The next step in a long march. Your help is needed today


This past two years, Hawaii has experienced the birth of an intensely passionate grass roots movement for change. This movement has brought together people from all islands representing many different groups and issues but each sharing at its core the battle for social justice.  Whether that battle be manifested in the fight against health and environmental degradation, cultural debasement or economic inequality, at the end of the day it is about social justice.

The 10,000 that marched recently for Unity and Aloha ‘Āina in Waikiki represent just a small fraction of the large number of our residents who are dissatisfied with the status quo and increasingly empowered to stand up and work now for positive change.  On Hawaii Island, on Kauai and on Maui, thousands more have marched and are demanding a government that listens and responds to the people rather than simply kowtow to big business and big money.

People across Hawaii are demanding to be heard and and their concerns and issues respected by government policy makers, but the majority in political office have their head in the sand, hoping, I suppose, that this whole “movement thing” will just go away.

To be clear the movement is not going away.  The abuse by the status quo has crossed the line and the “in your face nature of the actions” are far too egregious for people to turn away and act like they don’t see.

The rail financial boondoggle, the Kakaʻako “good planning and affordable housing” sham, and the “sustainable agriculture” hypocrisy that accompanies Hoʻopili and so many other ag-to-urban development projects on Oahu and around the islands are just a few examples.

On Maui, over 50% of the voters chose to support an initiative requiring agrochemical companies to prove that their operations are safe; yet the local County government will neither acknowledge that concern with legal support nor offer an alternative solution.  The County Councils of both Hawaii and Kauai County also passed laws attempting to regulate this same industry; and yet State government at all levels takes no action, choosing instead to ignore the possibility that additional regulation might be necessary.

In all of these cases and so many more, the common theme is that government is not working for the common good but rather seems focused only on facilitating the business interests who are the “rent seekers” in search of government favors.    They come before our government officials and agencies asking for zoning changes, permit variances, subsidies and other dispensations, and our government seems only willing to bend over backward to accommodate them.  When their project does not go well or when they feel there is more money to be made, they come back again and ask for even more from the public trough.

The movement surrounding the protection of Maunakea happened not just because of one particular telescope, but rather from decades of State inaction and lack of responsiveness.

There comes a time when enough is enough, and I believe now is such a time.

The word on the street is that the growing movement for change in Hawaii is evolving from marching and carrying signs toward the additional action of meaningful participation in the 2016 elections.  There is a movement afoot to register new voters and emerging leaders fueled by the urgency of the moment are making plans to become candidates for public office.

The Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) of which I am the volunteer President of the Board has recently launched the Kuleana Academy, a five-month leadership development and candidate training program.  H.A.P.A. is working with Alliance Education Partners representing a wide variety of leading Hawaii public interest organizations.  This is a nonpartisan statewide program that will educate the participants through 1) Leadership and Campaign Skills Training, 2)Progressive Values and Statewide Issues Workshops; and 3) Community-Based Hands-On Experience.  Space is limited, but anyone in the public is welcome to apply.  The evaluation of participants and their acceptance into the program will be conducted by a panel consisting of H.A.P.A. Board Members and Alliance Education Partners.

Please read about and support this exciting new opportunity to create positive change in Hawaii.    We need new candidates and we need funding support to make the Kuleana Academy the best that it can be.  To learn more and apply please visit

Please also consider making a generous tax deductible donation to support this important program and the many other projects H.A.P.A. now has underway.  We urgently need your help today.

Hawaii needs more progressive government leaders who value ʻaina and the people ahead of corporate profit and who have the courage to stand up for their convictions.

Small numbers matter.  While big numbers are important when measuring the success of a march or a concert, when it comes to casting votes at the legislature and in County Council meetings across Hawaii, a handful of votes can make an important difference.  At the State legislature a handful of new, forward-thinking, community-based individuals can likewise make a significant difference, giving courage to other likeminded colleagues and catalyzing change within the body.

Please, if you are a leader and want to take your potential to a higher level, apply to the Kuleana Academy today.  If you have the financial capacity to help Hawaii’s new emerging leaders to reach out, take on, and carry that mantle of leadership, please offer your financial support.

Together we can do this.

Gary Hooser

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Opportunity Lost – The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Annual Meeting – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

To be clear this is even worse than I originally thought.

Instead of a meeting of national leaders in Hawaii that promotes at the minimum balance and perhaps in our dreams even forward thinking – we get same-ole, same-ole.  We get a rerun of decades of industrial agriculture that a majority don’t want, don’t trust and won’t eat.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Annual Meeting that started this past Sunday, September 13 and runs through Wednesday the 16  in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii – is even worse than I originally thought. The meeting is hosted by NASDA President and Hawaii Chairman of Agriculture Scott Enright.   Mr. Enright runs the Department of Agriculture for the State of Hawaii.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, a featured speaker at the meeting is Margery Bronster whose law firm is suing Kauai County, Hawaii County and Maui County opposing their right to protect the health and environment of their citizens through the regulation of industrial agriculture.  I thought this invitation faux pas was bad enough but it gets worse.

To have Ms Bronster speak without inviting a contrary opinion is offensive both to the elected County officials who worked and voted on these issues, but more importantly to the citizens who supported those votes.  On Maui over 50% of the voters supported County regulation and their voices and perspective deserves also to be represented.

But to add even further to the bad judgment, a close look at the entire meeting agenda shows an overwhelming majority of the invited speakers are without question staunch and aggressive advocates of the industrial agrochemical model of our agricultural future.

Clearly the State is not listening to the people, nor to the marketplace.

Though organic food production is the fastest growing segment of agriculture in the nation, only one speaker out of 14 will speak to this topic while a Dow Chemical lobbyist will speak, a former Syngenta lobbyist will also present remarks, and of course Ms Bronster who represents the industry in court against three Hawaii Counties will also be featured.  In addition, various other individuals who have official positions opposing GMO labeling and who downplay the health and environmental impacts of pesticide usage also have been given platforms in which to promote their agenda and their world view.

It is not just disgruntled environmentalists and residents worried about their health and the health of our natural environment but it is also the global marketplace that is screaming for attention and being ignored by our State.

Yet the government of the State of Hawaii give these voices no attention at all, or at best a few scraps now and then to quiet the rabble.

“Major packaged-food companies lost $4 billion in market share alone last year, as shoppers swerved to fresh and organic alternatives.”  Fortune May 2015

Where is the balance?  Where is the respect for views and opinions and science that support a more sustainable approach to agriculture? Where is the perspective that says local governance at the County level is a valuable participant in the decision making process?  Where is the common sense business approach that says Hawaii should go after niche organic markets?

Industrial food is bad for our health, bad for the environment and increasingly is proving bad for business.

Our State government at many levels, both State agencies and in the legislature, have shown that they are more or less tone deaf when it comes to the concerns being expressed by a significant number of Hawaii residents and by the marketplace.

Clearly, it well past time for them to wake up, to listen and to respond accordingly.

FYI: Tuesday September 15th schedule of NASDA speakers in the morning include:

Breakfast sponsored by Dow AgroSciences with remarks by Megan Provost, State Government Affairs (lobbyist)

James Gorny, Ph.D., Vice President, Food Safety & Technology, Produce Marketing Association (?)

Ryan Yates, Director, Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation (lobbyist)

Margery Bronster, Founding Partner, Bronster Fujichaku & Robbins Attorneys at Law (representing the agrochemical cartels in court against Maui, Kauai and Hawaii County)

Ron Williams, Government relations: Now at Coca-Cola, Previously with Syngenta (lobbyist)

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Bad Taste, Bad Judgment – Bad Policy

Big Ag meeting scheduled for Kona – Bad Taste, Bad Judgment – Bad Policy

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is holding their 2015 Annual Meeting beginning this Sunday, September 13, in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The meeting is hosted by NASDA President and Hawaii Chairman of Agriculture Scott Enright.

One of the featured key note speakers is former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster. Ms Bronster and her law firm Bronster Fujichaku Robbins on behalf of the largest chemical companies in the world are suing Kauai County for the right to spray poisonous chemicals next to schools, hospitals and homes.  The court action also prevents Kauai residents from knowing exactly what chemicals are being used in their neighborhoods (disclosure).

Actually Ms Bronster and her associates are representing the chemical companies in legal actions in 3 of 4 Hawaii Counties seeking to block, overturn and prevent local governments and the local citizenry from protecting their local communities via the regulation of pesticides and genetically modified organisms.

On Kauai, the law that was passed by the Kauai County Council simply required disclosure and modest buffer zones around schools, hospitals and homes.  Rather than comply these large chemical companies hired Ms Bronster and numerous other big guns in the legal community to take Kauai County to court where the matter is now on appeal.

5 of 7 Councilmembers on Kauai voted to pass Ordinance 960, a majority of Hawaii County Councilmembers and over half of Maui voters voted to regulate the growing of genetically modified crops on their island.

Yet, the NADC invites the person leading the charge against all 3 counties as a key-note speaker to their conference on agricultural policy.

Ms Bronster will no doubt speak on the horrors of having local governments attempting to govern.  At the minimum the NADC in its wisdom (or political acumen) should have invited an opposing view point and balanced the conversation with a presentation on the benefits of local control and local agricultural policy.

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State law on RUP disclosure implemented.. kind of but not really– Plus Kauai County stats on glyphosate

State law on RUP disclosure implemented.. kind of but not really– Plus Kauai County stats on glyphosate

Here is statewide 2014 Restricted Use Pesticide(RUP)  data provided by the State Department of Agriculture (not glyphosate or other general use pesticides)

Note: This list includes things like “Chlorine” which is used to purify water by some of the County water systems.  This list includes ALL RUP’s sold in the State except termite treatment chemicals and includes agricultural usage but is not exclusive to agricultural use.

Here is the data for Kauai only products containing glyphosate

Kauai Usage Calendar Year 2014:

*State DOT Kauai Highways – 64 gallons
*Kauai County Public Works/(mostly roads) 118 gallons
*Kauai County Parks including Wailua golf course 35 gallons
The above info was provided in writing in response to my request

The statewide RUP data is provided due to a state law passed in 2013.  Introduced by Kauai Representative Dee Morikawa the measure according to Civil Beat:

“Initially the bill sought to require an annual list of all pesticides used in each county by type and volume; a summary of health complaints related to pesticide use reported to the department and the results of those investigations; an analysis of trends in pesticide use; an assessment of the accuracy of the reported pesticide use data; and an accounting of the amount and type of pesticides imported into the state and the amount and type of pesticides reported as being used in the state.”

“But by the time HB 673 passed the Legislature, it simply required the legislative reference bureau to conduct a study, and ordered the Department of Agriculture to publish on its website the public information contained in all restricted use pesticide records, reports, or forms submitted to the department for all uses except structural pest control.”

And now as you can see, two years later when the data is finally published it contains only the very minimal total amounts per County and the public still has no information as to which companies use which pesticides in which parts of their community.  The Department of Agriculture has the data, they just will not give it to us.

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Insider Email, Labor Day and AgroChemical Cartel Mixed Plate

Today of course is Labor Day and here are a couple of good reads I recommend:

“…this Labor Day, let’s not only chant that America needs a raise but also rally around a simple norm that all workers should share fairly in the economic growth they help produce.”

“Today’s $7.25 per hour minimum has a purchasing power about 25 percent below its peak in 1968….”

“Fifteen dollars, phased in gradually, is the better option. It would be adequate and feasible, assuming that policy makers also take steps to raise middle-class wages, which would include tough enforcement of updated laws on overtime, scheduling, worker classification and other labor issues.”

The curtain continues to be pulled back on the actions and impacts of the chemical companies here in Hawaii and around the world.

Dr. Folta testified for the chemical companies during the Bill 2491 hearings on Kauai –

“Dr. Folta is among the most aggressive and prolific biotech proponents, although until his emails were released last month, he had not publicly acknowledged the extent of his ties to Monsanto.”

“I am grateful for this opportunity and promise a solid return on the investment,” Dr. Folta wrote in an email to one Monsanto executive.”


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One of the largest and most credible news source in the world reports on Kauai and the chemical companies.

Just published today in The Guardian and is a MUST READ AND SHARE:

Pesticides in Paradise: Hawaii’s spike in birth defects puts focus on GM crops

And know that the rapid pro GMO bloggers will cry foul and attempt to discredit the facts.

One of the key facts are the numbers and quantities of Restricted Use Pesticides used on Kauai.  The number quoted in the story and the number I use is 18 tons used annually.  The industry and their paid online shills vociferously dispute this number and instead quote a much lower number.  So below I fully disclose how the 18 tons is calculated.

Also for further facts to combat the spin and disinformation that will be put forth by the industry bloggers please consult the source documents attached here:  9 MOST FREQUENT MISSTATEMENTS MADE BY CHEMICAL COMPANIES IN HAWAI‘I

The basis for which the 18 ton figure was calculated is as follows:

1)      Data of is from the total RUP’s sold to agricultural users in Kauai County during 2012 provided by State Department of Agriculture.

Raw data is here:

Summary data is here:

2)      From the above data source the total amount of all RUP’s sold during 2012 to the 4 agrochemical companies only = 5,477.20 lb’s and 4,324.5 gallons

3)      Converting gallons to pounds using the weight of water: 4,342.5 gallons X 8.33 lb’s  = 36,173.025 lb’s

4)      Combine 36,173.025 plus 5,477.20 = 41,650.225 lb’s divided by 2,000lb’s = 20.825 tons

5)      Adjust downward by 10% and round down to compensate for unknown actual weight, varying weights of the gallons of RUP and variation due to purchase/use factor

6)      = 18 tons of RUP purchased/used annually – based on assumption that the companies were using approximately what they were purchasing.

7)      Note: The data made available to me consists of RUP’s purchased annually.  The companies are purchasing Restricted Use Pesticides products and they are not purchasing “active ingredients”.  Thus the SDOA records reflect the annual purchase of over 18 tons of RUP’s by these 4 companies.

8)      When the State Department of Agriculture was originally requested to provide information pertaining to RUP sales in Kauai County, they provided the data referenced above consisting of “RUP product purchased and not active ingredient purchased”.  However since the controversy and attempts to regulate the industry and use of these RUP’s the SDOA have started reporting the data also in “active ingredient format” which results in the lower figures quoted by the industry and the SDOA.

9)      It is important to note that each active ingredient has different characteristics and different levels of toxicity.  All active ingredients are not equal.  It is also important to note that the “other ingredients” also have impacts and that no one has studied the combined impacts of all of the various 22 different kinds of RUP’s and their active and “other” ingredients  interacting in the Hawaii environment.

10)   PLEASE READ “9 Most Frequent Misstatements by Chemical Companies.” This document is linked to source documents that respond/refute many of the claims by the agrochemical industry on Kauai that are misleading at best.

11)   There is no accurate data showing current use that is available publicly.  The “Good Neighbor Program” data is not verifiable and the SDOA has refused to continue providing per company RUP sales data.

12)   It is also important to note that the “Good Neighbor Program” does not require the disclosure of “Round Up” or glyphosate based products.  I have requested in writing that this also be disclosed however the 4 companies have refused to do so.  It is likely from the historical information I do have in terms of “agricultural industry standards” – that glyphosate use far exceeds all RUP use combined in terms of tonnage.

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Essential reading if you care about the health risks and wonder about the integrity of the agrochemical companies in Hawaii. A must read and share!

If you care about the health risks and wonder about the integrity of the agrochemical companies operations in Hawaii, please, please, please take a moment to read this and share it with your friends and neighbors.

****The New England Journal of Medicine – GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health

“The first of the two developments that raise fresh concerns about the safety of GM crops is a 2014 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve Enlist Duo, a new combination herbicide comprising glyphosate plus 2,4-D…”

“In our view, the science and the risk assessment supporting the Enlist Duo decision are flawed. The science consisted solely of toxicologic studies commissioned by the herbicide manufacturers in the 1980s and 1990s and never published, not an uncommon practice in U.S. pesticide regulation.

These studies predated current knowledge of low-dose, endocrine-mediated, and epigenetic effects and were not designed to detect them. The risk assessment gave little consideration to potential health effects in infants and children, thus contravening federal pesticide law. It failed to consider ecologic impact, such as effects on the monarch butterfly and other pollinators. It considered only pure glyphosate, despite studies showing that formulated glyphosate that contains surfactants and adjuvants is more toxic than the pure compound.”

****DuPont And The Chemistry of Deception: by Sharon Lerner (first in three part series) This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. A well written and powerful investigative report.

“DuPont scientists had closely studied the chemical for decades and through their own research knew about some of the dangers it posed. Yet rather than inform workers, people living near the plant, the general public, or government agencies responsible for regulating chemicals, DuPont repeatedly kept its knowledge secret.

Another revelation about C8 makes all of this more disturbing and gives the upcoming trials, the first of which will be held this fall in Columbus, Ohio, global significance: This deadly chemical that DuPont continued to use well after it knew it was linked to health problems is now practically everywhere.

A man-made compound that didn’t exist a century ago, C8 is in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans, according to a 2007 analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as in newborn human babies, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood.”

****In case you missed it earlier: Here is the entire 4 minute video of remarks I delivered to the Syngenta Shareholders Meeting held in Basel Switzerland.

****And if you are not familiar with the who, what and why we went to Switzerland in the first place here is the full story.

****Finally: WATCH THIS 23 MINUTE FILM – IT IS EXTRAORDINARY ʻĀINA means “that which feeds us” in the Hawaiian language. This 23 minute film highlights a way to address some of the most pressing environmental and health crises facing the island of Kauaʻi – and of island Earth.

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