I’ve noticed that several legislators have been celebrating the “home rule” issue when the Right the Farm act was being discussed. Home rule essentially means that counties can enact whatever laws that they feel necessary at their level. Many emails, tweets, and Facebook posts were posted by these leaders who decided to release their rightful reign on this issues to rogue counties like the Big Island and Kauai.
I’m not sure why these legislators are so proud of letting counties have more power in dictating farm laws when the reality is, the state has the necessary resources to enforce and enact such laws. As I see it, these lawmakers have decided to not beef up their resources in their bills to address such issues, and failed to take care of the perceived problem, if any.
The message I get from this kind of celebration is, “I have clearly failed my constituents to take care of their concerns at my level, so I will burden the counties with such issues.” The people asking for county laws claim that they have been failed by the state so that is why they are seeking county rule. Why are state legislators celebrating their supposed miserable failure to take care of this issue? If these people feel there was real harm done by the negligence of the state, why didn’t they take the state to court and sue them?
While these lawmakers keep pushing the home rule issue, they are also talking on the other side of coin about food sustainability for Hawaii and keeping the country country. A certain handful of lawmakers have grandiose ideas of everyone in Hawaii having their own sustainable gardens to feed themselves. Of course, these will only feed themselves and not others. Certain lawmakers side with the keep the country country folks but don’t even take the time to hear the farmers out.
The reality is that this kind of idea is shortsighted and poorly thought out. This will lead to many unintended consequences. With counties having to create their own regulating bodies to enforced these rogue laws, the money has to come from their residents. Residents will have to pay for all of this with increased taxes and fees. With the high cost of living already an issue, who has the time and money to start up their own gardens to feed just themselves? Financially, working a 9-5 job allows one to afford much more food than tending to a garden and more reliable for our food supply. How are the other residents like the seniors and disabled going to bear the burden of higher costs of living? Is this really the right way to do things for everyone?
I guess in Hawaii, we celebrate our failure to constituents by letting others make bad laws that ultimately costs everyone along the line. It’s easy to talk about what is pono but apparently no one has really figured out how to walk the talk.