Letters for Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013

To: Kauai County Council MembersPesticide use disclosure greatly neededBirds may be health problemColumn missing spirit of Aloha

To: Kauai County Council Members

My name is Teresa Tico. I have been a resident of the County of Kauai and registered voter here since 1976. I am a licensed attorney in the State of Hawaii and have practiced law on Kauai for over 36 years. During my legal career, I have served the community as a private practitioner, Grand Jury Counsel, President of the Kauai Bar Association, and Per Diem Judge in the District Court of the 5th Circuit. For the past decade, the emphasis of my law practice has been environmental litigation.  

I have carefully studied Bill 2491, researched the relevant law, read the letters to the Council and Garden Island editor, reviewed peer reviewed scientific articles, listened to the testimony on both sides of the issues, and talked to friends, family and neighbors about the implications of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

I fully support the passage of Bill 2491 for legal, health and safety, environmental economic, and ethical reasons.

Legal validity of Bill 2491:

Counsel for the seed companies opposed to the bill have raised a number of legal challenges that simply have no basis in law.  

The primary thrust of their argument is that the bill is preempted by federal and/or state law. Preemption is a legal doctrine that means a federal law that conflicts with a state or local law takes precedence over the state or local law. Similarly, if a state law conflicts with a local ordinance, the state law takes precedence.

There is no federal or state preemption over local regulation of GMOs or pesticide applications in Hawaii. Paul Achitoff’s letter on behalf of Earthjustice thoroughly debunks the seed companies’ federal preemption argument with respect to pesticide regulation and rightfully points out that this matter was settled over 20 years ago in the United States Supreme Court case, Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, 501 U.S. 597 (1991). Nor has the State of Hawaii passed any law preempting local pesticide regulation. Any claim that the county does not have the right to regulate GMOs and pesticide application is unfounded.  

Teresa Tico

Hanalei

Pesticide use disclosure greatly needed

At a meeting of the Taro Security and Purity Task Force on Aug. 26, our members discussed the content of Bill 2491 and concluded that our concerns were specifically on the qualitative and quantitative impacts of agricultural pesticide use on adjacent communities from pesticide drift, as well as river and inshore water quality due to run-off.

Disclosure of pesticide use and monitoring of off-site impacts are greatly needed to protect the health and well-being of our rural communities, including those commercial and subsistence taro growers concerned about the water quality.

The task force believes that there is inadequate oversight and disclosure of pesticide use and that the County of Kauai and the State of Hawaii need to take a proactive approach in protecting impacted communities through health assessments and ongoing monitoring. No official comment on Bill 2491 has yet been approved by the task force members for submission to the Kauai Council.

The task force takes no stance of the matter of genetic engineering, as we are mandated under Act 211 to address other critical issues facing taro farmers beyond that particular matter. Thus our purpose in addressing this bill is strictly to echo concerns of community members as they relate to the recommendations outlined in our 2010 legislative report with particular emphasis on water quality, rather than to either support or oppose the passage of this bill in its current form.

Emily Kandagawa

Taro Security and Purity Task Force coordinator

Birds may be health problem

I am concerned about the health hazard and public nuisance of island birds flocking into our open air restaurants.  

In prominent restaurants from Nawiliwili to Princeville, such as JJ’s and Nanea at The Westin, it is not uncommon to see birds such as chickens, pigeons, doves and sparrows descending upon restaurant tables (whether they are occupied by people or not) walking around on the floors and flying close to diners heads.   

Although some may find it charming, I believe it’s a real problem. In restaurants in California it has been a long time process to strategically place fishing line, metal prongs or CDs strung up to reflect the light and scare birds off. I believe it’s way overdue for Kauai to adopt some of these practices.

Petrina Blakely

Princeville

Column missing spirit of Aloha

 The editorial “Breaking bad and writing bad, it’s all good” in Monday’s The Garden Island has the distinction of being the most irresponsible and most outrageous editorial I have ever read.

Breaking bad means “they’ve gone wrong.” One example given  is speeding. Another example given would be “finding a suitcase with $50,000 cash and “after making attempts to find the owner” (probably turning to look each way before picking up the suitcase), keeping it rather than turning it over to the police. The message is clearly given as “breaking bad makes one feel alive.”

The guys at the county jail will really like the editorial as it gives them a new defense — “I’m just following the advice of an editorial in The Garden Island.”

The message is so against the spirit of Aloha that those of us in Kauai treasure — kindness, friendship, and the caring and respect of others.

The editorial may not represent the values of The Garden Island editorial staff, but it clearly represents their judgment.

 

Joe Frisinger

Princeville

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