• Jobs will be here • Diversity will triumph • Sentence doesn’t make sense • Politics at its worst • ‘Yes’ means respect for life
Jobs will be here
Way to go Kauai! Not since the Superferry have we seen Kauai so galvanized around an issue.
The chemical companies spent billions of dollars defeating GMO labeling with Prop 37 in California and I 522 in Washington state. Here on our little island, I would guess they have spent millions paying wages for workers to testify their concerns about losing their jobs if their employers had to advise what pesticides and when they are spraying, not to mention feeding all of them, sometimes twice a day. While it is a great win for those of us who wanted disclosure, I would like to say to the folks who work for the chemical companies, if by some fluke, they do move off island, we need you to grow real food!
There will be plenty of jobs, first amending the soil and then growing food for the whole island. Please don’t despair, your skills and talents as real farmers are sorely needed.
Diversity will triumph
Ignorance, fear, bigotry and discrimination are alive and well in the world, and certainly on Kauai. After reading various comments in TGI in the past few days (e.g. letters to the editor and various editorial responses referencing the “the sea of pink faces … who have no roots here” and “the effects that same-sex marriage could have on Hawaii’s public school system and the curriculum taught to keiki”), I was simply dumbfounded. Let me explain.
No one chooses their parents, family, ethnic background, place of birth, color of their skin, sex, gender identity or what their elders teach them; no one is born a bigot. All that we can truly choose to do is be the best human being one can be, treat others with fairness, love one another, leave an impact on those around us, become wiser with experience, learn to understand that the world we live in is vast and extraordinarily diverse, that we are each but one small speck on the globe and grow old and die.
Opinions sometimes give an unbelievable view into how small of mind many people are, and how our shared differences, human experiences and understanding of the changes in our world can either prevent or nurture our minds to be elevated to new ways of understanding one another.
For lack of better analogy, mono-crops, mono-cultures, or singularity does not build a strong and healthy community in the long run. Diversity always triumphs. Let our differences not define us but strengthen us.
Sentence doesn’t make sense
The Garden Island posted a news article (Nov. 14) about Patricia Lewis, who was sentenced to five years in prison for taking a baseball bat to an ATM machine in Kukui Grove Mall. By contrast, last month the same judge who tried and sentenced Lewis sentenced a Kalaheo man to just one year for assaulting a woman and threatening another man.
We live in a materialist and capitalist society where, under the law, crimes against property receive harsher punishment than crimes against people. And crimes against institutions like banks that enable and profit the ruling class are deemed the most egregious. Lewis is sentenced to five years in prison, but in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street swindle, a crime against millions of Americans whose lives and fortunes were wrecked, not one banker has seen the inside of a jail.
Maybe if Lewis had assaulted a person instead of an ATM she could have gotten a lighter sentence.
Politics at its worst
Appalling. Appalling is the word that comes to mind when I think of the political theatrics that played out in our County Council chambers last week. On Nov. 14, the Kauai County Council had scheduled a difficult vote of deciding whether or not to override Mayor Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491. Rather than vote on the override and accept the results, the council decided to reschedule the veto vote and instead vote to appoint a new councilperson into Nadine Nakamura’s vacant council seat.
The problem arises when the new council appointee is placed in the important override vote on Nov. 16. The appointee has not been in the position, as a “councilperson,” to hear and read the months of testimony as to the pros and cons of Bill 2491. The correct action of the newly appointed councilperson would have been to abstain from casting a vote on the veto override. Instead, he casts the deciding vote on a contentious item without having all of the information.
The new council appointee will forever hold the stigma, in my mind, as being appointed to the council due to his views on Bill 2491 and not as being the best candidate for the position. Whether this is true or not, it is my interpretation of the closing act of the Kauai County Council drama.
‘Yes’ means respect for life
Reaction to the outcome of Bill 2491 means more than being “a good winner or a good loser” — this is not about good sportsmanship. This is a life and death struggle for the health of the people and the aina.
I can personally attest to a 65-year-long life struggle after being exposed to the pesticide DDT on my family farm at the age of 5 years old. This exposure resulted in my kidneys becoming toxic. All the members of my family were exposed to pesticides and all have contacted cancer. Most of the patients at my cancer clinic are farmers who have been exposed to pesticides.
Please perceive the deeper values of the word “respect.” Nature’s rights and our right to good health deserve our highest priority and respect.
Jenica K. Waymen