As a parent of young children, there are simple lessons that instill in my kids as they grow up and learn to interact with others. Just a few lessons I teach them include being respectful, don’t hit each other, be honest and don’t lie, and just because you’re mad, you don’t take it out on everyone else. Like many things I do with my kids, I’ve learned it through my mom and dad.
The more I reflect on what I teach my kids, the more I realize that those same lessons apply throughout life if you really think about it. Then as I look more at what’s happening in Hawaii, I am starting to see that many adults have forgotten some of those basic lessons we learned as kids now. That is very saddening to me that we teach our kids one thing and totally forget it in our own actions.
What is even more bothersome to me is that elected officials, who have a higher standard to uphold, are also forgetting those small kid time lessons. If our own leaders can’t instill the right values and behaviors, how can their constituents follow their example? It’s no wonder politics has become so ugly.
I was reading the Star Advertiser yesterday and was left shaking my head once again. I wrote a few days ago about the proposed law that removes the exemption for farmers to get permits for grading their land. If a farmer were to move more than 50 cubic yards of material, it would require a permit now. It means more costs and time lost to yet another level of regulation. Less time on the farm means less productivity and lost income.
The amount proposed may be big beans for small farmers but for the ones with bigger fields, 50 cubic yards is really not a whole lot to be moving around. Due to the abuses of some ag land owners on the Westside, lawmakers have decided to add yet another burden to law abiding farmers. Kimberly Pine, a city council woman, she stated…
Pine acknowledged the concerns about potential unintended effects but said that “the consequences for our community is that our land has been dumped on and destroyed for far too long, and we’ve had enough.”
I can’t understand why these council members acknowledge problems but still proceed with these half-baked laws. The catch phrase is that many of them see the “bigger picture” but in actions show that they have no clue what that concept really means. The bigger picture is not looking at the goal of the law but who and how it affects everyone. What’s the real impact this will have if actually enacted?
It would be great if they stood in the shoes of those people who would be a target of those “unintended” consequences. That might make lawmaking a bit more thoughtful and better planned out. It’s easier to pass a quick bandaid fix to make some people happy but then throw the rest into the fire along the way. That bandaid isn’t going to fix anything in reality other than mask the real problems. It’s like being my older daughter, who is reading her book minding her own business, then finds herself whacked in the head by her sister out of the blue.
There indeed is a real problem out there in Waianae with the issues going on, but couldn’t there be more forethought into addressing the real problem, irresponsible land owners? Is the dumping issue because there aren’t enough landfills? What really is the reason why it is happening out there? More questions have to be asked to really help to pinpoint what and how this issue can be remedied before a solution can be put forth.
The actions of the city council and some of the statements made that they don’t care about the consequences really shows two things. First of all, Pine and others are mad and are rightfully so. She is willing to take her anger and frustration out on everyone to solve this issue and it doesn’t matter what collateral damage is caused along the way. That’s what is going to make her feel better and “fix” the problem, as she and other council members perceive.
What she and the Honolulu City Council are doing is something very typical in what young kids do. Something might be upsetting them and they feel compelled to take out their frustrations on emotions on whoever is around and they don’t care who it is. It’s like my older daughter having a bad day at school and deciding to kick her sister for no good reason other than her being mad from the day. My younger daughter will cry out not knowing why she was kicked. As my older daughter calms down and hears her sister’s crying, and only then she feels remorseful for what she did. The injury was inflicted and there’s no taking it away and feelings are permanently hurt.
These same lessons apply to all politicians and adults if you really think about it. Hawaii County Council members, Margaret Wille and Brenda Ford, were both mad at Monsanto so they insisted on passing a bill that hurt the papaya farmers. They didn’t do any further research like their fellow County Council member, Greggor Illagan, did to address why they felt they way they did. They lashed out on farmers and damaged their reputations and led them to be piled upon by many activists. Greggor Illagan was also left to be a target of the activists despite doing his due diligence to truly look at the perceived problem.
Representative Jessica Wooley, as a mom, was mad to find out that GMOs were being fed to her children and she was going to protect them for this perceived harm learned by her associations with Earthjustice. She clearly believed in an agenda based on the false fact that, “There are no regulations on biotechnology.” (She made this statement publicly at a Neighborhood Board meeting earlier in the year and later recanted when shown the truth.) She went out and put out the labeling law twice in two years in her attempt to attack the seed farmers here. She not only fueled the misinformation campaign against these companies and their workers, but once again focused on the papaya farmers as a result. She ran on the platform that she was going to help farmers, but only her approved types unfortunately.
Then we cannot forget the actions of Kauai County Council member Gary Hooser and the other members like Jay Furfaro, Joanne Yukimura, and Tim Bynum, when they voted to pass Bill 2491. None of these members did their due diligence to find out the facts about the seed farmers and passed a law on the emotions and misinformation of a crowd being manipulated by outside interests using scare tactics. Not only did the heavy handed fear campaign succeed in convincing the leaders to pass such a law, it created another attack against the papaya farmers along the way. These members were mad and lashed out by passing the contentious law causing permanent collateral damage across the board in the Kauai communities.
My kids know that they aren’t allowed to use their emotions to lash out at others or each other. It’s a big “no-no” in our house. I too have to remember that even if I’m mad or tired, lashing out only means I’ll have to apologize later but the damage has been done. My dad always drilled it into my head as a kid that, “You’d better think first before you do something you might regret.” He was my example of what I was expected to be like and he’d correct me along the way. I know that I’m the example to them because that is what I expect of my children to be like.
I only wish our elected officials would get a clue and be the true leaders in our communities and not like my 3 year old toddler, who’s still learning those lessons.
We’ve seen this over and over again in Maryland. Poor policy making based on misinformation and legislators not doing due diligence on the issue before voting. We also have the problem of policy being developed based on one university research study, often that hasn’t been peer reviewed or published yet. Sad that policymakers implement broad sweeping policy as knee jerk reaction to one person or incident and not well informed and balance that considers those who end up as collateral damage.
Thank you for sharing your opinion on this important issue. However, I write to clarify that your piece inaccurately attributes my comments from last week’s council meeting.
You write that my comments were related to Bill 34 (removing farmer exemption), which was not the case. I was speaking to three unrelated bills – Bills 35, 36, and 37, which are aimed at strengthening the penalties for those bad apples who violate the grading and stockpiling rules.
While you accurately state that the Bill 34 would remove the exemption for farmers to get permits for grading their land if they are grading more than 50 cubic yards of material, it is inaccurate to attribute Bill 34 to the enforcement problem we are dealing with on the Leeward Coast and throughout Oahu. If you do have questions or concerns about Bill 34 (removing farmer exemption), I would encourage you to contact the bill’s author – Councilmember Ikaika Anderson.
Should you have questions or concerns with Bills 35, 36, or 37, which I introduced, I would welcome you to contact my office at 768-5001 and we will be happy to learn more about how we can make the bills better.
Unbelievable,.50 cubic yards is only a cube of earth 3.68 yards on its side !