After over 18 months of ignoring us, the County Council is finally moving to do something about Greg Brown's monstrously oversized and illegitimate "Hotel" at Napili Bay.
Please testify Tues 6/28 live via Bluejeans, or by email to support Reso 22-158 to acquire the property for public purposes.
Or send an email RIGHT NOW to firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week our community submitted over 28 emails in support of shutting Greg Brown down and launching an investigation into Public Works, Planning, and Corporation Counsel's abuse of their authority.
See those emails and join the Napili Bay Community association here: Napili.org Scroll down or Click on "Public Testimony"
Let's see if we can top last week's excellent community activism! Send an email RIGHT NOW to email@example.com
Support the Eminent Domain process with certain conditions:
Corporation Counsel must be excluded:
The County Council must secure legal advice that does not come from Corporation Counsel. Moana Lutey, John Rapacz (retired), and others are deeply conflicted and have repeatedly misrepresented the facts to the Council.
This must not turn into a "Payday" for Greg Brown:
The many proven layers of misrepresentations by Brown, to secure exemptions and permits that he was never entitled to, must limit the "fair market" value of the property and the public's outlay to "take" the property.
Michelle Mclean has been lying to the Council!
This property is in a Mixed-Use district that includes Hotels. Short-term rentals with no permits are how it's done in Napili Bay because it is zoned for that. McLean's promise that the County "will never issue a short-term rental permit to Brown" is intentionally misleading because he's not required to ask for one.
With your support, our community is forcing a new level of accountability that has never before existed in Maui County government, in the Council, and in the Administration.
The pushback from several groups of entrenched exploiters will be fierce. Expect it to be a bumpy ride! But with your support, we can move Maui County into a new era as a modern municipality that serves the best interests of its residents, not the Fat Cats.
Join and make a contribution to the Napili Bay Community association here: Napili.org
Maui County Clerk rejects Term-Limit & Residency Voter Challenges of Candidates Alice Lee and Riki Hokama
Earlier this week, Maui County Clerk Kathy Kaohu rejected all five Voter Challenges submitted including the Voter Challenge based on violation of the Council Term Limit in Maui County Charter Section 3-2.5. Here's a pdf of the letter portion of the rejection - with the Clerk's attached Exhibits - the entire ruling is 1303 pages.6.20.22 Clerk Ruling on Term Limit Challenge
The essence of the ruling is based on prior case law that "No law has any retrospective operation, unless otherwise expressed or obviously intended."
Clerk Kaohu's ruling does not acknowledge or address the June 2018 Maui County Clerk ruling which clearly stated that the removal of the word "consecutive" creates a lifetime term limit of no more than five full terms, regardless of when served.
Clerk Kaohu's ruling also does not acknowledge or address what appears to be at least four separate instances in which the Council falsely asserts that they approved a "revised" version of Resolution #20-98 at the 6.23.20 GET Committee meeting. Per the official records of that meeting, no such approval ever happened!
The Clerk's ruling also does not explain why the term limit ballot questions were the only questions that did not include an effective date.
In summary, the Clerk's ruling does not acknowledge or address what appears to be the deliberate failure on the part of the Council members to clearly indicate "their" self-interested intent that the new stricter term limit would only apply to future Council members.
In other words, under the Council's "intent" only future Council members would be limited to no more than five full terms. All current and past Council Members would be entitled to an additional five terms on top of any full terms they have already served! If this were the Council's intent, it should have been clearly indicated to the voters in the ballot question and the change to the Charter language but it was not!
If the Council members only intended to apply the new stricter no more than "five full terms of office" limit, then the new language of Charter Section 3-2.5 should have read "No FUTURE NEW member of the county council may serve more than five full terms of office. All current and former members may serve an additional five full terms of office on top of any full terms they have already served prior to January 2, 2021." That would have been a complete, truthful and non-misleading statement of the Council's intent but that was not how they chose to present this issue to the voters.
The only remaining option appears to be pursuing this issue in the Second Circuit Court or the State Supreme Court and soon! But we need a resident or multiple resident voters willing to file a lawsuit. A fantastic, Oahu-based attorney has tentatively agreed to take the case but not on a pro bono basis.
If anyone out there is willing to pursue this and/or take the lead on a crowdfunding campaign to cover the $25,000 fee, please reach Anmarie Mabbutt at firstname.lastname@example.org”Read
These three testimonies reveal the County Council's reluctance to assert its true powers to hold the Administration and Department Directors responsible for their actions.
The wide-spread abuse of process that is allowing Greg Brown to build his monster hotel in Napili Bay provides us all an education into the loopholes in our existing legislation that promote fraud and abuse in the administration of SMA permits, as well as a deeper dive into the general dysfunction and ignorance among our Council Members who seem to not at all understand what the Council's authorities and responsibilities really are.
Committee Chair Molina, and others, appear completely ignorant of the Council's investigative powers to assess whether a Director's actions are consistent with existing ordinances. At my insistence, David Raatz, the chief legal advisor to the Council spelled it out for Mr. Molina in a zoom call a few weeks ago, that the Council does have the authority and responsibility to launch an investigation into any department or issue that comes before them, if for no other reason than to effectively assess whether existing ordinances are achieving their desired results, and what legislative changes may need to be made.
Such an investigation, which is not a TIG (Temporary Investigative Group) as mistakenly identified by Chair Molina, but rather a formal investigation with subpoena powers to conduct questioning under oath, can also determine whether a Director has actually violated the Charter and perhaps other laws with punishments for the first and referrals to Prosecutors for the latter. That level of accountability has never, ever been asserted here in Maui County as, amazingly, the Council, in its entire history, has never, ever, launched such an investigation.
The favoritism that Planning Director Michelle McLean is showing Greg Brown's project is rapidly evolving to trigger the same kind of citizen-driven lawsuits that the County's lawyers always lose, at great cost to the taxpayers, just like at Montana Beach, Palama Drive, and Kahoma Villages.
The Hawaii State Supreme Court recently ruled that at Kahoma Villages the public's rights were indeed violated but it happened so long after the completion of the project as to be a moot point - damage done and too far gone to reconcile. Greg Brown's project is violating our rights in much the same way but it is going on now in realtime and the opportunity to right the wrong is still alive if action is taken now!
Josh Downer in his testimony explains to Council Member Palin, that the legislative changes she promoted for the Napili Bay District actually weaken the community's position against Greg Brown rather than strengthen it. Whether knowingly or not, Ms. Paltin served Greg Brown's interests, not the public's.
Josh Downer is the founder of the new Napili Bay Community Association www.Napili.org that has formed to use the courts to stop Greg Brown's abuse and possibly hold the County and the Council responsible for not stopping it while they have the chance. The NBCA has over 130 Napili Bay resident members in just a few weeks of its existence. All are welcome to join and support the cause.
A first-of-its-kind County Council investigation into Planning Director Michelle McLean's consistent misrepresentations and violations of due process, bestowing enormous favoritism onto Greg Brown, would be a total game-changer for Maui County and a historic win for our community.
Watch these three short videos for a fairly full education into Greg Brown's abuse that Chris Salem 1st blew the whistle on almost a year ago.
All’s fair in love and war: Public Works internal report leaked to Maui Causes alleges Director McLean personally gained through Permit Abuse
Mike Victorino has started a war between Public Works and Planning over his proposed Waikapu Country Town public-private partnership and Greg Brown’s monster Hotel that destroys the quaint character of Napili Bay.
The partnership proposal Mayor Victorino just announced was brokered by Mancini, Welch, and Geiger, attorneys for both Waikapu developer Mike Atherton and Napili developer Greg Brown.
Victorino and Planning Director Michele McLean, a long-time foot soldier for Mancini, sold out the Napili Bay community allowing Greg Brown to violate every rule in the book in an apparent trade for Victorino’s ego-driven Waikapu project.
Planning Director McLean’s relentless and illegal protection of Greg Brown’s violations triggered the war with Public Works, the latest casualty of which is Public Works Director Rowena DagDag-Andaya, who resigned last week.
A previous casualty was DSA Supervising Inspector Derek Hyland who resigned a few weeks ago citing workplace intimidation flowing from the Mayor’s office over the Stop-Work Orders he issued to Greg Brown.
Inspector Hyland based the Stop-Work Orders on Title 19’s “Validity of Permit” ordinance which nullifies any permit acquired through misrepresentation.
Director McLean continues to ignore Brown’s misrepresentations and this week illegally forced a lifting of the Stop Work orders. Construction has now resumed on Brown’s ”monster hotel”. (Look for coming calls to support community and legal action to shut Brown down.)
But the war between Public Works and Planning is escalating in some very interesting ways with a newly-leaked internal investigation that alleges Michelle McLean violated her professional standing as Planning Director to personally earn $385,000 in 2021 by flipping a Maui residence, performing massive structural renovations without any of the required building permits.
The report includes time-stamped, high-resolution aerial photography that DSA inspectors use to track construction to show that McLean's husband Paul, who is a builder but not a General Contractor as required for flipping, began making major structural renovations with no permits just as Maui went into Covid Lockdown in April of 2020. The McLeans sold the property less than a year after construction.
In a text exchange with Chris Salem, who blew the whistle on Greg Brown almost a year ago and was wrongfully terminated from his job in the Mayor’s office for doing so, former DSA Inspector Hyland suggested the report was leaked because it is being suppressed by the Victorino administration and was a factor in Director Dagdag-Andaya’s resignation.
"I have heard she wanted to pick up where I left off on Validity of Permit and a higher hand shut her down,” wrote Mr. Hyland, “I was told she was sick of the corruption and looking the other way within DSA and Planning, and she bailed."
McLean has called it “fiction” but the 52-page report is filled with internal County documents and public records that seem legitimate.
You can read the entire report on Maui Causes’ website:
This war is sure to continue and the casualty list is likely to grow, perhaps with Director McLean following in the resigning footsteps of other Planning Department personnel, Rulan Waikiki and John Rapacz, both original facilitators of Brown’s unlawful permit abuse.
However it plays out, Mayor Victorino’s amazingly negligent and unprofessional management continues to drive Maui County into chaos and enormous financial waste.
In 2002, Mayor Alan Arakawa admitted to blatant and intentional violations of County Code by developers, consultants, and the Planning Dept, implying the promise of change.
One trigger for his comments was Montana Beach, where a citizen's complaint famously revealed a Director's faulty decision, causing a permit revocation. Mike Victorino sat on the County Council in 2008 to approve well over $ 4 million of public funds to settle multiple lawsuits.
In 2011, Mike Victorino was also on Council for the $ 14 Million Palama Drive debacle, this time when citizens exposed Mayor Arakawa himself for acting outside his authority and the law to benefit a developer at the public's expense. The County now owns and wastes our tax dollars yearly to maintain that land and its huge and crumbling retaining walls.
So over nine years time, Mike Victorino was a direct witness of Alan Arakawa's transformation from "Defender" to "Violator".
The same transformation of Mike Victorino seems to have happened much quicker.
Having personally witnessed the damage corruption can do, in 2019, Mayor Victorino hired Chris Salem as his Legislative Laison to work with the County Council to close the loopholes that for decades, the Mayor acknowledged, have allowed a small group of developers, consultants, and corrupt County officials to cheat the rest of us.
Just two short years later, Mayor Victorino wrongfully terminated Chris Salem as retribution for responding to community complaints and exposing Greg Brown's collusion with County officials. The most responsible of those in the Planning Dept. have recently resigned.
Today, instead of taking a firm hand to protect the community, Mayor Victorino is allowing Planning Director McLean to manipulate the issues at Napili Bay in favor of allowing Mr. Brown to keep building his monstrosity or, at the very least, set the stage for an eventual settlement with Brown at the public's expense.
In reality, regardless of any approvals that he may have paid someone to get, because of his sloppily-applied permit misrepresentations, Greg Brown has himself invalidated both his building plan approval and more importantly, his SMA permit exemption, which robbed Maui's citizen's of our rights under several laws.
Virtually everything Director McLean is currently saying publically is a lie:
Greg Brown's violations were not just recently discovered, they have been widely known since last April when Chris Salem first blew the whistle to his boss, Mayor Victorino.
Mr. Brown's plans are not vague, they clearly included details that are in direct violation of County Code, from the beginning.
Director Mclean has absolutely no authority to allow Greg Brown to simply make a few changes to what he's building and continue. Her direction will surely land the County in court, again, as several citizen groups have already pledged to sue if Mr. Brown is allowed to continue.
The local media keeps quoting Greg Brown saying that he has been building in strict accordance with his approved plans. And from what we hear, he has been faithful to those plans.
Mr. Brown's problem is that his plans, as approved, violate multiple County codes and it is very clearly laid out in Title 16 of the Maui County Code's "Validity of Permit" that getting illegitimate plans approved by the County does not magically make them legitimate .
Regardless of any previous approval, illegitimate plans, once discovered for what they are, are invalidated. This is because the County puts its full faith and credit into the Architect or Engineer who stamped the plans. If they lie, boom, Game Over!
Because the plans his architect stamped and submitted to get his SMA exemption violated code, Mr. Brown must go back to square one and re-apply for a new SMA Permit and this time he will NOT receive the exemption that robbed the community of our rights .
Our community is tremendously fortunate to have had Chris Salem as our advocate on these matters for the past 20 years. Chris's contributions have been enormous and have come at great pains to him and his family.
Before Mayor Victorino wrongfully terminated Chris Salem as Legislative Laison, Chris had been working on revisions to the County's administration of SMA rules with Council Member Shane Sinenci's office. Member Sinenci has a degree in Architecture and is well-positioned to champion the changes that will support our community. Hopefully, he will pick up the gauntlet and run with it.
We believe that effort can be greatly supported by the recent advancement of Mr. Derek Hyland to his position as DSA's Supervising Inspector.
Mr. Hyland has stellar credentials and experience in the municipal administration of development and appears more than willing to educate the Council on how badly Maui's historic and current administration of Public Works and Planning is both violating the law and failing the community.
The community gives thanks for Inspector Hyland's insistence that the County abide by both professional best practices and our established ordinances, which has resulted in the two Stop Work orders that were issued to Mr. Brown.
Based on what has been officially documented of Mr. Brown's violations, there are more violation notices and Stop Work orders that Director McLean is required to issue. Her refusal to do so is a further violation of law.
If you can, please support Maui Causes and others in our community who are working hard to expose corruption and get Maui's County Council to approve legislation that plugs the loopholes in Public Works and Planning.
For the first time ever, there are individuals in positions of authority within the administration who agree that change is needed and are taking action to stop the madness.
Support us in supporting them by making a non-tax-deductible contribution. Click here to show your support:
Director, Maui Causes
PS. If you have not yet done so please sign our petition:”Read
Stop Work Orders Shut Down Brown - Whistleblower’s wrongful termination suit against Mayor Victorino advances.
Eight months after Chris Salem first notified Mayor Victorino of Greg Brown's violations and six months after Mr. Salem was terminated as retribution for responding to community complaints and pressing the matter within the administration, Greg Brown has finally been ordered to stop all work on his Napili Bay “Hotel”.
Today’s Stop Work orders were signed by DSA Supervising Inspector Derek Hyland after protracted internal battles between Public Works, Planning, and Corporation Counsel that have resulted in several resignations of high-level, long-standing Planning Dept staff who were directly involved with wrongfully issuing Mr. Brown an SMA permit exemption and approving building plans that were, from the beginning, in violation of existing County code.
Back In June, inspector Hyland affirmed Mr. Brown’s violations which Mr. Salem, Junya Nakao, and Maui Causes first documented to Planning Director McLean at a public meeting we collectively called for at the site on May 10th.
It is primarily because of Inspector Hyland’s insistence that the County abide by both professional standards and our established ordinances that today’s Stop Work orders were issued.
Mayor Victorino and his Department heads have done everything in their power, from wrongfully terminating Mr. Salem, to lying in Council testimony, to the manufacturing of false government records, and violating state laws, wasting an enormous amount of county resources, to try to protect Greg Brown from what he deserves - being forced to tear his monstrosity down and restore the property to its original condition, all at his own expense.
Ironically, their resistance has brought to light several other developments where Inspector Hyland has discovered the same kind of protective favoritism of code violations actively at play among the same cast of characters.
Among them is the subdivision just up the road from Mr. Brown’s debacle, on Hui Rd E. In 2019 Mayor Victorino signed a written agreement with Mr. Salem to have another SMA permit violation notice issued to the developer there. In a complete about-face, and in violation of his signed agreement, the Mayor and his Department heads have manufactured every illegitimate excuse they can to protect the developer’s interests at the public’s expense. Just like at Mr. Brown’s.
Maui Causes has for years been informing the FBI about these illegitimate acts within the County Administration but with no evidence of direct financial gain by County employees, they had no way to pursue it. Now, the recent resignations of several key County players in this manipulation shine a light on where to look for that proof.
There continue to be some very simple legislative changes that only the County Council can make, which will plug the loopholes that allow fraud by licensed professionals to go unnoticed and be protected by a small group of corrupt administrative staff.
Typically, as in Mr. Brown’s case, SMA permit applications fraudulently stamped by licensed professionals are used to deny the public of our rights to give input into local development and allow developers to avoid paying for environmental protections.
Maui Causes will continue to offer the Council a roadmap to those changes and we believe it safe to say that Inspector Hyland will be more than happy to provide insight and a professional best-practices perspective to the Council as well.
For his part, Mr. Salem is not just a well-loved and respected basketball coach and west-side community leader. Mr. Salem deserves to be recognized for the enormous contributions he continues to make to help clean out corruption and legitimatize the land development process across all of Maui County.
As a whistleblower, Mr. Salem has brought enormous financial recovery to the County; on the 40-year, Three-lot Deferral Agreement scam, the 2015 Upcountry Water Bill scam, failure to pay Park Fees, and others, all perpetrated by Corporation Counsel.
Mr. Salem’s expertise is extensive and is a direct result of the harm that he and his family have suffered by being on the wrong side of the same favored developers and consultants who Mayor Victorino and his team are desperately trying to protect.
Mr. Salem’s wrongful termination suit against Mayor Victorino recently survived Corporation Counsel’s 500-page motion to dismiss and the court agreed to also add Planning Director Michelle Mclean as a defendant for her refusal to issue multiple SMA permit violation notices to trigger the Stop Work orders that were finally issued today.
Mr. Salem’s case is moving forward and is intended to hold developers accountable for manipulating County officials to circumvent County ordinances and citizens’ rights to enforce environmental laws and community standards.
If you can, please support Maui Causes and others in our community who are working hard to expose corruption and get Maui’s County Council to approve legislation that plugs the loopholes in Public Works and Planning.
For the first time ever, there are individuals in positions of authority within the administration who agree that change is needed and are taking action to stop the madness.
Director, Maui Causes
All the applicable County Codes clearly state that if there are conflicts between the requirements of any State law or County ordinance, the more restrictive requirements shall apply.
Director Mclean has repeatedly cited a meaningless excuse that the Napili Bay District Overlay lacks a height limitation, but that in no way wipes out island-wide zoning that limits a private residence to 30 ft.
Mr. Brown wrongfully received an SMA exemption specifically claiming he was building a single-family home. Public Works Supervising Inspector Derek Hyland has now officially certified that what Mr. Brown has built instead uses Hotel standards, in violation of the Napili Bay 2-Story limit which for over 50 years protected the village feel there.
Council Member Paltin asked, "Is there anything else that the Council should be doing on this matter?" There most certainly is!
This very petition, started back in August and signed by nearly 1,300 residents, requests Ms. Paltin as Chair of the Planning Committee to specifically ask for a legal opinion from Council Services whether an applicant filing for an SMA permit in the "Residential Category of the Napili District" must actually build according to "Residential Building Standards"?
It is a simple question. We’ve asked Council Services ourselves but they will not respond to anyone but a Council Member. Outside experts have done the research and their answer is "Yes". Public Works now agrees too but is being blocked from issuing a Stop-Work order by Director McLean and Corporation Counsel. It’s time for Council Member Paltin to step up to the plate and break the deadlock.
Regardless of who made mistakes or may have been paid off in the Planning Dept for Mr. Brown to get this far (several individuals who approved plans and publically defended Brown have recently resigned) Title 16's Validity of Permit clause holds Mr. Brown responsible for the conflict of seeking an SMA exemption under single-family use but using hotel standards to build. Because of his misrepresentations, which Director McLean seems to be doing everything she can to obscure, Mr. Brown cannot sue the County at all.
Two separate lawsuits have already been announced if Mr. Brown is NOT shut down, from a citizen and lawyer living just up the road, and from a developer who previously tried to do a similar project at the same site but was held to a completely different set of standards than what Director McLean seems intent to allow Mr. Brown to get away with.
Such favoritism seems common to Director McLean as she is also currently named in a lawsuit for specifically refusing to issue violation notices to another favored developer just up the road from Greg Brown’s monster.
Not surprisingly, both developers are represented by the same lawyers who were formerly employed by Corporation Counsel.
Reach Council Member Paltin at (808) 270-5504 or Tamara.Paltin@mauicounty.us and let her know how you feel.
It's Giving Tuesday. Maui Causes could sure use your support!
If you can, please support Maui Causes and others in our community who are working hard to expose corruption and get Maui's County Council to approve legislation that plugs the loopholes in Public Works and Planning.
For the first time ever, there are individuals in positions of authority within the administration who agree that change is needed and are taking action to stop the madness.
Director, Maui Causes
The Council is wisely looking at the schedule of extremely low fees for various Public Works and Planning permits and appeals that greatly subsidize professional developers’ speculation, at the public’s expense.
Please consider here the enormous departmental costs that Planning Director McLean and Corporation Counsel continue to waste by steadfastly refusing to acknowledge what was made perfectly clear last April, that in Napili Greg Brown is building to hotel specifications and never was eligible for the SMA permit exemption he misrepresented to get.
Last Wednesday Jordan Molina, Deputy Director of Public Works, publicly acknowledged that Public Works was processing a Stop-Work Order that was expected to be issued to Greg Brown's Napili Bay construction by last Friday, citing that Mr. Brown's Three-Story-Plus structure violates the Napili Bay District Two -Story limit, as documented in an official inspection report posted in the County's Kiva system on Monday 11/22/2021.
That stop-work order did not get issued last week specifically because Corporation Counsel inappropriately stepped in to block Public Works from performing their legitimate municipal function.
It seems Public Works lost patience with Planning Director Michele McLean who has repeatedly ignored obvious evidence to delay Brown's shutdown for over seven months, since Christopher Salem first reported Brown's misrepresentation to the Mayor, Planning and Public Works last April.
In those seven months, Mr. Brown brazenly continued incurring construction costs that he will sacrifice when he is ultimately forced to tear down his eyesore, at his expense.
Mr. Brown will have no standing to sue the County for convincing (or paying) Planning Department officials to approve his misrepresented building plans because of language in Title 16 of the Maui County Code section 105.4 Validity of permit:
“The issuance or granting of a permit or approval of construction documents shall not be construed to be a permit for, or an approval of, a violation of any of the provisions of the Maui County Code. Permits presuming to give authority to violate or cancel the provisions of the Maui County Code shall not be valid. ”
Essentially, because of Mr. Brown's own misrepresentations, his building permit and his SMA permit exemption are now both rendered invalid.
The substance of Chris Salem's original claims have been validated by inspectors at Public Works:
Mr. Brown never did qualify to apply for the SMA permit exemption he was granted and not only because his square footage count exceeds the 7,500 eligibility limit.
Mr. Brown's plans are labeled “Single Family” but they also clearly show elevations of 35 ft with 10 ft additional for elevators and staircases, which is only allowed for Hotels. Regardless of the Napili Bay District not having any height restrictions, Hotels are just not eligible for SMA exemptions, at all, anywhere!
For reasons that have been widely suspected to involve payoffs, officials in the Planning Department “mistakenly” approved Mr. Brown's plans even though they are clearly in violation of Title 19. Two senior planning officials who issued Brown's exemption and approved building plans have recently and suddenly resigned.
Mr. Brown's stop-work order was to be issued by Public Works, not by Planning Director McLean who may be held personally liable for acting outside of her authority by delaying the issuance of violation notices to both Mr. Brown and to Developer Lot 48 LLC, another well-documented, west side development where Mr. Salem has blown the whistle on falsified SMA documents which allowed developers to deny citizens of our rights to public hearings.
Had public hearings not been blocked by professional consultants committing fraud and covered up by County officials, neither of these projects would ever have gotten built. Director McLean's resistance to issuing notices of obvious violations seems intended to protect that fraud from being exposed and prosecuted.
If Corporation Counsel continues to block the issuance of this stop-work order, that too will be only in their misguided attempt to protect past and present corruption from being exposed. Let us note again that Mr. Brown's attorney in all this only just recently removed himself from his position at Corporation Counsel.
Director McLean has repeatedly claimed that she was not personally involved in issuing Mr. Brown's SMA exemption or approving his building plans. The approval was made shortly after she became Planning Director and her name is on the approvals, yet she has stated repeatedly that she wished those approvals had never happened.
The Planning Department did recently issue a notice of violation to Mr. Brown over a retaining wall that he brazenly built that was never included in his original SMA permit application. It has now been discovered that just prior to his resignation, a Planning Department official took the very questionable step of issuing an "After-The-Fact" SMA permit for just the controversial wall. How can a wall which is supposed to be based on steel-reinforced concrete footings be approved "after-the-fact" with no visual inspection of those underground footings?
Just like Kanamu Balinbin who came forward to admit in County Council testimony that in the past he delivered brown envelopes of cash to the Planning Department, there are professional contractors who have worked at Mr. Brown's site who have now come forward to admit knowing that the grading and walls at Mr. Brown's site are grossly insufficient for the purposes, in violation of building codes and dangerous to the surrounding community.
Director McLean has the authority to override and invalidate the after-the-fact permit for the bogus retaining wall and should do so today.
Many thanks to the honorable officials of Maui's Public Works Department for standing up to the small group of apparently corrupt staff members of the Planning Department, several of who have recently resigned, and Director McLean who's resignation the community is now calling for as well.
It's up to the County Council to legislate closing the loopholes identified by Chis Salem that have allowed this kind of abuse to happen on Maui repeatedly for decades.
ACTION ALERT: Testify to GREAT Committee Tues 9am: TEAR DOWN BROWN - BUILD A PUBLIC PARK (w/ restrooms)
Tuesday the GREAT Committee will hear Planning Director McLean's update on Greg Brown’s Monster "Hotel' in Napili.
Rather prematurely, Director McLean has several times now publicly characterized this disaster as the “department’s mistake” which seems an intentional misdirection to set the stage for the Council being amenable to some financial settlement with Mr. Brown should litigation arise when the County shuts his project down.
Derek Hyland, the Supervising Building Inspector Maui County DSA, who is qualified to make determinations that Director McLean is unqualified to make, has now made and communicated several determinations that affirm the whistleblower assertions communicated to the Mayor, the department's staff, and Council Members by Christopher Salem repeatedly since last April, that Greg Brown Construction willfully misrepresented the project as a Two-Story Structure when it is, as per Title 19, Three-Stories Plus.
It is clear then that Mr. Brown is indeed in violation of the Napili Bay District "Two Story” limit.
Mr. Hyland has also determined that Mr. Brown’s permit application failed to include his third-floor square footage count. As such, Mr. Salem is also correct that Mr. Brown improperly secured his SMA permit exemption and denied the community our right to public hearings to protect Maui’s shoreline areas, as mandated by State and Federal law.
Mr. Brown further misrepresented the fair market value of his project at $1.5 Million. Up until the listing was pulled off the market a few weeks go it was listed for sale at $14 Million.
Mr. Brown’s SMA permit application clearly states that misrepresentations are just cause to revoke his SMA permit exemption and that specifically absolves the County of any financial burden for shutting the project down. Counter to Director McLean’s misdirection and fear-mongering of financial risk to the County, our tax coffers could easily benefit from fines levied against Mr. Brown for his subterfuge.
Unlike Director McLean, who is appointed by the Mayor and is free to petition the Council to have her appear to lobby and prejudice the Council for political gains, Mr. Hyland is a Civil Servant and is not allowed to solicit the Council to hear from him.
If the GREAT Committee is to hear of Mr. Hyland’s important determinations, a Council Member must invite him to appear and speak on Tuesday.”Read
BREAKING NEWS: Senior County Official Confirms that Whistleblower Chris Salem is Correct on Greg Brown's Violations.
Greg Brown's "Hotel", misrepresented as a "Single-Family, Two-Story" home, denied the community's right to public hearings to protect shoreline areas, as mandated by the State and Feds.
But will Corporation Counsel Director Moana Lutey block both Planning and Public Works from issuing a well-justified Stop Work Order and rescinding Mr. Brown’s fraudulently acquired SMA permit exemption - with fines added?
How many costly lawsuits does Corporation Counsel need to lose (Palama Drive, Montana Beach, the Injection Wells) before we all agree that defiantly defending the faulty decisions of senior County officials is a misuse of public funds?Especially when their decision benefits a private interest and may have been motivated by a bribe?
Mayor Victorino has a duty to enforce the laws and supervise the County Directors to issue a stop-work order now. Will he do what is right or be intimidated by Corp Counsel yet again to serve a developer's interests, not the public?
Tear down Brown's "Monster" and build a park with public restrooms so beachgoers can stop using Napili Bay as their toilet!”Read
In June, long-time west-side resident Kanamu Balinbin testified at some personal risk to the County Council about his direct knowledge of bribes taken by certain staff members of Maui's Planning Department, possibly with regard to Greg Brown's Monster Hotel.
Mr. Balinbin offered to name names. Is the following a result of that testimony?
In September, Whistleblower Christopher Salem requested the source of the oft-stated, yet inaccurate opinion expressed by Planning Department officials in public testimony over Greg Brown's monster house that: "For the NBCID (Napili Bay Civic Improvement District), there is no stated maximum height in feet...just "two stories".
Mr. Salem asserts that the more restrictive, established Count Code applies island-wide. The Code clearly sets the maximum height for all single-family residences at 30 feet and for Hotels 45 feet, and that, either way, Mr. Brown's structure is a violation.
The apparent false determination has been officially attributed to the Administrator, Zoning Administration and Enforcement Division, Department of Planning, who just recently, suddenly resigned.
Has yet another County official made a false public statement that explicitly benefits favored developers and their lawyers (former Corp Counsel employees), and is the County now engaged in yet another coverup?
Maui Causes will be airing new shows soon that offer solutions to the loopholes and administrative failures that allow this kind of abuse to happen. Stay Tuned.
And if you can, please make a non-tax-deductible contribution to our work, click the Paypal button at the top of this page. at www.MauiCauses.org
or click here
Every bit helps, Thanks
Here's the County's transcript of Mr. Balinbin's testimony:
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, ETHICS, AND
Council of the County of Maui
June 29, 2021
- 17 -
MR. BALINBIN: Aloha. My name is Kanamu Balinbin, and I represent, I guess, the Upper
West Maui community. I want to thank you for allowing me to testify today. There’s a
lot of frustrations with the community over this project and the way it was handled.
You know, my...there’s so many questions, but it...it kind of was brought up by Junya,
the other lady, and the previous testifier. So what...what I want to...what I want to come
across is, is that when...for me, when I was working construction, we would always have
somebody come and make sure that we’re following our plans, an inspector would come
in at least once a week. I don’t see why nobody came and...and checked this project.
That’s...that’s kind of strange to me. I’ve...I’ve talked to other developers saying yeah,
you know, inspectors come, they’re here...they’re here like on a weekly basis, but why
hasn’t anybody gone to that particular project to inspect it to see if it was doing what it
said it would do in the permits? Another thing is, you know, my...my friend
Danny (phonetic) lives right below that...that project. And the...the...the retaining wall
that’s supposedly there, he saw it being dug and it was only like two or three feet deep.
And he’s afraid that that wall is going to come crashing down on his...on his property.
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, ETHICS, AND
Council of the County of Maui
June 29, 2021
- 18 -
You know, for...for a lot of us West Maui residents, we’re really frustrated because we
don’t...we don’t feel like we get our fair share of the pie when it comes to developments,
affordable housing, just things in general. A community...a community center, you
know, we’re frustrated here. And with the lack of, I guess, due diligence on the people
in charge, it’s...it’s compounding this...compounding this frustration that we have. So
I would...I...for...for me, I would just like...you know, I...you know, there’s so much
things that I want to say. I...I...I going to be honest, I was...when I worked construction,
I...I...I dropped envelopes of cash with...with...with things that I needed to drop off to
the Planning Department. I don’t know who it went to or what it was...what was
doing...what it was...what was being dealt with the cash that I sent there, but
there’s...there’s...there’s a payoff plan going on there. And if you people are...if people
are not going to...are...investigate this or have an audit on the Planning Department and
what’s going on, on O‘ahu, then we’re just going to keep getting into these messes. So
thank you very much. Aloha.
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay. Mahalo for your testimony, Mr. Balinbin. Members, any need to clarify
Mr. Balinbin’s testimony? Seeing none. Mahalo for your testimony, Mr. Balinbin.
MS. ESPELETA: Mr. Chair --
MR. BALINBIN: You’re welcome.
MS. ESPELETA: -- would it be possible to clarify that testifier’s first name and spelling please.
CHAIR MOLINA: Oh, yes. Mister...Mr. Balinbin, can you state your full name for the record
again and spelling of it? Just to make sure we have it correct for the record.
MR. BALINBIN: Oh, Kanamu, K-A-N-A-M-U, last name Balinbin, B-A-L-I-N-B-I-N.
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay. All right. Thank you, Mr. Balinbin.
MS. ESPELETA: Mahalo.
MR. BALINBIN: Thank you, Mike. (audio interference)
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay. Hang on...Mr. Balinbin, hang on, yeah? I have a couple of --
MR. BALINBIN: Yeah, go ahead.
CHAIR MOLINA: -- Members with questions.
MR. BALINBIN: Go ahead.
CHAIR MOLINA: Member Paltin, followed by Member Sugimura.
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, ETHICS, AND
Council of the County of Maui
June 29, 2021
- 19 -
COUNCILMEMBER PALTIN: Thank you, Chair. Thank you, Mr. Balinbin. I just wanted to
clarify, are you saying that you participated in bribing the Planning Department to get
MR. BALINBIN: No, what I’m saying is like...well, when I worked construction back in the...I’d
say late...late 1999s, I...I’ve worked...I’ve worked...you know, I not going name...I’m not
going to name the people that...that I worked for, but it was...it was...it was pretty...there
was like three or four different companies that we would kind of...but we...we...I...I...I
dropped...I’ve dropped off money over there on...on couple occasions, several occasions.
I’ve had...I...I...I sat on...I sat in on a member from the Planning Department when my
friend had fines...fines at his property in Huelo. He sat down with one of the ladies from
Planning and she offered...she said, I can make your fines go away if you want to help
me pay my credit card debts, things like that. And there was an investigation...there
was an investigation. It was Arakawa’s...it was during one of Arakawa’s terms, and it
CHAIR MOLINA: Mr. Balinbin, I think you answered Member Paltin’s question. Member Paltin,
do you have...is there need to clarify Mr. Balinbin’s question [sic]?
MR. BALINBIN: . . .(inaudible). . . I’ve done it before . . .(inaudible). . .
COUNCILMEMBER PALTIN: One last clarification was, is this a civil service you’re talking
about, civil service employee or appointed?
MR. BALINBIN: For the Planning Department. I not going mention names. I can tell you
names later, Tamara, if you like call me up, and the specific name that...that...that had
bribed...had offered my friend to...to take away his fines if...if she got help, say, with her
credit card bills. It...it’s...I...I...I seen things like this happen before, and it seems like
it’s...it’s more rampant now. I...I...you know, it...I...I...I don’t know things can get
approved and then later get turned over by the Supreme Court. It’s frustrating for us
because...because we have no...we have no really...you know, we’re waiting for
Pulelehua, we’re waiting for something so...so we can get by with...it’s hard for us here
on the West Side. You know we’re dealing with all these...
CHAIR MOLINA: Mr. Balinbin, thank you. I think you answered. Member Paltin, do you have
another clarification question for Mr. Balinbin before I go to Member Sugimura?
COUNCILMEMBER PALTIN: No. Thank you, Chair.
CHAIR MOLINA: Oh, okay. Mr. Balinbin, just real quick question for you. So --
MR. BALINBIN: Yeah.
CHAIR MOLINA: -- are you saying the...there was any, I guess, alleged bribery related to this
project? Just to clarify your testimony. Was it just another...
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, ETHICS, AND
Council of the County of Maui
June 29, 2021
- 20 -
MR. BALINBIN: I’m not...I’m not...I’m not saying that there is. There’s...there’s talk about it.
I...I don’t know firsthand knowledge. I’ve heard...I’ve heard that...that...you know, Mike,
some of the things I no like...I no like mention names --
CHAIR MOLINA: Yeah.
MR. BALINBIN: -- but if...if I can call your office and I can tell you some things then --
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay.
MR. BALINBIN: -- I...I feel more comfortable that way. I no like throw anybody under the bus.
CHAIR MOLINA: No. Okay. Yeah.
MR. BALINBIN: . . .(inaudible). . .
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay. I just want to make sure that...that it ties into the project or the
agenda item that we have here today with your...your statements, yeah.
MR. BALINBIN: The one thing I’m worried about the project because everything was answered
was that retaining wall by my --
CHAIR MOLINA: Yeah.
MR. BALINBIN: -- friend Danny’s house that he just built --
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay.
MR. BALINBIN: -- he built his --
CHAIR MOLINA: Yeah.
MR. BALINBIN: -- dream house. And the retaining wall that he...he...he swears by that it’s
not at the proper depth, and that wall could come crashing down at any big rain or
anything like that, that we have in Nāpili in...or that Upper West Side. It can happen,
you know, and...and...
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay. All right. Thank you, Mr. Balinbin. I have a question for you from
Member Sugimura. Member Sugimura, question for Mr. Balinbin?
COUNCILMEMBER SUGIMURA: Thank you. Hi, Kanamu. I was just going to ask the same
question that Tamara was...got clarification on, so --
MR. BALINBIN: Okay.
GOVERNMENT RELATIONS, ETHICS, AND
Council of the County of Maui
June 29, 2021
- 21 -
COUNCILMEMBER SUGIMURA: -- thank you. I have no further questions.
MR. BALINBIN: Okay. I believe...I believe that person is still working in the office, so if you
guys...if...if...if Mike or...or whoever is the head of this . . .(inaudible). . . thing,
if...if...I...I...I...I’m not afraid to...to...to mention names face to face, but not over this --
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay.
MR. BALINBIN: -- because...you know.
CHAIR MOLINA: Thank you, Mr. Balinbin. I appreciate your thoughts.
MR. BALINBIN: Okay. Thanks. Thanks.
CHAIR MOLINA: Okay. Members, any further clarification or questions for Mr. Balinbin before
we let him go? Okay. Seeing none. Mahalo for your testimony, Mr. Balinbin.
MR. BALINBIN: (audio interference)
CHAIR MOLINA: Thank you. Okay. Ms. Espeleta --
MR. BALINBIN: Thank you.
Council Members, please view this 3-minute video, an excerpt from a 45 min presentation that I was asked to give to Elle Cochran’s Infrastructure committee in 2018 that details the loopholes between Public Works and Planning that allows projects like Greg Brown's to violate our community's rights and degrade our shoreline.
There is a revolving door between the departments and land developers that is consistently abused by a small group of individuals who exploit the loopholes for profit at the expense of Maui’s taxpayers and our environment:
As an example, Public Works Director David Goode signed off on the Olowalu Subdivision even though the conditions of their SMA permit had not been met. And, even after the developer was 10 years later forced to return to the project because of a citizen complaint, some of those conditions are still unfulfilled to this day.
The main portion of the presentation was on the 3-Lot-or-less Deferral Agreements which are also an example our extended systemic abuse that continues to this day. The County Auditor appears to now also be complicit in obstructing the community in that it has taken over three years for his office to deliver the audit he committed to and has stated he’s put it on hold, falsely claiming that legal action by Christopher Salem against Mayor Victorino requires him to pause. That’s not the least bit true.
Here’s the link to the longer presentation on Deferral Agreements that was the trigger for the Council to request the audit: https://www.mauicauses.org/maui-causes-show-64/
There are simple changes that the council can initiate by ordinance that will close the loopholes and I urge you to communicate with Christopher Salem who has been a consistent whistleblower of these abuses.
Thank you for all you do.
Director, Maui Causes
A peaceful meeting was held in Napili yesterday regarding the massive structure which received an SMA Permit Exemption from a staff member
of the Planning Department.
Our Planning Director stated she did not review the SMA Application before the exemption was signed on her behalf.
The question was asked of the Director; How many staff members can sign your name under the Director's authorities granted under the Planning
Commission Rules and County Charter? The Director's answer was not clear.
Questions were raised about the permit for and integrity of a retaining wall, about misrepresentations of the structure as a single-family home, height restrictions, misrepresentations of the number of bedrooms, and misrepresentation of the total square footage of living space that have major impacts on the permitting and exemptions that were granted.
Negotiations with the builder Greg Brown are said to be ongoing, to bring the height of the structure back down to 30 ft, instead of 45 ft.
A video of Charlotte O'Brien produced by Sam Small ten years ago was a part of International Earthday's 15-minute keynote video on Biochar.
This link will take you to the replay of the entire day's online live stream cued up to our portion of the celebration:
Here's a link to the Pope's Earthday message from the same live stream (pretty cool):
Earthday International recognizes two Maui-connected Regenerative Agriculture initiatives in its featured video, part of the 51st global Earthday celebration
Apparently 10 years ahead of their time, Maui residents and environmental educators Charlotte O’Brien and Sam Small made a video about how the manufacturing on a global scale of something called Biochar is the best way we have to draw down the massive amount of carbon in the atmosphere from our reliance on burning fossil fuels for power.
The rest of the world seems to be finally catching up as their 10 ten year old video has been selected by the International Earthday committee to help celebrate and educate over 8 million viewers expected online at the 51st global Earthday celebration.
There’s a second Maui connection too as Earthday will also show animation from the award winning documentary “The Need To Grow” which details the closed-loop, bio-digestion process developed by inventor Michael Smith, doing in a matter of days what nature takes 400 years to do.
Funded by a $50,000 grant from the Maui County Council, Inventor Michael Smith and Char O’Brien are currently collaborating on a tropical efficacy study of biochar saturated with liquid biostimulants and the feasibility of using tropical flora and algae as feedstock for an Earth Power Lodge on Maui to produce Biochar, Biostimulants and power for homes and industry.
Earthday’s video also features James Gaspard, CEO of Biochar Now the only manufacturer of Biochar that is EPA, FDA, USDA approved. Their extremely pure biochar can absorb heavy metals, and chemicals like Round-Up and Atrazine from polluted water and soil.
Of particular interest to the Earthday committee was Char O’Brien’s proposal for poor, rural communities worldwide where evermore local forests are stripped to make Charcoal for sale. By providing simple stoves to make Biochar instead, carbon will be kept out of the air and local incomes will triple or more.”Read
Note from Sam Small, Director Maui Causes:
My apologies for the typo in the comic. I spent way too many hours researching, writing, and working up this graphic. Way too many hours wasted, revealing Mike Victorino's lies and being careful with the story to make sure it is accurate and not sensationalized.I could have spent more time, it seems endless the exploitation taking place on Maui, but I made one final revision to the text this morning for accuracy and tone and hit send. And sure enough, there's a typo.
I spent a good amount of time this week too revealing to you all the negligence of the Grand Wailea's management by under-staffing and not adhering to Gov Ige's edict that hotels that house covid quarantines disclose it to the public and have proper protocols in place.
The GW did none of that and created the unfortunate situation where a family found out that what they thought was a covid-safe environment was nothing of the sort when they came upon the death scene of a quarantining guest a few doors down from their room on Easter Morning.
No one should have to do this and I'd certainly rather have spent the time writing a press release about the two Maui-connected regenerative AG initiatives that are being recognized by Earthday International in a video on their website that I contributed to that they expect tens of millions of viewers to see next week.
I don't get any compensation for what I do with Maui Causes, there's no super PAC or corporate sponsor for exposing corruption and abuse of authority on Maui.
If you appreciate what I do with Maui Causes please consider making a contribution. I'll probably just use it pay Facebook to more widely distribute the messages we post but at least it will validate the work and help the cause.
Despite a reasonable fear of retribution as other County employees have faced for whistleblowing on environmental issues, Ashley Hooks, a Water Treatment Operator with the County of Maui, informed the State Dept of Health's Safe Drinking Water Branch of a chemical spill that impacted Makawao residents, which in violation of law the County had not previously made public.
When the State issued a violation to the county for their negligence, Hooks was promptly fired.
It is common for the Victorino Administration to deny employees of their rights and protection from retribution for blowing the whistle on criminal acts and negligence perpetrated by Department Directors, their Deputies, and Corporation Counsel.
STAY TUNED: Similar, unrelated cases of employees being denied their due process by the Victorino Administration are making their way to the Courts too.”Read
Maui Tomorrow, State Rep McKelvey, former Council Member Joanne Johnson, Archie Kalepa and Keomoku Kapu file suit against Mayor Victorino and Moana Lutey for ignoring County Council's vote.
These suits filed against Mayor Victorino and Moana Lutey for ignoring County Council's vote to settle the Injection Well case were dismissed not on merit, but because none of the Council Members themselves were party to the suit and the judge ruled the plaintiffs didn't have standing.
Corporation Counsel here appears to be in violation of a number of procedural requirements.
Their acts are typical of an apparent belief that they can do whatever they want with impunity, including violating our County Charter and Hawaii’s professional rules of conduct.
Members of the County Council are exploring filing on ODC complaint against Moana Lutey and citizens have already filed with the Court of the Second Circuit.
This high profile case is a perfect opportunity to shine a light on longstanding professional misconduct here and hopefully can drive our initiative to bring transparency and accountability
to Maui County government.
Additional info on other issues that also demonstrate Corp Counsel’s pattern of abuse of authority are here:
The attention that the injection well case is getting is a big deal here and perhaps our one big shot to drain a swamp that facilitates every opportunity for established interests to continue to exploit Maui’s Taxpayers and our environment.”Read
Then who did?
No other Council Member was listed as the author of the resolution to remove Kelly King as Council Chair.
Only Moana Lutey’s name is associated with the resolution.
Why would Moana Lutey want to see Kelly King removed as Council Chair?
Maybe it’s because Kelly King promised to file charges with the Hawaii State Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel against Moana Lutey for Professional Misconduct over Lutey’s choice to ignore the County Council’s vote to withdraw the Injection Well case and instead represent to the Supreme Court only the Mayor’s opinion.
A similar suit with the Second Circuit Court naming Moana Lutey for refusing to get the Court’s opinion about the Mayor’s authority to overrule the Council before she represented to the Supreme Court was filed by State Rep. Angus McKelvey, Maui Tomorrow, former Maui County Council Member Joanne Johnson Winer; former Maui County Ocean Safety captain and waterman Archie Kalepa; and Native Hawaiian rights activist Ke`eaumoku Kapu.
Regardless of what side of the Injection Well debate the Council Members may be, they all have a responsibility to uphold the Council's legitimate vote.
Lawyers at Council Services stated that Moana Lutey and Mayor Victorino are overreaching in their opinion of the Mayor's authority to override the Council's vote.
Members who voted against the County Council securing its own legal representative to contest Moana Lutey and the Mayor have sold out the citizens in favor of off-island financial and political interests. Their misrepresentation sets a new precedent that will have lasting negative impacts on the Council's ability to represent the people's best interests.
Sign the petition to investigate and remove Corporation Counsel Moana Lute, who after 20 years of serving special interests is so professionally compromised that she can no longer possibly serve the public's best interests.
Take control of Maui County back from the lawyers!”Read
I, JoAnne Johnson Winer, state as follows; 8/7/15
1. I am a citizen of the United States of America, a resident of the County of Maui, State of Hawaii and I am over 21 years of age.
2. As a resident of West Maui, I was elected to the Maui County Council on November 2, 1999 and served for ten years until reaching term limitations and I currently serve as Director of Transportation for the County of Maui.
3. On or about 1999, I hired Kathy Kaohu as my executive assistant to the Maui County Council. Ms. Kaohu is currently an executive assistant to Maui County Council Member Don Guzman. She also assisted me in research on issues while on the Council and on issues related to "deferral agreements."
4. On or about late in 2000, my office was contacted by West Maui resident Christopher Salem regarding questions and concerns over the proposed design for a County of Maui Capital Improvement Project for Phase IV of Lower Honoapiilani Road relating to public safety, environmental impacts and view planes, since the project ran adjacent to his property.
5. In cooperation with Austin, Tsutsurni Associates, Inc. (project consultants for Phase IV) and County Project Manager Joe Krueger, Mr. Salem volunteered his professional knowledge and expertise to help create a more sensitive and safe redesign of the Phase IV roadway improvements, which I believe are still on file with the County.
6. As a member of the Maui County Council, I approved the expenditures for this Phase IV Capital Improvement Project during our annual budget hearings as a part of our annual budget process. During this process, I understood from the information provided that the project would begin in 2002 and the construction would take about a year.
7. I do not believe that Council members were aware at the time the funding was approved that the Department of Public Works had failed to acquire the numerous land rights and necessary easements to initiate the field construction of the Phase IV roadway upgrades. To the best of my knowledge the Phase IV Capital Improvement Project is currently stalled and I am unclear if approvals and/or funding are in place.
8. In late 2000, Mr. Salem also brought to my attention outstanding obligations owed to the County ofMaui from developer contractual agreements commonly known as "3 Lots or Less" roadway improvement "Deferral Agreements."
9. We met with Councilmember Riki Hokama to determine if his historical knowledge could help us to understand this process and how these obligations could still be outstanding. Councilmember Hokama was not aware of who was tracking these obligations and was also concerned about these obligations. He did not want to use public monies to pay for improvements that were the responsibility of either developers or owners.
10. Since Mr. Salem owned a property along Phase IV of Lower Honoapiilani Road he shared his firsthand knowledge of how this worked with us. He advised us that in accordance with terms of a "3 Lots or Less" subdivision agreement recorded on his land title by our attorneys in Corporation Counsel, the original developers deferred the cost of roadway and drainage improvements. Mr. Salem explained that this obligated current and future property owners within the 3 Lot subdivisions to pay to the County of Maui their "pro rata" share of the Phase IV Capital Improvement Project.
11. I later learned from Mr. Salem's ongoing inquires and notices to our County departments, the Department of Corporation Counsel, Department of Finance, and Department of Public Works that no department was assigned to track the collection and assessment of an unknown quantity of developers contractual financial obligations owed to the County ofMaui. As a result, it was unknown how many of these agreements existed or how much money might be owed to the County of Maui. I believe I also received a letter from Public Works confirming that no records were being kept by their department of these agreements.
12. Through this process I also learned that subdivisions of 4 lots of more were required by ordinance to mitigate the impacts of their developments by installing complete roadway and drainage improvements along their frontages without any form of deferral or developer exemptions available.
13. I recall receiving a copy of a letter sent from Mr. Salem to Mayor Alan Arakawa alerting the administration that public funds were likely being used to pay for private developer's financial obligations without any form of reimbursement to the County of Maui, since deferral agreements were not being tracked.
14. From 2002 and for years thereafter, I continued to raise my concerns in annual Maui County Council budget hearings regarding how these deferral agreements actually obligated the County ofMaui to pay for and incur private owner's financial obligations.
15. Prior to my tenure as a council member, I learned that the first three phases of Lower Honoapiilani Road had been upgraded and improved as County of Maui Capital Improvement Projects with County of Maui and Federal funds. However, no funds were provided through deferral agreement collections.
16. As I came to learn over time, on these 3 phases, the County ofMaui paid with public taxpayer funds the entire costs of developer's roadway frontage and financial obligations without making any attempts to notice or collect upon the development debts owed.
17. My numerous inquiries to then Department of Public Works Director Milton Arakawa, requesting a list of developer's subdivisions that were subject to assessment and collection throughout Maui County, failed to achieve any results.
18. In 2007, out of frustration, I proposed legislation to the members ofMaui County Council to Title 18 that was adopted (I think it was ordinance 3 513 and Bill Number 77) by Maui County Council in 2007. I believed that by doing so, it would limit the expenditure of public funds on private developer's or owners financial obligations that had been ongoing since 1974.
19. On October 12, 2009, I proposed further language to a proposed Title 18 bill that would insure that financial obligations set forth in previously executed and recorded "deferral agreements" would be assessed and collected by the County of Maui.
20. The resulting Ordinance 3731 was enacted and insured that proper advanced Notice oflntent to Collect would be sent by the director authorized to administer the developer agreement at the commencement of future funding of roadway Capital Improvement Projects and at the time land right of way acquisition was initiated by the County ofMaui.
21. Ordinance 3731 insured that developers and their heirs would be obligated to pay a pro rata share of roadway capital improvements in order to prevent those costs from being shifted to Maui County taxpayers.
22. In compliance with the adopted ordinance, I recall that Director of Public Works, Milton Arakawa, then sent letters ofNotice oflntent to Collect to multiple property owners along the Phase IV Capital Improvement Project of Lower Honoapiilani Road, including Mr. Salem.
23. Director Arakawa informed property owners that the County would ask them for a payment of the pro rata share of costs of the Phase IV roadway improvements as per the terms of their deferral agreements. Director Arakawa also notified the property owners that Phase IV construction would now commence in 2012.
24. Director Arakawa, I believe also informed the affected property owners that their pro rata share would likely be determined in consultation and agreement between other property owners within their subdivision. However, I could never fmd any authorization within our legislation that would allow such a notice and determination.
25. It was not until November of2010 that Public Works Director Milton Arakawa finally disclosed to the County Council that he believed there were perhaps as many asl800 open-ended deferral agreements affecting the land title ofthousands of properties in Maui County that had been executed and recorded by Corporation Counsel. This was very disturbing to many of us.
26. I was also made aware by Mr. Salem that Director Arakawa had informed the property owners in Mr. Salem's subdivision that 5 property owners from two separate overlapping 3 Lot subdivisions were obligated to pay a pro rata share of the 3 Lots or Less Subdivision Agreement. Mr. Salem asked me if I was aware of how this could happen and I advised him that I knew of no ordinance adopted by the Maui Council that would allow two separate overlapping subdivisions of the same parcel of land to twice defer their roadway infrastructure and financial obligations and I had no explanation as to how this could even happen.
27. In early 2011, I met with Mayor Alan Arakawa and Mr. Salem and I was instructed by Mayor to work with Corporation Counsel Attorney Ed Kushi and Mr. Salem to see if there was a possible formula or process for assessment and collection of the deferred developer financial obligations that the Mayor might present for consideration to the Maui County Council. The knowledge that both Mr. Salem and I had of the subject matter was why I believe we were asked to come up with some possible suggestions to the Mayor.
28. The effort to provide input never came to fruition since Corporation Counsel advised the Mayor that our input was not needed. I was also questioned by Corporation Counsel as to why I was even involved in this matter inasmuch as I was no longer a Councilmember. I explained that I had specific knowledge of the issue and felt that I could contribute to resolving the matter to the benefit of all concerned. I am aware that after Corporation Counsel countered Mayor Arakawa's directive, Mr. Salem took it upon himself as a private citizen to meet with Council members and their assistants to draft legislation to adopt a fair and reasonable process for collection and assessment of the developer's deferred financial obligations.
29. I read what I term the "Fairness Bill," prepared with assistance from Mr. Salem in cooperation with Council Member Elle Cochran's executive assistant Jordan Molina. The bill provided what I thought could be the start to achieving a fair and responsible process for collection and assessment of developer's deferred financial obligations. Mr. Salem advised that the bill also appeared to have support from members of the Maui County Council. I do not know what happened to the legislation beyond what I was told by Mr. Salem.
30. I am unaware if the Department of Public Works or Corporation Counsel ever addressed the concerns raised by Mr. Salem regarding the five owners with two overlapping three lot subdivisions. There should be some type of response as it does not appear to be allowed under our county ordinances. If it is not legal, then how can Corporation Counsel allow it to be permitted?
31. Corporation Counsel informed Mr. Salem, and I believe, during public testimony, our County Council as well as the general public, that releasing copies of the developer contractual agreements would be "an interruption of a legitimate government function". I did not agree with this interpretation.
32. I recalled reading in a Maui News article that Public Works Director David Goode publicly stated that Corporation Counsel deemed the "Fairness Bill" illegal. From what I understood, the "Fairness Bill" was reviewed by Council Services attorneys prior to being forwarded to the County Council for consideration and no issues regarding illegality were raised.
33. I question whether or not a written memorandum was ever issued by Corporation Counsel to the members of the Maui County Council explaining why the "Fairness Bill" was unlawful or inconsistent with the 2010 Ordinance that was approved by Corporation Counsel. This was always a part of the standard procedure when I was on the Council.
34. During my years of public service as a Council Member of the County of Maui, the attorneys in Corporation Counsel always led me to believe that the "3 Lot or Less" contractual agreements drafted and recorded by the Department were collectable debts owed to the County of Maui.
35. Why the Fairness Bill that was submitted was not considered or an alternate proposal drafted so that monies owed to the people of Maui County were able to be collected? I was disturbed with the way Mr. Salem's integrity was questioned and how his motivation to resolve this issue was portrayed both privately and publicly during the discussions surrounding the bill.
36. I believe Mr. Salem's efforts in seeking responsible government over the past fifteen years were on behalf of the best interests of the citizens ofMaui County. From what I personally witnessed, his dedication and commitment to the youth programs of West Maui has been exemplary despite the suffering his family has endured and continues to endure by bringing these issues into the public light.
37. It was recently brought to my attention that Public Works Director David Goode advised that the County of Maui "may or may not" be collecting upon the developer contractual obligations previously noticed for collection to property owners by Public Works Director Arakawa. I do not agree with this position as it contradicts the intent and stated language of ordinance 3 731 that was publicly adopted by our Maui County Council. Consistent with all legislation adopted by the Maui County Council, Ordinance 3731 was reviewed and approved by Corporation Counsel and is a law.
38. I have reviewed a letter from Director Goode, which was approved by Mayor Arakawa on January 9, 2012, wherein he stated his department has completed the cataloging of all known deferral agreements and it is his intent to work with the Department of Finance and Corporation Counsel to arrive at fair formula for calculation and assessment and notify the affected land owners of their required contributions.
39. I have also reviewed a letter from Director Goode on Apri116, 2012, which provided the projected revenues from collection of developer deferral agreements on affected parcels along the South Kihei Road Capital Improvement Project.
40. I also reviewed a recent document showing Mr. Salem's analysis of the developer deferral agreements on residential, commercial, and industrial properties recorded by the Department of Public Works and Corporation Counsel throughout Maui County.
41. Why are public officials not bound to follow ordinance 3 731 which required that Notices oflntent to Collect deferred developer contractual financial obligations were distributed? Why does it appear that the County is shifting private obligations to the public in violation of the County Charter?
42. An additional concern is the obligation to insure that there are no unfulfilled SMA Permit obligations wherein developers have failed to complete their roadway improvement and drainage mitigations that also may end up being paid for with County funds during Capital Improvement Projects. What is being done to insure that these obligations and being met and who is tracking them?
43. During a Maui County Council Infrastructure Management meeting on February 1, 2010, Attorney Galazin of Corporation Counsel informed the Council members of the different situations in which a developer may have to pay for roadway improvements and drainage mitigations, including obligations set forth in subdivision applications and SMA Permit studies and applications.
44. As I learned during the final years of my tenure as a Council Member, the Planning Department was not tracking SMA requirements that would insure compliance of developers in completing their SMA Permit roadway and drainage mitigations. They appear to rely solely on the integrity of developers and complaints from citizens to administer developer compliance.
45. I am deeply concerned that the SMA permitting process has become a means for private developers to skirt their infrastructure and environmental mitigation responsibilities, since enforcement may be absent or selective.
46. During my latter days as of member of the Maui County Council, I became aware that developers of Olowalu Mauka subdivision had failed to complete their subdivision obligations and environmental mitigations conditioned in an SMA Major Permit issued almost 10 years prior and as a result a lawsuit was filed by a private resident who was sold a property in the developers Olowalu Mauka subdivision.
47. My understanding was that the Olowalu subdivision received final subdivision approval from the County even though there were incomplete SMA Permit conditions. This occurred during the very same time period that Mr. Salem raised his concerns that developer's "3 Lots or Less" contractual agreements executed by Corporation Counsel were not being kept track of, assessed, or collected upon. Mr. Salem also complained that his 3 lot subdivision was being re-subdivided a second time by Developer Lot 48A, LLC in violation of the Maui County Code and the SMA Permitting process.
48. As I learned from being called as a witness in legal arbitration proceedings involving a dispute over Developer Lot 48A, LLC's obligations to pay their pro rata share of the Phase IV Capital Improvements affecting the land title of Mr. Salem's property, the County Department of Public Works signed off on Developer Lot 48A, LLC's oceanfront subdivision with what I viewed as an incomplete and unfulfilled SMA Permit during the same time period whereby the same county department granted the Olowalu subdivision approvals with unfulfilled SMA Permit obligations.
49. I also learned that the Developer Lot 48A, LLC's attorney was working for the County of Maui Department of Corporation Counsel at the same time she was employed by Lot 48A, LLC in the legal proceedings. I saw nowhere in the procurement reports that this was disclosed to the members of the Council. I also learned Developer Lot 48A, LLC's SMA Permit studies were not provided to the arbitrator and they included the disputed roadway and drainage improvements to the frontage of Mr. Salem's property along of Phase IV of Lower Honoapiilani Road.
50. When I was infonned that the former land planning finn of a county official was the same SMA consultant retained by the County of Maui to complete the SMA environmental studies and permitting for Phase IV of Lower Honoapiilani Road as well as being the SMA Permit consultant for the Developer Lot 48A, LLC for the resubdivision of the "3 Lots or Less" subdivision I became extremely concerned. This is the same subdivision in which Mr. Salem owned an original parcel of land abutting Phase IV of Lower Honoapiilani Road. To my knowledge there was no disclosure made to this effect.
51. I witnessed Mr. Salem' s vehement protest and complaints that the overlapping subdivision of the original "3 Lots or Less" subdivision by Lot 48A, LLC required developer Lot 48A, LLC to obtain a SMA Major Permit through public hearings. My belief is that the one time exemption from an SMA Major permit was exhausted on the original 3 Lots or Less Subdivision. I still question how this could happen if laws are in place to protect the rights of the public?
52. Mr. Salem further argued that the engineering valuation for the Lot 48A, LLC's SMA permit underestimated the impacts of the oceanfront subdivision and costs associated with the development to intentionally avoid environmental studies and public review. Even after my inquiries to the Planning Department about this issue and also the SMA requirements I do not believe this has ever been resolved or investigated.
53. I was made aware that deferral agreements recorded by Corporation Counsel on Mr. Salem's property along with Director Arakawa's written notice to Mr. Salem caused residential appraisers and real estate brokers to refuse to represent his property for sale.
54. I was also advised that Mr. Salem attempted to pay the County ofMaui a pro-rata share of the "3 Lots or Less" subdivision agreement to try to remove the open ended lien on his property during an open escrow even though it was developer Lot 48A, LLC's obligation to do so. I was told by Mr. Salem that Corporation Counsel refused to accept his payment or remove the lien on his property to facilitate the escrow.
55. I remain dedicated to the people ofMaui County and I truly believe that our citizens expect all public officials to protect their interests and act with integrity.
56. As a former member of the Maui County Council, I witnessed time and again where private citizens were forced to uphold the ordinances adopted by the Maui County Council to protect citizen's individual and public property rights, when this should in effect be the obligation of the County ofMaui.
57. I have gone through Mr. Salem's lengthy and detailed timelines and also his analysis of what has taken place and I would agree that what he has uncovered appears to reveal a failure to enforce laws uniformly, collect monies due the County, adhere to SMA and subdivision laws and disclose possible conflicts of interest. These issues should be thoroughly investigated and resolved, which I believe Mr. Salem has attempted to do on a number of occasions.
58. Mr. Salem should not be punished for shining the light on these issues but thanked for having the courage to bring them to the County in the first place.
59. I am prepared to testify under oath to the events described in this affidavit to insure that the public's trust is fairly represented.
NOTARY CERTIFICATION Flyuza Wasaho Notary Public, State of Hawaii”Read
Faith Ewbanks, Elle Cochran's then Campaign Manager, Faith's paid legal consultant Daniel Cohen, Chris Salem and myself, Sam Small, spend 8 hours on Easter Sunday this past spring, and the entire next day, co-authoring a call to action for Elle to launch in order to address Elle's obviously disastrous record on Infrastructure issues since joining the Council in 2012 and turn them around into a political win.
Faith went into this process understanding it was the right thing to do, yet she was removed as Elle's campaign manager for collaborating with Chris Salem and myself.
Here's the letter we proposed Elle send that she vehemently refused to send.”Read
This is a sworn affidavit that details research I've done over the past 3 years on manipulations of Maui's land development process and cover-ups of fraud that have now extended to the manufacturing of false documents by Department heads and Corporation Counsel. I believe these manipulations warrant an investigation into Racketeering. Download by clicking here:
Below are the support documents that substantiate everything presented in my affidavit. Download by clicking here:
John-Bull English is in the Primary Election as a Democratic Candidate running for State House Rep District #13.
John-Bull is the new leadership we need to represent the people's best interests, not big business.”Read
Maui Causes is producing a documentary on the destructive impacts that unregulated overdevelopment has had on Maui’s Shoreline.
Our extensive research has uncovered public documents that clearly show how politically appointed county officials systematically manipulate Federal shoreline management regulations and County ordinances to allow certain private land developers to circumvent public input, avoid building environmental protections and low-income housing, and to unlawfully redirect hundreds of millions of State and Federal STIP funds and Maui taxpayer dollars to pay for private infrastructure improvements.
Systemic loopholes within the existing Maui County Code (that allow outright fraud to go unchecked) non-enforcement of clear violations of permits and ordinance conditions (a “culture of Leniency” as one past Planning Director put it), repeated abuse of discretion by Department Directors (which a sea of attorneys in Corporation Counsel defend at all costs, in defiance of their ethical duty to serve solely the public interest) have, over time, destroyed ours reefs, destabilized our shoreline, drained our tax coffers, and weakened our resident community.
Our research reveals that a Deferral Agreement program, created in 1974 to help parents share land with their children, was secretly used by the Administration for decades to allow select developers to shift their financial obligations onto the public.
The public first learned in 2001 that the County had never created any mechanism to track or ever collect on the amounts deferred and that for decades developers were allowed to simply walk away from their obligations. The Departments of Public Works and Corporation Counsel flagrantly continued to write new Deferral Agreements, with no plan to ever collect on them, until 2007 when Council Member Joanne Johnson forced an end to the program. Years later, no collection mechanism has yet been created and only just recently has Council Member Guzman proposed a new administrative fund to receive and disperse the dollars, should the collection of the amounts due to the county ever occur.
At the request of Council Member Elle Cochran, Maui Causes recently gave a 45 minute presentation to the Infrastructure and Environment Committee on the cumulative value lost to the public, and the damage done to our shoreline because of these secret exemptions. Link to that presentation:
Our presentation was based almost exclusively on public documents, including emails, obtained through Freedom of Information Requests and was fully vetted by Council Member Cochran’s staff. We did slip into our presentation a short description of the proof we have uncovered of fraud perpetrated by licensed land development professionals who submitted falsified Order of Magnitude Estimates as part of SMA Minor Permit Applications, so that their clients could avoid public input, costly environmental protections (in violation of the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act) and even having to pay annual County park fees. We shared with the committee documents that reveal instances where permit applications were submitted and subsequently approved by the same individual who left his land development job to go to work for the County as a Deputy Director.
We are currently investigating a new, secret giveaway to developers that was created by the 2015 Upcountry Water Bill. All public discussions of the Bill stated an intention to benefit only families on the Upcountry Water Meter Waitlist, however the language that Corporation Counsel inserted into the bill at the last minute didn’t include any geographic specificity or “family" conditions to the new Roadway Exemption for 2-Lot-or-Less Subdivisions that was written into Title 18 of the Maui County Code.
But for recent Freedom of Information Requests, the public and even our Council Members would not know that exemptions, worth millions of dollars, have already been given away to commercial developers islandwide, with hundreds more conditional subdivision approvals currently in the County’s developer giveaway pipeline.
We bring all of this to the public's attention at this time because Maui County is about to engage in a purging of the very email system that has produced much of the proof we have acquired of these secret actions by the Administration. June 1st is the stated day that all emails 3 years or older, and not previously identified by staff to be saved, will be deleted, wholesale, effectively covering the tracks of misdeeds done that we as citizens have every right to investigate.
There are two in-depth investigations we believe should be pursued by the highest authorities:
* The first is for racketeering, where licensed land development professionals submitted fraudulent permit applications, to benefit their clients financially, at the expense of Maui’s taxpayers and the State and Federal governments. This they did in coordination with politically appointed Department Directors. Together, this cabal has for years and is still today obstructing any investigation by illegally withholding public documents that reveal fraud, going even so far as to actually manufacture new documents to try to cover their tracks.
* The second is our "Mauigate", as Corporation Counsel is currently using public monies to defend the Directors and their own illegal cover-up of the racketeering.
Please join Maui Causes in our attempt to save Maui County from this indiscriminate data purge and the suspension of our rights, as Whistleblowers, to hold the Administration accountable for their actions.
Reach us at email@example.com or at (973) 271 0788
Executive Director, Maui Causes www.MauiCauses.org
Axel Beers, the new Editor of MauiTime Weekly wrote an excellent piece on the Administration's shenanigans. Beers questions whether the process of law is being followed or managed properly and says "Individual county employees should not have the power to decide what has, or what may someday have, informational value without appropriate oversight." Click here to read it:
The Case for Better Management of Tourism
This brief was prepared for the Hawaii Economic Association panel, Rethinking Hawaii Tourism: 21st Century Solutions for 21st Century Challenges, with Frank Haas, Paul Brewbaker and John Knox.
While there are remarkable economic benefits from tourism generating significant revenues, governments largely do not invest in managing environmental, social, or cultural environmental impacts as part of the cost of doing business in destinations around the world. - Megan Epler Wood, Director International Sustainable Tourism Initiative Harvard University
Maui Pono Network
"Empowering community action in service to the common good"
Monday, March 19th, 7pm - 9pm
Ahimsa Sanctuary Farm, 4505 Hana Hwy, Haiku
Featured Speaker: Alika Atay
Did you vote for the GMO Moratorium?
Where you disappointed that your vote was not upheld?
Will we allow Maui to become the next Oahu or will we come together for the ‘Āina and the people?
The upcoming 2018 county elections are critical. Now is the time to support and elect representatives who serve the common good. We can also amend our county charter to create a more accountable and transparent governance. For example an amendment could mandate a professional County Manager to oversee Maui's $800 million budget.
Be a part of shifting Maui from plantation era, big money interests to progressive leadership for the people and the ‘Āina.
Come together for the launch of the Maui Pono Network and be part of the power of community collaberation for peaceful change.
Inspiring speakers include progressive County Council Member Alika Atay, Maui Pono Network Director Paul Deslauriers (Grassroots organizer for 34 years and author of three books on the subject.), SHAKA co-founders Satya and Bruce Douglas, and more.
"Maui Pono Network
Empowering community action in the spirit of Aloha
for the common good of the ‘Āina and all People.
Co-creating an culture of Aloha in Action. By electing representatives who serve the common good and by changing the system, we will eliminate major blocks to affordable housing, raising the minimum wage, sustainable development, producing abundant nutritious food, and reclaiming and restoring the land. The Maui Pono Network is dedicated to this transition.
Goals for the first 9 months (March - November 2018)
Ensure that the majority of elected Maui County Government seats are filled by the Ohana Candidates who will support the common good.
Increase voter registration and absentee ballot use, and provide information about the Ohana Candidates county wide.
Hold two large community music events, regular committee meetings, and potluck gatherings to support the candidates.
Help change the County Charter with amendments such as having a professional County Manager for county operations instead of a Mayor.
Develop a community network and membership.
Create media and social media campaigns with video spots, promotional features, and an informative website.
Produce a one hour, weekly show on AKAKU, “The Pono Network”, featuring and learning from local grassroots organizations and people who are serving the common good.
Goals after the election
Support sustainable development in balance with environmental needs
Increase affordable housing
Develop solutions to homelessness
Increase local nutritious food supply and food security
Increase Minimum wage
Transition to the Common Good
“Common Good” in Hawaiian is “Pono Mau”. The Hawaii State Constitution, Article 11, the “Public Trust Doctrine”, describes this common good that the residents are entrusted to uphold. Pono is used in many ways on the Islands to mean things that are right, good, balanced and correct, It is also a commonly recognized term on the mainland. To “make things right and in balance” for the people, the land, water and the resources of Maui County requires a deep systemic change involving stages.
An important stage is Maui county government. Maui is on the brink of gaining enough county seats so that its governance serves the common good instead of big money interest. Certain charter amendments would empower the voice of the people and ensure our resources are used wisely. The 2018 election cycle is critical for Maui’s future.
This change can be far reaching as residents can protect their health and environment instead of allowing outside interests to harm the people and land for generations while profiting only a few. Removing key blocks in our system opens up a new possibilities. The totality of the vision is expansive: transparent political governance, fair monetary exchange structure, wise environmental management, abundant nutritious food, free health care for all, improved education, and comprehensive social services. These are our rights as citizens. There are many proven effective models already exist. It is the fiscally responsible thing to do, but the present system prevents this from happening.
The disenfranchisement of the Maui’s citizens and the existing power of corporate control became very evident when the SHAKA Movement petitioned a ballot initiative and won the vote, the first ever in Maui. The citizen’s vote resulted in a Moratorium on GMO activities until those activities could be proven safe. The big money interests disavowed the citizens’ vote and went to a California judges resulting in corporate control by Monsanto trumping citizens’ demand for their health and well being.
Several SHAKA founders, Paul Deslauriers and others are coming together for the next wave of a deeper systemic change that enhances the common good. Maui has been the spearhead in confirming what is possible for the other Hawaiian Islands. Let us take it to the next level.
Steering Committee: This collaborative team steers the organization through its development. Representatives from each committee, as well as key contributors, will be a part of a team with a common focus and core values. Group size limited to 12.
Advisory Committee: Supporters who hold great wisdom and who are willing to share it at appropriate times.
Community Networking: Outreach to groups, social service organizations, and clubs. Develop membership and a presence at gatherings. Participate in celebrations such as Earth Day.
Meetings/Events: Organize two large events: one for young voters prior to the primary; the second for the community at large prior to the election. Hold regular committee meetings and potluck gatherings to get the candidates known. Generate voter registration and petition signing.
Media: Access social media, produce video spots, create flyers that support candidates, and activate an effective media strategy. All outgoing representation to be approved by committee.
Akaku Weekly Televised Series: "The Pono Network" TV Show on Akaku is focused on grassroots organizing and local solutions. Important insights provided during each show can be used for personal growth, community initiatives, and system change.
Fundraising: Use various platforms.
Charter Amendments: We can also amend our County Charter to create a more accountable and transparent governance. For example an amendment could mandate a professional County Manager to oversee Maui's $800 million budget.
Membership: The foundation of an organization is comprised of its members, and those who participate in the network. Members have a say as to who holds leadership positions. Membership demonstrates grassroots participation and ownership. Membership helps hold those in leadership to standards. Membership sets the stage for non-profit status.
The Maui Community: Community is the power we are tapping into. Information sharing, potluck meals, music events, and inspirational speakers are sources that unite community and tap a potent force for change.
Contact for Info: (808) 264 3536”Read
Maui County Council Votes 9 to 0 for Audit of Public Works. MauiCauses.org Petition for Deeper Investigation Gets 1500+ Signatures.
Hundreds of Millions of Dollars is missing from Maui's tax coffers because Mayor Arakawa and his lawyer, Pat Wong refuse to collect on the thousands of Deferral Agreements that the County has extended illegally over the years to private developers, sometime two or three times on the same property.
We also now have clear evidence of collusion in the Planning Director's acceptance of fraudulent Special Management Area Permit applications to allow licensed consultants and their developer clients to intentionally avoid both public review and the cost of environmental protections, in violation of Federal Coastal Zone Management Laws.
All of this systematically sucks our tax money out of the budget to the benefit of private developers, while our environment suffers ongoing harm.
Over the years Individual County Council Members have tried to stop this abuse but the Mayor's lawyers have stonewalled them all.
So, just as in Montana Beach, Palama Drive, and Olowalu, where only citizen action brought corruption to light, a private citizen has now filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against the departments of Corporation Counsel, Public Works and Planning for fraud and their ongoing cover up of that fraud, which includes obstructing access of public documents to citizens and Council Members, and lying in their declarations to Court Judges.
Without doing any investigation into possible wrongdoings, Mike White, as Council Chair and Chief Procurement Officer, has taken it upon himself to approve spending our tax dollars to blindly and vigorously defend the Administration's acts.
With little hope that the Current Council, under Chair White, will ever do the job the people need them to do to protect our interests and our environment, Maui Causes conceived and has executed a public petition calling on the County's Independent Auditor to assess our financial loss, make the legal determinations that will facilitate millions of dollars of financial recovery, and identify what administrative loopholes to close in order to shut this Good Ol' Boy exploitation down for good.
Our petition asks the auditor to addresses both 3-Lot-or-Less Subdivision Deferral Agreements and SMA Permit abuse, as they are both areas where those in-the-know know, no one has been watching. Dollars to donuts if the auditor looks at a parcel with multiple overlapping deferral agreements and an SMA permit application with an order of magnitude statement just below the threshold to get an SMA Minor permit instead of an SMA major, that order of magnitude statement will be fraudulent.
Maui Causes brought our petition to Council Member and Chair of the Litigation Committee, Don Guzman, who embraced the idea, at least in part, proposing to the council a resolution also asking the County Auditor to investigate, but only the deferral agreements.
Maui Causes was proud to submit to the Council nearly 1500 signatures in support of our petition, which we feel helped propel the Council to approve Guzman's resolution 9 to 0. Even Mike White embraced the idea of the Council pawning the issues off onto the County Auditor.
Maui Cause has launched a crowd funding campaign so we can continue to collect signatures on our petition for a deeper, more through investigation, which we will soon present to the County Auditor for his consideration.
With your help we can end the decades of corruption and use these issues to help launch of our next petition to put on the ballot a revision to our County Charter that will change the structure of our county government so that it better serves the people's and our environment's best interests, rather than allowing big money and Good Ol' Boys to exploit us all.”Read
Letter to Council Member Don Guzman, Chair of Litigation Committee, Recommending Audit of SMA Permit Process 10/25/17
Dear Council Member Guzman, 10/25/2017
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me Oct 9th to discuss the liabilities transferred to taxpayers from private developers via the thousands of uncollected "Three Lots or Less" subdivision infrastructure deferral agreements and apparent SMA (Special Management Area) permit manipulations.
To recap: Public Works Director David Goode essentially admitted in public testimony to the Budget and Finance Committee on April 19, 2012 that by writing overlapping deferral agreements on certain parcels repeatedly, Public Works and Corporate Counsel violated the clearly stated requirement of the Subdivision Ordinance that deferrals are to be a one-time event: “The land so subdivided shall not thereafter qualify for this exception with respect to any subsequent subdivision of any of the resulting parcels."
The transcript of Goode's testimony reads: “...some deferral agreements, three lots, had another future three lot and a future three lot, so it got subdivided again and again, had different deferrals. And in some cases especially in West Maui, the original three-lot subdivision was a huge piece of land that went halfway up the mountain, and so there's a possibility there's going to be some deferral agreements where theoretically there's 1,000 different owners and they each owe us $25. I mean it's getting... it potentially is getting really crazy as it relates to us trying to administer it.”
Goode's "crazy" comment fits, especially since a well-intended code amendment in 2010 only addressed part of the problem and actually made the situation worse.
Before 2010 the county just ignored the agreements it wrote, doing its own roadway improvements and not bothering to collect on any of the deferrals. SInce the 2010 amendment however, if the county does a start an improvement project they are required to issue a "Notice of Intent to Collect" to property owners.
The problem is that the notice triggers the conversion of what was a slumbering, undefined and easily ignored "encumbrance" on a landowner's title, into a full-fledged, yet still undefined "lien", with no set dollar figure, that needs to be satisfied before any Real Estate transaction can be completed. What was missing from the amendment was any scheme to assess values or any mechanism to actually collect and release the liens.
Dealing with an undefined lien is an impossible situation that would bankrupt almost any landowner; an assessor can't make an assessment, so they can't refinance nor sell their property and there's no way to pay off the lien to clear their title even if they had the cash to do so.
It appears that at least two roadway improvement projects that the county saw the need to initiate were killed rather than deal with the fallout created by continuing to send out open-ended Notices of Intent to Collect. How long can the county and the County Council, ignore these problems?
Council Member Cochran attempted to pursue the matter with Goode back in 2012 but ultimately hit a brick wall with a response coming from the Mayor's Office stating that ”After our meeting with our Corporation Counsel on this issue, we are unable to respond at this time on the matter as we are 1) researching the applicability of certain agreements on the ability to seek compensation, and 2) working out a formula for compensation on certain agreements. Rest assured we (Departments of Public Works and Corporation Counsel) are actively working on this issue… ”
Now, five years later, Public Works and Corporation Counsel still have done nothing to resolve any of the deferral agreements. Thousands of homeowners still have no way to remove these open-ended encumbrances from their titles and roadways are deteriorating and flooding because the County is avoiding much-needed improvements.
On March 22, 2014 Goode publicly set the stage for the County’s continued inaction by writing a Viewpoint for the Maui News. Goode relates what County Ordinance 18.20.040, in effect from the 1970’s up to 2007, requires of subdividers: “If the subdivider elected to defer the improvements, he/she would be required to compensate the County of Maui for the cost of the improvements when performed by the county. To ensure that this was done, the subdivider was required to enter into an agreement to compensate the county for the improvements when performed”
Later in the same editorial Goode completely misrepresents the ordinance and casts uncertainty upon the requirements made of the subdividers when he ignores the consistent use in the language in the ordinance of the word “shall”. Goode wrote “As explained, the agreements state that if and when the County of Maui does a capital improvement project along a roadway fronting a property that has one of these agreements recorded against it, the county may recover the costs of doing those improvements that were specifically deferred.” The actual ordinance never once includes the word “may”, only the word “shall” is used.
Goode wrote that should anyone, "wish to legally challenge the agreements, they may do so, but will be unsuccessful as the agreements were authorized by law." Clearly Goode is wrong. The deferral agreements that were applied over and over again to the same original parcel, in direct violation of the ordinance, actually violate the law and are likely not legally enforceable at all. Whether Public Works and Corp Counsel knew they were writing unenforceable agreements is another question.
One possible avenue that Maui Causes is considering is to petition the County Auditor to assess the amount of recovery to the taxpayers that has been lost by not collecting on these deferral agreements and how to recover that value. But perhaps asking the auditor to spend time and taxpayer's dollars to assess deferral agreements is premature. Perhaps the action should be instead to demand through the Mayor's office, that Corp Counsel do what they said they were going to do back in 2012, to make a determination as to which, if any, of the deferral agreements can be collected on and, if so, what the calculation of those collections would be.
Is this a demand that can reasonably come from your office?
Council Member King brought this matter forward in May of this year and it was redirected as Item 32 of the Infrastructure Management Committee, waiting to be scheduled by Committee Chair Cochran. Meanwhile I can share with you that a grassroots initiative is rapidly gaining traction that would launch a class action suit which, in addition to Corp Counsel, would also name the County Council negligent for not adopting a formula to assess, collect and clear these encumbrances from thousands of homeowner's titles. To facilitate being able to act on Item 32 and to protect the reputation of the Council, I think it prudent to demand Corp Counsel make the determinations they promised back in 2012 and place the burden of inaction squarely back onto the Administration.
Deferral agreements aside, Maui Causes still intends to create a public petition of the County Auditor to assess the losses to the taxpayers that appear to result from exploitations of loopholes built into the administration of SMA permits, and inappropriate permit exemptions issued at the sole discretion of the Planning Director, a political appointee of the Mayor. It seems to us that Public Works and Planning facilitate well-connected private developers using these loopholes and exemptions to subvert County zoning ordinances, shift financial burdens from private developers onto the backs of taxpayers, and avoid installing such things as storm water retention ponds, the lack of which does irreparable and incalculable harm to our beaches and reefs with every heavy rain.
Olowalu is a recent example of a private developer being brought back almost 10 years later to fulfill their SMA permit obligations which fell through the cracks when they thought no one was looking. We believe the thousands of exemptions and SMA permit minors issued by politically appointed Directors, which denied citizens of our rights to public hearing, shoreline preservation, public right of ways and even park fees, should be audited. The Council needs to act to ensure all developers meet their obligations and, as well, enact legislation to close the loopholes and bring a more appropriate level of professional oversight and checks and balances to the politically appointed Planning Commission, to stop future abuses.
Thanks so much for your attention to these important matters.
Executive Director, Maui Causes
Evolving out of Vote Yes Maui, the Community Outreach arm of the SHAKA Movement, Maui Causes has been working for years to promote Progressive and Environmental Causes on Maui.
Our Facebook page and weekly TV show on AKAKU Ch 55 give voice to our community's leaders not found in the Corporate Controlled media on Maui.
We also now produce the Kimokeo Foundation Talk Story show on Akaku.
Mahalo and Aloha
Terez Amato ran for State Senate in 2014 in the South Maui district against incumbent Roz Baker. Terez's campaign did extraordinarily well for a first time candidate and she's contemplating running against Roz again in 2018.
Just a few months ago Terez was paralyzed by a stroke that is most commonly fatal. She's the 1% of survivors of this particular brain aneurism and its a testament to her will and dedication that, not only is she working and progressing daily to regain her full mobility, but she seems more committed than ever to be of service to the people our community and take control of Hawaii Politics out of the dominating hands of big business interests represented faithfully by Senator Roz Baker.
Let Terez know you support her and her political agenda to empower the people of Hawaii.
Democrat, The Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii
2014 Hawai'i State Senate Candidate (D), District 6: South and West Maui
Terez Amato grew up in South and Central Maui. As a hardworking, single mother of four, she believes in our basic human rights to clean air, clean water, and locally grown food. Her vision is for a sustainable Maui nui where education, health care, and preserving the rights of all citizens and workers is both progressive and rational.
Working in a small family business from a young age, she learned the importance of integrity and always doing her best when serving others. Terez Amato’s honest, thoughtful, and responsive approach to issues and considering the good of all—especially the future of our children—defines our future Senator’s campaign.
Please support the campaign!
VOLUNTEER for Terez! EMAIL: campaign@TerezAmato.com
OR Please send checks payable to
FRIENDS OF TEREZ AMATO
47-732 Hui Kelu St. Suite 4
Kaneohe, HI 96744
Terez Amato WILL ALWAYS
• work for the people of Maui, not corporations or lobbyists
• support Maui’s workers and local businesses.
• protect our people and environment from toxic pollution and corporate abuses.
• fight for clear labeling of our food.
Terez Amato WILL NEVER
• take money from corporations or lobbyists.
WORKING FOR THE PEOPLE !”Read
Slapping WESTPAC, that "greenwashing" group The Nature Conservancy, and Gov Ige in their respective faces, Hawaii's Supreme Court just unanimously agreed that "DLNR’s practice of blindly doling out aquarium collection permits without studying environmental impacts is illegal,” said Earthjustice attorney Summer Kupau-Odo in a press release. “The law demands and Hawaiʻi’s people have every right to expect more from the agency charged with conserving our natural resources.”
And we have more to expect from both Gov Ige and Collenne Hanabusa who have both shown how truly dedicated they are to preserving Corporate Entitlements regardless of the loss to our communities. Hanbusa pushed for and Ige took the bait when he vetoed Senate Bill 1240, which the legislature recently approved, trying at least to do right by our dwindling natural resources.
The state Attorney General’s office is reviewing the decision to determine what action the state will take in light of the ruling. “Today’s ruling from the Hawaii Supreme Court reverses all lower court decisions since 2012 and more than 60 years of previously unchallenged practice by the Department of Land and Natural Resources,” Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement.
And it's about time.
U. Hawaii law professor David Callies revealed a stunning statistic back in 2012. He noted that the Hawaii Supreme Court "has managed to find in favor of Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Earthjustice ... 90% of the time, 70% of those decisions overturning the [Hawaii] Intermediate Court of Appeals."
But any batting average only becomes meaningful after you have enough times at bat to reveal the trend, in other words, 90% of just a few is still just a few.
To us that high score underscores just how out of control in favor of corporate exploitation the DLNR has been for decades and that better balanced management needs to better protect what's left of our precious natural resources.
Photo by Brooke Everett
The future of south Maui will be decided this coming week, July19 and 20, when the state Land Use Commission (LUC) convenes on the 19th of July at 2 PM at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center to assess a proposed final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for what has been appropriately dubbed the “Mega Mall.”
You may recall that in late January 2012 prior owners of the land, with the backing of the Arakawa administration, announced that construction was about to begin on what was going to be the largest retail shopping center in Maui County, making the intersection of Pi’ilani Highway and Kaonoulu Street the busiest in the county. The people of south Maui were shocked, appalled and surprised by the news, having never heard anything about it and never having had an opportunity to comment on it.
In response, Kihei Community Association convened a public forum to learn more, inviting then south Maui council representative Don Couch and current Planning Director William Spence to appear and tell the community what was up. They did, telling the standing-room-only crowd that the project was fully entitled, there was nothing anyone could do about it and chiding the audience for not having spoken up about the project when they had a chance. None of this was true.
In fact, the project was entirely rogue. In 1995 Kaonoulu Ranch gained approval from the LUC to develop a 123-lot light industrial park on the 88-acre site. All was above board. Then in 2005 the Ranch sold the property, undeveloped, to a group of investors who immediately began converting use of the property to retail, in the process subdividing the parcel into 4 large lots, not 123. Simultaneously, these owners ceased filing mandated progress reports with the LUC.
After the 2012 Kihei Community Association meeting, and sensing something amiss, examination of the state’s files in Honolulu revealed that the proposed Mega Mall development clearly violated the LUC’s 1995 Order, which required development of the land in substantial compliance with the plans and representations made to the LUC.
Upon return to Maui, the violation was immediately brought to the attention of the Arakawa administration through its directors of Economic Development and Planning, pointing out that under state law, counties have the legal duty to enforce LUC orders. They refused to act. One’s response was to say he’d served 5 years on the LUC and had chaired it, a way of communicating he was connected. That meeting lasted less than 5 minutes.
So Maui Tomorrow, South Maui Citizens for Responsible Growth and Daniel Kanahele filed an action with the LUC, challenging the development. After a three-day contested case hearing during which the county sat with the developers, the LUC found the owners in violation of the order - for failure to develop the land as represented and failure to file ordered reports, etc.
Next week the Mega Mall will be back before the LUC, this time for consideration of the owner’s proposed final environmental impact statement. The proposed FEIS shows the southern half of the property still destined for a retail shopping center. Earlier depictions of this portion of the site show large spaces for “big box” stores (but not the document before the LUC). The northern portion of the property is proposed for additional retail, some apartments and, maybe, some light industrial use.
Here’s the rub. The development violates the lawful Kihei-Makena Community Plan, which the developers dismiss based largely on the claim that the county says the development need not comply with the community plan or that it does in fact comply. Please know, it does not comply, no way, no how.
So, if you believe residents should have a say in how our communities are developed, expressed through the community planning process, and if you believe in the rule of law as essential to good community planning and health, then stand up, come to the LUC meeting and demand integrity in county government and respect for our community plans, knowing that the Hawaii Supreme Court and a state Court of Appeals have declared our community plans have the force and effect of law.
June 14, 2017 Former Maui official claims her firing was retaliatory
By Nelson Daranciang Posted June 14, 2017
The former Maui County highways chief says in a federal whistleblower lawsuit that she was fired for reporting and investigating county worker abuses, including the repairing of private motor vehicles at county facilities on county time and with parts purchased using county pCards.
Lesli Lyn Otani says in the lawsuit that she was chief of field operations and maintenance for the county’s Department of Public Works when she reported the alleged abuses to the department’s director, David Goode, and deputy director, Rowena Dagdag-Andaya. Otani says Goode ignored her reports, tried to discourage her from investigating them, then fired her after she took her concerns and findings to the county’s Department of the Corporation Counsel.
Otani returned to her previous job as a county civil engineer. She is suing the county, its Department of Public Works and Goode. Otani filed her lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Tuesday. She says the Corporation Counsel has placed six employees of the highways division on paid leave while it investigates her reports.
The administrative investigation of the Public Works Department uncovered other alleged misconduct by two former employees. The county prosecutor charged Raynard Oshiro, a former district supervisor, and Lea Cadiz, a former Oshiro subordinate, with theft in December for allegedly taking uncharged vacation. Oshiro retired in 2015 after 38 years of service with the county. Cadiz was fired.
Otani says she was promoted to highways chief in April 2016 after the previous chief, Brian Hashiro, retired amid allegations that he used his county pCard to outfit the Wailuku base yard with a commercial-grade kitchen. She says she immediately started receiving reports of other alleged worker misconduct, including employees being forced to repair private vehicles at the Makawao Garage on weekends with parts purchased on county pCards, one employee driving an unmarked county vehicle for personal use and the undervaluing of county vehicles at trade-in.
She said when the county bought a new bulldozer, a supervising employee had the old one turned in to the dealer for zero trade-in value. The dealer then sold the old
bulldozer for $15,000 to $30,000. Otani says Goode extended her six-month probation in September, then fired her in March. She said during her probation Goode undermined her authority in front of her subordinates, which encouraged one to refuse to do the work necessary to clear debris from a September flood. She also said Dagdag-Andaya disclosed to others matters they discussed in a confidential conversation.
Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said the county does not comment on pending litigation, and he declined to comment on Otani’s claims.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing BF-1.
For special accommodations during any of the meetings, please call 270-7838 at least three days in advance.
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.
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
A Case of Illegal Agro-chemical Experimentation Without Informed Individual Consent on Maui and Molokai
by Lorrin Pang, M.D., M.P.H. and David Klein, B.S., Ph.D., Naturorthopathic Doctor Maui, Hawaii, USA
Physicians Coalition for Responsible Agriculture on Maui (PCRAM) https://www.facebook.com/groups/100764643749895/
To safeguard the public’s health and respect individuals’ rights, we do not want to allow
exposure of unknown (experimental) harm to individuals without their informed consent. This
has been happening for longer than a decade as experimental genetically modified organism
(GMO) agro-chemical testing conducted by Monsanto has resulted in pesticide chemicals
drifting and flowing into Maui’s and neighboring island Molokai’s communities with unknown
health effects. The potential harm from pesticide drift and polluted overland runoff and
groundwater infiltration from these activities is the issue in question. In principle, this is
ethically wrong because it knowingly violates individuals’ rights to choose to be free of the
risks of such experimental activity. MORE BELOW:
A Case of Illegal Agro-chemical Experimentation Without Informed Individual Consent on Maui and Molokai by Lorrin Pang, M.D., M.P.H. and David Klein, B.S., Ph.D., Naturorthopathic Doctor Maui, Hawaii, USA Physicians Coalition for Responsible Agriculture on Maui (PCRAM)
To safeguard the public’s health and respect individuals’ rights, we do not want to allow exposure of unknown (experimental) harm to individuals without their informed consent. This has been happening for longer than a decade as experimental genetically modified organism (GMO) agro-chemical testing conducted by Monsanto has resulted in pesticide chemicals drifting and flowing into Maui’s and neighboring island Molokai’s communities with unknown health effects.
The potential harm from pesticide drift and polluted overland runoff and groundwater infiltration from these activities is the issue in question. In principle, this is ethically wrong because it knowingly violates individuals’ rights to choose to be free of the risks of such experimental activity.
It is necessary to clearly understand the meanings of the germane terms and compare this issue to other past examples. For example, what did we do when we did not fully know the harm of cigarettes, second-hand cigarette smoke, flu vaccines, disinfectants in public drinking water, and prisoners on death row who need a “better” lethal injecting drug that causes less suffering?
What Does “Experimental” Mean?
“Experimental” means unknown. This can be unknown benefits and unknown harm. Some public health interpretations compare potential benefits to risks. There may be a different risk benefit ratio for each different type of individual (children, asthmatics, elderly, etc.). Many experiments are great—they turn out well. This is what moves medical science forward. However, proof of success after an experiment is over is never an excuse for not having obtained informed consent from individuals prior to the start of the experiment. This kind of hindsight argument is not valid since there are many examples when things did not turn out well. Test subjects must be fully informed of the risks and given the opportunity to opt-out. Even when things do turn out well, without prior informed consent, the project and those associated with it are unethical.
What Does “Informed Consent” Mean?
“Informed” means explaining at an eighth grade level of understanding the risks (potential and known), benefits (potential and known), the actual experiment activity (randomized, controlled or blinded), and how subjects will be monitored under both good and bad outcomes. When something is not fully known (e.g., health effects of mixtures of chemicals, or distances that drift will occur and produce health effects), subjects must be told how much we do know, and how we know this. Another key disclosure is the individual’s alternatives to not participating in the experiment. This can be specific to (1) the subject (e.g., he will be given standard care with no retaliation for non-participation, etc.) or (2) to society in general (e.g., there may or may not be alternative drugs, each with their own good and bad points—toxicity, cost, ease of administration). Finally, there is disclosure of the sponsoring agencies, who must be readily available at any time to answer questions to prove that the experiment’s information is valid and that the experiment’s guidelines are followed.
“Consent” by each individual who participates in experiments must be given freely and in private. The experiment information can be provided en masse; however, questions must be allowed to be raised in private by each individual. Records must be kept of those who participate and those who decline. Records of whether or not a person participated should be kept private, but sometimes this is impossible. There must be no enticement or coercion (retaliation) directly or indirectly based on participation. It must be clearly stated that once subjects have entered an experiment, they can freely choose to quit at any time for any reason.
Even before seeking informed consent to enroll subjects, the whole experimental process (including informed consent procedures) must be approved and monitored for compliance. This is the role of Institutional Review Boards (IRB). Experimental activities which do not submit for IRB approvals cannot argue that they do not have IRB “disapproval” and they are, therefore, ethical. On the other hand, IRBs cannot claim that they only review what is formally submitted to them. If an IRB hears of a questionable unethical experiment, it is obliged to follow though with its formal assessment, otherwise, unethical experiments would be conducted by simply skirting the IRB application process.
Institutional Review Board Oversight
Oversight of experiments performed on any world citizen must be carried out by an Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the sponsoring agency(s) and/or by a community IRB to review all activities. IRBs insure that the experiment information is valid and that the procedures will be adhered to by those in charge. In general, IRBs will determine (1) if the activity is ethical at all, (2) if the experiment’s scientific merit outweighs the risks. If these criterion are met, then the IRB will determine whether or not an informed consent is needed on an individual basis.
IRBs must evaluate informed consent forms (when deemed necessary). If there are two levels of IRBs involved in a study, the approval of both are needed to proceed. In U.S. research circles, we used to argue that local IRBs should review first so as not be influenced by the decision of the higher IRB authority. There is the possibility of implicit enticement and/or coercion in the recruitment of potential subjects in such settings as prisons, military, elderly, refugees, etc. In such cases, it can be difficult for IRBs to assess informed consent procedures and determine if they are valid or not. IRBs will require the opportunity to review forms of those who refused to participate in experiments after being informed. IRBs will also conduct sample spot check interviews of those who consented in order to confirm that there was a true understanding of the experiment risks and potential benefits, and no coercion or enticement. Once a study is underway, an IRB will monitor those test subjects who have chosen to leave the study for any reasons, and periodic reports will be made to assess the experiment’s safety. IRBs will also sample and spot check those who remain, to insure that they are free to leave for any reason.
It is possible that one can ethically conduct human experimentation without an IRB if one simply interprets and follows accepted ethical guidelines (i.e., the Nuremberg/Helsinki Accord). Conversely, an IRB which strays from international guidelines (perhaps due to political or financial influence) can do more damage than good. As pointed out by the framers of the Helsinki Accord, there are numerous cases where regulatory bodies (including the courts) biased the judgement of ethics because of unintentional or intentional inappropriate arguments (e.g., national security, economic stability, advancement of science, tacit consent, etc.). Yes, informed consent is very important. It is tantamount to the difference between organ trafficking and organ donation.
Informed Consent Exceptions
Why is there no explicit informed consent requirement for some known potentially hazardous activities (e.g., smoking and drinking water systems), while there is a requirement for others (e.g., flu vaccines and cancer chemotherapy trials)?
If the safety or harm of an activity is known to a reasonable degree of certainty, then the activity is not an “experiment” and needs no informed consent. These are examples of “nonexperimental” hazards: water boarding (other than individual variation of response), marketed products after clinical trials (such as Narcan for suspected opiate overdoses), over-the-counter drugs, and volcanic lava fumes emissions when downwind closer than a certain distance. Sometimes the effects are very bad, misused, and in and of themselves unethical, but they are known and do not fall under “experimentation.”
If a certain activity’s effects are unknown (or not known well enough), but a reasonable person has been informed of the risk AND can avoid exposure, then there is tacit agreement that those participating give “informed consent” and the others who don’t want to participate can simply avoid exposure. So, after intense public education there may be no need for informed consent in this situation. For example, first-hand cigarette exposure (but not second-hand smoking effects), lava emissions at greater than a certain distance, municipal drinking water additives when purer bottled water is available from another source (as in Flint, Michigan), and tourists risk warnings for such events as lava flows, vog drifts, rough surf conditions and shark sightings at beaches. When people can avoid a situation of risk but the risk is not so obvious, then we should consider explicit informed consent. Examples are: vaccines, GMO food which “looks” like other foods (hindsight of claims of GMO food safety is no excuse for not having gotten upfront informed consent), drinking water with undisclosed additives, cancer chemotherapy, and invisible chemical exposure.
An interesting paradox occurs when (1) there is known harm (non-experimental) to some and unknown harm to others AND (2) a person cannot reasonably avoid exposure. This points to a case we have faced on Maui where sugarcane burn smoke drifts into the surrounding communities really affecting those close by and possibly affecting those farther away (after decades of practice, this will cease at the end of 2016, for economic rather than ethical reasons). This raises the question: should we be given the opportunity to give informed consent or should the sugarcane company just be ordered to stop the activity under the threat of suit for damages? There was a similar situation cited as an example of unethical conduct (“That Time Scientists Tested Sulfuric Acid on Prisoners for No Reason”: http://io9.gizmodo.com/that-time-scientiststested- sulfuric-acid-on-prisoners-1565474612). In 1907 “negro prisoners” in Louisiana were openly experimented on to see how much sulfuric acid in their molasses they could tolerate. There was no attempt to hear their objections (consent) because “it would not do any good if they did.”
Another paradoxical case that the islands of Molokai and Maui face is of utmost concern: pesticide drift from nearby experimental agro-chemical fields. The question arises: If harm of chemical mixtures and drift at great distances is unknown (experimental), and people cannot avoid exposure (unlike distributing bottled water to families in Flint Michigan), then shouldn’t each individual within any drift range be asked to either give informed consent or to opt out of exposure? If everyone gives valid informed consent, then the activity can continue. But if just one exposed person decides to avoid exposure, then the ethical thing to do is to stop the activity. One’s right to have his/her choice respected in this decision is not overruled by the majority decision, nor can it be nullified by legislative or judiciary bodies. Most absurd, in the context of the experimental setting, is the argument that others have the right be profitable at the expense of chemicals drifting to others.
Field researchers have been faced with similar situations where the majority have asked for a study when a few refused. When a testing agency could not respect the wishes of the few, the experiments were cancelled by the IRB. Obviously, the economic scale and potential economic value of the experiment should have no bearing on the ethical decision for the individual, especially when the economic advantage to the subject is minimal. One senses this wrong when there are great enticements offered to subjects to enter experiments.
The Legal Impermanence Issue
We should bear in mind that the recent media, court and legislative wrangling to determine who has the authority to make decisions on experimental agro-chemical activities on Maui may have resulted in an ephemeral decision. For example, the Hawaiian county island of Kauai’s previous precautionary GMO measures are now being reversed by a newly elected county council. In all of this confusion we have forgotten the rights of the individuals to choose for themselves and their children. There is absolutely nothing like an informed, concerned, engaged community to police its own rules of ethical individual rights. Ironically, we also should not have blind faith in those who framed the rules of the Helsinki Accord. Bodies can change and become corrupted. But it was this body which codified, introduced and gained recognition of the rights of the individual regarding human experimentation.
Maui Opted Out
The Maui County vote in 2015 to moratorium experimental GMO field practices was our de facto informed consent opt-in/opt-out exercise. We informed our legislators of our choice: to opt-out. During the campaign leading up to the vote, coercive (loss of jobs) and enticing (economic stimulus to the economy) arguments were made. Those tactics would not have been allowed if an IRB had overseen this vote. Often those supporting the moratorium were accused of fear mongering—but fear, no matter how “unscientifically” based, is a valid personal reason for individuals to opt-out of experimentation. Voters freely chose what “science” they wanted to believe, if any. They voted confidentially, free of personal coercion or enticement. The optout vote prevailed despite coercive propaganda enticement from different sectors of the business community which made claims of economic damage and job loss.
In addition to the human risk, many voters were also concerned about the risk to the environment and to non-GMO crops. Whether or not these concerns would be “legitimized” by an IRB focusing on human risk is unknown. Issues were raised largely unfiltered.
In the end, the moratorium vote was ruled invalid after Monsanto took the case to federal judges who ruled that states have jurisdiction over pesticides and Federal Agencies have authority over experimental GMO field activities. The issue of individual ethics and risk of experimentation was not allowed to be raised. U.S. county, state and federal review bodies were made aware that pesticide drift constituted an experiment, but they chose to avoid this framework (ethics). In fact, some governmental officials have intentionally excluded arguments of human health risks.
Individual Rights Preside
In matters of safeguarding the public’s health, we must always consider each individual’s point of view when deciding if his or her safety should be sacrificed for the greater good. It was wrong that the Nazi doctors during the Nuremberg trials tried to justify their experimental actions with their claims that medical knowledge gained from unethical experiments could benefit other Nazi soldiers and all future mankind. The claim of benefit is certainly true but the means of getting this knowledge was grossly unethical. The potential benefit is a wrong justification; in our world’s legal system, individual ethical rights come first. One has a “gut” feeling for the rights of the individual. It follows the Golden Rule. Are those in power deciding the fate of individuals just because they are in power? What if the roles were reversed?
The Violation Of Our Individual Rights Is Clear
A good test to see if we are acting free of bias when applying the above ethical criteria is to change the parties involved. For example, suppose that an enemy regime is experimenting on our citizens (taken prisoner) for the sake of national security, as did Germany’s Nazis. Then consider our own country’s agencies or its private corporations experimenting on our own citizens for the intended purpose of increasing the world’s food supply. Now ignore who runs the experiments and consider who are the subjects and what is the objective of the experiment. Some situations seem more unfair than others. However, under the guidelines of the Helsinki accord they all abuse individual rights if there is no informed consent…..and this is what is happening on Molokai and Maui.
Mounting World Opinion
Our Hawaii situation regarding pesticide use on GMO experimental fields was raised at the Hague Tribunal where Dr. Pang presented our case in October of 2016. A ruling will be made in April of 2017. Our position has been accepted for presentation at the International Public Health Forum (to be held in Melbourne, Australia in May of 2017). To enforce this clear violation of our citizen’s ethical rights and to uphold the county’s and state’s charge to safeguard the welfare of its people, we will ask the World Medical Association (who follows guidelines of the Nuremberg/Helsinki Accord) for a ruling on Maui’s case of agro-chemical experimentation with regard to the ethics of this situation when framed as an “experiment,” which it truly is. Now and hereafter, this issue must be raised on a grassroots level and the agencies in charge will have to address these concerns and the World Medical Association’s ruling. As always, we will put our faith in the opinion and actions of an engaged public. Let this paper serve as a catalyst for public discussion and action. Our inalienable ethical rights, the integrity of U.S. health safeguard laws, and lives are at stake.
Please support our cause by joining the Physicians Coalition for Responsible Agriculture on Maui on Facebook and contacting us.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/100764643749895/ For more information, please watch Dr. Pang’s video: “Ethical Violations of Pesticide Use in Hawaii on Experimental GM Fields” https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGCC6WKByX89-_LZ7Swp7tg 77
About the Authors
Lorrin Pang (writing here as a private citizen) was born and raised in Honolulu. He was an honors graduate from Princeton University with a degree in Chemistry. He received M.D. and Master Public Health degrees from Tulane University (New Orleans). He holds a Board Certification in Preventive Medicine. Dr. Pang worked for 20 years with the U.S. Army’s Walter Reed Overseas Research Laboratories, assigned to Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro and Geneva, developing drugs and diagnostics for tropical diseases. He was a consultant to the World Health Organization from 1985 to 2005 for tropical diseases. In the year 2000, Dr. Pang retired and moved to Maui taking the position of the District Health Officer. He has had approximately six dozen papers published in peer reviewed medical journals covering rabies, HIV, malaria, hepatitis E, and most recently dengue. From the years 2007 to 2009, Dr. Pang was selected to America’s Best Doctors Listing (comprising 3% of our nation’s physicians). Since 2013, he has worked (1) as a reviewer for research proposals for the U.S. Congress, (2) as a consultant to the DNDI (an international group developing drugs for neglected diseases), and (3) has been a visiting professor of medicine for Federal University of Brasilia. Contact: email@example.com
David Klein is a six-year resident of Maui. He holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University and worked eight years in the field of environmental engineering in New Jersey, New York and California. He also holds a Ph.D. in Natural Health and Healing and a Naturorthopathic Doctor degree from the University of Natural Health. He directs the Colitis & Crohn's Health Recovery Center, is the author of the bestseller, Self Healing Colitis & Crohn's, and enjoys permaculture farming with his wife Annette. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org”Read
Why is it so hard to tell the difference between White and Wong? Find out, Watch MAUI CAUSES Akaku Channel 55 Sundays and Mondays 7PM
The practice of deferring infrastructure improvements that began in 1974, mainly to help local families avoid becoming full-fledged developers yet still divide up their land in 3 parcels or less for their offspring, has turned out to have been a really bad idea. Through either negligence or corruption, the county never set dollar values to or created a mechanism to collect on the deferred improvements. Taxpayers countywide have ended up absorbing the costs of the uncollected deferred improvements, and the vagueness of the liens that have been placed on deeds now plagues homeowners who cannot satisfy the debt nor clear title to sell their properties.
Where this gets really interesting is that unknown to the public for almost four decades, the administration and corporation counsel secretly expanded the same deferral agreements to include large subdivisions, commercial properties, and multi-family condominiums. Those huge untracked and uncollected deferments represent untold millions of dollars lost to Maui Taxpayers as well as lost opportunities to have big developers build the low income housing Maui so desperately needs.
Chris Salem, a past administrative assistant for the County Council, discovered all this the hard way, when he unwittingly purchased a property with one of these nonspecific liens and got stonewalled by the county when he sought a solution. After years of the County trying to duck the issue by withholding evidence, making up lies and ignoring obvious conflicts of interest, Chris is doing the only thing left to do, he's gone to Federal Court to sue everyone involved as officials and as individuals, including: Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, Managing Director Keith Regan, Corporate Council Patrick Wong, Public Works Director David Goode, former Public Works Director Milton Arakawa, Planning Director William Spence and others.
Obstructionism is what Maui County's Corporate Council seems to do in all cases, including all instances where unqualified Department Directors appointed by the Mayor make bad or illegal decisions. And it is why the proposed charter amendments to place minimum standards on the hiring of Directors and creating a way for the County Council to secure legal advice that is not controlled by the Mayor are so important.
Read More on Maui Now
Proposed Charter Amendments to Reign-in Mayor's Hiring Entitlement and Allow County Council to Get Legal Advice Independent of Mayor's Appointed Lawyers.
Come 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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
 “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/>”Read
SHAKA in Court
Wednesday, June 15th, 9am
Watch Live Streaming Video from Courtroom
Click HERE to Watch LIVE Streaming Video
Wednesday, June 15th, 9am
9th 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 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
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,”Read
For 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.
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)”Read
June 8, 2016
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.
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|
|CARROLL, Robert (Bob) P.O. BOX 157 HANA 96713|
|SINENCI, Shane P.O. BOX 343 HANA 96713|
|BALINBIN, Ernest Z. Kanamu 5045 L. HONOAPIILANI RD., #6 LAHAINA 96761|
|COCHRAN, Elle 10 HALAWAI DR., #1 LAHAINA 96761|
|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|
|GUZMAN, Don S. 46 KAMAIKI CIR. KAHULUI 96732|
|MEDEIROS, Vanessa A. 588 S. PAPA AVE. KAHULUI 96732|
|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|
|FURTADO, Trinette K. 342 KULIKE RD. HAIKU 96708|
|KAUFMAN, Alan D. P.O. BOX 297 KULA 96790|
|WHITE, Mike 1135 OLINDA RD. MAKAWAO 96768|
|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|
|HOKAMA, Riki P.O. BOX 631258 LANAI CITY 96763|
|JOHNSON, Gabe P.O. BOX 631620 LANAI 96763|
|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 email@example.com.
You need to earn $34 an hour, 40 hrs a week, to rent a modest 2 bedroom in Hawaii. Don Couch wants to Cut Affordable Housing Requirements for Developers by Half. WTF?
Worst State in the Nation: HAWAII
To rent a modest 1 bedroom, working at minimum wage, you need to work 124 hours a week. Thanks to Don Couch and Alan Arakawa for making Maui work, for Developers.
A new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) reveals the disparity between rental housing costs and renter income in every jurisdiction across the country. Hawaii ranks worst.”Read
Breaking News: Don Couch "investigation" inquiry from State Office of Information Practices. Is Don Withholding Public Information in Violation of Sunshine Laws? Why?
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
By NICHOLAS BERGIN / Lincoln Journal Star
Three Nebraska farmers and an agronomist, all diagnosed with cancer, have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto alleging the seed and chemical giant of purposely misleading the public about the dangers of the world’s most widely used herbicide.
Monsanto markets glyphosate, the active ingredient in its herbicide-brand Roundup, as being able to kill nearly every weed out there yet being completely safe for people. It’s sold alongside Roundup Ready seeds that can be sprayed with the chemical without harm.
The New York Times in 2010 reported that 90 percent of soybeans and 70 percent of corn grown in the United States are from Roundup Ready seeds.
In March 2015 World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate as a probable cause of cancer in humans and said it is most associated with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other haematopoietic cancers, including lymphocytic lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma.
Those most at risk, the agency said, are farmers, farm workers and others with workplace exposure to Roundup.
The four Nebraskans who brought the lawsuit that was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Lincoln have all been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The lawsuit alleges Monsanto “concealed or systematically sought to discredit” research showing a link between the chemical and cancer and continues to do so.
“Monsanto championed falsified data and has attacked legitimate studies that revealed Roundup’s dangers. Monsanto led a campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup is safe. Its continuing denial extends to the date of this Complaint,” the lawsuit says.
On its website, Monsanto says the labeling of its herbicide as a possible carcinogen conflicts with the consensus of regulatory bodies and science organizations, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“’Probable’ does not mean that glyphosate causes cancer; even at 100 times the exposure that occurs during normal labeled use glyphosate is not a human health risk,” the company’s website says.
The chemical works by inhibiting an enzyme essential for plant growth. Monsanto says that because that enzyme isn’t present in humans or animals, glyphosate is safe when used according to label directions.
Since being classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, several countries have banned or restricted the sale of glyphosate, including the Netherlands, France, Bermuda and Sri Lanka.
Monsanto has sued California to keep glyphosate off the state’s list of known carcinogens.
The plaintiffs in the Nebraska case include farmers Larry Domina and Robert Dickey both of Cedar County, York County farmer Royce Janzen and Dodge County agronomist Frank Pollard. They are being represented by a Omaha-based Domina Law Group and New York-based Weitz & Luxemborg.
Similar lawsuits have also been brought against Monsanto by agricultural workers in other states, including California and Delaware.
The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”Read
Dear organic farming friends of the world!
We are "Jadam," a group based in Korea that promotes "Ultra-low cost" organic farming.
After decades of research and studies, Jadam has come up with a system of organic farming
where the farmers can make their own fertilizer, microbe input, and even pesticide.
The making of, and use of inputs are extremely easy and effective, and have been open to the public.
With Jadam, you can lower your farming costs to 5 or 10 percent of conventional farming.
You can reduce cost and yet go organic.
Aphids, mites, powdery mildew, downy mildew are some of the biggest toughies in organic farming.
To Jadam, they are piece of cake.
Watch them come under control with homemade, low-cost, organic pesticides.
Last January from 27 to 28, we did a seminar in Hilo, Hawaii, where over 200 people came.
The seminar was such a big hit that Jadam is invited again,
this time, to conduct three seminars in different islands of Hawaii.
Jadam is delighted to inform and extend invitation to you.
The details are as follows:
Lecturer: Youngsang Cho, president of Jadam
Interpreter: Rei Yoon, director of Jadam
Time: 10:00~17:00, for two days
Registration fee: around $100 (with lunch)
Textbook: "Jadam Organic Farming" (340 page, $60)
- May 27-28 at OK Farm, Hilo, Big Island
- Organized by CGNF Hawaii (Cho's Global Natural Farming Hawaii)
- Contact: Jackie Prell, email@example.com
- Jun 10-11 at Christ United Methodist Church, Honolulu, Oahu
- Organized by Natural Farmers of Oahu
- Contact: Ken Koike, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jun 18-19 on Maui.
- Organized by HINA (Hawaiian Indigenous Natural Farmer's Association)
- Contact: Brian Bardellini, email@example.com
- Register online http://www.hinaorganic.com/tickets/jadam
* Textbooks can also be purchased on amazon: http://goo.gl/Ua0W40
* Jadam youtube: https://goo.gl/8TrwcS
* Jadam facebook: www.facebook.com/JADAMorganic/
About the president Youngsang Cho:
He has found and established the system of ultra-low cost agriculture
in belief that that is the key to spreading organic farming to the public.
He has developed many innovative organic inputs including:
- a method of melting sulfur within 10 minutes and turning it into natural disinfectant.
- an organic wetting agent that is made from vegetable oil in 10 minutes.
- how to cultivate indigenous microorganisms super-easily
- high-quality zero-cost organic liquid fertilizer
If you want to contact Jadam directly, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can invite us to give a seminar in your region!
Jadam proudly announces that its method of farming can be done at below $100 per acre a year.
Its is also in compliance with the USDA National Organic Program.
I look forward to joining hands with great friends of organic farming all over the world.
President of Jadam
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.
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.
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. <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." <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, <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-3> and in 34 states as of May 2013. <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. <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-5>  <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, <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 <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 . . ." <http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Franklin_Center_for_Government_and_Public_Integrity#cite_note-GibbonsKennedy-9>
Over 10,000 petition signatures submitted to the Maui County Clerk supporting the Maui Community Organic Farmland Initiative.
For more information or to show your financial support go to: www.communityfarmland.org
Thanks to our amazing Maui Ohana,
and to Nahko Bear of Medicine for the People for his support.
Ellie Cochran Wants You to Testify: A Good Settlement Has Been Reached. County to Pay Fees Towards Resolution of Court Cases and Create A New Waste Water Solution.
Maui County Agrees to Get Pono on Injection Wells!
This Friday, the injection well issue comes before the the County Council Committee of the Whole again. (See litigation matters (COW-1(3) Click Here)
Ellie Cochran's office now actually supports the current process. As we understand it today, Maui County is no longer fighting this issue, they are actually moving to resolve it.
The Council on Friday will hear a proposal to authorize another $350,000 to actualize a good settlement that has already been reached by all the involved parties.
Part of the settlement is for The County to work towards remediation of the injection well pollution. As well, they will be paying the legal fees of the plaintiff, who brought the lawsuit that forced their hands, and for a procedural appeal that is seen by all parties as the fastest way to resolve the whole legal issue.
Council Member Ellie Cochran has long advocated that Maui County stop fighting this battle in court and put our resources toward fixing the injection well problem instead. And that's why she is now suggesting that we, as a community, support this particular proposed $350,000 expenditure.
Please share your thoughts on this matter by emailing testimony to email@example.com or by testifying in person on the 8th floor of the county building on Friday, April 15 at 1:30 pm.
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!
ACTION ALERT! CALL YOUR SENATOR TO STOP HB 2501! WATER THEFT BILL A&B Again Deceptive - Legislation Favors Them Exclusively
Healoha 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!
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.
District 6 South and West Maui
Chun Oakland, Suzanne
District 13 Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown
Dela Cruz, Donovan M.
District 22 Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho
English, J. Kalani
District 7 Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe
District 19 ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages
District 20 Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu
District 12 Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili
District 3 Kona, Ka‘u
District 16 Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, ‘Aiea, Royal Summit, ‘Aiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Halawa, Pearl Harbor
Ihara, Les Jr.
District 10 Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, St. Louis Heights, Mo‘ili‘ili, Ala Wai
District 4 Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona
District 1 Hilo
Keith-Agaran, Gilbert S.C.
District 5 Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului
Kidani, Michelle N.
District 18 Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Waikele, Village Park, Royal Kunia
Kim, Donna Mercado
District 14 Kapalama, ‘Alewa, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter, Moanalua Gardens & Valley, portions of Halawa and ‘Aiea
Kouchi, Ronald D.
District 8 Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau
Nishihara, Clarence K.
District 17 Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, Pacific Palisades
District 23 Kane‘ohe , Ka‘a‘awa, Hau‘ula, La‘ie, Kahuku, Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Kunia
Ruderman, Russell E.
District 2 Puna, Ka‘u
Shimabukuro, Maile S.L.
District 21 Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua
District 9 Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond Head
Taniguchi, Brian T.
District 11 Manoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakolea
Thielen, Laura H.
District 25 Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock
Tokuda, Jill N.
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 207
District 24 Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu
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…> )”Read
ACTION ALERT: CALL TO SUPPORT SCR40 The Free & Fair Elections Resolution. This supports a Constitutional Convention to Overturn Citizens United.
|OUR GOAL IS FOR SENATOR KEITH-AGARON TO SCHEDULE A JUDICIARY HEARING ON SCR40 (the Free & Fair Elections Resolution. This is a measure that will help us to get a much needed U.S. Constitutional Amendment to end the corrupting influence of big money in our elections.)
CALLS TO MAKE TODAY (or tomorrow) There's only 2 weeks left to get SCR 40 out of the Senate!
|Inouye*||586-7335||Thank her for voting YES in committee!
Ask her to ask Senator Keith-Agaron to schedule a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.
|Nishihara*||586-6970||Thank him for voting YES in committee!
Ask him to ask Senator Keith-Agaron to schedule a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.
|If you would like to help even more, call all of the *STARRED* Senators below.|
|Dela Cruz*||586-6090||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
|Espero*||586-6360||Thank him for voting YES in committee and for his continued support of SCR 40!|
|Gabbard*||586-6830||Thank him for sponsoring!|
|Galuteria*||586-6740||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
|Green||586-9385||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
|Kouchi*||586-6030||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
|Riviere||586-7330||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
|Ruderman||586-6890||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
|Shimibukuro*||586-7793||Thank her for supporting SCR 40!|
|Slom||586-8420||Thank him for supporting SCR 40!|
Click Here for more instructions and to see who to call and what to say (If you have trouble, Click here to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for help
|AFTER YOUR CALL PLEASE CLICK HERE TO RECORD WHAT HAPPENED|
|Enter your name and the date of your call, starting with column D.|
|If you can help with more than this one call, contact Derrick at email@example.com or 708-833-2298.|
|We need as much help as we can get! Only 2 weeks left to get SCR 40 out of the Senate!|
|If you'd like to help us make more calls, just let us know. We could certainly use your help|
|Click here to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get more instructions to help.|
Jane Sanders, Bernie's Wife, Visited Maui and Answered Questions About What Bernie Will Do As The Next President Of The United States: 60 Minute Video
Jane Sanders speaks on Maui about her husband Bernie Sanders, his many successes in getting legislation passed in the US Senate, and the changes he'll make as President to move the country away from Corporate and Big $ influence, to serve the People's Interests not the Banks. March 21st 2016.
Please Contribute to MAUI CAUSES - Crowd-Funded, Progressive Media Production on Maui
Just How Much Corruption is There in Hawaii's Legislature? If Lobbyists and Legislators Have Their Way We Will Never Know.
By CATHY BUSSEWITZ Associated Press HONOLULU
A top Hawaii lawmaker is delaying a public records request because of a dispute that could hold up similar requests for years. The outcome will likely determine whether legislators can withhold emails, calendars and other information from the public, which watchdog groups see as crucial to government accountability.
The Associated Press recently sought emails and schedules of legislative leaders in all 50 states, and the request was met with more denials than approvals. Some lawmakers claimed legislative immunity from the public records laws that apply to most state officials, while others said secrecy was essential to making laws.
But a response from the Hawaii Senate president stood out because the reason for not providing records was a pending appeal of a different records request, suggesting the Senate could be walling off similar information requests for a year or more.
The issue began when a non-profit group asked for copies of communications between several senators, representatives and the agriculture industry on pesticides and genetically engineered crops, sensitive topics in Hawaii.
Two representatives denied the request, so the group — The Center for Food Safety — appealed their case to the state office that resolves disagreements about access to government records.
Hawaii law states all government records are open to the public unless access is restricted by law. There are exceptions allowed in state law for certain records, including draft working papers of legislative committees and personal files of members of the Legislature, meaning those can be withheld from the public.
The House and Senate are treated the same way in the public records law, and their lawyers' arguments in the Center for Food Safety case show a shared interest in limiting the amount of public records lawmakers are obliged to provide.
According to Amy van Saun, legal fellow for the Center For Food Safety, senators provided limited information in response to the center's request, while two representatives denied the request entirely, prompting the center to appeal both denials.
When The Associated Press asked for emails and calendars of Senate President Ronald Kouchi, a Senate attorney in a letter said Kouchi wasn't able to respond because of the pending appeals involving the Center for Food Safety, adding that the appeals are likely to determine the legislators' rights and obligations under the state Constitution and open records laws.
Kouchi and the attorney declined, through spokeswoman Jill Kuramoto, several requests made over a week to answer follow-up questions about the letter, including whether the Senate planned to delay all public records requests until the completion of the pending appeals.
Arguing against the Center for Food Safety appeals, an attorney for the House of Representatives said that based on the state constitution, individual legislators are immune from such requests. The Senate weighed in with letters making similar arguments to the House, saying any decision in the case would also impact the Senate.
The arguments made by the House prompted Brian Black, president and executive director of the Honolulu-based Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, to file a motion intervening in the Center for Food Safety case.
"Because they essentially said the individual legislators are exempt from the public records law, that just impacts way too many records on a wholesale basis," Black said in an interview. "I couldn't just let it pass."
When resolved, the appeals involving the Center for Food Safety could determine what emails, communications and meeting information individual lawmakers are required to disclose to the public.
"The reason that Hawaii passed their public records law is so that citizens can have some oversight to what the elected officials are doing," van Saun said. "And when they completely deny that access, in violation of that law, it just begs the question, what are they trying so desperately to cover up?"
House Speaker Joseph Souki said the Legislature is excused from providing emails and personal records because it allows lawmakers to talk freely with their constituents.
Black said he understands that argument, but it shouldn't be relevant to the Center for Food Safety case because they're asking for communications with lobbyists, not constituents.
Resolving the Center for Food Safety appeal will likely take a year or more, said Cheryl Kakazu Park, director of the state Office of Information Practices. The staff is working on finishing older cases, including two filed in 2013, she said. Once Park's office is done with the appeals, either party can take the matter up with the courts, meaning further delays.
"The Legislature is balking, and the public records law is not a law for providing information that you're comfortable disclosing," Black said. "It's a law that is intending to provide access to what the people are interested in getting, not what you're comfortable producing."
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/article67065457.html#storylink=cpy”Read
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.
Give 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.
Director, Maui Causes
Think HC&S Would Sell 37,000 Acres to a Local Farm Cooperative? A Plan For Food Production and Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! (Courtesy of Maui Tomorrow)
If A&B would sell the land at market value, a compelling alternative emerges: forming an island-wide Maui Farm Cooperative. Every citizen of Maui could be either a worker-member or consumer-member with voting rights, profit shares, access to healthy island-grown food, even health care.
Under the umbrella of the Maui Farm Cooperative, independently managed divisions would oversee each main business branch: livestock, treecrops, vegetable crops, agritourism, composts, marketing, distribution, irrigation, education, and so on.
Maui Tomorrow and Permaculture Designer Jenny Pell have come up with ideas and possible solutions that would not only put Maui on the map as a leader in this systemic and holistic approach to agriculture, but could also create MORE jobs than our community is losing. View or download the 52 page report from the Maui Tomorrow website...
It's worth noting that Maui Tomorrow and this proposal are not associated with the Community Organic Farmland Initiative that has recently held community meetings about creating a legal mechanism by with the County could force the sale of HC&S's land. Two separate groups, two separate initiatives, two separate paths to a somewhat similar goal.
And that's not including EMI, which is a whole other discussion to be had. What is to become of the water? Properly handled, there's enough for everyone, but its going to require more attention to detail than what A&B has historically invested in the process.
A&B Moves to Monopolize Industrial Hemp in Hawaii w/ Clift Tsuji's Help. Once Again Puts Corporate Profits Ahead of the People. Testify Against A&B's Amendments. Tell A&B and Clift Where To Go!
The Dept of Ag was giddy with anticipation in its Testimony on S.B. No. 2659, S.D. 2, entitled: A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO INDUSTRIAL HEMP, "...we will establish an agency relationship with licensees throughout the State who will operate as extensions of the Department for the purposes of research on the growth, cultivation, and marketing of industrial hemp." The Dept praised the bill for providing "far more detail to moving industrial hemp forward than that proposed in Senate Bill No. 2787..."
There was a lot of testimony in favor of the bill which would allow and regulate Hemp research across the state and so The Committee on AGR recommended that "the measure be PASSED, UNAMENDED." See testimony: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/Session2016/Testimony/SB2659_SD2_TESTIMONY_AGR_03-17-16_.PDF
Not so fast says A&B and Clift Tsuji.
A&B wants to amend the bill Big Time, and was kind enough to completely rewrite it such that all Hemp Research in Hawaii would be restricted to only ONE SINGLE SITE, to be determined by U. of H. (with, you can assume, input from A&B) closing the door on anyone else being able to advance the cause and get a foothold on the coming huge Hemp market.
How convenient for A&B to establish a monopoly on Hemp in Hawaii. And what a betrayal of the public trust for Tsuji to support it.
Even though his own committee recommended that the bill pass UNAMENDED, Tsuji wrote to Joe Souki to say "Should the Committees on Judiciary and Finance deliberate on this measure, your Committee on Agriculture respectfully requests that ... The Committees on Judiciary and Finance examine and evaluate the merits of the proposed revisions to this bill submitted by Alexander & Baldwin, Inc." http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/CommReports/SB2659_SD2_HSCR1098-16_.htm
Just another day in Hawaii where the interests of Corporate Profits trump the public's well being and our Senate Lap Dogs lick up the Juice.
So keep your eyes peeled for notice of the next hearing and be ready to testify against A&B's suggestion that there be only one site for hemp research in Hawaii.
And to be fair, one of A&B's suggested changes is not completely without merit, they astutely observed that the THC content of Hemp grown in the tropics could push the legal boundary of 0.3% (which is meaningless really, you would need to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole to get high from industrial hemp) but because of the way federal laws are written that eventuality should be planned for. But restricting Hemp research to only U. of H. and only one site is absurd.
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.
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/
Alan Arakawa's Latest Fuck-up: The Good News? It Will Only Cost Maui $35 Million (Well, That's Before The Lawsuits)
Administration’s Estimate of Waste-to-Energy Net Cost Off by $35M
Reposted from Maui Now
An audit of the county’s Solid Waste Division reveals the county’s 20-year waste-to-energy contract is projected to cost $1.7 million per year more than presented to the council, Budget and Finance Committee Chair Riki Hokama announced today.
In January 2014, Mayor Alan Arakawa signed a 20-year agreement with Maui Recovery Facility LLC and Anaergia Services, with the administration stating annual savings to the county would be $916,500, compared to current landfill operations.
The audit, transmitted to the Budget and Finance Committee today by Council Chair Mike White, reveals the project will actually cost the county $835,000 per year over and above current operations, according to a press release.
“So, instead of a cost savings of $18.3 million, as announced by the administration when the contract was signed, there is a projected extra expense to Maui County taxpayers of $16.7 million for the term of the contract,” the press release stated. “This results in a $35 million cost disparity, according to the audit,” according to the announcement.
The cost savings were predicated on significant reductions in labor, operating and construction costs at the Central Maui Landfill, according to the audit, conducted by CB&I Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc.
“The analysis done by CB&I raises many concerns with the contract signed by the mayor,” Hokama said. “Instead of savings, the county may now see higher costs in the amount of $35 million over the 20-year life of the contract.
“Most important, I question the authority of the administration to sign off on such a project with large cost implications.”
Hokama said the waste-to-energy agreement was proposed by the administration as a “no-cost” contract. So there was no legal basis for council approval of the contract.
CB&I’s audit estimated cost reductions at the Central Maui Landfill would not be directly proportional to the reduction in landfill tonnage, as assumed in the Department of Environmental Management’s projected model.
The audit was initiated by the Maui County Council after concerns over staffing and regulatory issues arose during discussions for the fiscal year 2015 budget. The council questioned why additional staffing was needed when a significant staff reduction in staff was anticipated with adoption of the waste-to-energy project, Hokama said.
CB&I’s audit also concluded the county’s Solid Waste Division of the Department of Environmental Management is positioned to operate its solid waste facilities at current levels and maintain regulatory compliance. Hokama said the department was afforded an opportunity to provide comments on the audit and did not provide justification to dispute CB&I’s findings.
CB&I Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc. is a nationally recognized solid waste consulting group with extensive experience in assessments of public solid waste systems and has completed solid waste projects in island settings.
The committee will discuss and receive a presentation on the audit on Tuesday, March 15, 9 a.m. at Council Chamber. A copy of the audit is posted on MauiCounty.us/solidwasteaudit and testimony may be submitted to email@example.com.
Tulsi Gabbard Flips Off Democratic National Committee to Endorse Bernie Sanders - Resigns as Vice-Chair
By Nation of Change Staff - February 28, 2016
Tulsi Gabbard has resigned from the DNC following tension regarding debate schedules and apparent favoritism of Hillary Clinton.
Hawaiian Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Tulsi Gabbard resigned Sunday.
In an email to the DNC, Tulsi explained her reasons for her resignation:
“I have taken my responsibilities as an officer of the DNC seriously, and respected the need to stay neutral in our primaries. However, after much thought and consideration, I’ve decided I cannot remain neutral and sit on the sidelines any longer.
“There is a clear contrast between our two candidates with regard to my strong belief that we must end the interventionist, regime change policies that have cost us so much. This is not just another ‘issue.’ This is THE issue, and it’s deeply personal to me. This is why I’ve decided to resign as Vice Chair of the DNC so that I can support Bernie Sanders in his efforts to earn the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential race.”
Gabbard admits that there has been high tension within the DNC in the last several months, including disagreement over the Democratic debate schedule which many have seen as a way to favor Hillary Clinton.
The former vice chair has now endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. In a statement, Sanders said:
“Congresswoman Gabbard is one of the important voices of a new generation of leaders.”
“As a veteran of the Iraq War she understands the cost of war and is fighting to create a foreign policy that not only protects America but keeps us out of perpetual wars that we should not be in.”
Gabbard previously told “Meet the Press” that “As a veteran and as a soldier I’ve seen firsthand the true cost of war. I served in a medical unit during my first deployment, where every single day I saw firsthand the very high human cost of that war.”
“I think it’s most important for us, as we look at our choices as to who our next commander in chief will be, is to recognize the necessity to have a commander in chief who has foresight, exercises good judgment, who looks beyond the consequences, looks at the consequences of the actions they’re looking to take, before they take those actions, so we don’t continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life.”
This is Sanders highest profile endorsement yet.
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.
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.
The fire is ours,
The hour is now,
The tide is set to turn...
Rise up and BERN
Lyrics and Music by Makana • Directed by Zac Heileson
Also check out Neil Young at Maui's "Outgrow Monsanto" event:
Fire Is Ours Lyrics:
I've been lied to. Misled.
Built up by what they said
Lifted only to be let down
I've been taken for a ride
Given power to decide
Only to find out I was wrong
But I've learned to tell the ones who fake it
From the few really fit to run
Just follow the money they've been takin'
And the truth will shine like the sun
I'm so tired of lies now babe
Don't wanna compromise no way
And I feel the burn
For someone who can't be bought
To back the man who's fought
For the People of America
Who's a bigger spender?
Soundbite. Get it right.
Entertain 'em, it's a fight
Pick the one who most thinks like me
Don't speak of any real solutions
It's the shock appeal they're looking for
Don't criticize the institution
But I can't take it anymore
Aren't you tired of lies now baby?
It's time for us to rise- no more maybe
And I feel the burn
For the truth to come across
To melt away the gloss
And reveal their motivations
And you'll feel the burn
For integrity to lead
To focus on the needs
Of the People of America
Somebody's tuggin' at your heartstrings
Sayin' what you wanna hear
But they're just a pawn to the real kings
Playin' upon your fear
The love of power is a puppet string
But can't control the love we bring
The fire is ours
The hour is now
The tide is set to turn
And I feel the burn
To cast aside the chains
And salvage what remains
Of a dream worth defending
And you’ll feel the Bern
Standing up to greed
Word aligned with deed
Worthy President of America
ARTIST WEBSITE: www.MakanaMusic.com
SONG PRODUCED BY RUBI REEVES & SATCH ROMERO
VIDEO DIRECTED AND SHOT BY ZAC HEILESON
POST PRODUCTION BY MÖNIUS PRODUCTIONS firstname.lastname@example.org
CREATIVE CONSULTANT: EVAN TECTOR
MEDIA REQUESTS: email@example.com
DOWNLOAD REMIX STEMS: www.FireIsOurs.com
This song and video are available to the public under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...). The CC license does not grant rights for the use of the TV news clips that were incorporated under fair use to make this video.
Myths of cannabis & hemp cross-pollination - 10 mile distance between open fields more than enough protection
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!
Joy Beckerman is the President Hemp Ace International LLC, and the director of the Hemp Industries Association, Washington Chapter
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!!!!
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:
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.
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.
Please submit your testimony by Thursday 2/11/16 , 2 PM
President / C.E.H.
Maui Hemp Institute for Research & Innovation
95 Lipoa Street Kihei, HI 96753
“It’s Hempin’in …Maui Style"
Monsanto caught lying yet again, slapped with $80 million civil penalty for Roundup-related accounting violations
By Lisa Brown Guest Blogger
The Securities and Exchange Commission slapped Monsanto with an $80 million civil penalty for violating accounting rules and misstating past earnings related to rebates on its flagship weedkiller Roundup. Two accounting executives and a retired sales executive also agreed to pay penalties to settle the charges.
And while the SEC found no personal misconduct by Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, the biotech seed giant disclosed Tuesday that Grant already had reimbursed the company $3.2 million in pay due to the restatement of corporate earnings in fiscal years 2009 through 2011.
The penalty is another black eye for the Creve Coeur-based company, which has had a number of high-profile setbacks in the past year.
During fiscal years 2009 to 2011, Monsanto booked “substantial” amounts of revenue from Roundup sales that had been spurred by the rebate programs, but the company failed to recognize all of the related costs in the proper year, the SEC said Tuesday.
By pushing costs into another year, the company boosted its profitability — on paper.
Corporations must be truthful in their earnings releases to investors to prevent misleading statements, SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement.
“This type of conduct, which fails to recognize expenses associated with rebates for a flagship product in the period in which they occurred, is the latest page from a well-worn playbook of accounting misstatements,” White said.
As part of the settlement, Monsanto also agreed to retain an independent compliance consultant. Though settling the charges, Monsanto did not admit or deny the SEC allegations that it broke the law, according to the regulator’s press release.
Monsanto began the accounting shenanigans in 2009, when Roundup was facing intense competition. In that year, a flood of inexpensive, generic, Chinese-made glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup, hit the market.
Facing the prospect of a sharp decline in Roundup profits, Monsanto unleashed the rebate program to bolster sales.
Anthony Hartke developed and Sara Brunnquell approved talking points for the sales force to use when encouraging retailers to take advantage of the rebate program in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, the SEC said.
Both were accounting executives at the time, and the SEC said the two knew or should have known that the costs must be recorded that same year. But Monsanto delayed recognizing the costs until the following year, according to the regulator.
The company also offered rebates to distributors that hit agreed-upon volume targets that year, but then didn’t record those costs until 2010. Under one scheme, Monsanto sales executive Jonathan Nienas arranged payment of $44.5 million in rebates to two of its largest distributors.
Monsanto repeated the rebate program in 2010, and again improperly deferred the costs until 2011, the SEC said.
The SEC first began investigating the company for the accounting irregularities in 2011. Later that year, company restarted its earnings for the fiscal years 2009 and 2010, and the first three quarters of 2011.
“We have taken this matter very seriously and quickly moved in November 2011 to restate our financial statements … following an independent review of our accruals for customer incentive programs,” Monsanto said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “Today’s announced settlement does not require any changes to the company’s historical financial statements due to our proactive efforts.”
The company added that it fully cooperated with the SEC in its investigation.
The securities regulator also announced Tuesday that Hartke and Brunnquell were suspended from appearing and practicing before the SEC as accountants. Hartke also was fined $30,000, while Brunnquell was fined $55,000. Nienas was fined $50,000.
Hartke and Brunnquell “have been reassigned to different roles within the company,” while Nienas retired years ago, Monsanto told the Post-Dispatch.
The restatement led Grant and former CFO Carl Casale to reimburse the company for cash bonuses and certain stock awards they received during the restated periods.
Grant paid back $3.2 million and Casale returned $728,843. The company declined to say when the money was paid back.
During that three-year period, Grant earned $33.4 million in executive compensation, according to regulatory filings.
If the two executives hadn’t paid back the money, the SEC said it could have sued to invoke a “clawback” provision under Sarbanes-Oxley that requires executives to pay back compensation during periods when accounting misstatements occurred, even if the executives didn’t engage in misconduct.
Edward Jones equity analyst Matt Arnold said civil penalties by the SEC for accounting violations aren’t uncommon.
“It happens surprisingly often,” Arnold said. “It reflects the flexibility that exists with accounting rules — it’s as much a science as art, and it’s subject to interpretation when it comes to reporting these items.”
Wall Street appeared indifferent to the news. Monday’s stock edged up following the SEC’s announcement, closing Tuesday at $91.70 a share, up 0.5 percent from Monday’s closing price of $91.25.
“There will be no financial implications for shareholders to worry about,” Arnold said.
The company already had recorded the $80 million cost in its 2015 fiscal year.
Still, the penalty comes when Monsanto already hit a rough patch in the past 12 months.
In March, the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization declared glyphosate, Roundup’s key ingredient, as a probable carcinogen, a finding that the company is fighting. Five months later, Monsanto gave up on its efforts to take over Swiss rival Syngenta.
And as agricultural prices continue to tumble, the company announced the start of an aggressive cost-cutting program that will eventually slash 16 percent of its workforce over the next two years.
The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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
As we've been saying - electricity sales is why A&B kept farming sugar long after it became difficult to make a profit. So this is a double win for the environment: Shutting down the coal plant (that didn't have proper pollution control because of it being a sugar mill) and stopping the cane burning.
January 10, 2016 Honolulu Star-Advertiser By Andrew Gomes
Two heavy body blows and maybe a near knockout punch.
That’s what Hawaii’s only remaining sugar plantation took before its owner decided last week to throw in the towel and close the 36,000-acre Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. farm on Maui by year’s end.
The body blows — low sugar production and prices — were nothing new in the sugar farming industry. But the other punch was an unusual one with a stinging impact.
Alexander & Baldwin Inc., the kamaaina owner of HC&S, said its main reasons for ending 146 years of sugar cane farming and shuttering the plantation with 675 employees was two bad years of low sugar production and prices that put a roughly $33 million dent in net income last year and had little prospect of being turned around.
But the company also lost a lucrative deal late last year to supply Maui Electric Co. with power that would have provided HC&S with $19 million in projected revenue this year and next year, according to documents filed with the state Public Utilities Commission.
HC&S generates electricity by burning the fiber known as bagasse left over from processed cane, as well as coal, in a boiler to power its sugar mill and irrigation pumps. A smaller hydroelectric system on the farm also provides power. Historically, HC&S sold extra power to Maui Electric on terms that significantly helped the agricultural operation.
For instance, Maui Electric used to pay HC&S $1.8 million a year just for its commitment to provide power.
However, Maui Electric, which once relied on HC&S for about 10 percent of its electricity supply, sought in recent years to amend the power-purchase agreement in part due to its effort to move electrical generation toward more renewable sources and reduce use of dirtier sources such as coal.
HC&S, which ships raw sugar to California on a company-owned ship, would fill the ship with coal for the return trip to Hawaii. In 2014 the company burned 57,100 tons of coal, according to A&B’s most recent annual financial report.
Efforts to amend the power-purchase agreement resulted in HC&S reducing its power supply to Maui Electric at the beginning of last year to 8 megawatts from 12 megawatts. Then in October, Maui Electric stopped buying power altogether from HC&S except in emergencies under another amendment the PUC approved in September.
A loss of millions
According to the amendment request, Maui Electric is expected to pay HC&S $323,936 this year instead of $19.5 million under the prior agreement. Next year the expected payment is $94,736 instead of $19.4 million.
A&B declined to confirm the cuts described in the Maui Electric filing but said the loss of power sales, taken together with challenging sugar production volume and anticipated prices near 30-year lows, made prospects for continued losses high.
Like other plantations, HC&S used technology to reduce labor. The company’s workforce of 675 is down from 776 in 2008, 1,300 in 1985 and 3,390 in 1949.
The yearly sugar production goal for HC&S had been 225,000 tons, which was last achieved in 1999. Benjamin said the “magic number” to generate more revenue than costs is around 200,000 tons. Last year production totaled 136,000 tons, and the operating loss for A&B’s agribusiness division, mainly HC&S, was $30 million.
The year before, production was 162,100 tons, and the operating loss was $12 million.
Benjamin said he doesn’t expect the recent weather patterns to change. And on top of the production outlook, low prices and lost power sales, changing regulatory restrictions and growing community opposition to historical practices such as burning cane added to HC&S’ headaches and resulted in the decision to shut down.”Read
Karen 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/”Read
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.
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).
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.
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.
To learn more about the Summit and to see your discount level, go to:
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.
To learn more about the Summit and to see your discount level, go to:
Copyright © 2015 Go Green Culture Foundation, Used by permission.
This Friday PM: Peace Hero Award Given to: Kealii Reichel, Jonathan Keyser and Ian Romanchak of Kula Native Nursery, and Kainoa Horcajo.
Free event with Keali'i Reichel, Bishop Silva of Honolulu and more. Hosted by Mary Omwake.
Maui Seasons for Peace - Interfaith Service Ceremony
Fri, 11 Dec 2015 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM HST
UH Maui College Pilina Multipurpose Bldg
310 W Kaahumanu Ave.
Maui Seasons for Peace invites you, friends and family to attend its interfaith ceremony on December 11, 2015 at the University of Hawaii Maui College Pilina Multipurpose Room from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
One of Maui Seasons for Peace signature yearly events is to honor Peace Heroes of Maui. These are individuals, groups or organizations that are contributing to the well-being of our community and making a positive difference. We are proud to annouce that this year we will be presenting the Peace Hero Award to: Kealii Reichel, Jonathan Keyser and Ian Romanchak of Kula Native Nursery, and Kainoa Horcajo.
Maui Seasons for Peace Program
|Song||Hawaii Pono'i||Tim Eleneki|
|Emcee||Theme: Strength in Diversity for Universal Peace||Mary Omwake|
|Guest Speaker||Buddhist||John Hara|
|Guest Speaker||Jewish Faith||Bonnie Newman|
|Guest Speaker||Christian Faith||Bishop Larry Silva|
|Guest Speaker||Bahai||Jack Spock|
|Guest Speaker||Sufi||Amorah St. John|
|Awards||2015 Peace Heroes||Keili'i Reichel,
Maui Native Nursery
|Closing Song||Amazing Grace||Tim Eleneki|
|Acknowledgement||Refreshments & Music||Tim Eleneki|
Maui Seasons for Peace -
This Friday at 7:00 PM - UH Maui Pilani Room
Free event with Bishop Silva of Honolulu, Keali'i Reichel, Ram Dass, Bodhi and Leilah Be.
Hosted by Mary Omwake.
Honoring Peace Heroes Keali'i Reichel, Kainoa Horcajo and Maui Native Nursery.”Read
A Huge Thanksgiving Gift To The World: EPA Pulls Registration for Dow’s Enlist Duo Herbicide Citing High Toxicity Levels
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."
Monsanto representative Jakob Witten told Reuters that investigators “strongly suspect it was a crime as no electrical or other sources were found.”He added that “No Monsanto sites in Europe have so far been the victim of fires of criminal origin, this is unprecedented violence.”
The fire had multiple points of origin, meaning it is unlikely the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction or other natural causes. Investigators also noticed a strong smell of gasoline in different areas of the site.
France announced in June that it was banning sales of Roundup, Monsanto’s flagship herbicide, amid public pressure and the World Health Organization’s announcement that the product is probably carcinogenic. Further, last month the country announced it was strengthening its ban on genetically modified crops. Monsanto is one of the most hated corporations on the planet and faces particularly strong resistance in France. If the fire is confirmed to have been arson, it is possible this vociferous opposition might have been a motivating factor.
Nevertheless, the recent fire is merely the tip of the iceberg with regard to Monsanto’s recent problems.
The company recently moved to close three different research facilities to save money in the face of declining profits. As Reuters reported last week, Monsanto research centers in Middleton, Wisconsin, Mystic, Connecticut, and Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, will soon be closed to cut costs.
Last month, the infamous company announced it would be cutting 2,600 jobs — 12% of its workforce — in order to lower costs. Monsanto also announced a loss of 19 cents per share in the most recent quarter. Profits are expected to remain low throughout the year.
The Associated Press reported that Monsanto lost $156 million in the final quarter of last year alone, and this year is expected to be even worse.”Read
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.
Antsy audience not so sure that “Lawmakers Listen”
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.
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.
.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.
Utah is ending chronic homelessness by providing people with homes, no strings attached. This policy is cost-effective, compassionate, and successful.
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Living on Earth October 06, 2015 · 8:45 AM EDT Writer Adam Wernick Minnesota 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”Read
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives confirms that when children eat organic, the levels of pesticides in their bodies — including the brain-harming variety — go down. This seems a common-sense conclusion for many of us, but the more science we have to document the case, the better.
As we've discussed earlier in GroundTruth blogs, residues found on food are an important source of pesticide exposure for children. Earlier, smaller scale studies have also shown that switching to an organic diet reduces pesticide breakdown products in children’s bodies.
This new study, conducted by researchers at UC Berkeley, compares a larger group of children of similar ages and socio-economic backgrounds in rural and urban California cities — Salinas and Oakland — and the results confirm food as a source of kids' pesticide exposure. Given what's known about the impacts oflow-level exposures to these chemicals, it also confirms the importance of doing something about it.
Toward healthier school food
Throughout the month of October, parents, teachers, farmers and "healthy school food" advocates are celebrating National Farm to School Month. This week is National School Lunch Week as well, and as we mark the exciting progress in these areas, it’s important to keep these pesticide studies in mind. If we’re serious about supporting the good health of children — it's also National Children’s Health Month, after all — we must remember that pesticides have been linked to brain harm, autism, developmental delays and childhood cancers, among other health impacts.
And these child-harming chemicals are commonly applied to fruits and vegetables across the country.
Fruits and vegetables are of course core sources of nutrition for our children, and while we always wholeheartedly encourage eating fresh fruits and veggies, these studies underscore that the healthiest version for our kids will be organic or as close to pesticide-free as possible.
School lunches are a great place to start making this change, and it doesn’t need to break the bank. Just look at this example fromConscious Kitchen, an organization that converted the school lunch program in one school district in northern California to one that serves "Fresh, Local, Organic, Seasonal" and GMO-free food every meal at their school cafeterias. They produce meals from scratch at the schools throughout the district at an affordable average cost of $0.70 per meal for breakfast and $1.73 per meal for lunch.
National initiatives like Farm to School offer a proverbial win-win, helping to bring nutritious food to schools while supporting local farmers. Some of the Farm to School partnerships support organic farmers, putting their fresh, pesticide-free produce on cafeteria trays. We’re hoping that over time, this growing movement will focus even more on ensuring healthy, local, organic or pesticide-free foods are being served in schools across the country.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, several Minnesota and Wisconsin schools have already moved towards healthy and organic lunches, including extensive salad bars and as much organic food as possible. And initiatives, like those led by the Chef Ann Foundation, have helped to move thinking about school lunches towards healthier, more diverse menu options. In some school districts, like Berkeley, California, not only is pesticide-free food served whenever possible, but children are also encouraged to grow their own healthy produce in organic gardens.
There's a lot of good work happening out there — it's exciting! But as parents, we do need to roll up our sleeves and pressure our school districts to provide safer, pesticide-free school food for our children. Hopefully by the time next year’s National School Lunch Week rolls around we’ll have even more success stories to share!
Medha Chandra is PAN's Campaign Coordinator. Her work focuses on pesticide impacts on maternal and children’s health as well as international pesticide campaigns. She works closely with network members from other PAN regional centers around the world. Follow @ChandraMedha
Claire Bernish Guest Blogger September 12, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Sacramento, CA — California just dealt Monsanto a blow as the state’s Environmental Protection Agency will now list glyphosate — the toxic main ingredient in the U.S.’ best-selling weedkiller, Roundup — as known to cause cancer.
Under the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 — usually referred to as Proposition 65, its original name — chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm are required to be listed and published by the state. Chemicals also end up on the list if found to be carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) — a branch of the World Health Organization.
In March, the IARC released a report that found glyphosate to be a“probable carcinogen.”
Besides the “convincing evidence” the herbicide can cause cancer in lab animals, the report also found:
“Case-control studies of occupational exposure in the U.S.A., Canada, and Sweden reported increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma that persisted after adjustments to other pesticides.”
California’s decision to place glyphosate on the toxic chemicals list is the first of its kind. As Dr. Nathan Donley of the Center for Biological Diversitysaid in an email to Ecowatch, “As far as I’m aware, this is the first regulatory agency within the U.S. to determine that glyphosate is a carcinogen. So this is a very big deal.”
Now that California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has filed its “notice of intent to list” glyphosate as a known cancer agent, the public will have until October 5th to comment. There are no restrictions on sale or use associated with the listing.
Monsanto was seemingly baffled by the decision to place cancer-causing glyphosate on the state’s list of nearly 800 toxic chemicals. Spokesperson for the massive company, Charla Lord, told Agri-Pulse that “glyphosate is an effective and valuable tool for farmers and other users, including many in the state of California. During the upcoming comment period, we will provide detailed scientific information to OEHHA about the safety of glyphosate and work to ensure that any potential listing will not affect glyphosate use or sales in California.”
Roundup is sprayed on crops around the world, particularly with Monsanto’s Roundup-Ready varieties — genetically engineered to tolerate large doses of the herbicide to facilitate blanket application without harming crops. Controversy has surrounded this practice for years — especially since it was found farmers increased use of Roundup, rather than lessened it, as Monsanto had claimed.
Less than a week after the WHO issued its report naming glyphosate carcinogenic, Monsanto called for a retraction — and still maintains that Roundup is safe when used as directed.
On Thursday, an appeals court in Lyon, France, upheld a 2012 ruling in favor of farmer Paul Francois, who claimed he had been chemically poisoned and suffered neurological damage after inhaling Monsanto’s weedkiller, Lasso. Not surprisingly, the agrichemical giant plans to take its appeal to the highest court in France.
It’s still too early to tell whether other states will follow California’s lead.
This article (California Just Announced It Will Label Monsanto’s Roundup as Cancer Causing) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish andtheAntiMedia.org.
Last week, WikiLeaks released the final text of the TPP’s intellectual property rights chapter, and it's absolutely terrifying.
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.
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.
Taking 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,
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.”Read
By Jay Syrmopoulos, Guest Blogger
Doctors are sounding the alarm after noticing a disturbing trend happening in Waimea, on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Over the past five years, the number of severe heart malformations has risen to more than ten times the national rate, according to an analysis by local physicians.
Pediatrician Carla Nelson, after seeing four of these defects in three years, is extremely concerned with the severe health anomalies manifesting in the local population.
Nelson, as well as a number of other local doctors, find themselves at the center of a growing controversy about whether the substantial increase in severe illness and birth defects in Waimea stem from the main cash crop on four of the six islands, genetically modified corn, which has been altered to resist pesticides.
Hawaii has historically been used as a testing ground for almost all GMO corn grown in the United States. Over 90% of GMO corn grown in the mainland U.S. was first developed in Hawaii, with the island of Kauai having the largest area used.
According to a report in The Guardian:
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, by the Center for Food Safety.
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”.
Waimea is a small town that lies directly downhill from the 12,000 acres of GMO test fields leased mainly from the state. Spraying takes place often, sometimes every couple of days. Residents have complained that when the wind blows downhill from the fields, the chemicals have caused headaches, vomiting, and stinging eyes.
“Your eyes and lungs hurt, you feel dizzy and nauseous. It’s awful,” local middle school special education teacher Howard Hurst told the Guardian. “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.”
To add insult to injury, Dow AgraSciences’ main lobbyist in Honolulu, until recently, actually ran the main hospital in town. Although only 1,700ft away from a Syngenta field, the hospital has never done any research into the effects of pesticides on its patients.
Hawaiians have attempted to rein in the industrial chemical/farming machine on four separate occasions over the past two years. On August 9 an estimated 10,000 people marched through Honolulu’s main tourist district to protest the collusion of big business and state putting profits over citizens’ health.
“The turnout and the number of groups marching showed how many people are very frustrated with the situation,” native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte said.
Hawaiians have also attempted to use a ballot initiative to force a moratorium on the planting of GMO crops, according to The Guardian:
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.
Even amidst strong public pressure, the chemical companies that grow the GMO corn have continued to refuse to disclose the chemicals they are using, as well as the specific amounts of each chemical being used. The industry and its political cronies have continually insisted that pesticides are safe.
“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 in a written statement distributed by a publicist.
Nelson pointed out that American Academy of Pediatrics’ report, “Pesticide Exposure in Children”, found “an association between pesticides and adverse birth outcomes, including physical birth defects,” going on to note that local schools have twice been evacuated and kids sent to the hospital due to pesticide drift. “It’s hard to treat a child when you don’t know which chemical he’s been exposed to.”
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 says he’s noticed that the number of babies born here with their abdominal organs outside has increased. This is a rare condition known as gastroschisis and has grown from three per year in the 1980s to about a dozen now, according to The Guardian.
Johnson and a team of medical students have been studying hospital records to determine if any of the parents of the infants with gastroschisis were residing near fields that were undergoing spraying during conception and early pregnancy.
“We have cleanest water and air in the world,” Johnson said. “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.”
It was recently revealed that these chemical companies, unlike farmers, are allowed to operate under an antiquated decades-old Environmental Protection Agency permit. This permit was grandfathered in from the days of sugar plantations when the amounts and toxicities were significantly lower, and which allowed for toxic chemicals to be discharged into water. Tellingly, the state of Hawaii has asked for a federal exemption to allow these companies to continue to not comply with modern standards.
The ominous reality of collusion between these mega-corporations and the political class in Hawaii has seemingly left the citizens of the state with virtually no ability to safeguard their children’s health. We tread dangerously close to corporate fascism when profits are put above the health of the people.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on BenSwann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPress News and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.”Read
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
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.
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
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
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”Read
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.”Read
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: email@example.com 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.
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.
Mahalo to The Center for Food Safety for Suing the USDA over censorship of GMO records. We will take back our food supply eventually. Our nation too.
U.S. regulator sued for withholding information on GMO crops
The lawsuit, brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), claims the regulator has routinely failed to respond as required to requests for records that relate to many concerns with the GMO crops.
The lawsuit accuses the agency of violating the Freedom of Information Act dozens of times, unlawfully withholding information for more than 13 years. APHIS had no immediate response.
In particular, the lawsuit alleges that the agency failed to respond as required to requests for records related to new GMO regulations that APHIS proposed in 2008 but withdrew earlier this year.
The lawsuit also accuses the agency of failing to respond as required to inquiries about the handling of experimental genetically engineered wheat that was found growing uncontrolled in an Oregon field in 2013. That incident led to lost U.S. wheat export sales as foreign markets feared contaminated supplies.
The lawsuit says APHIS has also failed to respond to requests or withheld records it sought about the handling of other experimental crops that the group believes have escaped review and regulation.
The requests have covered GMO wheat, rice, alfalfa, sugar beets, bent grass, corn and other GMOs. Delays in providing information have run years for some requests, and violated federal law covering the release of public information, according to the lawsuit.
For years, advocacy groups, lawmakers and others critics have harshly criticized U.S. regulation of GMOs as too lax. APHIS has been cited in government auditing for oversight lapses. Some GMO contamination events have led to food recalls and disrupted trade.
In July, the White House directed APHIS and the two other U.S. agencies that oversee biotech crop products, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, to improve and modernize their regulatory framework to boost public confidence.
The CFS lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, asks the court to declare APHIS's actions unlawful and order the agency to produce the records by date to be set by the court. CFS also asks that the court supervise the regulator for compliance.
The Freedom of Information Act provides for the release of federal agency records when requested, with certain exemptions and provisions, and imposes strict deadlines on government agencies to respond.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by David Gregorio)
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
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’
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.
He 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.
A Perspective article published today in the New England Journal of Medicine calls for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
"We believe the time has come to revisit the United States' reluctance to label GM foods," writes Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, co-author with Charles Benbrook, of the article entitled "GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health."
The two write that such labeling "is essential for tracking emergence of novel food allergies and assessing effects of chemical herbicides applied to GM crops."
"It would respect the wishes of a growing number of consumers who insist they have a right to know what foods they are buying and how they were produced," the two write.
"And the argument that there is nothing new about genetic rearrangement misses the point that GM crops are now the agricultural products most heavily treated with herbicides and that two of these herbicides may pose risks of cancer."
The article also calls for the Environmental Protection Agency to delay its permit to allow the use of Enlist Duo, what the article refers to as "a new combination herbicide" that has been "formulated to combat herbicide resistance" to such agents as glyphosate (Roundup).
The authors argue that the risk assessment that the EPA used in allowing Enlist Duo to go to market does not take into account more recent studies on related "potential health health effects in infants and children" from formulated glyphosate and a determination this year that glyphosate is a"probable human carcinogen" and 2,4-D (contain in Enlist Duo) is a "possible human carcinogen."
"These classifications were based on comprehensive assessments of the toxicologic and epidemiologic literature that linked both herbicides to dose-related increases in malignant tumors at multiple anatomical sites in animals and linked glyphosate to an increased incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in humans," the authors write.
They also state that the "widespread adoption of herbicide-resistant crops has led to overreliance on herbicides and, in particular, on glyphosate."
"Not surprisingly, glyphosate-resistant weeds have emerged and are found today on nearly 100 million acres in 36 states. Fields must be now be treated with multiple herbicides, including 2,4-D, a component of the Agent Orange defoliant used in the Vietnam War," the article states.
It notes, "Herbicide resistance is the main characteristic that the biotechnology industry has chosen to introduce into plants."
"Corn and soybeans with genetically engineered tolerance to glyphosate (Roundup) were first introduced in the mid-1990s. These "Roundup-Ready" crops now account for more than 90 percent of the corn and soybeans planted in the United States," the authors state.
Landrigan is a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and an adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard University School of Public Health.
Benbrook holds a doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University
Jeffrey Smith's commentary about strategy and the future of non-GMO activism in light of the passage of the DARK Act by the House of Representatives
As of July 23, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would consolidate federal control of labeling initiatives for genetically modified foods. This underscores the importance of consumer education about the health risks of dangerous GMOs.
Listen to Jeffrey Smith's commentary about strategy and the future of non-GMO activism in the light of the passage of the DARK Act by the House of Representatives last week.
This is a must watch for activists and IRT supporters, as Jeffrey shares some ideas and observations that most have not heard before.
for more info go to www.responsibletechnology.org
Big money interests violate Hawaiian Culture and Environment, yet again.
Protesters against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, including a former agriculture minister of Japan, outside a Maui resort where negotiators are meeting.
Patent Protection for Drugs Puts Pressure on U.S. in Trade Talks
By JONATHAN WEISMANJULY 30, 2015 NEW YORK TIMES
LAHAINA, Hawaii — With 12 nations pressing to conclude the largest regional trade accord ever, United States officials find themselves squeezed between activists pressing to secure access to low-cost pharmaceuticals and Republicans who say Congress will reject a deal without strong patent protections for the drug industry.
Negotiators gathered this week in Maui hoping the long-sought accord might be finished by Friday. But dozens of issues remain unresolved on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would link nations like Canada, Chile, Australia and Japan under rules of commerce covering 40 percent of the global economy.
No issue seems to elicit more passion than pharmaceuticals, with both sides using the language of life and death.
“The goal of the pharmaceutical industry is to change the rules internationally, to change global norms with a new monopoly that is cheaper for the companies and stronger,” said Judit Rius Sanjuan, a legal policy adviser for Doctors Without Borders’ medical access campaign, which wants lower-cost drugs on the market faster.
On the other side, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the Utah Republican who is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, singled out the next generation of pharmaceuticals, called biologics, and warned on Wednesday that “a strong intellectual-property chapter — including strong patent and regulatory data protections for biologics — is vital to securing congressional support for this trade deal.”
The complexity of the pharmaceutical issues illustrates how difficult it will be to agree on broad trade rules for 12 countries, including giants like the United States and Japan and developing counties like Peru, Malaysia, communist Vietnam and tiny Brunei. United States negotiators are using novel arguments to secure positions. For instance, they are pushing to mandate open access to the Internet as an antipiracy measure, so Hollywood can use streaming videos to completely cut out the often copied DVD.
But medicines remain a delicate problem, and if Japan’s last stand is on rice and Canada’s is on dairy, the United States’ might be on pharmaceuticals.
About 5,600 medicines are in development in the 12 TPP countries, with 3,372 of them in the United States, including more than 900 biologics, which are grown from live cells, according to the Senate Finance Committee. The industry contributes nearly $800 billion to the United States economy each year.
United States law protects pharmaceutical patents for 12 years, allowing drug makers to recoup their research-and-development investments before generic companies can come in with far cheaper versions. Negotiators for the United States say they are obligated to defend American law, even though President Obama has been pushing to shorten the patent protection to seven years.
But Congress can always change that window to conform to trade deals, said Representative Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan and an observer in Hawaii.
“It happens all the time,” he said. “That’s what a transition period is for.”
Countries in the negotiations have windows of eight years or less. Australia has dug in at five.
“I’ve got a mandate for five,” Andrew Robb, Australia’s trade and investment minister, said, arguing that with complex biologics, it takes six or seven years for generic-drug makers to develop what are known as “biosimilars.”
Activists here who cut their teeth during the AIDS drug wars 15 years ago want generic-drug makers to compete with pharmaceutical firms as soon as a drug reaches the market.
James Love, an activist with Knowledge Ecology International, and his wife, Manon Anne Ress, of the Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment, who has cancer, spent the flight to Maui pressing Michael B. Froman, the United States trade representative, to secure access to expensive cancer drugs for people like Ms. Ress, who pays $30,000 out of her own pocket for her drugs now.
Negotiators already seem to be backing away from the hard-line United States position. Observers to the negotiations say the 12-year patent window almost certainly will be scaled back to five to seven years, a move that will anger both the pharmaceutical firms and their allies, and the activists. The Pacific accord is structured so that other countries can join in the future, and the belief on both sides of the pharmaceutical fight is that once 12 nations ratify rules, they will become international standards.
Then there are politics. Australian negotiators simply do not believe that their Parliament will accept any patent protection beyond five years for drug companies that are so dominated by the United States. What left-wing members of Parliament see as price gouging also comes straight out of the government’s coffers, because pharmaceuticals are paid for by Australia’s national health service.
But patent protection is only one issue. Drug companies are also pressing to make the data they collect during clinical trials exclusive and protected. That would require generic drug companies to replicate much of the process that created the drugs they seek to copy. “Data exclusivity” is a more ironclad protection than a patent, because smaller pharmaceutical makers cannot afford to file patent applications in every country they do business in.
And they want access to the extrajudicial tribunals envisioned in the TPP’s investor-state dispute settlement chapter. The tribunals are designed to give investors legal recourse if a government changes policies in ways that hurt the value of their investments.
The United States team is trying to find some middle course that preserves pharmaceutical companies’ ability to recoup their research investments and preserves their incentive to innovate while finding alternative ways to ensure access to drugs. That might mean transition periods for poorer countries that let cheap alternatives in and keep older drugs on the market longer. It could also mean incentives for United States drug companies to invest in TPP countries that accept stronger intellectual-property protections.
The activists have been pressing for much more significant changes, such as a mandatory government fund to finance clinical trials, taking that cost off Big Pharma’s balance sheet. But that approach seems to be a restructuring of the pharmaceutical industry that most negotiators cannot accept.
“There’s been no effort on U.S.T.R.’s part to foster innovation outside the private sector, none,” Mr. Love said, referring to the United States trade representative.”Read