Letters for Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013

Safety comes firstProblems with Bill 2491Slow down, truck driversReport sounds fishy

Safety comes first

From an employee of a seed company I’m hearing misinformation about field worker safety in the seed industry. As a current worker, I want to set the record straight.

First and foremost, making sure that the workers return home safely to their families every day is my company’s top priority. Some of the steps they take to ensure the safety of the workers include the following:

1. Every day starts with a safety discussion with all employees to review daily activities and safety protocol and safety learning experiences.

2. In addition to the daily meetings, mandatory safety meetings for all employees are held monthly. The purpose of these meetings is to provide on- and off-the-job safety information and training. Frequent audits are conducted to ensure requirements are met and sustained.

3. Only trained and qualified workers may apply crop protection products to our fields. The training includes classroom and “hands-on” training by experienced professionals in the field.

4. Companies clearly communicate to workers when a product has been applied to a field and when it is safe to re-enter the field. All workers are trained on this to ensure their safety.

5. The seed companies provide SDSs (safety data sheets) for all products applied on their farm to all workers. SDSs provide safety information to the workers on safety precautions.

I feel my company takes safety very seriously, and I feel proud to work a company that is concerned about me returning safely to my family every day.

Taryn Dizon

Kekaha

Problems with Bill 2491

Something isn’t right about the GMO/pesticide bill being considered by the Kauai County Council, Bill 2491. I couldn’t figure it out until I considered Saul Alinsky’s tactic of confrontational politics. It firmly establishes an adversarial relationship between citizens and government. Aloha is thrown completely out of the social and government communication.

Consider, the sponsoring council members must know that stopping a legal ongoing use of land is a “taking” in the fullest context of Constitutional protections. A taking is legally supportable, with compensation. These councilmembers are the knowing perpetrators of this community angst. If this ordnance were to pass, become law, and enforced, the affected landowners rightfully have a right to compensation for this taking of legal activity, which would be forced to cease, causing financial ramifications, of which the council, I’m sure, is considering behind closed doors.

The provision in this bill to stop all ag activity, pending an EIS, is such a taking, subject to compensation.

No community should be put through this fear-based anxiety. With Aloha, we can avoid adversarial politics, and work toward positive solutions to our common problems. It is right to consider all options and positive outcomes before imposing more of an already overbearing and costly government.

In almost every governmental activity, the result includes many unanticipated consequences. I hope the loss of Aloha on Kauai is not one of them.

Michael Curtis

Koloa

Slow down, truck drivers

Wave to a truck driver? (TGI, Sept. 17) If I am going to wave to a truck driver it will be to signal them to slow down.

Out here on the wild west side, the truck drivers seem to think that the speed limit is just for cars. They also seem to be immune from prosecution. In speaking with the police, they could not tell me how many of the speeding citations were issued to commercial vehicles in any given year. If citations are a revenue stream they should know that.

I also tried to communicate with some of the managers from the trucking companies. One just hung up on me. He felt he had a “policy in place” and that it was effective enough. Another challenged me by telling me to “go ahead and call the police.”

I live out here. I have been behind trucks doing 45-plus in the 35mph zone. They seem to be in a race to get to the landfill, seed companies and PMRF. Once they hit the Manna Plain, there is no limit.

They are big, noisy, and dangerous when they speed. It won’t be until there is a serious accident that some attention will be paid to this.

I appreciate hard-working people in all industries. But these people aren’t that special that they should not be held above following the law.

John Clayton

Waimea

Report sounds fishy

How do you spell desperation? Surely, it must look something like the Sept. 15 article entitled “Resident says he was exposed to pesticide,” in which a “former surgeon and medical professor” makes the bold but completely unsubstantiated claim that he was exposed to pesticides from DuPont agricultural work on Ahukini Road during a period where DuPont says they were not spraying. I am willing to bet that, in fact, there was no spraying.

I have a couple of questions:

1. Why would a supporter on Bill 2491 claim that he was exposed to pesticides to such a degree that he became physically ill, but not go to a hospital where his exposure could actually be documented? Wouldn’t this be “smoking gun” evidence of a serious problem that needed to be addressed?

2. There is a substantial neighborhood on the other side of Ahukini Road from that field. Why has nobody else come forward to state that they were exposed to this “Juicy Fruit” pesticide?

 3. Why have no other drivers along that road claimed exposure?

County council, this situation has gotten out of control. It is well past time to end this. If you don’t end it now, the levels of desperation in these people will reach such a level that there is no telling what they will do. What’s next? Are people going to start spraying Round-Up in their face to simulate an exposure?

Michael Mann

Lihue

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