When A Hurricane Hits Do We Realize Our Priorities

The state of Hawaii is currently under a hurricane/tropical storm warning.  Like so many folks, many are just not prepared for it.  We have seen stores just packed with people buying the basics like toilet paper, rice, spam, quick to eat food, lots of canned goods, and bottled water.  Even gasoline is out a many gas stations across our state.

If you look carefully at people’s carts, you can see that when there is a disaster, no one cares about eating healthy or organic.  They are buying whatever is cheap and whatever will last.  The high end expensive foods and snacks are still sitting on shelves while the local favorites are all gone.  All the expensive waters are all that’s left in the stores while everything else is just gone.

This shows a very interesting behavior among consumers.  When people say that the need to know what they are eating, why does it change when there is a possible shortage of food or supplies?  We as Americans want to label GMO foods as if it is something bad which sends the same message around the world, but then when there is likely no food, we don’t care what we get.  It’s about survival and being ready for what may come.  It isn’t time to be picky or finicky and we have to go what is affordable and what is plentiful.

So, did you go shopping for GMO free organic and pesticide free food, BPA free bottled water, and gluten free bread when preparing for the storm?  Did you look for organic, chemical free toilet paper? Was your first stop to stock up for food and supplies Whole Foods or Down to Earth? I somehow doubt it.  When we have so much abundance around us, we forget that we actually do have choices and your choices change on the circumstances.

Courtney Bruch: A Wannabe Politician Without A Clue

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This was posted publicly on Facebook today by the Molokai Dispatch. Hawaii is under a hurricane watch and for someone who wants to be a politician, she doesn’t seem to have a clue about the basics of emergency preparedness. Are voters really going to trust her as leader if she is this clueless about some basic government functions???

The California Based Sierra Club Wants a Piece of Kaneohe

***No campaign has asked me to write this post and I’m writing it from my own perspective.  I’m tired of dirty politics against a local Kaneohe guy by activist groups that have rooted in Hawaii.  I don’t want history repeating itself.***

First it was the Washington, D.C. based Center for Food Safety sending out junk mail to Kaneohe residents supporting Robert Harris, the director of the Sierra Club in Hawaii.  Well, no sooner did that fill thousands of residents’ mailboxes did another mailer come out from the Sierra Club’s Super PAC.  The most ironic thing about both of these so called environmental groups, is that they are using a lot of resources, cutting down trees, and burning a lot of gas, as well as using toxic chemicals to send out these laminated, glossy mailers to people.  At the time same time, these folks are claiming to save the earth.  Something just ain’t right here.

Here’s the mailer that got sent out recently to support their candidate of choice, while also trying to vilify the opponent, Jarrett Keohokalole, a long time, local born Kaneohe boy who likely knows more about my hometown than the Sierra Club or the Center for Food Safety.

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Note that the Sierra Club’s logo is that of a pine tree.  How many pine trees we have in Kaneohe growing like that?  Note how he also lists all the developer’s donations on this flyer.  So this must mean it’s a huge red flag that Robert Harris isn’t going to support development at all in Hawaii.  So for all of our family and friends who work in the construction industry and other related businesses, he’s not looking out for you.  These folks don’t even want agriculture on land or homes but seem to want it fallow, for environmental purposes.  If you are planning on wanting to buy and affordable home, he’s not looking out for you either.  Is the Sierra Club planning on making affordable homes for you and your families?  Hmm…  Seeing this tells me no way.

This is just a prime example of big mainland money under the guise of the “green movement” trying to influence politics in little old Kaneohe.  First is was Jessica Wooley and the San Francisco based Earthjustice (formerly known as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund) backing her up and now it’s Robert Harris and the California based Sierra Club.  Are these groups looking out for the rubbah slippah locals?  No way!

The Hawaii Center for Food Safety Plays Politics in Kaneohe

Several months ago, I became aware of the Washington, D.C. based Center for Food Safety arriving in town.  I wrote a post about this activist group when I saw it posted on the Kanu Hawaii site.  They are now here in our islands to try and bring their mainland influences to our smaller communities and it’s clear what their true agenda really is again.

Here’s a flier that was sent out in to people in the Kaneohe/Kahaluu area by the Center for Food Safety just a few days ago.  My entire family members are long time residents there for over 60 years now and seeing this arrive in our mailboxes did not please us at all.

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It’s not surprising at all that HCFS is supporting Harris, who is the executive director of the very anti-biotech group, the Sierra Club.  He was also a proponent of supporting Jessica Wooley in getting her the House of Representatives seat several years ago.  Now he is seeking to fill that seat with his mainland style activists’ values with a mailer from the HCFS.

He also sent me a message about a month ago regarding his candidacy.  I’m guessing he has read my criticisms of where he stands as a political leader in all of this.

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It’s great that he wants to talk about growing more food and working together for better policies.  So my response to him was this.

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Well, I was so hoping for a response to my question but never got it.  I’m starting think that these politicians are really not about working together when they openly support groups like the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, who have a single agenda for Hawaii, which is to use scare tactics to take away agricultural tools from farmers and ranchers.  They are lawyers and environmentalists, not farmers or business owners and they don’t know our history in Hawaii, yet they are willing to come and take over the conversations.

I find the flyer quite amazingly misleading which is of no surprise when it comes from activist groups who are always misinforming the public.  Here’s the blunders I found on those mailers.

First Blunder: Champion for local farms and local foods

The Sierra Club that Harris supports is against biotechnology so knowing that connection, he’s definitely against the papaya farmers and ranchers in our islands who have used this technology for 20 years.  How can you say you’re a champion of the local farmers when you work for a group that opposes their practices?  There’s several farmers in his district that he apparently are not aware of that he forgot to talk to.

Second Blunder: Will support local farmers and protect agricultural lands

The Sierra Club has a legal arm known as Earthjustice that they use to enact lawsuits in the name of environmentalism and later use it to funnel cash into their coffers.  It’s basically a money making operation of the Sierra Club.  If they are willing to protect agricultural lands, why has Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety trying to join the lawsuit against Big Island farmers?  Not only is Earthjustice suing on the Big Island, but they have also joined the lawsuit in Kauai against the seed companies.  If they are about protecting agricultural lands, why are they fighting the people who are using it to farm? If they about helping Hawaii, why are they suing the smallest farmers anyways?

Third Blunder: Protect your right to know what is in your food

Once again, the disingenuous “right to know” argument enters the picture.  That’s the fighting cry of the activists like Naomi Carmona and her Babes Against Biotech crew.  She and other activists don’t care about the “right to know,” for if they did, they wouldn’t join groups that are GMO free.  Well, we all know the truth about these claims for the activists clearly put it out there for all to see.  They also want the 1.3 million Hawaii folks to endure increased costs associated with labeling which will really help all local people make a living here.  These activists don’t seem to realize that they have a label called organic and GMO free but are willing to burden everyone for their disingenuous claims.

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Fourth Blunder: Will protect our homes, schools, and hospitals from dangerous pesticides

First of all, Kaneohe has very few farms, let alone GMO farms to begin with.  Ashley Lukens, a political science doctorate, seems made a erroneous statement on a CB article stating that, “The issue of genetic engineering in Hawaii is an issue of pesticides.” (It’s always the non-farmers who are quick to spread their pseudo-expertise about how and what farmers should farm.) The farms are out in the more rural areas and homes are far apart there and the farmers themselves live on the same property and are small.  Many have been there for decades with no report of illness at all.  None of these farmers waste anything for that matter and only use what is needed and to assume that they all use dangerous pesticides is so wrong at every level.

Ms. Lukens doesn’t realize that Hawaii people live in a tropical environment that bugs and pests thrive.  Shall we forgo the termite treatments, fly traps, ant sprays, roach treatments, rat bait traps and allow pests to invade our homes, schools, and hospitals.  What even more interesting is that the district that Robert Harris is seeking to represent doesn’t even have a hospital in it!  Kaneohe is a completely different town and they obviously haven’t figured it out.

This statement on this flyer clearly shows the Hawaii Center for Food Safety’s fear mongering messages.  They don’t live here in our community and it shows.

Blunder Five: “At my farm in Kaneohe, Robert Harris is a champion for local food.”

Many of my friends and family who received this card look at the farmer in the photo and said, “Who’s that?”  No one seems to know who this farmer really was.  Turns out Rick Barboza isn’t a food grower but a Hawaiian native plant grower in Kaneohe.  Apparently, the Center for Food Safety and Robert Harris himself didn’t bother to talk to the long time food growers in his district.  If Harris is going to support local food being grown, how come he didn’t come talk to some of the long time growers in the area?  Shouldn’t he have a photo of a farmer of that person who is actually doing the work to grow food?  I would think so but the message is clear, they are not about including these others in the conversations apparently.  They have their own mainland agenda and aren’t going to include the local people.

It’s interesting that the Center for Food Safety did not put a non-food producing farmer on their mailer.  Last year, then Representative Wooley made a presentation to the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board that she was planning on redefining agriculture as the growing of food.  They must have changed their tune to the politicians as they are putting a non-food growing farmer on there.

What’s also telling about Harris’ agenda is that we can’t forget about the Sierra Club’s smear campaign against Pono Chong back in 2012 where they set up a site called NotPono.com and sent out fliers that led to his defeat.  Local boy Pono Chong was ousted for supporting the developers and construction jobs that so many of our family members and friends hold in our communities.  Who’s gonna provide and build affordable housing and jobs for these folks?  The Sierra Club?!  As we can see now, they are about taking things aways.

What the Fliers Should Look Like if People Were Honest

I decided to take the liberty of correcting these fliers and hope that people realize what the message should really be.  If we want honesty in our leaders, we better research who they really are and who’s backing them up.

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Let’s hold our politicians to a higher standard and seek for honest information on who they really are and what they support.  It’s clear that mainland money is talking here by all the misinformation posted on those fliers.  If we want a better Hawaii for the local folks, do you homework on your candidates and vote smart.  Who is looking out for the rubbah slippah folks?

The Wastefulness of the Wealthy Doesn’t Help Hawaii

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Just the other day, there was an update news post that the same funders of the anti-GMO movement here in Hawaii had made considerable contributions to the Vermont labeling law defense fund. The trustees of the Ceres Trust, Judith Kern and Kent Whealy, donated some $50K to the fund, helping it top $160K.  It is estimated that the state’s defense of this bad law will cost it some $8M!  If people have so much money to burn, why spend it like that?  Wouldn’t it be better spent to actually help people?

It makes me pretty mad that these rich mainland folks drop money like rain to influence bad laws that ultimately take away from our taxes that should be used for us local folks first and foremost.  They make as if GMO regulation is the ultimate priority here and our own politicians have been bought hook line and sinker to this message and it’s pretty disturbing to me.  Can no one see the priorities here in our state?

On a Star Advertiser poll done several months ago, one of the priorities that were recognized was that of homelessness.  Just take a drive through Waikiki and our own capitol and you see why folks don’t like it.  We’ve got sidewalks covered in makeshift tents, urine reeking parking lots, human feces in public areas, people lying on public property, and it all adds up to blight.  In a city and state where our beauty is touted and people imagine paradise, we get nothing of the sort when you visit our state.  The public bathrooms at our beautiful beaches are smelly with broken faucets, litter, and vandalism all over. Some bathrooms can’t even be used because its been taken over by homeless people living there and you get greeted by their lovely pit bull protecting them.  It’s a major problem and yet our politicians like David Ige and Russell Ruderman wants to push for GMO labeling and regulation.  Forget what the city and state look like, they’ve got a different priority at hand.

If you follow the issue with the public schools system, you also see that there are major problems there.  Kids have to endure long hours of school in 95 degree classrooms only to have a fan blow hot air at them.  Teachers spend their own money to add to their classroom lessons because there is no added funds.  My mom, as a teacher, had to keep snacks on hand because many kids did not get enough food to eat and couldn’t concentrate in class.  Screens and facilities are dirty month after month only to be cleaned when a church group rents the facility out and does the work for free.  Some schools have no books and teachers have to purchase paper to create lessons taken from the computer instead.  Our children should be our priority to politicians but some choose to shift the issue to GMOs because that is more important than what happens in our schools apparently.

Another recent news story was that our local farmers are getting older and the younger generations aren’t willing to take over.  The average age of farmers here are about 65 years old.  Farming is such an attractive occupation lately when politicians like Brian Schatz, David Ige, Kaniela Ing tout home rule.  Farmers not only have to comply with federal mandated laws like the burdensome Food Safety and Modernization Act, state laws, and now county level laws.  Add on to that the increased cost of health care, taxes, property taxes, energy costs, and supply costs to the mix that really make farming a great job.  These politicians somehow think that increasing legislation on farmers and their businesses are really going to make lots of people want to take on this risky and laborious job that has plenty of money to make.  Wanna be politicians like Robert Harris also have a way to increase local food supply more by just coming up with a magical number of 20 to 30% but somehow forgot to talk to the current farmers about how this will happen.  I guess an act of god will magically solve this problem or maybe more millionaires will come to our state and grow our food for us.  Once again, the politicians are all about problem solving and going after biotech foods is going to give us more farmers and more local foods somehow.

With so much more GMOs in our food supply, we shouldn’t be surprised of some eye opening statistics.  Many anti-GMO activists keep claiming that GMO foods are killing us with all kinds of diseases but amazingly the people who eat this the longest are living longer! It’s estimated that by 2030, 25% of the population will be over the age of 65, and Hawaii will have the largest population of 80 year olds in the nation!  Yup, those GMO foods are indeed killing us all and making us live long lives.  As a result of this growing elderly population, more families are having to lose hours of work or quit work all together to take care of these folks.  It’s not easy work taking care of an elderly person and raising your own family at the same time.  I know because I’ve been doing this for over 8 years already and so many others are in the same boat as me.  The cost of care is going up so families have to sacrifice much to care for their kupuna and we lose out on our own retirement savings.  There are thousands of families doing this across our state and it takes a toll on each and everyone of us who are caregivers but the politicians are always looking out for us.  They are going to work on labeling those GMOs so that we have more expensive food and lose more income from being caregivers.  That’s a real priority to them.

I mustn’t forget that there are some wealthy people in Hawaii doing good like Pierre Omidyar, who is trying to get local people more fresh milk.  It’s too bad that the very people he catered to with Mao Organics are now the same ones who are fighting his investment in the Kauai dairy.  Rich people also have plenty of money to sue to stop the dairy but then offer nothing in terms of growing Hawaii’s local food supply.  It’s funny how the anti-GMO folks love their organic foods and then turn against the same person who provided more of those organic foods that they are demanding.  These people have no allegiance to anyone for that matter and that’s what we are seeing.

With all the money flowing into our state with the anti-GMO, anti-ag issues, why can’t that be used more constructively to help address the real priorities at hand?  We have so many of them and yet our politicians want to regulate something that truly shows no evidence for enacting such legislation.  These rich folks are spending lots of their monies to take away from the local folks who don’t even pay attention to what’s going on.  Their gambling and tinkering in our state is really going to come at a big cost as it takes from each and every person who contributes to our state.  As someone with lots of money, wouldn’t you want to give it to something useful rather than use it to take away from us local folks?  It’s sad that our politicians can’t even see that either.  Every time they support bad legislation, it takes away from our keiki, kupuna, and all local people and we all lose because someone had a lot of money to waste.