Barking Dogs, Open Space Funding and Humane Society – Council Meeting – 08/05/15

The below items are on the Kauai County Council agenda Wednesday August 5.

I encourage Kauai residents to let all Councilmembers know how you feel about these issues – Email

NOTE: Separate email testimony for each issue is highly recommended

1) Bill 2590 – Repealing the Barking Dog Ordinance
This Bill was introduced by Councilmember Kagawa.  I am strongly opposed to this measure and intend to vote NO. The barking dog ordinance is working, is much needed and can be amended if needed rather than repealed
2) Resolution 2015-53 RESOLUTION PROPOSING A CHARTER AMENDMENT RELATING TO THE PUBLIC ACCESS, OPEN SPACE, NATURAL RESOURCES PRESERVATION FUND – At present the amount dedicated is at one-half of one percent and the proposal is to increase it to one and one-half percent (1.5%)
I introduced this Resolution and so am in strong support. The Council recently cut the funds to this important fund and this charter amendment will establish it at 1.5% and ensure that there is a firm and long term commitment to preserving and expanding open space, beach access, agricultural lands and other natural areas. This measure does not raise any taxes but only directs that a set amount of funding goes toward a specific purpose.

This Bill was introduced by Councilmember Rapozo and is in response to the controversy that has surrounded the Kauai Humane Society these past few months. The County of Kauai is a major funder of this organization and so it is reasonable that the County should look closely at their operations. Others would argue though that the money spent on an audit which could cost $150,000 might be better spent on expanding the spay and neuter program or other important needs. I am inclined to support the audit but open to hearing the public testimony and further review before making my final decision.

The Garden Island Newspaper reports on the issue here:

PLEASE SEND IN YOUR TESTIMONY TODAY TO, and before Wednesday August 5.

Councilmember Kagawa is proposing to put on the 2016 Ballot a proposal to repeal term limits for councilmembers which are presently set at 8 years (4 two year terms). I am strongly opposed to this proposal and encourage everyone to also share their perspective with all members of the Kauai County Council. The Garden Island Newspaper reports on this issue here:

NOTE: Separate email testimony for each issue is highly recommended

Details of each measure can be found below:




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Pulling Back The Curtain: Jury verdict unanimous, DuPont Pioneer guilty of harming Waimea Kauai residents

Pulling Back The Curtain: Jury verdict unanimous, DuPont Pioneer guilty of harming Waimea Kauai residents

It has taken years for Waimea residents to finally hold DuPont Pioneer accountable and it is still not over.  However yesterday a jury in Honolulu unanimously ruled that this company must pay for the damages caused by their irresponsible actions.

According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser story which is behind a paywall:

You can also find the story here for free:

“The verdict said DuPont Pioneer failed to follow generally accepted agricultural and management practices from Dec. 13, 2009, to Dec. 31, 2011, and that the “seriousness of the harm to each plaintiff outweighs the public benefit of Pioneer’s farming operation.” ”

The court action focused on property damage caused by the vast amounts of pesticide laden dust that has blown on to these homes and residents for years.

However, if the dust is bad enough to cause property damage then it surely must be causing damage also to health and environment.

To be clear, this lawsuit is unrelated to the Syngenta led suit against the County of Kauai now under appeal.  The existence of the DuPont Pioneer lawsuit was early evidence that when combined with many other factors, precipitated the introduction of Bill 2491 and the attempt to regulate this industry on Kauai.

Credit for victory goes entirely to the perseverance of Waimea Town residents.

The façade presented through the “Good Neighbor” persona created by the community relations and media guru’s of these companies is quickly evaporating.

No amount of money or industry PR can erase the fact that a unanimous jury decision found them guilty of harm.

The curtain is being drawn back for the whole world to now see the hypocrisy of DuPont Pioneer calling themselves a “good neighbor” while continuing to cause damage to local residents for years after the initial complaints were filed.

Meanwhile another self proclaimed “good neighbor” Syngenta continues to use and sell highly toxic Restricted Use Pesticides on Kauai and through-out Hawaii (atrazine, paraquat and 4 others) that are illegal to use in their own country.

What kind of good neighbor uses toxic pesticides by the ton in their neighbor’s yard but yet uses zero of these chemicals in their own yard back home in Switzerland because their laws will not allow it (all the while telling you how safe it is)?  Syngenta will deny and obfuscate this fact.  But if you have doubts, read this recent New York Times article about how Syngenta misrepresents the truth with regards to the use of atrazine in their own country.

What kind of good neighbors sue their local government for merely requiring modest disclosure and basic buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes?

It will be interesting to see how the industry spins this one.

These companies are harming our community.  They consistently misrepresent themselves, the nature of their actions and the negative impact of their actions on our health, environment and yes on our property as well.

Community members who live near the fields and have to deal with these companies up close and personal know this.  Those of us who have been involved in this battle for the past few years know it as well.

I am increasingly hopeful that more and more residents of Kauai and all Hawaii will begin to see and understand the nature and urgency of our efforts and join with us in demanding accountability.

Mahalo to those residents and community leaders who have persevered and are responsible for this win.  Auwe to those government and industry leaders who have failed in their duties to support these good people.

Gary Hooser

Note:  On April 28th, in the city of Basel Switzerland, I attended and spoke at the annual shareholders meeting of the transnational corporation and chemical giant, Syngenta. Detailed account of trip is on the Hooser Blog

2 minutes and 45 second video of the FIRST part of my remarks to the Syngenta shareholders:

1 minute and 33 second SECOND segment as security attempts to prevent the recording:

A 4 minute video of history of movement in Hawaii:

If you are not familiar with my background or with the background concerning Bill 2491 and Kauai’s battle against the 4 largest chemical companies in the world, you might find this video interesting and informative.  Please skip the first 3 minutes of the introduction if you like:

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From Kauai to Switzerland – Why we went, what we accomplished and what’s next.


A few short days ago, on April 28th, in the city of Basel Switzerland, I attended and spoke at the annual shareholders meeting of the transnational corporation and chemical giant, Syngenta,

I spoke from the podium directly to the Syngenta Board of Directors and the nearly 1,000 Shareholders in attendance.

My message was clear and unambiguous.  I asked them to withdraw from their lawsuit against the County of Kauai, to honor and follow our laws, and to give our community the same respect and protections afforded to the people in their home country of Switzerland.

I pointed out that their company Syngenta uses highly toxic Restricted Use Pesticides (RUP’s) in our community, including atrazine, paraquat and 4 others that they are forbidden by law from using in their own country.

Please take 2 minutes and 45 seconds to view the FIRST part of my remarks to the Syngenta shareholders here:

As you can see from the video, Fern Rosenstiel, a Kauai resident who traveled to Basel with our small Kauai delegation was filming my presentation when she was approached by Syngenta security and told to put away her camera.  She complied but when they tried to take her camera she refused to give it up and resumed filming as they escorted her from the hall.  Syngenta also prevented the local television news station and a French film crew from taking camera’s into the meeting.

The SECOND part of my remarks filmed as Fern was forcibly removed from the hall can be viewed in this 1 minute and 33 second segment:

How was I able to speak inside the Syngenta shareholders meeting you might ask?

The Swiss organization that invited the Kauai delegation to Switzerland is MultiWatch (Google will translate), and they own one Share of Syngenta stock.  MultiWatch transferred or otherwise assigned that Share to me giving me the legal right to enter and speak. To be clear, Syngenta did not want me there and was working on many levels to prevent me from speaking but legally there was nothing they could do to stop me.

MultiWatch is an incredible Swiss NGO and they are advocates for environmental, labor and social justice interests connected to Swiss Trans National Corporations that are bad actors in other parts of the world.

The delegation from Kauaʻi included Hawaiian cultural educator Mālia Kahale‘inia Chun, environmental scientist and co-director of Ohana O Kauaʻi Fern Rosenstiel, as well as myself.

While in Switzerland the Kauaʻi delegation also met with local and national Swiss lawmakers resulting in the Social Democratic Party, the largest political party in Basel, issuing a Statement of Support, asking Syngenta to “honor the democratic process and protect the people of Kauaʻi.”  These meetings also resulted in several articles in Swiss Newspapers, television news and Swiss Public Radio covering Syngenta’s activities in Hawaiʻi and the Kauaʻi residents’ concerns.

Swiss television:


News Major Paper

Warning all news is in German J

English/Hawaii news summary here:

Our small delegation made several presentations to a European alliance of environmental organizations, trade unions and political parties tracking the activities and impacts of Swiss transnational corporations around the world during a conference held April 24th & 25th.

We embarked on our trip to Switzerland at the invitation of MultiWatch who was aware of the Kauai Bill 2491 and the growing movement in Hawaii.  Our primary goal was to educate this international audience on the cultural and historical context of Syngenta’s operations on Kauaʻi, the impacts of the industry’s activities, and the political and social efforts of the community to gain environmental and public health protections (i.e. through Kaua‘i Bill 2491 and state bills such as HB1514).  We also spoke of the similar battles and lawsuits underway on Maui and in Hawaii County.

For those not familiar with the movement here in Hawaii to regulate these large agrochemical companies this 4 minute video might prove interesting:

The issue on Kauai is simple really.  Syngenta and the other international chemical companies need to drop their law suit and comply with the duly passed laws of our County putting into place modest buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes and fully disclose all pesticides use – as per Ordinance 960.

We are not going away and we will not tap out.  So long as these companies continue to disrespect and disregard the wishes of our community, we will continue the battle to make them comply.

Syngenta conducts heavy applications of Restricted Use Pesticides on Kaua‘i and sells RUPs containing atrazine and paraquat for use around Hawai‘i –pesticides which are banned in their home country of Switzerland.  In addition, Syngenta has extensive acreage of open-air genetically-modified test crops on Kauaʻi, while cultivation of GMOs is banned in Switzerland.

The Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) supported the trip to Switzerland at the invitation of Swiss non-profit “MultiWatch.”  As the volunteer President of the Board for HAPA, I want to thank all in the community and around the world who helped make this trip possible.

We are presently contemplating partnering with our friends around the world and conducting similar actions in other countries on every continent.

We are also exploring the possibility of hosting an international conference of our own here on Kauai – at ground zero.

Shining the light on activities of the international agrochemical industry and expanding that global discussion is an important tool that we here in Hawaii need to leverage.  By inviting others from around the world who share our experience, plus bringing in science, medical and agricultural experts to share their knowledge, is a natural path and key role Kauai and all Hawaii could play in this critical international debate.

To host such an international conference will require partnerships with other organizations and funding support.  If you are interested in helping to move this idea forward please contact me soon so we can begin building the team it will take to make this happen.


Gary Hooser

P.S. If you are not familiar with my background or with the background concerning Bill 2491 and Kauai’s battle against the 4 largest chemical companies in the world, you might find this video interesting and informative.  Please skip the first 3 minutes of the introduction if you like:

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Into the Belly of the Beast: Bringing Kauai’s Story to Syngenta World Headquarters Annual Shareholders Meeting April 28th.

Yes, myself and two other Kauai residents are heading this coming week to share our Kauai story with the people and government of Switzerland, home to the world headquarters of Syngenta.   See Press Release here:

Syngenta, you will remember, is the primary plaintiff presently suing the people and County of Kauai for the right to spray poisons next to our schools, hospitals and homes.

We are attending an international conference in Basel, Switzerland sponsored by organizations who share our concern with regards to the environmental and health harm caused from the actions of large transnational chemical companies.

Our hosts in Switzerland have also arranged for me to attend and speak briefly inside the actual Syngenta shareholders meeting.  

I will have only a few minutes on the microphone and intend to tell Kauai’s story and ask the Board and shareholders of Syngenta to withdraw from their lawsuit against Kauai County, honor the laws passed by our community, and provide Kauai County with the same respect and protections afforded to the people of Switzerland.

Syngenta is a Swiss corporation and many of the restricted use pesticides they apply regularly on Kauai are banned in Switzerland.  Atrazine, paraquat and 4 other highly toxic pesticides that Syngenta uses on Kauai are forbidden from use in their own country.

Please help me carry a strong message to Syngenta from Kauai, from all Hawaii and from all over the world by signing this petition ( and sharing it with your friends and contacts.  

I intend to present this petition and copies of all signatures, along with my formal statement directly to the Syngenta Board of Directors and shareholders.

Syngenta must know and understand that our movement and our commitment to protect the health and environment of our community is not going away, but rather only grows stronger every day.

Please sign and share this Petition!

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State House Agricultural Committee – Disappointment Is Too Mild A Description

Words cannot express how disappointed I am with the conduct of the State House Agricultural Committee.  They continue to ignore the science, the medical literature and the community calling out for meaningful regulation.

Instead members of this committee simply follow the lead of Monsanto, Syngenta, BASF, Dupont, and Dow Chemical who repeat their company mantras that pesticides are safe and that they are already “highly regulated” – neither of which are true.

While the tendency is to “blame the Chair”, the Hawaii State House of Representatives as a body is responsible.

The evidence is incontrovertible.  The intense application of Restricted Use Pesticides by industrial agricultural operations in areas near where residents live, work and go to school causes increased health problems, especially children and pregnant women.

The community is only requesting basic disclosure (tell us what chemicals you are using) and modest buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes.

But the majority of our legislators are not listening to the community nor even to the increasing calls for caution from the medical and science community.  Most listen only to the industry who is extremely proficient at obfuscation.

After all that is what industry does – they lie, they mislead, they obfuscate and they manipulate the data for as long as they can before government, the medical community and the outrage of the people finally catch up with them.

This is what they did with tobacco, with asbestos, with lead, with ddt, with agent orange and with so many other things.

The story every where is the same, “It was safe until it wasn’t”.

It seems that nearly every day a new article and a new study is published pointing to increasing health and environmental concerns.

A very recent Wall Street Journal article about the World Health Organization declaring Monsanto’s Round Up as a likely carcinogen.

A recent New York Times article detailing the lies told by Syngenta denying that atrazine (which they spray by the ton in Hawaii) is banned in their home country of Switzerland.  This article points to 82 pesticides banned in the European Union but allowed to be sprayed in Hawaii.

An American Academy of Pediatrics report that points to the dangers of exposure to pesticides especially in children and pregnant women.  It further warns of high levels of health problems among populations that live and work around pesticides in agricultural areas.  It specifically calls out “buffers zones and disclosure” as two positive things that can be done to mitigate the danger. Read the source documents for this plus the 9 most egregious misstatements made by these chemical companies and parroted by their supporters in House Committee on Agriculture.

Do any of these reports matter to the House Agricultural Committee?

Apparently not.

And yes, I would be more than pleased to present the case for increased regulation in any public forum and challenge any member of the House of Representatives to debate the facts.

But of course none will take me up on this because their position is indefensible. They rely on industry and not their own research to make their case.  Industry also will not publicly debate this issue because their arguments are based on strawmen, falsehoods and vague statements about “feeding the world”.

Will someone in the House of Representatives who believes in their position be willing to step up to this challenge?  We can have PBS or another impartial party be an independent organizer.


Surely at least one of you on the House Agricultural Committee feels strongly enough and knows the facts of the matter well enough to articulate your position to the public?

I am over it.

Please don’t waste your time calling members of the House Agricultural Committee to ask if they care.

Because they don’t.

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Read Now Please – Senate vote on pending confirmation of real estate development lobbyist as DLNR Director is imminent.

Tomorrow, Wednesday March 18th is the day in which the Hawaii State Senate votes on whether or not to confirm the appointment of real estate development lobbyist Carleton Ching to be Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

If you live on Oahu, please join those in opposition at the Capitol Senate Chambers at 11am.   Wear red if you can. It is important that the people in the gallery are strong in numbers in order to send a silent but strong message to those with the power who sit on the floor. Please take the time to come down to the Capitol, your physical presence is needed and valuable.

If you cannot attend, please continue to reach out to Senators asking that they vote No.

Tomorrow, on the floor of the Senate, there will be numerous and likely very passionate speeches by those for and against. And there will be the inevitable and predictable posturing by many I suspect who will attempt to plant one foot on each side of the issue and hide behind the “WR” or “with reservations” vote.

A “WR” is a Yes vote that says “I don’t really like this but am going to hold my nose and vote for it anyway”. In early votes on issues yet resolved that are still meandering through the legislative process, a “WR” is a legitimate vote often intended to send a message that “I might vote No later if this Bill is not amended properly”.

During the final voting process such as is occurring tomorrow, a “WR” is better characterized as “weasel route” or a vote cast by someone desperately trying to find a pathway out of a political dilemma and not take responsibility and hoping the public does not see or care that he/she is really voting Yes.

The overwhelming public sentiment against the appointment, the numerous conservation and environmental organizations who are publicly opposing the appointment, the fact that both the Honolulu Star Advertiser (twice) and the Civil Beat both have also taken positions in strong opposition, combined with the blatantly obvious and extremely poor performance of the nominee – translate into the fact that there is no justifiable public policy reason to vote Yes.

I challenge anyone to review the committee hearing transcripts/tapes, the questionnaires, the resume and all of the testimony both for and against and tell me with a straight face that Mr. Ching is qualified for this job.

I am hopeful and cautiously optimistic that the No votes will prevail tomorrow and the public will be reassured that the public interest is in fact the Senate’s number one priority.

As a voting resident of Hawaii, I ask that you please get involved now.

Please call your Senator now, tonight or early in the morning. Ask your Senator, the Senator that represents you in your district, to vote No.  Let your Senator know you live in their district and that you will be asking later for them to explain their votes – and that a WR “weasel route” vote is not acceptable. (a complete list of Senators, phone numbers is at the bottom of this email)

As always telephone with courtesy and professionalism. Anger and threats are counter-productive and serve to only harm our cause.

If there is any doubt about whether you believe Mr. Ching should be confirmed or not, please read the Senate Water Land Committee report:

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports the Senate is split 50/50. (there is a paywall)

And Civil Beat has a fascinating inside story of the “palace intrigue” and explores the political pressures placed on the various Senators and their factions.

Members of the Hawaii State Senate

Baker , Rosalyn H. 808-586-6070
Chun Oakland , Suzanne 808-586-6130
Dela Cruz , Donovan M. 808-586-6090
English , J. Kalani 808-587-7225
Espero , Will 808-586-6360
Gabbard , Mike 808-586-6830
Galuteria , Brickwood 808-586-6740
Green , Josh 808-586-9385
Harimoto , Breene 808-586-6230
Ihara , Les Jr. 808-586-6250
Inouye , Lorraine R. 808-586-7335
Kahele , Gilbert 808-586-6760
Keith-Agaran , Gilbert S.C. 808-586-7344
Kidani , Michelle N. 808-586-7100
Kim , Donna Mercado 808-587-7200
Kouchi , Ronald D. 808-586-6030
Nishihara , Clarence K. 808-586-6970
Riviere , Gil 808-586-7330
Ruderman , Russell E. 808-586-6890
Shimabukuro , Maile S.L. 808-586-7793
Slom , Sam (R) 808-586-8420
Taniguchi , Brian T. 808-586-6460
Thielen , Laura H. 808-587-8388
Tokuda , Jill N. 808-587-7215
Wakai , Glenn 808-586-8585

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Pulling Back The Curtain: The Carleton Ching Vote – Time To Hero-Up

After watching the entire Senate committee hearing covering the appointment of real estate development lobbyist Carleton Ching to be Director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, it seems embarrassingly obvious that Mr. Ching is not even remotely qualified for the position.

In question after question he shows his lack of even the most basic knowledge of the core functions of the DLNR.  He is a very nice man with many positive attributes, and it is difficult and very awkward for all involved to pull back the curtain on his lack of basic qualifications, but this issue is too important to look the other way.

What is most disturbing to me is the lens in which he looks at our natural resources and the fact that he was not familiar with even our basic public trust doctrine.

He spoke consistently during the hearing about finding the “sweet spot” and repeated talked of how compromise and balance was the answer to everything.   I agree that compromise and balance are important concepts but I don’t think he truly understands how much compromise has already been made with regards to existing natural resources already under extreme stress and degradation. Our drinking water, stream flows, shorelines, endangered species and everything else that is under the purview of the DLNR has already been greatly diminished through past compromise and attempts at so-called balance.

Mr. Chings repeated assertions that he was not familiar with nor responsible for the decisions, actions and testimony of the Land Use Research Foundation (LURF), I find impossible to believe.  How could he serve on its Board of Directors for years (serving as President and VP), and not be aware and not take ownership of the Boards actions? LURF’s stated mission is to “promote and advance the interests of the development community, particularly in the areas of land use laws and regulations.”

At the end of the day I believe deeply that the choice of Carleton Ching for this important position represents both very bad policy in terms of tangible harm that will come from this decision and extremely bad politics in terms of the message it sends to the public.

Appointing a paid lobbyist for the real estate industry to be the person in charge of protecting our states natural resources sends an extremely negative public trust message out to already cynical voters and reinforces their increasingly diminished view of politics and government.

On Thursday March 12, 2015 the Senate Committee on Water and Land voted 5 to 2 to NOT CONFIRM his appointment (see selected quotes below from that hearing).

The final vote by the full Senate will be very close and will take place possibly on Monday but most likely on Tuesday March 17.

Your email and or telephone call TODAY and before Tuesday March 17 to your District Senator can make the difference. Trust me, I have been in this arena for over 16 years and your testimony and opinion, combined with many, many others, can make a difference.

If you care about the stewardship of our natural resources please send YOUR DISTRICT SENATOR a strong but polite email requesting he/she vote NO on the appointment of Carleton Ching to be our States DLNR Director.

Read and make up your own mind, then please email both your District Senator (most important) and all Senators.

For my friends and neighbors on Kauai that would be first to Senator Ron Kouchi and then to ALL at

For those of you who live in other parts of our State you can find your Senator and their contact information here:

Be nice, introduce yourself and let them know your thoughts on this critical issue:

My 4 minute video testimony is here::

Other reference info on the Ching appointment is here:–+for+newsletter+sends&utm_campaign=89ecbb751f-Save_DLNR2_20_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fb5d1e87f2-89ecbb751f-239105569&ct=t(Save_DLNR2_20_2015)

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