, preserve and perpetuate our culture and create economic opportunities for Maui County,” Sugimura said.

She said her top priorities are working families and jobs.

“I am an advocate for affordable housing, better roads and job creation,” she said. “I support smart growth by using alternative energy and recycling as ways to preserve our environment. I believe in a walkable and bikeable community where beaches, parks and roads are safer and where community happens.”

Council candidates have to reside in their districts but the entire county elects council members.

In a half-dozen state House races, there will be four primaries.

House Speaker Joe Souki will face Richard Abbett in the Democratic primary for the 8th House seat (Wailuku-Kahakuloa-Waihee-Waiehu-Puuohala-Waikapu). The winner goes on to challenge Republican Gilbert (Gil) Rebolledo, who’s uncontested in the GOP primary.

Similarly, South Maui Democratic Rep. Kaniela Ing will defend his seat in a primary against Deidre Tegarden, a former executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui and chief of protocol for former Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration. The winner of that race will go on to face Republican Daniel (Danny) Pekus.

And, Democratic Haiku-Paia-East Maui-Molokai-Lanai Rep. Lynn DeCoite has a primary challenge from Alex Haller. And, whoever wins that contest advances to the general election against Green Party candidate Nick Nikhilananda.

The Upcountry House race between Democratic Rep. Kyle Yamashita and Tiare Lawrence will be a winner-take-all contest without another party fielding a candidate.

The primary election is Aug. 13, and the general election is Nov. 8.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

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Breaking News: Don Couch “investigation” inquiry from State Office of Information Practices. Is Don Withholding Public Information in Violation of Sunshine Laws? Why?

don-couch-and-mayor-alan-arakawa-at-south-maui-park-photo-by-wendy-osher

State Office of Information Practices has opened a case on behalf of West Maui resident Marilyn McAteer relating to Don Couch’s failure to respond to a request for public information
involving an alleged “investigation” into unaccounted for developer agreements which by Charter should be accounted for in the annual Budget as revenue to offset capital improvement
expenditures.

MM-OIP-State-of-Hawaii-Letter-Signed
MM-to-Couch.doc-April-7-2016

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Big Money & Corporate Greed Attempting To Influence Local Maui Politics, Again.

You all remember The Citizens Against The Maui County Farming Ban, the fake citizen’s group founded by Maui’s local radio personality Tom Blackburn-Rodriguez, that in 2014 spent $8 Million of Monsanto’s and Dow’s money spreading lies about the GM Moratorium?

Well, not only is Tom back on the air with big corporate backing, we are now seeing the influence of conservative political forces like ALEC, The Franklin Center for Gov and Public Integrity and the Koch Brothers in the convoluted notions offered in an op-ed piece from the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii printed today in the conservative run Maui News.

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This viewpoint infers that the only agriculture of value in Hawaii is large-scale, corporate-backed, chemically-dependent Ag that feeds no one and strips resources and profits out of the islands, with only toxic chemicals left behind.

The Grassroot Institute says it promotes Libertarian principles of small government but it seems that they do so not to empower individuals to express themselves and control their own and their community’s destinies but rather they do so to allow off-island controlled corporations (endowed with the rights of free speech under the disastrous Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision)  to do whatever they feel will generate the most profits, at the expense of the well-being of the people who actually live here.

Large scale, corporate controlled, chemically-dependent agriculture, as it has evolved over the past 25 years or so, is exploitative and never was sustainable. It is dying on Maui for the same reasons it is dying on the mainland and in countries that are standing up to the World Bank’s and Monsanto’s influence: consumers want to eat clean food and don’t want to be poisoned by the Military Industrial Complex that is attempting to take over control of the world’s food supply and profit from the sale of dangerous chemicals.

As people who make Maui our home we have the responsibility to stand up to these external economic and political forces, to protect our fragile environment and Tourist economy from the fallout of rampant chemical exposure, and to support the transition back to local, affordable and sustainable food production, so that we can return to growing 90% of what we eat rather than importing it.

How disingenuous for the libertarian Grassroot Institute to overlook the fact that HC&S’s sugar production on Maui was financially viable only through Federal subsidies and price supports. That’s small government?

Maui Causes’s Mission:

Most agricultural land in Hawaii was essentially stolen from the Hawaiian people by the children of the missionaries, who, the saying goes, “came here to do good and ended up doing very well”.

Over the years a few corporations and big money interests have become the beneficiaries of that theft and they are now doing all they can to protect their entitlement to exploit Hawaii’s people and natural resources.

These pages are dedicated to exposing off-island influence, stripping away their entitlement, and returning control of Hawaii to the people who make it their home.

Exposing Conservative and Corporate Influence:

The Grassroot Institute has ties to very well funded conservative groups like the ALEC-connected, Franklin Center for Gov and Public Integrity and has been funded by CATO (Koch Brothers).  Malia Zimmerman, the secretary of the institute’s board of directors, is also a co-founder of “Hawaii Reporter” a networked news organization funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity

The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, publisher of the site “Watchdog.org,” is a national 501(c)(3) journalism organization based in Bismarck, North Dakota and started in 2009.[1] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-1>  According to a previous iteration of the organization’s website, the group’s mission involves “networking and training independent investigative reporters, as well as journalists from state based news organizations, public-policy institutions & watchdog groups.”[2] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-2>  The Franklin Center funded state reporters in more than 40 states as of August 2011,[3] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-3>  and in 34 states as of May 2013.[4] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-2013_list-4>  Despite their non-partisan description, many of these websites have received criticism for their conservative bias.[5] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-5> [6] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-6>
At a time when there are fewer and fewer statehouse reporters — as of the American Journalism Review’s most recent count in 2009, there were 355 in the entire country, down from 524 in 2003,[7] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-7>  bluntly called a “statehouse exodus” by the same journal[8] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-8>  — former Reuters chief White House correspondent Gene Gibbons described the rush of groups like the Franklin Center to fill the gap as follows: “an army of Internet start-ups, some practicing traditional journalism in a new medium, others delivering political propaganda dressed up as journalism — are crawling all over the picnic. . . . At the forefront is the one-year-old Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity . . .”[9] <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-GibbonsKennedy-9>

 

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Come Celebrate Your Mother Earth: Earth Day Festival Sunday April 17th, 2016, 10am-6pm Ke‘opuolani Park Amphitheater, Kahului

2016 Maui Earth Day Festival
Sunday April 17th, 2016, 10am-6pm
Ke‘opuolani Park Amphitheater, Kahului
(located behind Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and
opposite War Memorial Stadium Parking Lot)
$7 entrance fee, keiki free

Sign up now: Organizations, Vendors, Volunteers & Silent Auction Donations!

email: info@MauiEarthDay.org

Website: www.MauiEarthDay.org

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ACTION ALERT! CALL YOUR SENATOR TO STOP HB 2501! WATER THEFT BILL  A&B Again Deceptive – Legislation Favors Them Exclusively

Reposted From Maui Sierra Club:

ca1125a1-3fdd-4293-8e32-e0bacd743624Healoha Carmichael, a Native Hawaiian gatherer, stands in Honomanu Stream in East Maui near her home. The stream is completely dry due to Alexander and Baldwin’s water diversions. Carmichael and her ‘ohana face significant hardship in gathering food to feed their ‘ohana because of the diversions.

Tell Your Senator To Ask Senator Jill Tokuda Not To Hear HB 2501!
HERE’S WHY:
HB 2501 DOES NOT ADDRESS THE INJUSTICE IN EAST MAUI

Thank you for supporting the restoration of East Maui streams. The fight to protect East Maui kalo farmers and families is just beginning.  In the coming weeks, we are going to need your help to defeat HB 2501 because we are up against a multi-billion dollar corporation.

HB 2501 would allow, Alexander and Baldwin, a private corporation to continue de-watering the streams of East Maui despite having no use for this public water.  HB 2501 is still working its way through Hawaii’s legislative process. We need your help to stop this bill.

On March 21, 2016, HB2501 was amended by the Senate Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee.  The amendments appear to acknowledge the harm and injustice of the current diversions because they seek to shorten the time Alexander & Baldwin is allowed to take all the water from East Maui and appropriate funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources so that it can properly administer the law.  While these amendments may make the bill less egregious, it is not enough to address the incredible harm long-suffered by residents and farmers who do not have access to sufficient water on a daily basis because A&B takes so much water from East Maui streams.

HB 2501 HARMS EAST MAUI KALO FARMERS AND FAMILIES

Before a corporation diverts water from a stream, it must prove its diversion will not cause harm to downstream users. A&B has never done this. A&B has used BLNR’s illegal “holdover” authorization to avoid ever having to prove that its diversions cause no harm. Manipulation of the process has allowed A&B to divert millions of gallons of water every day regardless of the consequences. This must stop.

KNOW THE FACTS. DEMAND THE TRUTH.

HB2501 is tailor-made for A&B. It is the only entity with a “holdover” revocable permit and it is the only entity with a pending water lease application before the BLNR.
HB 2501 would reward a multi-billion dollar corporation for improperly taking water from the public, even if the courts conclude that the water diversions are illegal. The bill attempts to interfere with the judicial process and short change East Maui kalo farmers.
Giving A&B three more years to complete a process that started 15 years ago is UNFAIR – particularly after they have admitted that they do not need as much water as they have been taking. And they have not used the time they already had wisely. Where is the EIS? Where are the stream measurements?
Temporary bills do not address the issue.  They have a tendency to last a long time. Often the Legislature will repeal the provision to terminate a law at a later date.
There is no reason to continue this injustice any longer.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP.
The next step for the bill is the Senate Ways and Means Committee. East Maui residents and their supporters from across the Hawaiian Islands are currently working to convince the Chair of WAM to not hear HB2501.

You can help by contacting your own senator right now and asking him or her to ask Sen. Jill Tokuda to NOT HEAR HB2501 (phone numbers at the bottom).

CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY!

LIST OF SENATORS
Baker, Rosalyn H.
Phone 808-586-6070
Fax 808-586-6071
E-Mail: senbaker@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 6 South and West Maui

Chun Oakland, Suzanne
Phone 808-586-6130
Fax 808-586-6131
E-Mail: senchunoakland@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 13 Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown

Dela Cruz, Donovan M.
Phone 808-586-6090
Fax 808-586-6091
sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 22 Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho

English, J. Kalani
Phone 808-587-7225
Fax 808-587-7230
E-Mail: senenglish@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 7 Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe

Espero, Will
Phone 808-586-6360
Fax 808-586-6361
E-Mail: senespero@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 19 ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages

Gabbard, Mike
Phone 808-586-6830
Fax 808-586-6679
E-Mail: engabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 20 Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu

Galuteria, Brickwood
Phone 808-586-6740
Fax 808-586-6829
E-Mail: sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 12 Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili

Green, Josh
Phone 808-586-9385
Fax 808-586-9391
E-Mail: sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 3 Kona, Ka‘u

Harimoto, Breene
Phone 808-586-6230
Fax 808-586-6231
E-Mail: senharimoto@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 16 Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, ‘Aiea, Royal Summit, ‘Aiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Halawa, Pearl Harbor

Ihara, Les Jr.
Phone 808-586-6250
Fax 808-586-6251
E-Mail: senihara@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 10 Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, St. Louis Heights, Mo‘ili‘ili, Ala Wai

Inouye, Lorraine
Phone 808-586-7335
Fax 808-586-7339
E-Mail: seninouye@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 4 Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona

Kahele, Kaiali’i
Phone 808-586-6760
Fax 808-586-6689
E-Mail: senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 1 Hilo

Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S.C.
Phone 808-586-7344
Fax 808-586-7348
E-Mail: senkeithagaran@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 5 Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului

Kidani, Michelle N.
Phone 808-586-7100
Fax 808-586-7109
E-Mail: senkidani@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 18 Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia

Kim, Donna Mercado
Phone 808-587-7200
Fax 808-587-7205
E-Mail: senkim@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 14 Kapalama, ‘Alewa, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter, Moanalua Gardens & Valley, portions of Halawa and ‘Aiea

Kouchi, Ronald D.
Phone 808-586-6030
Fax 808-586-6031
E-Mail: senkouchi@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 8 Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau

Nishihara, Clarence K.
Phone 808-586-6970
Fax 808-586-6879
E-Mail: sennishihara@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 17 Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, Pacific Palisades

Riviere, Gil
Phone 808-586-7330
Fax 808-586-7334
E-Mail: senriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 23 Kane‘ohe , Ka‘a‘awa, Hau‘ula, La‘ie, Kahuku, Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Kunia

Ruderman, Russell E.
Phone 808-586-6890
Fax 808-586-6899
E-Mail: senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 2 Puna, Ka‘u

Shimabukuro, Maile S.L.
Phone 808-586-7793
Fax 808-586-7797
E-Mail: senshimabukuro@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 21 Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua

Slom, Sam
Phone 808-586-8420
Fax 808-586-8426
E-Mail: senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 9 Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond Head

Taniguchi, Brian T.
Phone 808-586-6460
Fax 808-586-6461
E-Mail: sentaniguchi@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 11 Manoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakolea

Thielen, Laura H.
Phone 808-587-8388
Fax 808-587-7240
E-Mail: senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 25 Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock

Tokuda, Jill N.
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 207
Phone 808-587-7215
Fax 808-587-7220
E-Mail: sentokuda@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 24 Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu

Wakai, Glenn
Phone 808-586-8585
Fax 808-586-8588
E-Mail: senwakai@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 15 Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, Pearl Harbor

If you aren’t sure who your Senator is, then go the to Hawai‘i Capitol website:http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx… <http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx…> )

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Testify in Support of Hemp Bill SB2659 SD2 with NO AMENDMENTS  – Stop A&B from Establishing a Hemp Monopoly & Call for Clift Tsuji to Resign as Ag Chair.

ab-hemp2Give your testimony today before 2 PM. It’s not hard. Log in, or create an account at the State Website. http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/home.aspx
Search SB2659 and enter your testimony. You may want to write it out first and just copy and paste it into the state’s site as there is a tendency for the site to log you out if you take too long writing.

Here’s the testimony page for this bill http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2659&year=2016

Here what we testified:

I find it absurd and insulting that testimony on Hemp research from A&B would be emphasized by Chairman Tsuji in his referral of this bill.

With all due respect to the institution, Hawaii’s Government has long been measured as one of the most corrupt in America. Who is the face of that corruption? They are sitting in the room right now, look around!

A&B is not a farming operation and knows nothing about Hemp or any other crop research. After years of ignoring it, in Hemp they now see profit potential and they want to own it for their shareholders exclusively, to the detriment of the real farmers and people of Hawaii.

A&B’s subsidiary HC&S also knows little about any real agriculture as they have only ever been engaged in sugar “production”, which isn’t really farming is it? HC&S is run by diesel mechanics not farmers.

Anyone who understands agriculture understands that Hawaii has an extremely wide range of climates and that there are a great number of varieties of Hemp.  A great part of the research to be done is to determine which climate is best for each variety of hemp so that we can maximize the many benefits of this important crop. To suggest that research should only be conducted at one site is ignorant at best.

At worst A&B’s testimony and Chairman Tsuji’s support of that testimony signals an attempt to create an unfair monopoly in Hemp production and they should all be called out for it.

In fact, I will go so far as to call for Clift Tsuji resignation as Chair of the Ag Committee. He has repeatedly abused his position to favor corporate interests that do not serve the larger agricultural community or the people of Hawaii. Tsuji represents institutional corruption at it’s worst.

A&B also testified about making accommodations for a potential increase in THC levels above the Federal limit of 0.3% as a result of growing Hemp in Hawaii’s tropical climate. That Federal limit, though written in law, was arbitrarily chosen and has no functional basis in reality. Across the board, every variety of Hemp has so little of THC in it that one would need to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to get high. Though in the same Cannabis family, Hemp is quite different from Marijuana. It’s just like the poppy seeds in your morning muffin are in the same plant family yet different from the poppies grown to make heroin.

Hemp production offers tremendous opportunities for both farmers and the makers of consumer products here in Hawaii and research into how best to grow it here should be pursued as openly, as widely and as vigorously as possible.

A&B and Clift Tsuji can go to Hell.

Respectfully submitted,
Sam Small,
Director, Maui Causes

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Misconduct by Maui County Grows.  Politically Motivated Threats of Random Assessments on “3 Lots or Less” Subdivisions Add Insult to Injury. Abuse of Authority Violates Charter and is, perhaps, Criminal. 1,000’s of Maui Homeowners with unresolved, open-ended liens can’t sell properties.

Administration Shifts Developers’ Costs to Taxpayers
By David Cain, Attorney, Wailuku

The County of Maui holds a recorded lien on thousands of properties in Maui County which have no formula or ceiling for assessments to property owners. The county administration has taken the position they can send out random bills to property owners and if left unpaid, the property can be taken through foreclosure by the County of Maui in the same fashion as property taxes.

maui-trash-justice

This form of assessment by the administration violates the Maui County Charter. Assessments must be adopted by ordinance by the Maui County Council and placed in the County Budget after annual public hearings. A politically appointed director cannot dictate the amounts owed.

As a bankruptcy and criminal law attorney who has just learned that my own home has one of these defective liens on my property, I conclude this form of infringement of land title is unconstitutional. Simply put, a government cannot record an encumbrance on a citizen’s land that can lead to a taking without some form of valuation or ability for the property owner to remove the cloud on title.

The liens are a result of incomplete developer subdivision improvements along property frontages that were “deferred” by the Department of Public Works through a subdivision ordinance adopted by the Maui County Council in 1974. My findings conclude the original intent of the ordinance was to provide relief for local families wishing to divide their land into parcels involving 3 lots or less.

Unknown to the public for almost four decades, the administration and corporation counsel has secretly expanded the recordation of the “3 Lots or Less” deferral agreements to include massive tracts of land resulting in large subdivisions, commercial properties, and multi-family condominiums.

Unknowingly, citizens end up picking up the developer’s entire roadway improvement tab costing taxpayer’s millions of dollars. The developers end up paying nothing. The administration and corporation counsel continue to deny any wrong doing. The fact they have concealed these developer deferral agreements from our elected council members and the public for 13 years speaks otherwise. They have deemed the public requests for full disclosure “an interruption of a legitimate government function.”

Through the exhausting efforts of West Maui resident Christopher Salem, a 13 year battle to obtain copies of these subdivision agreements from corporation counsel has been accomplished with the quiet efforts of unnamed employees of the County of Maui. One by one, thousands of properties affected by the illegitimate recorded agreements have been cataloged and plotted on Google aerial maps. The degree of manipulation of the Maui County Code is appalling. Evidence now suggests a similar abuse has occurred with uncollected developer park fees.

The administration and corporation counsel have knowingly and intentionally shifted private developers’ financial obligations to the public. This is an inexcusable violation of Section 9-12 of the Maui County Charter which allows for government officials to be held personally liable and be removed from office for incurring a public expense in violation of the policies and procedures adopted by ordinance. It doesn’t take a lawyer to figure out how the dishonorable exploitation of the Maui County Code has already resulted in public funds being spent on private developer obligations.

Mayor Arakawa attempted to clean up this mess by instructing JoAnne Johnson Winer and Christopher Salem to adopt through legislation a formula of assessment. Going against the mayor’s wishes, corporation counsel slammed the door on a resolution to shield their questionable decision-making.

For property owners, the harmful effect of these open ended liens is just beginning to be realized. Prominent professional appraisers and real estate brokers in Maui County have denied representation of properties with these unexplainable county clouds on citizens title. The potential ripple effect on bank loans and real property disclosures is overwhelming.

I am stepping forward to alert my fellow citizens of the destructive impact of these unexplainable clouds on our property titles. Citizens of Maui County are called upon to demand their elected officials to investigate this administrative misconduct to prevent escalation to the courts. These developer liens must be immediately removed from our property titles.

To protect your property rights, contact Public Works Director David Goode (270-7845) and your elected representatives to demand full disclosure on the county website of all properties affected by these illegitimate county liens.

Here’s a write up by Maui Time Weekly from 2013 http://mauitime.com/culture/wondering-if-the-county-of-maui-will-ever-clean-up-the-mess-known-as-deferral-agreements-and-collect-the-unpaid-debts-owed-to-tax payers/

 

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What HC&S does with it’s fields after sugar cane will affect us all. Do you have a voice in the matter?

HC&S’s fields below Makawao seem to have been planted with Thistle. Really gnarly thistle. Anyone know if it’s just to keep people out of the fields? or is this a crop or soil amendment?

What HC&S does with it’s fields after sugar cane will effect us all. Do you have a voice in the matter? The Water and Burn Permits they pulled for years, and the burning of coal are now being seen as violations of the public trust. Right to Farm bills are intended to strip you of your rights.

 

Click on image to hear more from Gov. Ige who claims Hawaii is a leader in Conservation. Really? Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.23.20 AM

 

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Gov. Ige Claims Hawaii is a World Leader in Conservation. Really?

Gov Ige shares his excitement that Hawaii was selected as the first ever US venue for the The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) – the world’s largest conservation event to be held here Sept 1 -10 2016, because, says Ige, Hawaii is such a shining example of conservation efforts, a model for the world. Really?

We suggest that just the opposite is true. It’s just as easy to assert that Hawaii was chosen for this once in 4 years event because what’s going on here is among the most critical, evolving, man-made environmental disasters in the world. The conservationists are coming to try to save Hawaii not praise it.

It wasn’t so long ago that farms in Hawaii grew 90% of our food, with tons more going to export. Today farming in Hawaii has been given over to corporate driven, chemical-based “agricultural manufacturing” of seed products for export. So complete has this takeover been that we now are forced to import 90% of the food we eat and our delicate environment is being subjected to the massive risks posed by world’s largest array of open-field testing of unique biological creations and chemical cocktails, including and especially Round Up. whose active ingredient Gylphosate is a weak antibiotic and endocrine disruptor. Persistent exposure to weak antibiotics is a known path to disease as it fosters resistance, expressed as super bugs and super weeds and throws off the natural balance of beneficial bacteria that all life forms life rely on. Glyphosate is suspected to cause Leaky Gut Syndrome, Obesity, Gluten Intolerance http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/ Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and a host of other dysfunctions http://ecowatch.com/2015/01/23/health-problems-linked-to-monsanto-roundup/ including many women’s issues because Round Up has been found to hinder Lactobacillus bacteria which is necessary for proper vagina flora balance. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22362186 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaginal_flora

Here on Maui Monsanto and Dow spent millions and still failed to ward off a community-driven electoral initiative to require independent testing of their field practices. The community here still desperately wants to know that their children are not being harmed by corporate abuse of our deeply-flawed, corporation-designed federal regulatory system and woefully understaffed and underfunded state oversight. In spite of Big Ag’s massive spending, the most ever for any local ballot initiative, Maui’s voters approved the motion and the companies are now spending even more fighting the people’s wishes in court.

HC&S’s decision to suspend sugar cane production was not only based on wet weather and a drop in sugar prices. The permitting process by which the company takes its water from public lands and which allow it to fill our air with toxic cane smoke are now being reviewed by the courts as violations of the public trust by state agencies. As well, a scam that was recently exposed whereby HC&S sold electricity generated from burning coal instead of bagasse in their sugar mill (that has no air pollution scrubbers), also contributed cane’s downfall.

Hawaii’s current agricultural system is not at all sustainable and with any luck this confluence here of people who know what they are talking about will serve to blow this issue up to world exposure and force our state and county governments to right this deadly wrong. We grow only 10% of the food we eat. Who will feed our people if the boats stop coming or a tsunami destroys our ports? The state’s efforts to re-establish food security here have been anemic at best.

The governor does mention trying to establish diversified Ag parks on all the islands, enhancing the Ag loan program to facilitate opportunities for small farmers, and skewing the Dept. of Ag’s attention away from corporate Ag towards the needs of small farmers. We applaud all these actions, they can’t happen fast enough. The Governor also acknowledges that the state has a problem when it comes to staffing it’s agencies. For some reason they can’t seem to find and hire qualified people. What is up with that?

One would think, especially with such a gathering happening here, that the Governor would be racing to enhance and increase Hawaii’s bragging rights on sustainability by supporting demonstration projects of farming techniques like ultra low-cost Korean Natural Farming. KNF has been adopted by the entire nation of South Korea and is winning favor the world over wherever Monsanto, Dow, Pioneer, Syngenta and the other chemical companies have not been allowed to dominate agricultural practices. Korean Natural Farming relies on enhancing the biodiversity of soil microbes and bacteria rather than killing them with Round-Up. The chemical companies view KNF just as they do GMO labeling and Maui’s GM Moratorium, as their enemy against which they will go to no end to stop.

Hawaii should be racing to support clinical studies of techniques like ultra low-cost Korean Natural Farming rather than allowing Monsanto to support a UH student’s Masters Thesis that explicitly seeks to discredit KNF.

There are a few measures before the legislature currently that will support the development of diversified non-chemical based Ag. HB2568 makes an appropriation for a nutrient cycling center pilot project on Maui. Testify at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2586&year=2016

SB1043 on invasive species would fund a pilot project to deal with little fire ants, coconut rhinoceros beetles, and coqui frogs. Testify at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=1043&year=2016

Also please join and support your local chapter of Hawaii Farmers Union United​
They support pilot programs across Hawaii that support all forms of diversified AG.

Gov Ige’s campaign organization staged this “Chow Fun with the Governor” talk story event in a Kahului elementary school. His campaign only announced the event a few days before. The Maui News, after initially posting the event, for some reason subsequently removed the notice from their website. Members of the press were told it was by invitation only, which wasn’t the case. Hardly any press or community activists showed up. In fact there wasn’t much of a turnout at all. But there were good questions from the audience and we’ll air a full length version on our Akaku show, Mondays and Sundays at 7PM on Ch 55.

Thanks for viewing.

 

Thanks for viewing.

 

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Myths of cannabis & hemp cross-pollination – 10 mile distance between open fields more than enough protection

By Joy Beckerman
Volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo. in October 2013 in a during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. Expanded hemp growing will be happening in 2014 with the advent of state licensing. (P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press file)

Volunteers harvest hemp at a farm in Springfield, Colo. in October 2013 in a during the first known harvest of industrial hemp in the U.S. since the 1950s. Expanded hemp growing will be happening in 2014 with the advent of state licensing. (P. Solomon Banda, Associated Press file)

Oh, the irony. On the one hand, marijuana and hemp activists have been tortured for decades by the DEA’s exceedingly absurd stance that marijuana growers will use industrial hemp fields to camouflage their marijuana plants; and on the other hand, there has recently arisen the hysterical stance by some populations of outdoor marijuana growers that marijuana and industrial hemp fields must be kept extraordinary distances apart in order to avoid cross-pollination. To be sure – whereas the DEA stance is unequivocally non-factual and has no basis in reality, the cross-pollination hysteria is actually grounded in truth, albeit recently a distorted and emotionally-based version of the truth. Greed inspires irrationality.

Let’s have an intelligent conversation based in fact because there is no need for hysteria and cross-pollination is a common agricultural issue with a common agricultural solution…and one that would never require a distance of anywhere in the realm of 200 miles between plant species types. We don’t see the State of Kentucky in an uproar. Make no mistake, Kentucky’s Number One cash crop is outdoor marijuana while Kentucky simultaneously is the country’s Number One industrial hemp producer (both feral [i.e. leftover/wild] and deliberate, now that it is legal to cultivate there).

No doubt it will be helpful to found our discussion on a necessary botany lesson, especially since the most common misunderstanding about the “difference” between marijuana and industrial hemp is that “hemp is ‘the male’ and marijuana is ‘the female.’” In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. “Cannabis” is the plant genus, “sativa” is Latin for “sown” or “cultivated” (and is included in many scientific plant species names), and the “L.” we often see associated with Cannabis sativa merely stands for the surname initial of Carl Linnaeus, the Swiss botanist who invented taxonomy. Cannabis sativa is a member of the Cannabaceae family. Within the Cannabis sativa plant species, we have the drug type known as “marijuana” and we have the oilseed and fiber type known as “industrial hemp.”

Both plant types – marijuana and industrial hemp – can be dieocious, which is to say they can be either exclusively male or exclusively female; and they can also be monoecious, which is to say they can have the staminate (i.e. the male pollen-producing part) and pistillate (i.e. the female ovum-producing part) on the same plant. However, marijuana is a high-resin crop generally planted about four feet apart for its medicine or narcotic rich leaves and buds, whereas industrial hemp is a low-resin crop generally planted about four inches apart for its versatile stalk and seed. The different kinds of marijuana are classified as “strains” and the different kinds of industrial hemp are classified as “varieties” and “cultivars.”

Industrial hemp is non-psychoactive with a higher ratio of CBD to THC, thus smoking even several acres of it will not result in achieving a high; conversely, only a memorable headache is achieved, regardless of Herculean effort. Marijuana flower production and industrial hemp production cultivation processes are distinctly different. Finally, there is no such thing as a plant or plant species known as “Cannabis hemp” and “hemp” is not a synonym for “marijuana,” “pot,” or “ganja,” etc. Botanists have argued for ages over whether a separate plant species “Cannabis indica” exists, and that age-old debate is not being addressed here.

The significant difference between the two types that effects cross-pollination and legitimately frightens marijuana growers is that hemp plants go to seed fairly quickly and would thus pollinate any marijuana plants growing in the same field or in a nearby field. This is botanically analogous to field corn and sweet corn, one of which is grown for human consumption, and one of which is grown for animal consumption. Corn producers take great measures to prevent any cross-pollination between their field and sweet corns; including growing the different varieties of corn at different times or making sure there is sufficient distance between the different fields. Either way, these corn producers do what is necessary to ensure that pollen carrying the dominant gene for starch synthesis is kept clear of cornsilks borne on plants of the recessive (sweet) variety.

Cross-pollination of hemp with marijuana would significantly reduce the potency of the marijuana plants. While hemp farmers are not going to want marijuana cross-pollinating with their hemp and increasing their hemp’s THC content, it would be entirely more disastrous for the marijuana grower if hemp were to cross-pollinate with their marijuana due to the cost of producing and value of selling medical and adult-use marijuana. The concern is real. The concern is valid. But the concern does not merit the level of hysteria that appears to have arisen in Washington. We must take a note from Kentucky.

Industrial hemp is primarily pollinated by wind, and most pollen travels approximately 100 yards, give or take. Bees, of course, can also pollinate hemp; and bees travel up to three miles from their hives. It is also true that, depending on the weight and size of any plant pollen, combined with other natural conditions, wind-borne pollen can technically travel up to 2,000 miles away from the source. Yes, it’s true, up to 2,000 miles. And also it would be beyond ridiculous to give serious agricultural consideration to this extreme factoid for entirely obvious reasons.

Cannabis case in point: Kentucky. Kentucky may not have legal outdoor marijuana grows, but you’d better believe that – like every other state in the nation – there’s a whole lotta marijuana being deliberately cultivated outdoors; and on quite a grand scale in Kentucky, which state learned centuries ago that Cannabis grows exceedingly well in that climate and soil. Kentucky was always been the heart of our nation’s industrial hemp farmlands, thus Kentucky is covered with more feral hemp than any other state. This issue of marijuana and hemp cross-pollination is old news and no news at all to the marijuana growers of Kentucky, who experience and demonstrate no sense of hysteria like that which has risen up in Washington.

Global industrial hemp leader and professional industrial hemp agrologist Prof. Anndrea Hermann, M.Sc, B.GS, P.Ag., who has been a certified Health Canada THC Sampler since 2005 and is the President of the U.S. Hemp Industries Association, has assisted with creating and reviewing hemp regulations in Canada, the European Union, South Africa, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, and several U.S. States. Anndrea refers to this issue of cross-pollination as the “Cannabis Clash” and “Cannabis Sex 101.” So what is the answer? What is a safe distance between marijuana and hemp fields?

The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), which is the global agency to which most developed countries subscribe for agricultural purposes, has completed its draft industrial hemp seed certification regulations, which rules include a range from a minimum distance of three (3) feet to a maximum distance of three (3) miles between different pedigrees and cultivars of industrial hemp. This is the same with Health Canada’s industrial hemp regulations. But we are talking about safe distances between two plant types – marijuana and industrial hemp. Absent intense research and collection of hard data that will be interesting to conduct as we move forward and funding becomes available, experts agree that a distance of ten (10) miles between hemp and marijuana fields is exceedingly appropriate to avoid cross-pollination. Or as Anndrea Hermann would say, “a nice, country road drive!”

This is not a complicated issue or a new issue. This is basic agriculture. Marijuana and industrial hemp are best friends and this is no time for them to start picking unnecessary fights with one another. Ten miles, folks; ten miles!

http://www.thesmokersclub.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/WeedBee.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Cannabis_sativa_Koehler_drawing.jpg

Joy Beckerman is the President Hemp Ace International LLC, and the director of the Hemp Industries Association, Washington Chapter

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ACTION ALERT: This bill supports opening up the growing of industrial hemp to all of Hawaii!

Aloha Hempsters…please submit testimony and share with your lists
The Hemp Bill we’ve been waiting for!!!
The first hearing for Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Bill HB2555 has been set. This bill supports opening up the growing of industrial hemp to all of Hawaii! The bill was introduced by Rep Ing and has been signed by 35 House Reps!!!!12671625_431028277090875_1803971848835389594_o MStatement.pages

 

TESTIMONY NEEDED NOW
The first hearing for Hawaii’s Industrial Hemp Bill HB2555 has been set. This bill supports opening up the growing of industrial hemp to all of Hawaii! The bill was introduced by Rep Ing and has been signed by 35 House Reps!!!!

Your voice is greatly needed!
Please take 5 minutes and submit testimony…it’s easy and necessary for this bill to become law.

Copy and Paste link below to submit testimony:
http://tinyurl.com/zd8n7fy <http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftinyurl.com%2Fzd8n7fy&h=mAQFjauJCAQFwU3gVrp4spT1yCY8RWLWp0niSugXhiXtoew&enc=AZO24WstAOi7NMlyGobSn48jgNBSBkXCndGndSNGTeGjxeIvxYKmFdR-Xm7lmRbAoB7lY7shL0aQ1nu8PjZG6ojnl9RW5N_kyrmjtyVi4z0P09o1YCnScf2McAa1TQ-wBTo3N0KwAqDRXYjpAu2jM-t6gSanb_K98emDUPsyTkU3jKlc5JAYajc49mWgm1jZluwXSFGlOUmvnVnidCgq79dA&s=1>

When submitting testimony Remember to check the SUPPORT button or it defaults to comment only
If you would like to write in testimony you can copy and paste the sample testimony below or write your own.
You can also just click support and not add a testimony.

Sample testimony:

I strongly support HB2555
27 US states have already passed industrial hemp legislation. Hawaii is in a unique position to grow industrial hemp year round proven by the research done by UH over the past 2 years with it’s pilot program .It’s time to expand this program to all Hawaii’s Farmers and Ag companies alike. If Hawaii is to be on the leading edge of this multi-million dollar industry Hawaii farmers and Large Agriculture companies need to be able to grow this crop now!
Expanding the growing of industrial hemp to all Hawaii will give farmers the opportunity to grow this crop and develop seed and strains that will boost our economy while helping to clean our soil and reduce our dependency on imports.

Respectfully yours

(your name)

Please submit your testimony by Thursday 2/11/16 , 2 PM

Steve Rose
President / C.E.H.

Maui Hemp Institute for Research & Innovation
95 Lipoa Street  Kihei, HI 96753
“It’s Hempin’in …Maui Style”
808-357-4564



 

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Maui’s GM Moratorium NOT DEAD YET! Appeals court to hear SHAKA’s moratorium case.

Hokua-w-enforceThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments about whether to overturn a federal judge’s ruling last year that struck down a Maui County voter-approved moratorium on genetically modified organisms.

Reposted without permission from the Maui News!

In a ruling Thursday, the appeals court denied a motion to dismiss the appeal by the SHAKA Movement, opening the door for arguments before the court headquartered in San Francisco.

SHAKA attorney Michael Carroll called the ruling “really good news.”

“The court denied the motion to dismiss, allowing the court to hear full arguments on the appeal,” he said Friday. “Now the court will have to consider all our substantive arguments.”

Carroll said he also was pleased that the court ruled in favor of allowing consideration of the Center for Food Safety to file an “amicus curiae,” or “friend of the court” brief, in the case, which he called “another plus for our joint efforts.”

The 9th Circuit also will be considering requests for amicus briefs from Moms On a Mission Hui, Moloka’o Mahi’ai and Gerry Ross.

On Friday afternoon, Monsanto said its motion to dismiss the appellant’s case challenged the appeal, unsuccessfully, for lack of standing, but that the denial of the motion was without prejudice, meaning the case had not been decided on its merits.

“The court of appeals for the 9th Circuit will now move to consider the merits of the case and instructed that the standing arguments could be raised in the merits phase of the case,” the company’s statement said. “Monsanto believes the federal district court in Hawaii reached the correct conclusion invalidating the ballot initiative, and we will vigorously defend this position.”

There was no immediate comment from Maui County.

The appeals court scheduled deadlines for briefs in the case.

The SHAKA appeal stems from last year’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway to declare the Maui County GMO moratorium invalid and unenforceable. She said that the moratorium exceeded the county’s authority and was pre-empted by federal and state law.

SHAKA attorneys argued that Mollway erred in the ruling by citing a federal law that is not applicable to the Maui County moratorium ordinance.

The judge’s ruling “overrode (the people’s) rights guaranteed under the Hawaii State Constitution and invalidated the election results of county residents trying to protect themselves from unique harms affecting health, safety, the environment, natural resources, as well as Native Hawaiian rights,” the appellants’ brief says.

Mollway’s ruling shelved a SHAKA attempt to implement the moratorium that voters narrowly approved in November 2014. The ordinance would have outlawed the cultivation, growth or testing of genetically engineered crops until scientific studies determined their safety and benefits.

The moratorium initiative drew more than 23,000 votes, or 50.2 percent, in favor. Those opposed were 47.9 percent. The vote came despite biotech companies and their allies spending nearly $8 million – the most ever in a Hawaii election by far – to oppose it.

Nine days following the general election, the moratorium ordinance was challenged in court by Monsanto, Dow Agrigenetics, other seed companies and their supporters. Mollway ruled in their favor June 30.

Leaders of the SHAKA Movement, a citizens group that gathered enough signatures for the first-ever ballot initiative in the county in 2014, filed an appeal Nov. 30 with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Maui County is “ground zero” for the testing and development of genetically engineered seed crops because of Hawaii’s long growing seasons, SHAKA attorneys say. GMO agricultural operations use more than 80 different chemicals, creating “chemical cocktails” with unknown health and environmental impacts, they say.

* Brian Perry can be reached at bperry@mauinews.com.

1

Maui’s Lungs Win a Big Victory as Judge Upholds 4 of 6 Complaints Filed by Citizens to Stop Cane Burning – Says Disallowed Complaints Can Be Modified.

Much to A&B’s dismay,  Judge Cordoza rules that the court WILL decide whether the DOH breached the public trust when issuing agricultural burn permits.
Next hearing Feb 26th  on Preliminary Injunction to Stop The Burn while the cases run their course.
Support this community-based legal action with a donation.  StopCaneBurning.org

ban-the-burn
What happened in court today (Feb 5, 2016) – this is the accurate and definitive summary by Karen Chun.

Judge Cardoza dismissed Counts I and II. Count I claimed that HRS 342B, the Air Pollution Control Act, and HAR 11-60.1, the implementing regulations, constituted an unlawful delegation of legislative power. Judge Cardoza concluded that as a matter of law, the delegation of power was lawful.

Count II claimed that HRS 342B violated the Art XI, Sec 9 of the Hawaii State Constitution. We relied on the Ala Loop Owners case which recognizes a private right of action to enforce environmental statutes based upon Art XI, Sec 9. He held, however, that that private right of action to enforce does not include invalidating statutes.

He also indicated that potentially these two dismissed claims could be modified and submitted anew for his consideration.

He ruled that A&B’s argument that Counts III, IV and V must be submitted to the Department of Health for resolution first and our failure to exhaust those administrative remedies barred the claims was erroneous because these counts implicated matters of law and not technical fact finding. Matters of law are for the courts to decide. He ruled we didn’t need to exhaust remedies. He ruled the court can and will decide whether the DOH breached the public trust and whether it failed to consider the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act without requiring us to go to DOH first.

Count III is the claim that the Department of Health has violated its public trust duties by issuing agricultural burn permits. Count IV claims that the issuance of burn permits violates the equal protection section of the state constitution. Count V claims that the Director of Health was required but failed to consider HRS 344, the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act, when she adopted the open air agricultural burn permit rules.

He also ruled that we are not challenging the EPA approved State Implementation Plan and therefore the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ original, exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to the SIP did not apply to Counts III, IV and V.

As to Count VI, he ruled that the question of the 120 day statute of limitations (related to whether the lawsuit was brought within that window) to challenge the lack of an environmental assessment was fact specific and the operative facts regarding when the 120 days was triggered could not be resolved in a motion to dismiss — which only looks at the law.

He then indicated that insofar as the lawsuit challenges all open air agricultural burning, the other 144 permit holders are necessary parties the case. He has given us until February 16 to decide whether to amend the complaint to avoid the interests that make them necessary parties or to come up with a plan to at least give notice to the 144 permit holders that the regulations that authorize their permits are being challenged.

The case will continue and the hearing for the motion for preliminary injunction will be heard on February 26.

Our next big deal is Feb 26 when Judge Cardoza will hear arguments on our request for an injunction to stop burning. Things are heating up and we really, really need $$$. How much money determines how aggressively we can go after A&B (e.g. take their depositions to uncover all their bad actions)

Donate here: StopCaneBurning.org

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Revelation of Coal Scam is the Real Reason HC&S is Ending Sugar Production

sugar-cancer-900x350Karen Chun, a Maui cane burning activist, explains why HC&S is really shutting its sugar operation down.

“All the other sugar operations went out of business because Hawaii’s land, water, power, tax and labor costs are higher than the mainland, Australia and Brazil with whom they compete.

A&B kept their sugar going because it gave them cover for their scam to sell MECO coal energy and call it “renewable” by pretending it was generated by bagasss (left over cane).

Due to our actions, the EPA and PUC became aware of this scam and the price A&B got for their coal-power was adjusted downward. That is most likely the biggest cause of the huge $30million loss last year.

Note to A&B – if you had just stopped burning cane, you might still be making a ton of money by cheating Maui ratepayers with your coal as renewable energy scam – karma is a bitch.”

See more at http://stopcaneburning.org/

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HC&S to End Sugar Cane Production after 45 Million dollars lost these last two years, costing hundreds of jobs – It didn’t have to be so bad.

power-politics
Sugar cane production on Maui is ending, nearly 350 jobs will be lost and as many more are at risk. The sad truth is that it didn’t have to happen this way.

For decades members of the Maui community have been trying to engage HC&S in a dialog to carefully construct an intelligent exit strategy to move away from sugar cane burning. HC&S steadfastly refused to seriously consider alternatives to sugar cane production and they now find their backs up against an economic wall because of, they say, rainy weather.

Cane burning may indeed stop before the end of 2016 if, as expected, Judge Cardoza grants in February a preliminary injunction resulting from a current lawsuit that shows that the regulatory process through which HC&S is granted it’s burn permits is unconstitutional.

They blame the weather. I blame their arrogance and greed.

If the company really cared for the community here, the way they claim, they would have long ago embarked down the diversification road they are now being forced, and are ill prepared, to take.

If left to their own devices HC&S will surely continue to exploit the natural resources and people of Maui with no regard to what is righteous or pono. The company is, after all, in business today as a result of the shameful and illegal practices of the colonial, plantation takeover of Hawaiian lands and indentured servitude (slavery).

For example:

The company pays next to nothing for water that EMI diverts away from streams. Water that would otherwise support indigenous farming. They do little to maintain the integrity of the water system such that much of the water that is diverted is lost to anyone’s use.

The company and regulators refuse to acknowledge years of proof that the poisonous chemicals that are regularly sprayed leave the fields and adversely effect agricultural practices and lives elsewhere on Maui.

The company and regulators also refuse to acknowledge that the air monitors they have placed to monitor cane smoke are the wrong type and poorly placed to do the job.

Predictably, signs are already showing of new forms of exploitation being devised. In anticipation of expanding the cattle industry here The Cattleman’s Association recently removed from their website their oath (written in 1996) to provide protection from the elements for cattle. President Alex Franco has reportedly already approached the Council to remove animal welfare protections on Maui so they won’t have to provide shade.

What’s next, changes to Maui’s zoning laws that would allow A&B more real estate to develop? Leases to Monsanto for more under-regulated, mixed-chemical, open-field experimentation?

Our hope is that with the power of the internet and social activism this community will be able to reveal, track and block each new ugly attempt the company makes to transfer profits off the island and avoid doing what is right for Maui.

With the end of sugar cane mono-cropping the extremely depleted soils in those fields will need remediation before other diversified crops will grow there. Erosion control will be essential. If HC&S’s narrow-minded practices persist and A&B continues to withhold infrastructure investments, the transition out of cane will surely be a disaster for Maui.

What will happen to Maui’s energy costs and air as they keep their ancient power plant going by burning more and more coal instead of sugar cane?  That plant is near the end of its life and after all these years of taking profits out of Maui they have made zero investments in what comes next.

Not so long ago very little food had to be imported here. Today Maui eats 85% to 95% imported food. As well, the islands are already saturated with more agricultural chemicals than what our delicate ecosystem can tolerate. HC&S wouldn’t bother to consider it before but now they must be led into developing crops like industrial hemp, bamboo and regenerative food producing agriculture that are decidedly not dependent on chemicals.

There are many, many options that can evolve our agricultural economy in sustainable, non-chemically dependent ways that don’t require federal subsidies, so that Maui’s agricultural workers can stand proudly and not on the backs of taxpayers.

We support legislation that would allow Hawaii’s public school lunches to stop serving millions of pounds of imported apples and off-island bananas, to be replaced with tropical fruits that can be grown here.

Shame on HC&S for arrogantly refusing change, for ignoring the obvious, eventual demise of sugar on Maui and for not doing what they could sooner to protect those 675 jobs.

 

4

Was the COP 21 a success or a failure?

Many pundits say both. On the positive side, 185 global leaders have finally acknowledged a unified understanding of the scope and seriousness of the climate crisis.

Here is a photo of climate activists in a demonstration at the Eiffel Tower demanding the shift to 100% renewable energy.

Join GO GREEN at the Sustainability Summit 2016.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 8.47.32 PM

The COP 21 gathering was the largest global gathering of climate and sustainability activists of all time. If you missed being there, don’t miss being part of next year’s Sustainability “Solutions” Summit 2016.
There are just 15 days until the December 31, 2015 discount deadline.
To learn more about the Summit and to see your discount level, go to:
http://www.gogreenculture.org/2016-sustainability-summit/

Many say that the levels of CO2 reduction set by the voluntary national programs of COP 21 are not enough. Left at their current levels, this will result in ecological disasters, severe and broad scale human suffering, and costs that are expected to exceed $250 billion per year. We need to do more than our leaders have set out for us.

Bill McKibben stated in Paris, “Now the real work must begin in earnest.” 

The global leaders have spoken. Many experts are saying it will be up to sustainability leaders and professionals on the local and regional levels to make the substantive shifts needed in carbon output, renewable energy, restored ecosystems, and more.

The Sustainability Summit 2016 is designed to support the accelerated success of local sustainability professionals and activists. Hundreds of proven projects and programs, including the 100 Top Best Practices of Sustainable Communities, will be shared at the Summit in July, a mere 8 months away. Don’t miss out on this important information. You will be empowered to more rapidly and cost effectively advance your corporate, organizational, and/or municipal sustainability goals. We expect Delegates to use this knowledge and wisdom to save their companies and local governments hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars on future sustainability investments.

Sign up now to be a Delegate at the Sustainability “Solutions” Summit 2016. Help your group avoid being part of the $250 billion short fall next year.

Here is a photo of San Francisco modified to show what the city could look like in 2050 based on a 12 foot rise in sea level.

Join GO GREEN at the Sustainability Summit 2016. Let’s advance the sustainability of our local cultures together over the coming year. 
There are just 15 days until the December 31, 2015 discount deadline.
To learn more about the Summit and to see your discount level, go to:
http://www.gogreenculture.org/2016-sustainability-summit/
Join GO GREEN on Maui, Hawaii ~ July 17-22, 2016

Go Green Membership

Please visit our web site and consider becoming a Go Green Member ~ starting at $3 per month or any financial level you choose.

Go to:  www.GoGreenCulture.org and click on one of the Join Us boxes.

Thank you for all you are doing to advance sustainability in our world.

Aloha ~

Gerry Dameron                  Deborah Smith

Executive Director            Education Director

Copyright © 2015 Go Green Culture Foundation, Used by permission. 

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A Huge Thanksgiving Gift To The World: EPA Pulls Registration for Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide Citing High Toxicity Levels

duo-pulled2
Toxic pesticide banned on genetically engineered crops  From The Pesticide Action Network

Washington D.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), responding to litigation, has announced it is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo.” Approved by the agency just over a year ago, Enlist Duo is a toxic combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D that Dow AgroSciences created for use on the next generation of genetically engineered crops, designed to withstand being drenched with this potent herbicide cocktail. In its court filing, EPA stated it is taking this action after realizing that the combination of these chemicals is likely significantly more harmful than it had initially believed.
This action resolves a year-long legal challenge filed by a coalition of conservation groups seeking to rescind the approval of the dangerous herbicide blend. EPA had approved use of Enlist Duo in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, and had intended to approve it in additional areas in the near future.
Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety, on behalf of Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America, had challenged EPA’s failure to consider the impacts of Enlist Duo on threatened and endangered plants and animals protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Act requires that every federal agency consider the impacts of its actions on our nation’s most imperiled plants and animals and seek input from the expert wildlife agencies before plunging ahead, which EPA had refused to do.
“The decision by EPA to withdraw the illegally approved Enlist Duo crops is a huge victory for the environment and the future of our food,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety’s senior attorney. “We will remain vigilant to ensure industry does not pressure the agency into making the same mistake in the future.”

“With this action, EPA confirms the toxic nature of this lethal cocktail of chemicals, and has stepped back from the brink,” said Earthjustice Managing Attorney Paul Achitoff. “Glyphosate is a probable carcinogen and is wiping out the monarch butterfly, 2,4-D also causes serious human health effects, and the combination also threatens endangered wildlife. This must not, and will not, be how we grow our food.”

Dow created Enlist crops as a quick fix for the problem created by “Roundup Ready” crops, the previous generation of genetically engineered crops designed to resist the effects of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Just as overuse of antibiotics has left resistant strains of bacteria to thrive, repeated use of Roundup on those crops allowed glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” to proliferate, and those weeds now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland. Enlist crops allow farmers to spray both glyphosate and 2,4-D without killing their crops, which they hope will kill weeds resistant to glyphosate alone. But some weeds have already developed 2,4-D resistance, and the escalating cycle of more toxic pesticides in the environment will continue unless EPA stops approving these chemicals, and USDA stops rubber-stamping new genetically engineered crops.
“This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for EPA taking this important action to protect people, rare plants, and animals from Enlist Duo,” said Lori Ann Burd, Environmental Health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “As we gather with our families for the holiday feast, we can all breathe a little bit easier knowing that EPA has protected our food from being drenched with this poisonous pesticide cocktail.”
Judy Hatcher, executive director of Pesticide Action Network, commented: “EPA is taking a step in the right direction, but Enlist Duo shouldn’t have been given the green light in the first place. Too often, GE seeds and the herbicides designed to accompany them are rushed to market without thorough evaluation of their real-world impacts on community health and farmer livelihoods.”

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Monsanto Tells 9th Circ. GMO Foes Can’t Appeal Law’s Nixing

By Emily Field, Guest Blogger

Monsanto says only Maui’s Mayor can defend our Election Win in court.  And we know how much Arakawa loves Monsanto…  Here’s Alan lying to the public for Monsanto:

Law360, New York (October 29, 2015, 11:41 PM ET) — Monsanto told the Ninth Circuit on Thursday that a bid by a citizens coalition trying to revive a Maui County, Hawaii, law restricting genetically modified crops should be dismissed for lack of standing since the citizens aren’t elected officials or county agents.

According to Monsanto Co., the appeal brought by the Shaka Movement — which sponsored the ballot initiative for a county ordinance restricting the cultivation of genetically modified crops — should be dismissed for lack of standing since Maui County itself hasn’t appealed a district court decision that struck down the law on preemption grounds.“In this case, the only adverse party with a direct stake in the outcome — the county — has chosen not to appeal. The only parties pressing an appeal are the initiative proponents, who intervened below to defend the constitutionality of the ordinance they proposed and supported.”Monsanto says U.S. Judge Susan Oki Mollway’s June ruling didn’t injure the group in any constitutional sense.

The judge didn’t order them to do anything, or to stop doing something, and under theU.S. Supreme Court ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry — which held that backers of California’s ban on same-sex marriages lacked standing to defend the law — the fact that the group sponsored the initiative didn’t give them the direct stake in the outcome of their appeal that would confer standing, Monsanto argued.

“[Hollingsworth v. Perry] establishes a bright-line rule: The only party with a cognizable independent interest in defending the constitutionality of a generally applicable local law is the locality, and the only persons permitted to assert that interest in federal court, accordingly, are the locality’s elected officials or other agents,” Monsanto said.

In June, the judge said the ban directly conflicted with a 1987 regulation enacted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows genetically engineered organisms under certain circumstances, and is therefore expressly preempted by the federal Plant Protection Act.

Judge Mollway also ruled that the ban was preempted by state law and it exceeds the authority delegated to Maui County, as stated in the Maui County Charter.

Monsanto, Dow subsidiary Agrigenetics Inc. and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation of Maui County brought their suit just days after the ballot initiative was approved, with 51 percent of the vote, in November. Dow and the other parties claimed the ordinance would hurt Hawaii’s seed industry, which contributes $84 million annually to the local economy.

Shaka has argued that the ordinance is needed to protect the health of local citizens and environmental resources.

However, Monsanto contended that the group has demonstrated “no concrete personal stake” in the ordinance, and that its members offer little evidence that they have have personally suffered any harm from genetically engineered farming or any reason for future harm.

“That is hardly surprising,” Monsanto said. “[Genetically engineered] farming has co-existed in the county for many years without causing any harm to the county or its residents.”

Counsel for both parties declined comment Thursday.

The appellants are represented by A. Bernard Bays, Karin L. Holma and Michael Charles Carroll of Bays Lung Rose & Holma.

The respondents are represented by Paul D. Alston and Nickolas A. Kacprowski ofAlston Hunt Floyd & Ing; Christopher Landau of Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Richard P. Bress, Philip J. Perry, Andrew D. Prins and Jonathan Y. Ellis of Latham & Watkins LLP; and Margery S. Bronster and Rex Y. Fujichaku of Bronster Fujichaku Robbins.

The case is Robert Ito Farm Inc. et al. v. County of Maui et al., case number 15-16552, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

We know how maui’s mayor Alan Arakawa thinks bout GMO’s here he is lying to the public, saying that under the GMO moratorium police will raid you backyard to see if GM seeds from dog food has sprouted and is growing in violation of the law. What an ….

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Lawmakers Manipulate Maui Meeting: Answers Lacking, Ignore Followup Questions

Antsy audience not so sure that “Lawmakers Listen”

The public meeting at the Haiku Community Center on Tues., Oct 13 hosted by Rep. Lynn DeCoite (D) featured an all star cast of members of the Hawaii State House including all six members of the Maui delegation and five of the top leadership. It drew a good crowd who soon grew restless with the format.House members fielded an array of written questions ranging from coral reefs, to local roadways – as well as many that focused on the GMO initiative, food labeling, water, agriculture and the preservation of open space.

The only applause lines came during the discussion of marijuana as a “cash crop” to replace sugar, where Maui already has a “name brand.”

As the evening wore on the audience grew impatient and frequently interrupted the speakers with comments shouted from the floor.


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According to Mike Gagne, a long time Haiku community leader commented this morning via email, “The format while intended to keep order and decorum muted the impact of the questions from the audience. Rep Mizuno (Vice Speaker- (D) Oahu who served as moderator) was trying to condense the questions (or multiples on the same topic) into one question and it was not successful. The audience was frustrated and began to grumble noticeably calling “Just read the question!” to Mizuno.

“The topics of real interest to the audience specifically GMO moratorium, broad use of restricted use pesticides, cane burning and the Public Trust Doctrine were only briefly touched on in a group that overwhelmingly voted in support of curtailing some of these activities until they are proven safe or at least given a fair review by the DOH.”

It was Gagne’s opinion that

“the disconnect was created by having the moderator read the questions (with halting mispronunciations) instead of having the actual questioner ask with their own voice and emotive impact.”

This muted and frustrated the audience.


“As a long term community association president,” he wrote in a follow up email, “ I have learned how to do that in Haiku with contentious issues and it is not similar at all to the legislature’s method. So in the overall I would say that they weren’t listening because they were talking and most people don’t do both well simultaneously.”

“One of the more successful efforts,,” Gagne continued, “came when Rodney Kilbourn spoke up about the acquisition of the Peahi-Manawai lands to the panel. Although it is not their issue specifically there were council members in the audience who heard the message. The consensus is that the County is the first position on the purchase, but in the event the Mayor fails to act the legislators got an earful and will be called upon to do something.

According to Gagne, “The Peahi-Manawai lands comprise about 267 acres of ocean front makai of Hana highway that are currently owned by A&B/Versa Development. The land has been in pineapple for many years. These lands are part of a long anguish in the North Shore community both for how they were acquired, cleared of settlement, and used for farming.

“Now as A&B begins to pull out of their outlying properties the North Shore communities want to see some public good come from the transfer of over 1100 acres from Maliko Gulch to the area commonly referred to as “Jaws” to a private developer. This is a natural area mostly too steep to develop and farm comprising revered cultural sites and land formations which could make National Historic Site status but will at least be kept as reserve for future recreation areas.

“A large part of the block of land comprising six large agricultural lots is being recombined and subdivided for housing as large lots. No Planning Dept review is required according to law which further increases the chill in the community. Not only will there be more people, but the Paia Bypass remains a figment somewhere in the future.

“The pressure,” he noted, “is increasing to do something preservation-wise which may have been apparent at the Tuesday night meeting. There are many forces at work but the consensus opinion is to save it.”

As for other who attended Gagne observed, “Generally, it was an unhappy audience as the meeting progressed. Outbursts became more frequent when the responses to substantive questions were essentially off-topic. People wanted deeper answers than Speaker Joe’s (Souki) US Constitution and Magna Carta comments about The Public Trust Doctrine as it applies to Hawaii.

Indication of audience unrest included media style hand gestures to “speed it up” (fingers go in a circle) or “cut it short” (finger across the neck). House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke got “yak-yak” signals (fingers and thumb flapping like a talking mouth) as the crowd perceived her remarks as long winded. At one point Souki lost his composure and threatened to shut the whole thing down. Unfortunately his remarks did not come across as decisive, they came across mean.

.As for DeCoite, her fellow lawmakers had nothing but praise for first year performance. The Molokai resident who was appointed to the seat on the death of Mele Carroll served in the 2015 session representing the multi- island district which includes East Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

But with the majority of the voters concentrated in East Maui from Paia to Hana and DeCoite’s own affiliation being at odds with some she was appointed to represent, many came away from the gathering wondering if she would be able to hold on to the seat in the next election.

Though the sign on the wall said that “Lawmakers Listen” the MO seemed more aimed at containing the discussion than enlightenment.

For the ten elected State House Democrats who paid a visit to East Maui – this was not their finest hour.

WHO WAS THERE:
On the podium:
The entire six member Maui house delegation attended the event.

Speaker of the House Joe Souki (D) 8th District- Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu

Justin Woodson (D) 9th District – Kahului

Angus McKelvey (D) 10th District – West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei

Kaniela Ing (D) 11th District – Kihei, Wailea, Makena

Kyle Yamashita (D) 12th District – Sprekelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula + portion of Kahului

Lynn DeCoite (D) Paia, Haiku,Hana, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe

Also on hand from the House leadership were

John Mizuno (D) 28th District – Vice Speaker,
(He served as moderator and read the written questions)
Oahu – Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights & portion lower Kalihi

Sylvia Luke (D) – Chair House Finance Committee
Oahu 25th District – Oahu Makiki, Punchbowl, Pacific Heights, Pauoa

Scott Saiki (D) House Majority leader
Oahu – 26th District McCully, Kakaako, Downtown

Cindy Evans (D) Majority Floor Leader
Island of Hawaii – 7th District North Kona, North and South Kohala

In the audience
A partial list of politically active Mauians who attended the event included:

Maui County Council members Mike White (Chairman), Bob Carroll, Mike Victorino, Stacy Crivello and staffer Amanda Martin for Gladys Baisa

Also on hand were Steve Castro representing ILWU Local 142, Vincent Mina of the Hawaii Farmers Union United, Warren Watanabe – Executive Director Maui County Farm Bureau

Candidate Deirdre Teagarden running for the Kihei seat presently held by Kaniela Ing; Terez Amato, former candidate for seat currently held by Sen. Roz Baker; and Stacey Moniz running for the Upcountry seat on the Maui County Council.

Community activists of various persuasions included Dick Mayer, Mark Hyde, Tom Blackburn Rodriguez and Sam Small

A wide cross section of the residents of East Maui and their families also attended.

Susan Halas is a freelance writer and guest blogger on MAUIWatch. She has followed Hawaii politics since 1976 when she moved to the Valley Isle and became a staff writer for the Maui News. The long time Wailuku resident is a former Maui correspondent for other local print and digital publications including Maui Weekly.

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Our State Can End Homelessness Too

Utah is ending chronic homelessness by providing people with homes, no strings attached. This policy is cost-effective, compassionate, and successful.

Click below to email your state legislators and governor:

In order to address your message to the appropriate recipient, we need to identify where you are.
Please click here and enter your full nine-digit zip for the best results at:
http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11693

By taking action you will be automatically signed up for action alerts from Roots Action. We consider your contact information to be private and confidential. We will NOT disclose it to any other entity unless you specifically authorize us to do so. You can unsubscribe at the bottom of any email you receive from us.

Background:
Los Angeles Times: Utah Is Winning

GOAL: 10,000
CURRENT: 7,018
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The EPA broke the law when it approved a new pesticide

Living on Earth October 06, 2015 · 8:45 AM EDT Writer Adam Wernick bees_cjb_top_photoMinnesota beekeeper Steve Ellis stands in front of once bee-filled boxes that were left empty after being hit by colony collapse disorder. Credit: Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice

The EPA failed to follow its own rules for ensuring chemical safety and illegally approved a powerful insecticide linked to declining numbers of honeybees, a federal appeals court has ruled.

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the EPA failed to get enough evidence from the manufacturer, Dow AgroSciences, to approve the safety of Sulfoxaflor. Sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid, a systemic insecticide that becomes embedded in a plant’s tissues and is poisonous to insects.

“The court found that EPA approved Sulfoxaflor without any reliable information about the risk that it would present to honeybee colonies,” explains Greg Loarie, a staff attorney for Earthjustice, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “That, of course, is a huge shortcoming when we’re in the midst of this crisis in which we are losing over one-third of our honeybee colonies every year, and science is pointing to these sorts of insecticides as a primary cause.”

The case began in the summer of 2013, shortly after EPA approved Sulfoxaflor. EarthJustice was approached by several US commercial beekeeping trade groups, including the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeepers Federation.

“They asked, ‘Is there anything we can do about this latest neonicotinoid coming onto the market,’” Loarie says. “We took a look at the registration and found that indeed EPA had not met its own guidelines. It didn’t have the information that it was supposed have in hand — and so we filed suit.”

Under the law, this type of case bypasses the lower courts and goes straight to the court of appeals. Courts typically give EPA a great deal of deference in these matters because they involve a fair amount of scientific expertise; the courts are often recluctant to second-guess the science.

But in the case of Sulfoxaflor, Loarie says, “the science was so lacking and it was so clear that EPA just didn’t have this fundamental information, the court found that the registration had to be overturned unless and until that information is brought to bear.”

The way the law is set up, when a company wants to register a chemical with the EPA, the manufacturer of the chemical does the testing and then submits the results to the EPA for review. Dow submitted six studies to the EPA. EPA found that all six of the studies had numerous scientific flaws and were inherently unreliable, Loarie says.

“For instance, most of them studied an exposure to Sulfoxaflor that was well below what would actually be happening in the field and several of them lacked control groups of any kind,” he explains. “Yet, EPA decision-makers decided to register Sulfoxaflor, notwithstanding the flaws inherent in the studies.”

To determine the impact a insecticide will have on what they call “non-target insects,” like honeybees, EPA looks at what it calls the “acute toxicity” of a pesticide. “Essentially that means they take a honeybee into the laboratory, they expose that individual adult honeybee to the pesticide, and they figure out how much of the pesticide it takes to kill that adult honeybee,” Loarie explains.

If they find that bees will be exposed to less than that lethal dose, they conclude the pesticide will not cause any problems to the bee population. But this process falls to pieces when you factor in the systemic insecticide overlay, Loarie says.

“It may not kill on contact, but the adult bee might go out into the field, collect pollen that has the Sulfoxaflor or the systemic insecticide in it, and bring the pollen back into the hive.”

Over time the build-up of the systemic insecticide within the hive causes the whole colony of bees to sicken, weaken and ultimately collapse. The law says EPA needs to consider this possibility, Loarie explains.

“EPA has to consider what happens when we put a hive out in the real world and put it in a situation where it is feeding on crops that have been sprayed with the systemic insecticide,” Loarie says. “That’s the information EPA so desperately needs and the information that it certainly lacked in the case of Sulfoxaflor.”

Now that the court has set aside EPA’s decision to register Sulfoxaflor, the pesticide is off the market unless and until Dow submits to EPA the proper information and EPA goes through the review process again — and follows the law this time around, Loarie says.

This story is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s Living on Earth with Steve Curwood

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-10-06/epa-broke-law-when-it-approved-new-pesticide

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Ige declares state of emergency for homelessness

ASSOCIATED PRESS Saturday, October 17, 2015, 1:19 AM

Loveleen Mori, 27, a homeless woman living in a large encampment in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu, holds her dog as she tries to figure out where to bring her belongings as city officials start to sweep the camp on Oct. 8. Hawaii's governor declared a state of emergency in the state Friday in response to the growing numbers of homeless people in the state.CATHY BUSSEWITZ/AP

Loveleen Mori, 27, a homeless woman living in a large encampment in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu, holds her dog as she tries to figure out where to bring her belongings as city officials start to sweep the camp on Oct. 8. Hawaii’s governor declared a state of emergency in the state Friday in response to the growing numbers of homeless people in the state.

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige has declared a state of emergency to deal with the state’s homelessness crisis just days after city and state officials cleared one of the nation’s largest homeless encampments.

The move will help the state speed up the process of building a homeless shelter for families, and the state is considering four possible sites, Ige said at a news conference Friday.

“We are making sure that we have options for those who are homeless to move into an emergency shelter, and the biggest deficit in the system is shelter space for families,” Ige said. “So the emergency proclamation would allow us to stand up shelters for families in an expeditious manner.”

Hawaii Governor David Ige, right, speaks to reporters in a 2014 file photo. He declared a state of emergency to address homelessness in the state on Friday.CATHY BUSSEWITZ/AP

Hawaii Governor David Ige, right, speaks to reporters in a 2014 file photo. He declared a state of emergency to address homelessness in the state on Friday.

Hawaii saw a 23 percent increase in its unsheltered homeless population between 2014 and 2015, and a 46 percent increase in the number of unsheltered families, said Scott Morishige, state homelessness coordinator.

There were 7,260 homeless people in Hawaii at the latest count, meaning Hawaii has the highest rate of homelessness per-capita of any state in the nation.

Homeless people and their tents line a Honolulu canal in a photo from June. They returned hours after a city crew cleared the banks of the canal.CATHY BUSSEWITZ/AP

Homeless people and their tents line a Honolulu canal in a photo from June. They returned hours after a city crew cleared the banks of the canal.

The state has identified $1.3 million to expand services to homeless individuals and families, Morishige said. In addition to a new shelter, the money also would go to the state’s Housing First program, which provides homes and services to chronically homeless individuals without requiring them to get sober or treat mental illness first, and programs that help families pay deposits and rent.

The new transitional shelter the state is envisioning would house about 15 families at a time, Morishige said. Two of the sites under consideration are in Kakaako, the neighborhood where the large homeless encampment was cleared, and the other sites are in Liliha and near Sand Island.

A city crew throws a tent into a garbage truck on Oct. 8 in Honolulu. Hundreds of people lived in the encampment over the past year, and crews were clearing the final sections of the camp.CATHY BUSSEWITZ/AP

A city crew throws a tent into a garbage truck on Oct. 8 in Honolulu. Hundreds of people lived in the encampment over the past year, and crews were clearing the final sections of the camp.

The recent clearing of the Kakaako homeless encampment could be used as a model in other parts of the state, Ige said. By coordinating with service providers, more than half of the estimated 300 residents of the encampment, including 25 families, were moved into shelters and permanent housing, the governor said.

“They definitely are off the streets and in a better situation where we are in a position to provide them services that will help us move them permanently out of the state of homelessness,” Ige said.

A homeless boy watches as a tent burns in the middle of the street in a large homeless encampment in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu as city officials sweep the area Oct. 8.CATHY BUSSEWITZ/AP

A homeless boy watches as a tent burns in the middle of the street in a large homeless encampment in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu as city officials sweep the area Oct. 8.

Meanwhile on Friday, crews were installing converted shipping containers for Honolulu’s latest homeless shelter on a gravel lot on Sand Island. The rooms in the first units were designed for couples and are 73 square feet.

“If they’re living in tents now, the individual units are going to be just as large or larger,” said Chris Sadayasu, asset management administrator for the Honolulu Office of Strategic Development.

A sign sits outside a homeless family’s tent in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu as city crews prepared to sweep the area last week.HAVEN DALEY/AP

A sign sits outside a homeless family’s tent in the Kakaako neighborhood of Honolulu as city crews prepared to sweep the area last week.

The rooms, which were made from new shipping containers, each have a window and a screen door for ventilation. The structures are insulated, and the roofs have white reflective coating, and an awning will provide shade for relaxing outside, said Russ Wozniak, an architect and engineer from Group 70, an architecture firm.

The coating and insulation keep the units about 30 degrees cooler than they would otherwise be, Wozniak said.

“It’s kind of as comfortable as you can get without mechanical air conditioning,” Wozniak said.

A trailer on-site holds five bathrooms that each have a toilet and shower, and there’s a separate portable toilet and shower that are accessible to the disabled. When completed in December, the shelter in an industrial part of Honolulu will temporarily house up to 87 clients at a time.

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Last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the TPP’s intellectual property rights chapter, and it’s absolutely terrifying.

tpp-protestThese are just a few of its most dangerous pieces:

Compel ISPs to take down websites without any sort of court order, just like SOPA. (Appendix Section I)

Extend the US’s copyright regime to require copyrights stand for life plus 70 years, preventing anyone from using works that belong in the public domain. (Article QQ.G.6)

Criminalize whistleblowing by extending trade secrets laws without any mandatory exemptions for whistleblowers or investigative journalists. (QQ.H.8)

End anonymity online by forcing every domain name to be associated with a real name and address. (Article QQ.C.12)

Make it illegal to unlock, modify, or generally tinker with a device you own. (Article QQ.G.10)

Export the US’s broken copyright policies to the rest of the world without expanding any of the free speech protections, like fair use. (Article QQ.G.17)

The worst part is that this is just one of the TPP’s 30 chapters.

The final text confirms our worst fears — click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

Hawaii-anti-TPP-protest-Marco-GarciaREUTERS-July-30-2015

Photo courtesy: http://www.maryscullyreports.com

For years, governments have held critics of the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in a perfect catch 22. Officials brushed off public outcry and concern by claiming that the dissenters didn’t have all the facts.

This was by design—the 12 country trade deal was negotiated entirely behind closed doors by industry lobbyists and government appointees, and even now the text of the agreement is still classified.

But late last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the Intellectual Property chapter, meaning those excuses won’t work anymore.

We’re planning to go all out against the TPP, but the first step is to make sure Congress knows just how many people oppose the TPP.

Click here to take action demanding Congress vote NO on the TPP.

tpp_protestersTaking action today is just the beginning, because if all we do is send emails and make phone calls, Congress is not going to reject the TPP. Too many giant industries are seriously invested in making sure Congress ratifies the TPP.

If we’re going to win, we need to go big. Which is exactly what we’re going to do.

So take action right now. Contact your Congresspeople now and tell them to vote against the TPP. Then get ready to do more because we’re going to unleash some of our strongest campaigns ever.

Already we have plans to work with hundreds of different groups as a massive coalition to fight the TPP, coordinate gigantic on-the-ground protests in key cities across the country, and produce compelling content to spread the word to as many different audiences as possible just what is at stake in the TPP.

To do all that, we need your help — if you can, pledge to chip in $5 every month between now and when the TPP fight ends so that we can run our biggest, boldest, and best campaign yet.

Thanks for all you do,
Charlie

P.S. Want to read the text of the chapter for yourself? Check it out on WikiLeaks here, or read their overview of it here. It’s long and complicated, so maybe you’ll see something that we didn’t. If you do, send us an email.

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Want to use more pesticides than the law allows? No problem. Just ask, they’ll change the label for you.

Trick or Treat? The Good Neighbor Program – A Masquerade Of Disclosure
Posted on October 9, 2015 by garyhooser, Guest Blogger
pesticide-application

Read through to the end please. You will see that disclosure is not really disclosure and the label is not really the law because these companies disclose only a fraction of what they use and change the label without telling us.

A win of sorts was announced today in Civil Beat.

http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/10/hawaii-to-expand-voluntary-pesticide-reporting-by-big-ag-companies/?cbk=56180df6ccad4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=hawaii&utm_content=

It is an inadequate win, but a small win none-the-less for those who worked so hard on Bill 2491 and continue to work hard around our State on related issues over the past few years.

While the Good Neighbor Program of “volunteer disclosure” and 100′ buffer zones is woefully inadequate, there is no question that the amount of disclosure and the amount of public education that exists today is far more than what it was two years ago.

Many will say that the Good Neighbor Program is “better than nothing” and though sometimes I have mixed feelings about this, at the end of the day my conclusion is yes, it is better than nothing and is a step in the right direction.

Now we press to make it mandatory with government over-sight and have it include ALL of the pesticides used by these large multinational agrochemical companies.

The companies, their lobbyists and their State regulator/enablers think this will buy them some time. They can and now will say that they do disclose and they do have buffer zones. This statewide move is from the same 2491 playbook – offer voluntary industry self regulation to pacify the public and dilute the political need to pass a Bill mandating true disclosure and real meaningful buffer zones.

Why is the Good Neighbor Program not adequate? Why is it in large part a trick of non-disclosure masquerading as full disclosure?

The two main points which make the Good Neighbor Program entirely inadequate are:

1) The voluntary nature of the program means there is no government oversight, no verification of the accuracy of the reporting, no accountability and no penalty for providing false information. This is industry self-regulation and is insufficient. The industry has a local and global history of repeatedly misrepresented their actions and operations. To be meaningful any disclosure program requires independent verification.

9 MOST FREQUENT MISSTATEMENTS MADE BY CHEMICAL COMPANIES IN HAWAI’I http://tinyurl.com/9Misstatements-07-07-15

Read this New York Times story about how Syngenta misrepresents the facts: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/24/business/international/a-pesticide-banned-or-not-underscores-trans-atlantic-trade-sensitivities.html?_r=0

2) The Good Neighbor Program includes only a small fraction of the total pesticide usage by the large agrochemical companies.

a. Restricted Use Pesticide’s (RUP’S) are the most highly regulated but represent 25% or less of the total pesticides used by these companies. Approximately 18 tons of RUP’s are used annually on Kauai alone based on State Department of Agriculture historical sales data (the ONLY verifiable data available). See the exact calculations and the source documents for the 18 ton figure here: https://garyhooser.wordpress.com/2015/08/24/one-of-the-largest-and-most-credible-news-source-in-the-world-reports-on-kauai-and-the-chemical-companies/

The companies continue to refuse to disclose General Use Pesticide (GUP). Glyphosate was recently declared a “probably carcinogen” and one of the primary crops grown/tested is “Round-Up Ready” corn which requires the application of large amounts of glyphosate, yet the companies refuse to disclose their glyphosate use and it is not included in the Good Neighbor Program.

b. There are a dozen or more GUP’s being used by these same companies however the exact types and quantities used are unknown because there is no disclosure required. These additional GUP’s are also often labeled as hazardous to humans, animals and aquatic creatures, not to mention bee’s and other organisms.

c. A third group of pesticides being used by these companies and not being disclosed in the Good Neighbor Program are those pesticides referred to as “Special Local Need Label Registrations”.

These are pesticides in which the seller/user of the pesticide requests and receives from the State Department of Agriculture special consideration and exceptions to the existing Federal label requirement’s. These “special exceptions” include allowing the pesticides to be used in wind conditions double the recommended wind speed on the existing label, and increasing the frequency of pesticide applications above and beyond the federal recommendations.

These pesticides carry strong warnings as to health and environmental impacts, yet there is no public disclosure when the labels are changed/amended and no public disclosure via the Good Neighbor Program.

i. One of the pesticides where the label has been changed is Evik (herbicide where allowable windspeed was doubled (10mph to 20mph) for application on Maui sugar cane).

The Maui sugar industry complained to the State Department of Agriculture (SDOA) that it was too windy on Maui to use Evik and alternatives would be too costly and requested that the SDOA change the label on Evik to double the allowable wind speed from a maximum of 10mph to 20mph. The SDOA complied. There was no requirement to inform the public of the proposed change, no questions were asked as to the quantity of the herbicide being used, nor any in depth investigation as to the location of population centers, nor any discussion about the impact of burning the cane and the consequently the burning of that herbicide. Conditions were placed to minimize drift and the applicator admonished to not apply when drift might occur, but bottom line is the allowable wind speed was doubled, there was no public notification and little due diligence went into the decision making

Amended label for Evik is here: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/labels/sln/1204_2017.pdf

The regular Evik label is here: http://www.syngentacropprotection.com/pdf/labels/scp786al19g1209.pdf

EvikDF-label
This label warns Evik is toxic to aquatic animals and to not use near waterways. There are numerous other warnings including warnings about burning the empty containers as a means of disposal.

ii. Another of the pesticides where the label has been changed is Tilt and is a fungicide used on corn.

The amended label allows for an additional application of this fungicide by shortening the break between a pre-harvest application from 30 days to 3 days is here: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/labels/sln/1202_2017.pdf

The regular label is here: http://www.syngentacropprotection.com/pdf/labels/scp617al2m0509.pdf

This label warns that because of residue issues, no food crops or animal grazing should be done for 100 days after application. In addition there are numerous additional warnings.

iii. A third pesticide where the label has been amended without any disclosure or public notification is Admire Pro.

That amended label is here: http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/labels/sln/1102_2016.pdf

The regular label is here: http://www.cdms.net/LDat/ld74S003.pdf

Admire Pro is “highly toxic to bees” (and other organisms as well). This label also carries the below warnings:

IMPORTANT: THIS LABEL IS ONLY FOR USE BY AUTHORIZED BAYER CROPSCIENCE PERSONNEL, MEMBERS, OR THEIR GROWERS UNDER THE HAWAII CROP IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION AND MAY NOT BE COPIED OR RE-TRANSMITTED IN ANY FORM. NO PART(S) OF THE CROP TREATED WITH ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant SHALL BE DIVERTED AS FOOD FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION OR FEED FOR ANIMAL CONSUMPTION.

IMPORTANT: Bayer CropScience has not investigated the use of ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant for potential adverse interactions with any other crop protection or fertilizer products used in seed corn production, nor across potential commercial breeding lines. Therefore, adverse effects arising from the use of ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant on seed corn cannot be predicted and are therefore the responsibility of the User.

d. A fourth group of pesticides that are not disclosed in the Good Neighbor Program are those that require a “Experimental Pesticide Use Permit”. While the fact that these permits exist is known, the quantity and nature of the permits and experimental pesticide use is not known as there are no disclosure requirements.

Permit samples are here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B43mvAFMJQpcejRHVW8wbUE2SjQ/view

and also here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B43mvAFMJQpcOWI5MFVvY1kxeFk/view

Read The Actual Good Neighbor Program Requirements Here: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2014/01/Voluntary-reporting-guidelines_11-12-13_FINAL.pdf
1) The voluntary buffer zone of 100’ is woefully inadequate. In addition the buffer does not apply to other areas where people regularly congregate such as businesses, parks, and roadways. In addition the buffer does not apply to streams or other sensitive environmental waterways. In any case 100’ is nothing.

2) Pre-application notices are only for schools, hospitals and medical clinics who register.

What about everyone else? Other homes and businesses or people traversing the area? There should be pre-notification for the entire community so people can avoid the area if they are concerned or represent an especially sensitive population (pregnant women, young children etc).

3) There is no provision of immediate disclosure in the case of suspected exposure by any resident who might be in the area.

A list of Special Local Need Label Registrations is here: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/List-of-Active-SLNs-By-SLN-Number-with-Labels_01302015.pdf

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Anaergia files complaint against Maui Electric over a proposed energy project

Anaergia Services LLC has filed a complaint with Hawaii regulators against Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiary Maui Electric Co. over a proposed energy project on Maui, according to public documents.

The projects include the Mahinahina Energy Park project, now known as Maui Energy Park, which would have been located near Maui County’s Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility, and a waste-to-energy project at the Central Maui Landfill in Puunene, the largest of four county-run landfills on the Valley Isle.

On Friday, the California-based company filed its complaint with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission claiming that the companies refused to accept its offer to sell and deliver renewable energy despite clear public interest benefits and energy policy goals its projects would achieve.

Anaergia also said that the companies refused and failed to forward requests for preferential rates for the purchase of firm renewable energy produced from agricultural crops to the commission for approval as required by law.

Anaergia said it has been and continues to be financially harmed and damaged by the companies’ refusal to accept its offers.

“In addition, the County of Maui, the general public, and MECO’s ratepayers have been, and will continue to be, financially harmed and damaged by HECO and MECO’s failures and unreasonable refusal to accept firm renewable energy from the Anaergia Cos.,” the company said in its complaint.
Anaergia is asking the commission to approve the preferential rates for the purchase of renewable energy by MECO and issue an order to MECO to negotiate a biogas fuel supply contract, among other requests.

“The projects we are pursuing are in the public interest,” Arun Sharma, president of Anaergia Americas, told PBN. “Our view is that our pricing is very competitive with the current cost of fuel. We tried very hard to negotiate a contract with MECO. Overall, the pricing saves customers a lot of money.”
Maui Electric, through its spokeswoman Kaui Awai-Dickson, told PBN that it has worked very hard with Anaergia to negotiate a contract that was in the best interests of its customers.

“However, in the end, the pricing they offered was too high and would have resulted in increased costs to our customers,” she told PBN in an email. “The contract also did not meet the legal requirements for preferential rates. Therefore, we could not responsibly submit such a contract to the PUC for approval.”
Earlier this year, Maui Electric decided to hold off on submitting to the PUC a power purchase agreement with Anaergia for a proposed agricultural energy project that would generate up to 6 megawatts of biogas energy.

In March 2014, Maui Electric received approval from the PUC to begin working on a power purchase agreement with Anaergia on the Mahinahina Energy Park project, now known as Maui Energy Park, which would have been located near Maui County’s Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
The PUC gave Maui Electric a waiver from the competitive bidding process and said that a fully executed power purchase agreement for the project must be filed within six months, which would have been in September 2014.

In a letter sent to the PUC earlier this year, Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui Electric, said that the two companies are continuing to discuss and explore the alternative option of Anaergia providing biogas to Maui Electric in lieu of selling power.

The project would have grown sorghum, an energy crop native to Hawaii, which is able to grow using the quality of water produced at the wastewater facility. The mature crops would have been harvested and converted naturally into a methane-rich gas called biogas in large tanks called anaerobic digesters.

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Maui’s One Chance To Get The Cable Service We Deserve

slow_internet-maui

Download Info:
CABLE-HEARING-TOOLKIT

Flyer-FINAL-8-2-15

 

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS ON TRANSFER OF OCEANIC TIME WARNER CABLE TO CHARTER

 

LAHAINA Tuesday, September 8  – 4:30PM West Maui Senior Center

WAILUKU – Friday, September 11 – 4:30PM Cameron Center Auditorium

LANAI    – Tuesday, September 15 – 12:00PM Lanai Senior Center

HANA – Wednesday, September 16 – 12:00PM Hana Community Center

MOLOKAI – Thursday September 17 – 4:00PM Kaunakakai Gym

 

Good News! The State DCCA has the power to require the new owners of the cable company to provide tangible benefits for Maui Nui residents as a condition of sale. If YOU speak up and be heard, you may finally have a chance to get the cable and Internet service you pay for. Please review the transfer documents on the DCCA website: http://cca.hawaii.gov/catv/cable_operators/charter-time. And feel free to use the following TALKING POINTS as a guide in preparing your testimony.

 

1. We want DCCA enforced service level agreements and rate transparency in Cable TV and Internet contracts so they cannot lie to us and charge us for fast Internet speeds and other services without actually delivering advertised performance.

 

2. Make digital cable TV, Fiber to the Home, and affordable, gigabit Internet available to EVERY resident and business in Maui County by 2020

 

3. Guarantee by contract that Akaku/PEG channels will be fully funded for the term of the franchise and displayed in the same manner and accessibility as PBS and Oahu local broadcast channels in analog, digital, HD, on every tier and on-demand on every device.

 

4. Customer service call centers, locations, field technicians and technical assistance must be available locally 24/7 x 365 with response times regulated by service agreements that include automatic refunds for lost service or outages.

 

5.  Free Wi-Fi, live transmission capability and high speed broadband service to, public and private schools, government buildings, hospitals, libraries, community centers, community media centers, non-profit agencies and public parks.

 

6. Guarantee that Charter matches the best public benefits it provides to any other location in the nation.

Send written testimony before Friday, September 25, 2015 to:

DCCA-CATV. P.O. Box 541. Honolulu, Hawai’i 96809

Email:  cabletv@dcca.hawaii.gov Fax:  808-586-2625

 

Go to akaku.org for more information

 

STATE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS ON TRANSFER OF OCEANIC TIME WARNER’S CABLE FRANCHISES TO CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS

 

SHOW UP AND BE HEARD!

 

LAHAINA Tuesday, September 8  – 4:30PM West Maui Senior Center

WAILUKU – Friday, September 11 – 4:30PM Cameron Center Auditorium

LANAI    – Tuesday, September 15 – 12:00PM Lanai Senior Center

HANA – Wednesday, September 16 – 12:00PM Hana Community Center

MOLOKAI – Thursday September 17 – 4:00PM Kaunakakai Gym

 

THERE IS GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS

FIRST, THE BAD NEWS

 

The Feds would not let the biggest cable company in America, Comcast buy the second biggest, Time Warner. Now all Oceanic Time Warner Cable systems in Hawaii are

about to be swallowed up by what, based on the evidence, could possibly be the worst cable company ever created, NEW CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS. But don’t take our word for it. Check out what cable consumers all over America are saying about the Old Charter. Below are some links to review in anticipation of the hearings. Holy mackerel! You won’t believe what you find here. Everything from through the roof pricing, to horrendous service, to slow Internet, to rude customer service… you name it.

If you can’t handle strong language, better not read these.

 

http://charter-communications.pissedconsumer.com/complaints.html

http://www.yelp.com/biz/charter-communications-glendale-3

http://www.charter-sucks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CharterComplaints

http://www.complaintsboard.com/bycompany/charter-communications-a192.html

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/cable_tv/charter.html

BE INFORMED go to: http://cca.hawaii.gov/catv/cable_operators/charter-time-warner-cable-merger/ and review the posted documents. Check out FCC Form 394 Exhibit 6.

 

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS

 

Because this is a TRANSFER of CONTROL from Time Warner to Charter and not a rubber stamped, Franchise Renewal, the State DCCA has powerful discretion in requiring by force of contract, enforceable, tangible public benefit for Maui residents in exchange for Charter’s use of our valuable PUBLICLY OWNED RIGHTS OF WAY. DCCA is granting a telecommunications monopoly that is worth billions over the franchise term.

 

Akaku has reviewed and analyzed the transfer documents on the DCCA website and prepared these recommended TALKING POINTS you, the consumer, can use as a guide to inform your testimony and spec out the multichannel video service and fast Internet system you want for the next fifteen or twenty years!

 

TALKING POINTS ON THE OCEANIC TIME WARNER/CHARTER MERGER

 

1. CHARTER APPLICATION FOR TRANSFER OF CABLE SERVICE IS INCOMPLETE

In its Response to DCCA questions in its application, Charter refused to answer questions re: Section IV.C (1) listing names and locations of current franchises, and number of subscribers and gross revenues for each. It has claimed in several incidences that essential information requested by DCCA is “not within the DCCA’s scope of review”, “not reasonably necessary”, “burdensome”, “non-jurisdictional”, “overbroad” or “unrelated to the Transaction”. Charter has not adequately explained character issues regarding sexual discrimination and discrimination against people with disabilities cited in Section IV.B of their Application and in FCC Form 394 Exhibit 6., Charter has not adequately explained its legal, financial or technical capabilities. The Charter Application lacks specificity and detail in multiple responses to DCCA questions i.e. Response in Section II.G, General Information regarding changes, is deficient and incomplete. Response to IV.E, Technical Qualifications and Plans, are so incomplete that their lack of specificity makes them almost meaningless.

 

2. WE WANT A COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM FOR THE 21st CENTURY WITH ENFORCABLE SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS.

We want DCCA to put concrete language in ironclad contracts in addition to the franchise agreement that enforce rate transparency and service level agreements with Charter so they cannot lie to us and charge us for fast broadband Internet speeds and MVDS/OTT services without actually delivering advertised performance. We want cable programming service agreements as well. These agreements should contain penalties for non-compliance and be reviewable by DCCA every two years.

 

3. DCCA MUST NOT ALLOW CHARTER TO USE MULTICHANNEL VIDEO PROGRAMMING DISTRIBUTION SERVICES (MVPDS) OR OTHER TECHNICAL MEANS TO CIRCUMVENT FRANCHISE FEE PAYMENTS

Everyone knows technology is evolving at blinding speed and what we used to call “TV” is being delivered everywhere and on every device. Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) delivery of multichannel distribution of video content Over the Top (OTT) should not be used to circumvent franchise fee funding of community communication and cable regulation. DCCA must recognize this and mandate by contract that Akaku/PEG channels are fully funded for the term of the franchise at minimum present day levels and displayed in the same manner and accessibility as PBS and Oahu local broadcast channels in analog, digital, HD, on every tier and on-demand on every device.

 

4. CHARTER’S NON-COMMITMENT TO PEG ACCESS IN RESPONSE TO SECTION IV.E 10 and NOTE 13 NOTWITHSTANDING, CHARTER NEEDS TO AGREE TO FULLY FUND AKAKU, PBS, AND DCCA CABLE AND BROADBAND REGULATION AT AMOUNTS EQUIVALENT TO NO LESS THAN PRESENT (2015) FRANCHISE FEE LEVELS ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION FOR THE FRANCHISE TERM. THIS MINIMUM LEVEL OF FUNDING MUST BE PROVIDED REGARDLESS OF CHANGES IN FEDERAL OR STATE LEGISLATION DURING THE TERM OF THE FRANCHISE.

 

5. CHARTER MUST PROVIDE MINIMUM BROADBAND SPEEDS BY CONTRACT

Upload and download Internet speeds must be guaranteed by contract at affordable rates. Currently Internet service from Oceanic Time Warner is inconsistent, unreliable and erratic in most areas of Maui Nui making it difficult to move large media, data or medical files. In its application, Charter has promised minimum download broadband speeds of 60 mbps and a 300 mbps rollout on Maui. In the era we are entering called the “Internet of Things”, this is simply not good enough. Charter needs to demonstrate concrete plans to meet the State of Hawai’i’s stated broadband goal of Symmetrical Gigabit Internet Service to all Hawaii residents by 2018. These speeds need to be codified by contract in enforceable service agreements with its customers and all rural areas including Hana, Lanai and Molokai must be included in the expansion. A three-year rate freeze should be put into effect as well.

 

6. THE CHARTER APPLICATION PROMISED TRANSITION TO ALL DIGITAL NETWORKS WITHIN 30 MONTHS OF CLOSE OF TRANSACTION with a caveat that 1% of homes will not be upgraded to digital within this timeframe. Charter must agree by contract that Maui, Molokai and Lanai subscribers will not be part of this 1% digital divide and that Akaku PEG channels and channel designations will be preserved and transitioned to digital and HD in the same manner as PBS and local broadcast with channel placement and compression algorithms approved by Akaku and by DCCA in advance of transition.

 

7. CHARTER MUST COMMIT TO PUBLIC INTEREST BANDWIDTH AND FIBER TO THE HOME.  Charter must set aside a minimum of 10% of its total bandwidth for HD and on-demand options for all PEG channels. Charter must also agree to a 100% Fiber build out to the home (FTTH) for all voice, data, cable and Internet subscribers within 4 years of close of transaction or by the end of 2020 whichever comes first.

 

8. LOCAL CUSTOMER SERVICE STANDARDS MUST BE MAINTAINED

Customer service call centers, locations, field technician and technical assistance must be available locally 24/7 x 365 with prompt response times regulated by service agreements. Agreements must include automatic refunds for lost service or outages.

 

9. CHARTER MUST PROVIDE FREE Wi-Fi AND UPSTREAM VIDEO CONNECTIONS TO COMMUNITY ANCHOR INSTITUTIONS AND DESIGNATED FACILITIES. To support economic development and education, Charter Communications must provide live upstream transmission capability and high speed broadband service to designated Community Anchor Institutions, public and private schools, government buildings, hospitals, libraries, community centers, community media centers, non-profit agencies, and public parks.

 

10. CHARTER MUST MATCH BEST PUBLIC BENEFIT DEAL  A “most favored nation” clause should be included in the franchise agreement that would require Charter to meet or exceed any public benefit service provided by Charter in any of its markets at the request of the DCCA if the DCCA determines the service to be in the best interest of the public.

 

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Pesticides in paradise: Hawaii’s spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops

Local doctors are in the eye of a storm swirling for the past three years over whether corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides is a source of prosperity, as companies claim, or of birth defects and illnesses

By Christopher Pala in Waimea for The Guardian

Pediatrician Carla Nelson remembers catching sight of the unusually pale newborn, then hearing an abnormal heartbeat through the stethoscope and thinking that something was terribly wrong.

The baby was born minutes before with a severe heart malformation that would require complex surgery. What worried her as she waited for the ambulance plane to take the infant from Waimea, on the island of Kauai, to the main children’s hospital in Honolulu, on another Hawaiian island, was that it was the fourth one shehad seen in three years.

In all of Waimea, there have been at least nine in five years, she says, shaking her head. That’s more than 10 times the national rate, according to analysis by local doctors.

Nelson, a Californian, and other local doctors find themselves in the eye of a storm swirling for the past three years around the Hawaiian archipelago over whether a major cash crop on four of the six main islands, corn that’s been genetically modified to resist pesticides, is a source of prosperity, as the companies claim – or of birth defects and illnesses, as the doctors and many others suspect.

After four separate attempts to rein in the companies over the past two years all failed, an estimated 10,000 people marched on 9 August through Honolulu’s Waikiki tourist district. Some signs like, “We Deserve the Right to Know: Stop Poisoning Paradise” and “Save Hawaii – Stop GMOs” (Genetically Modified Organisms), while others protested different issues.

“The turnout and the number of groups marching showed how many people are very frustrated with the situation,” says native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte of the island of Molokai.

Seventeen times more pesticide
Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 1.02.11 PM
Waimea and the GMO fields. The two orange-roof buildings at bottom left are the Middle School. The one to its right is the hospital. Photograph: Christopher Pala for the Guardian

Waimea, a small town of low, pastel wood houses built in south-west Kauai for plantation workers in the 19th century, now sustains its economy mostly from a trickle of tourists on their way to a spectacular canyon. Perhaps 200 people work full-time for the four giant chemical companies that grow the corn – all of it exported – on some 12,000 acres leased mostly from the state.

In Kauai, chemical companies Dow, BASF, Syngenta and DuPont spray 17 times more pesticide per acre (mostly herbicides, along with insecticides and fungicides) than on ordinary cornfields in the US mainland, according to the most detailed study of the sector.

That’s because they are precisely testing the strain’s resistance to herbicides that kill other plants. About a fourth of the total are called Restricted Use Pesticides because of their harmfulness. Just in Kauai, 18 tons – mostly atrazine, paraquat (both banned in Europe) and chlorpyrifos – were applied in 2012. The World Health Organization this year announced that glyphosate, sold as Roundup, the most common of the non-restricted herbicides, is “probably carcinogenic in humans”.

The cornfields lie above Waimea as the land, developed in the 1870s for the Kekaha Sugar Company plantation, slopes gently up toward arid, craggy hilltops. Most fields are reddish-brown and perfectly furrowed. Some parts are bright green: that’s when the corn is actually grown.

Both parts are sprayed frequently, sometimes every couple of days. Most of the fields lie fallow at any given time as they await the next crop, but they are still sprayed with pesticides to keep anything from growing. “To grow either seed crops or test crops, you need soil that’s essentially sterile,” says professor Hector Valenzuela of the University of Hawaii department of tropical plant and soil science.

When the spraying is underway and the wind blows downhill from the fields to the town – a time no spraying should occur – residents complain of stinging eyes, headaches and vomiting.

“Your eyes and lungs hurt, you feel dizzy and nauseous. It’s awful,” says middle school special education teacher Howard Hurst, who was present at two evacuations. “Here, 10% of the students get special-ed services, but the state average is 6.3%,” he says. “It’s hard to think the pesticides don’t play a role.”

At these times, many crowd the waiting rooms of the town’s main hospital, which was run until recently by Dow AgroSciences’ former chief lobbyist in Honolulu. It lies beside the middle school, both 1,700ft from Syngenta fields. The hospital, built by the old sugar plantation, has never studied the effects of the pesticides on its patients.

The chemical companies that grow the corn in land previously used for sugar refuse to disclose with any precision which chemicals they use, where and in what amounts, but they insist the pesticides are safe, and most state and local politicians concur. “The Hawai‘i legislature has never given the slightest indication that it intended to regulate genetically engineered crops,” wrote lawyer Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice in a recent court case.

As for the birth defects spike, “We have not seen any credible source of statistical health information to support the claims,” said Bennette Misalucha, executive director of Hawaii Crop Improvement Association, the chemical companies trade association, in a written statement distributed by a publicist. She declined to be interviewed.

Nelson, the pediatrician, points out that American Academy of Pediatrics’ report, Pesticide Exposure in Children, found “an association between pesticides and adverse birth outcomes, including physical birth defects”. Noting that local schools have been evacuated twice and children sent to hospital because of pesticide drift, Nelson says doctors need prior disclosure of sprayings: “It’s hard to treat a child when you don’t know which chemical he’s been exposed to.”

Her concerns and those of most of her colleagues have grown as the chemical companies doubled to 25,000 acres in a decade the area in Hawaii they devote to growing new varieties of herbicide-resistant corn.

Today, about 90% of industrial GMO corn grown in the US was originally developed in Hawaii, with the island of Kauai hosting the biggest area. The balmy weather yields three crops a year instead of one, allowing the companies to bring a new strain to market in a third of the time.

Once it’s ready, the same fields are used to raise seed corn, which is sent to contract farms on the mainland. It is their output, called by critics a pesticide delivery system, that is sold to the US farmers, along with the pesticides manufactured by the breeder that each strain has been modified to tolerate.

Corn’s uses are as industrial as its cultivation: less than 1% is eaten. About 40% is turned into ethanol for cars, 36% becomes cattle feed, 10% is used by the food industry and the rest is exported.

‘We just want to gather information’

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 1.00.51 PM
A march against pesticides in Hawaii. Photograph: Christopher Pala for the Guardian

At a Starbucks just outside Honolulu, Sidney Johnson, a pediatric surgeon at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children who oversees all children born in Hawaii with major birth defects and operates on many, says he’s been thinking about pesticides a lot lately. The reason: he’s noticed that the number of babies born here with their abdominal organs outside, a rare condition known as gastroschisis, has grown from three a year in the 1980s to about a dozen now.

“We have cleanest water and air in the world,” he says. So he’s working with a medical student on a study of his hospital’s records to determine whether the parents of the gastroschisis infants were living near fields that were being sprayed around the time of conception and early pregnancy. He plans to extend the study to parents of babies suffering from heart defects.

“You kind of wonder why this wasn’t done before,” he says. “Data from other states show there might be a link, and Hawaii might be the best place to prove it.”

Unbeknownst to Johnson, another two physicians have been heading in the same direction, but with some constraints. They’re members of a state-county commission appointed this year to “determine if there are human harms coming from these pesticides”, as its chairman, a professional facilitator named Peter Adler, tells a meeting of angry local residents in Waimea earlier this month. Several express skepticism that the panel is anything but another exercise in obfuscation.

The panel of nine part-time volunteers also includes two scientists from the chemical companies and several of their critics. “We just want to gather information and make some recommendations,” Adler tells the crowd of about 60 people. “We won’t be doing any original research.”

But one of the two doctors, a retired pediatrician named Lee Evslin, plans to do just that. “I want see if any health trends stand out among people that might have been exposed to pesticides,” he says in an interview. “It won’t be a full epidemiological study, but it will probably be more complete than anything that’s been done before.”

The panel itself, called the Joint Fact-Finding Study Group on Genetically Modified Crops and Pesticides on Kauaʻi, is the only achievement of three years of failed attempts to force the companies to disclose in advance what they spray and to create buffer zones – which they do in 11 other states, where food crops receive much less pesticides per acre.

The pushback from the expansion of the GMO acreage first emerged when Gary Hooser of Kauai, a former state senate majority leader who failed in a bid for lieutenant governor in 2010, ran for his old seat on the Kauai County council in 2012.

“Everywhere I went, people were concerned about GMOs and pesticides. They were saying, ‘Gary, we gotta do something’,” he recounts over coffee at the trendy Ha Coffee Bar in Lihue, the island’s capital. “Some were worried about the GMO process itself and others by the threats of the pesticides, and it became one of the dominant political issues.”

Once elected, Hooser, who has a ruddy complexion, piercing blue eyes and arrived in Hawaii as a teenager from California, approached the companies for information about exactly what they were spraying and in what amounts. He was rebuffed.

In the process of what he called “doing my homework”, he discovered that the companies, unlike regular farmers, were operating under a decades-old Environmental Protection Agency permit to discharge toxic chemicals in water that had been grandfathered from the days of the sugar plantation, when the amounts and toxicities of pesticides were much lower. The state has asked for a federal exemption for the companies so they can avoid modern standards of compliance.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 1.00.38 PMHe also found that the companies, unlike regular farmers, don’t pay the 4% state excise tax. Some weren’t even asked to pay property taxes, worth $125,000 a year. After pressure from Hooser and the county tax office, the companies paid two years’ worth of back taxes.

So with the backing of three other members of the seven-member Kauai council, he drafted a law requiring the companies to disclose yearly what they had grown and where, and to announce in advance which pesticides they proposed to spray, where and when. The law initially also imposed a moratorium on the chemical companies expanding their acreage while their environmental impact was assessed.

After a series of hearings packed by company employees and their families wearing blue and opponents wearing red, the bill was watered down by eliminating the moratorium and reducing the scope of the environmental study. The ordinance then passed, but the companies sued in federal court, where a judge ruled that the state’s law on pesticides precluded the counties from regulating them. After the ruling, the state and the county created the joint fact-finding panel officially committed to conducting no new research.

Hooser is confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal: the Hawaii constitution “specifically requires” the state and the counties to protect the communities and their environment.

In his appeal, Achitoff of Earthjustice argued that Hawaii’s general pesticide law does not “demonstrate that the legislature intended to force the county to sit and watch while its schoolchildren are being sent to the hospital so long as state agencies do not remedy the problem.”

In the Big Island, which is called Hawaii and hosts no GMO corn, a similar process unfolded later in 2013: the county council passed a law that effectively banned the chemical companies from moving in, and it was struck down in federal court for the same reasons. A ban on genetically modified taro, a food root deemed sacred in Hawaiian mythology, was allowed to stand.

In Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui and Molokai, both with large GMO corn fields, a group of residents calling themselves the Shaka Movement sidestepped the company-friendly council and launched a ballot initiative that called for a moratorium on all GMO farming until a full environmental impact statement is completed there.

The companies, primarily Monsanto, spent $7.2m on the campaign ($327.95 per “no” vote, reported to be the most expensive political campaign in Hawaii history) and still lost.

Again, they sued in federal court, and, a judge found that the Maui County initiative was preempted by federal law. Those rulings are also being appealed.

In the state legislature in Honolulu, Senator Josh Green, a Democrat who then chaired the health committee, earlier this year attempted a fourth effort at curbing the pesticide spraying.

In the legislature, he said, it’s an open secret that most heads of the agriculture committee have had “a closer relationship with the agro-chemical companies than with the environmental groups”.

Green, an emergency room doctor who was raised in Pennsylvania, drafted legislation to mandate some prior disclosure and some buffer zones. “I thought that was a reasonable compromise,” he says. Still, he also drafted a weaker bill as a failsafe. “If even that one doesn’t pass, it’s going to be obvious that the state doesn’t have the political will to stand up to the chemical companies,” he said in a phone interview at the time. “That would be terrible.”

The chairman of the senate agricultural committee, Cliff Tsuji, didn’t even bring the weaker bill to a vote, even though Hawaii’s governor had pledged to sign any bill that created buffer zones.

Asked by email what he would do now, Green replied with a quip: “Drink scotch.”

This report was supported by a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

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