The Hooser Blog: Thankful For The Heroes

Yes, I am the luckiest man on the planet.  To live on Kauai surrounded by the natural beauty, to have a loving and growing family, to have my health, to be able to do the work that I do and to be surrounded by a wonderful and supportive community of friends – is downright incredibly awesome.  I often tell folks that I am stuck in a positive feedback loop and for that I have only family and friends to thank.

There are so many of you who are part of my life and are probably not aware of how much I am inspired by who you are, for I am blessed to be surrounded by heroes.

While I applaud those “every day heroes” who are in our classrooms, our hospitals and sprinkled throughout our community, my thanks today goes out especially to those unique individuals who go the extra mile and who work relentlessly toward the goal of making our island and our planet a better place.

I am speaking of those who  are willing to stand up and be counted and speak truth to power even when the topic is controversial and the position perhaps unpopular.  These are the individuals who show up, put there shoulders to the task at hand and who make significant personal sacrifices in pursuit of making our community and our world a better place.

To all of you from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.

Today?  What am I doing this Thanksgiving Day?  Well…Claudette has me helping out in the kitchen this morning, mixing the sweet potato casserole sifting the powdered sugar and washing a never ending flow of dirty dishes.  Later this afternoon we join the Tangalin side of the family in Lihue for our traditional Thanksgiving Day feast after which I will no doubt stretch-out on the couch and take my traditional post Thanksgiving Day nap :-)

Yes indeed, I am the luckiest man on the planet.

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The Hooser Blog: Personal reflections, council updates, re-election campaign – and matters concerning angst, fear and the nature of our humanity

In a group discussion recently, questions and concerns were raised about the pitfalls of “trying to do too much”.

Honestly, I had a difficult time grasping the concept.  I see life as being far too short and the challenges of our world far too great to err on the side of “doing too little”.  While I understand the need to stop on occasion to sharpen the saw and to smell the roses, I love the work that I do and am driven forward by a pressing sense of urgency.

But yes, I am setting aside time to enjoy with family and friends during the coming holiday season and will be traveling a bit, exploring new places and meeting new people.

At the bottom of this message, after the Council and re-election updates, are additional personal reflections which I hope you will take the time to read and perhaps discuss with your friends and neighbors.  For now though, there is the business of today to attend to.

My Kauai County Council focus at the present moment is on:

  1. CAP property tax increases for owner occupied homes and long term affordable rentals: This measure Bill 2606 has been introduced, passed First Reading and is scheduled for a Public Hearing on December 2.  Please submit testimony at and help spread the word! Details and a copy of the Bill can be found here:
  2. Increase Affordable Housing: Councilmember Mason Chock and I are working together with the County Housing and Planning Department (and many others) in the development of an affordable housing initiative that will increase the availability of affordable rentals.  Increasing affordable housing options must become our Counties #1 priority and I am committed to this goal.  Stay tuned for more on this as the administration begins moving this measure through the approval process.
  3. Regulate Paid Lobbyists and Lobbying: The Hawaii State Constitution requires every County to regulate those individuals and organizations who are paid to influence government actions, however Kauai County does not presently have a “lobbying ordinance” in place.  I have a proposed draft Bill that addresses this issue which is now under its final legal review and is expected to be introduced in late December or early January.
  4. Oppose any increase in the General Excise Tax:  It is possible there will be a proposal introduced to exercise the new County authority to increase the GET.  I am adamantly opposed to this idea.

Re-Election Campaign:

The answer is yes, I am running for re-election to the Kauai County Council and yes I do need your help, your financial support and volunteers for the following specific positions:

1)  Accountant: Am searching for someone qualified to assist the campaign in managing its finances and filing the appropriate campaign spending reports.

2) Web Design/Management:  The campaign website needs to be updated and integrated with other social media and blog platforms.

3) Area Captains: Am seeking 5 to 7 key individuals to cover the main geographical areas of the island.  Responsibilities include yard sign and banner support, help with organizing door to door canvassing, coffee hour organizing/scheduling, and occasional “sign holding”.  This person should be a long time resident of the area and comfortable working will all community demographics.

All of the above persons would then constitute the “campaign team” and work together on all aspects of the campaign.  Please email me separately at if you are interested in getting involved and can make a commitment to help.

There is a place for everyone!

Yes, campaign contributions are needed as well.  We need to update our core campaign video, restock basic supplies, plan and host a campaign launch event and talk story coffee hours, as well as to place holiday messages and begin to advertising in various community programs that are deserving of support and that provide valuable exposure to the community.  Please donate today if you can.  No amount is too small and the maximum allowable contribution is $2,000

Mahalo to all who have already given and offered support and help.

Like most, my work and life is focused primarily on the community in which I live.  However, events of the past few days have made us all keenly aware of the greater world around us that seems to be spinning out of control.

The discussion that has erupted around the question of accepting refugees into our State and Country has brought out the worse.

I have no answers or solutions but know that collectively we all need to take a deep breath, close our eyes, pause for a moment and think deeply about who we are and the core values that support our humanity.

Please read if you have a moment my friend Luke Evslin’s well written and deeply personal blog piece on this topic

A woman who was seemingly distraught at the thought of bringing Syrian refugees to Hawaii posted in response a furious rant opposed to allowing refugees to enter Hawaii.  Her point was similar to many others that have been expressed recently “We don’t have the resources to take care of our own problems and have no business trying to help others until we help our own.”.

My response to her was:

“In this time of fear and angst on many levels and on many issues, both global and local – pushback against the concept of bringing more people into our home is understandable. But if a homeless child from any country or any religion or a family through no fault of their own was fleeing violence and seeking safety were to knock on my door, I would be hard pressed not to find them some small corner of my humble hale where they could lay their heads safely, at least for a little while. Luke Evslin speaks for me on this one.”

I hate to end this post on a somber note, but feel compelled to speak out on this issue and to stand up and be counted.

Aloha,  gary

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Important Property Tax proposal on November 4 Kauai Council Agenda

Important Property Tax proposal on November 4 Kauai Council Agenda

I have introduced the following measure and need your help today in spreading the word to home owners and renters through-out Kauai County.


Your testimony in support is needed and important:

The entire text of the proposed Bill is here:

In short if passed into law, this measure would limit property tax increases for owner occupied homes (Homestead Exemption) and those properties rented long term at affordable rental rates.  If passed any future tax increase would be limited to no more than the most recent actual cost of living increase as reflected by the Consumer Price Index.

To be clear this proposed property tax CAP only applies to homes in which the owner lives in the house full time and/or those properties who have been certified as long term rentals at affordable rental rates. Hotels, vacation rentals, businesses, and other “market rentals” or vacant “investment properties” would not be capped.


  1. In recent years and for a variety of reasons, property taxes on Kauai for many residents have fluctuated widely with many homeowners incurring very large and unexpected increases.
  2. With increasing property values, increasing costs of county government and the present and recent “deficit spending” nature of County government spending (caused in large part by the rapid expansion of various county services combined with the elimination of the State Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) income to the County) – the likelihood of future increases in property taxes is great.  Dealing with the spending side of this equation is an entirely different conversation that needs to happen as well.
  3. Homeowners who reside on their property and those that rent at truly affordable rental rates have no way in which it “pass on” the cost of property tax increases.  Large unexpected fluctuations can have severe adverse impacts, especially to those on fixed incomes.  Hotels, businesses and others have the opportunity to “pass on the additional cost to the consumer” while home owners residing in their own home do not.
  4. While homeowners have an obligation to help pay for County services and while the cost of County services continue to increase, the obligation of existing homeowners should be to support only normal cost of living increases and not be forced to support additional increases in the cost and expansion of county government.
  5. It is the nature of property tax “caps” that over time they result in wide disparities between those property owners benefiting from the CAP in its early years and those property owners purchasing property at later dates.  Kauai had a CAP in place which was recently removed in order to eliminate those disparities and “reset” the tax structure in a more equitable fashion.  While I supported the removal of that CAP and the resulting property tax “reset”, it is clear that a new CAP needs to be put into place again to protect homeowners and those properties that are rented at long term affordable rates.

Please submit your testimony today and prior to 8:30am on November 4 at:

Please indicate clearly in the subject line: Proposed Draft Bill (No. 2606) and your support measure (or opposition if that is the case).  Please in the body of the email explain at least briefly your reasons and/or how the current property tax structure impacts you personally.

Thank you for being involved in the process.  Passage of this measure will require strong community support as the current majority will likely resist its passage and argue instead for a “comprehensive review” of the entire tax structure.  Many on the Council have been saying this for the past two years, yet nothing has been done.  I agree and support a comprehensive review, but in the meantime we need to CAP at a reasonable level increases to those that live in their homes and rent at affordable rates.

Entire Agenda is here (yes it also includes the “barking dog Bill as well):,%202015%20Council%20Meeting.pdf?ver=2015-10-29-095128-057


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An almost complete history of Bill No. 2491, its path through the Kauai County Council legislative process – Regulating Pesticide Use and GMO Disclosure. Includes a collection of video and media source documents.

An almost complete history of Bill No. 2491, its path through the Kauai County Council legislative process – Regulating Pesticide Use and GMO Disclosure.  Includes a collection of video and media source documents.

Prepared by Councilmember Gary L. Hooser

06/26/2013 C 2013-234 was received for the record.





06/26/2013 Proposed Draft Bill (No. 2491) was passed on 1st reading, public hearing scheduled for 07/31/2013, and referred to the Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee

Proposed Draft Bill:




07/31/2013 Public Hearing for Bill No. 2491




08/05/2013 Committee Meeting; Bill No. 2491 was deferred to the 09/09/2013 Committee Meeting





09/09/2013 Committee Meeting; Bill No. 2491 was deferred to the 09/27/2013 Committee Meeting





09/27/2013 Committee Meeting; Bill No. 2491 was recommended for approval as amended to Bill No. 2491, Draft 1, on second and final reading





Committee Report:

10/08/2013 Special Council Meeting; Bill No. 2491, Draft 1; Meeting was recessed; this item was not taken up until 10/15/2013





10/15/2013 Continued (10/08/2013) Special Council Meeting; Bill No. 2491, Draft 1 was amended to Bill No. 2491, Draft 2 and adopted on second and final reading





11/07/2013 Special Council Meeting; C 2013-363 was received for the record; transmittal of Mayoral veto





11/07/2013 Special Council Meeting; Bill No. 2491, Draft 2; Mayoral Veto Laid on Table





11/14/2013 Special Council Meeting; Bill No. 2491, Draft 2; Meeting was recessed; action not taken until 11/16/2013





11/16/2013 Continued (11/14/2013) Special Council Meeting; Bill No. 2491, Draft 2; Motion to override the Mayoral veto and approve Bill No. 2491, Draft 2 was approved 





11/16/2013 Ordinance No. 960


08/25/2014 Ordinance No. 960 (Court Ruled Invalid)



10 minute interview “Why Bill 2491, an interview with Councilmember Gary Hooser (August 12, 2013):

KAUAI Mana March through Lihue September 8, 2013:  Nice 3 minute overview of March:

Short clip of gathering at Historical County building:

Collection of speeches from march:

If you are not familiar with Gary Hooser’s personal and professional 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 16 minute video interesting and informative (June 2014):

A high quality 4 minute video of history of the movement in Hawaii (April 2015):

Gary Hooser speaking at the Syngenta Shareholders Meeting in Basel Switzerland: “Withdraw Your Lawsuit Against County of Kaua`i!” (April 2015):

Excellent high quality 23 minute video (July 2015) : ʻĀINA “That Which Feeds Us”

Below is a “local media time-line” containing the majority of the news articles published on Bill 2491 and related issues by The Garden Island Newspaper, as well as some articles published in Civil Beat.  There are uncountable other news reports from other media in Hawaii, nationally and internationally that I will attempt to document at a future point in time.  Please suggest in the comment section any other news accounts that were written during the passage of 2491 or that are directly relevant to the Bill/Law and its past or present status.

June 21, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Hooser introduces GMO bill

June 26, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Council to hear GMO bill today’

June 27, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘GMO bill draws split crowd’

June 28, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘GMO bill clears first reading

July 14, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Attorney: Pesticides at WCMS violate federal law

July 17, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Hearing July 31 for bill 2491

July 27, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper “Friends of ag launch ‘save Kauai farms’ campaign”

August 1, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘GMO issue heats up’

August 1, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Red vs Blue’

August 2, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘GMO bill moves to committee on Monday’

August 6, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘GMO bill deferred

August 19, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Attorney offers to defend county over 2491’

August 31, 2013 – OpEd by Gary Hooser in The Garden Island Newspaper ‘The ebb and flow of Bill 2491 – people, industry and state neglect’

September 4, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Massive march set for Sunday’

September 5, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Katayama cleared for testimony’

September 6, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Bill 2491 goes behind closed doors’

September 6, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Crosby, Nash and guests treat Kauai’

September 9, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Mana march draws thousands’

September 9, 2013 – Civil Beat ‘Kauai’s passionate anti-GMO march aims to sway local biotech vote’

September 10, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Compromise in doubt on 2491’

September 10, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Floodgates open to amendments to GMO bill’

September 11, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Council defers bill 2491, again

September 19, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Mana march costs the county’

September 24, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Governor: State not County should tackle pesticides’

September 25, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Abercrombie stirs pesticide debate’

September 25, 2013 – Civil Beat ‘Governor wades into Hawaii pesticide debate as Kauai poised to take action’

September 27, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘DOH: Kauai rates not unusual.’

September 29, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘2491 amended’

October 3, 2013 – Civil Beat ‘Local attorneys lend support to GMO and pesticides bill’

October 8, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Full Council takes on 2491

October 9, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Mayor calls for 2491 delay

October 10, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘To defer or not to defer’

October 15, 2013 – Civil Beat – ‘Does Hawaii’s failure to enforce pesticide use justify action by Kauai?

October 16, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Undecided’

October 17, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Passed’

October 18, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Bill 2491 sent to mayor’

October 20, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Attorneys to mayor: Sign 2491

October 20, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Draft spells out rules for bill 2491’

October 29, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Deadline looms for bill 2491 decision’

October 31, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘The Mayor Vetoes 2491’

November 1, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Mayor rejects bill says it’s legally flawed’

November 3, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Mayor reportedly threatened

November 5, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Search begins to fill new council seat’

November 6, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper “Legal dust up’

November 6, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper “Pressure mounts as special meeting approaches’

November 7, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Decision on pesticide study delayed’

November 7, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘County heightens security

November 8, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘One final vote’

November 10, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Adios to aloha?’

November 13, 2013 – State Department of Agriculture Press Release announcing Kauai Good Neighbor Program

November 14, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Yes or no on override, respect please’

November 14, 2013 – Civil Beat – ‘Kauai poised for override vote on GMO pesticide bill’

November 15, 2013 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Waiting on the seventh’

November 16, 2013: Civil Beat – ‘Kauai’s GMO and Pesticide Bill Is Set to Become Law After Veto Override

November 17, 2013 The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Overrode’

November 19, 2013 The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Legal options – next step’

November 19, 2013 Hawaii Tribune Herald (Big Island of Hawaii) ’Council passes gmo bill’

December 4, 2013: The Garden Island – ‘Voluntary Disclosure Begins’ “Responding to a whirlwind of activity surrounding Bill 2491, the state unveiled the voluntary program via a press release Nov. 13 — just days before the Kauai County Council passed its own measure into law.”

December 6, 2013 – Civil Beat ‘Maui may become Hawaii’s next battlefield over GMOs and pesticides’

December 24, 2013: The Garden Island – ‘Impact study to start’

January 11, 2014 – Civil Beat – ‘Supporters of Kauai GMO, pesticide law react to biotech lawsuit’

January 11, 2014 – Civil Beat – ‘Biotech giants sue Kauai over pesticides, GMO law

January 12, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Lawsuit filed’

February16, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘BASF on board’

February 25, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Lawsuit defenders could grow

April 13, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper – ‘Hearing Monday to determine intervention in 2491 litigation’

April 15, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper – “Hooser: ‘big win’ for Kauai

April 22, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper “Attorneys:2491 backers ‘eco terrorists’

April 24, 2014 – The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Petition seeks more regulation for GMO users’

August 25, 2014 – Civil Beat – ‘Federal judge invalidates Kauai’s anti-GMO law’

November 4, 2014 – Civil Beat – ‘Maui GMO farming ban sqeaks by’

November 27, 2014 The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Judge tosses big island GMO law’

December 4, 2014 The Garden Island Newspaper ‘Mayor vetoes ‘ag’ bill’

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#youcan’tmakethisstuffup – The Kauai County Council passes new rules prohibiting Councilmembers from asking testifiers questions of substance.

Yes, that’s right, in a 4 to 2 vote (CM Chock was absent), a majority of the Kauai County Council changed its own internal rules to prevent any Councilmember from asking questions of the public when they testify.  If Chair Mel Rapozo permits, Councilmembers may ask testifiers to repeat or restate their position, but no questions pertaining to the substance of the testimony shall be permitted from this day forward.

As you may have surmised: Councilmember Yukimura and I were the lone two dissenting votes.  We attempted to convince our 4 colleagues to at the minimum defer the item to allow a proper public hearing and allow Councilmember Chock to participate in the vote and discussion but the majority faction of 4 declined our request.

A story with additional information was published in The Garden Island:

Only one person testified in support of the Rule change of the 4 persons from the public who were present and offered testimony.  2 others opposed the measure and another individual was non committal.  (Note: The original version of this blog incorrectly stated that no one testified in support of the measure.)

The actual verbatim FIRST CHANGE that was added is below and represents the new rule addition in its entirety:

10) “The Chair may allow Councilmembers to ask speakers to repeat or rephrase statements during their testimony, but Councilmembers shall not ask questions that give the speaker a greater opportunity to testify than others.  Council members shall not ask speakers about the substance of their testimony, or comment on testimony or speakers during the testimony period.”

The key words of course are “may” and “shall”.

The SECOND CHANGE to the rules are the deletion of the following that is in bold:

(e) Conduct of Public Hearings.

(1) Public hearings are held to receive testimony from the public.  Councilmember shall reserve their opinions, questions, and arguments for the appropriate Council or Committee meeting; [except that Councilmembers may ask clarifying questions that enable the Council to better understand the point or position of the speaker.]

So – In addition to prohibiting Councilmembers from asking testifiers questions of substance, the new rules also delete a Councilmembers ability to ask clarifying questions to better understand the point or position of a speaker during a public hearing.

What makes the entire scenario even more surreal in a Catch-22 kind of way – The new rules essentially say:  At a Public Hearing Councilmembers shall reserve their questions for the appropriate Council or Committee meetings.  However Councilmembers are not allowed to ask any questions of substance at those same Council or Committee meetings and only (with the Chairs permission) may ask the testifier to repeat or rephrase and in fact cannot ask questions regarding the substance of the testimony at all.

The Kauai Council Rules in their entirety can be found here:

The Chair of the Council stated the purpose of the rule changes was to prevent “grandstanding” by Councilmembers and “badgering the testifier”.  It was claimed that several un-named members of the public complained that they felt uncomfortable when Councilmembers asked them questions or put them on the spot.  It was also claimed that the new rules were based on Maui County Council Rules and Practice.

For the record, Maui County Council Rules do not prohibit Councilmembers from asking questions of substance nor do they prohibit Councilmembers from asking clarifying questions.  The actual practice of the Maui County Council is that after every testifier presents their testimony the Chair actually invites the Maui Councilmembers to ask clarifying questions. “Is there any need for clarification?” or similar is asked of Councilmembers after every testifier.

The pertinent section of the Maui Council Rules is as follows:

3. Conduct.  Testimony shall pertain to items on the meeting agenda.  Testifiers shall direct their remarks to the presiding officer and not to any individual Councilmember or person in the audience.  The presiding officer may allow members to ask testifiers to repeat or rephrase statements made during their testimony, but members shall not ask questions that give a testifier a greater opportunity to testify than others.  Members shall not comment on testimony or testifiers during the testimony period.

The entire Rules for the Maui County Council are here:

Hawaii County Council Rules state in part:

“During public testimony, Council members may ask the testifier a specific question, as opposed to making any comment of approval or disapproval or otherwise, and may request submission of specified additional information.” And also states: “Council Members shall refrain from making comments or asking questions of testifiers during statements from the public. All deliberation and discussion on an agenda item must take place after the item has been read into the record and a motion is pending on the floor. A Council Member may, however, request that a person presenting public testimony on an agenda item be available for questions during subsequent discussion.”

The entire Rules for the Hawaii County Council are here:

I was unable to easily locate the Rules for the City and County of Honolulu and will locate and update this post with that info in the near future.

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Trick or Treat? The Good Neighbor Program – A Masquerade Of Disclosure

Read through to the end please.  You will see that disclosure is not really disclosure and the label is not really the law because these companies disclose only a fraction of what they use and change the label without telling us.

A win of sorts was announced today in Civil Beat.

It is an inadequate win, but a small win none-the-less for those who worked so hard on Bill 2491 and continue to work hard around our State on related issues over the past few years.

While the Good Neighbor Program of “volunteer disclosure” and 100′ buffer zones is woefully inadequate, there is no question that the amount of disclosure and the amount of public education that exists today is far more than what it was two years ago.

Many will say that the Good Neighbor Program is “better than nothing” and though sometimes I have mixed feelings about this, at the end of the day my conclusion is yes, it is better than nothing and is a step in the right direction.

Now we press to make it mandatory with government over-sight and have it include ALL of the pesticides used by these large multinational agrochemical companies.

The companies, their lobbyists and their State regulator/enablers think this will buy them some time. They can and now will say that they do disclose and they do have buffer zones. This statewide move is from the same 2491 playbook – offer voluntary industry self regulation to pacify the public and dilute the political need to pass a Bill mandating true disclosure and real meaningful buffer zones.

Why is the Good Neighbor Program not adequate? Why is it in large part a trick of non-disclosure masquerading as full disclosure?

The two main points which make the Good Neighbor Program entirely inadequate are:

1)      The voluntary nature of the program means there is no government oversight, no verification of the accuracy of the reporting, no accountability and no penalty for providing false information.  This is industry self-regulation and is insufficient.  The industry has a local and global history of repeatedly misrepresented their actions and operations.  To be meaningful any disclosure program requires independent verification.


Read this New York Times story about how Syngenta misrepresents the facts:

2)      The Good Neighbor Program includes only a small fraction of the total pesticide usage by the large agrochemical companies.

a.      Restricted Use Pesticide’s (RUP’S) are the most highly regulated but represent 25% or less of the total pesticides used by these companies.  Approximately 18 tons of RUP’s are used annually on Kauai alone based on State Department of Agriculture historical sales data (the ONLY verifiable data available).  See the exact calculations and the source documents for the 18 ton figure here:

The companies continue to refuse to disclose General Use Pesticide (GUP).  Glyphosate was recently declared a “probably carcinogen” and one of the primary crops grown/tested is “Round-Up Ready” corn which requires the application of large amounts of glyphosate, yet the companies refuse to disclose their glyphosate use and it is not included in the Good Neighbor Program.

b.      There are a dozen or more GUP’s being used by these same companies however the exact types and quantities used are unknown because there is no disclosure required.  These additional GUP’s are also often labeled as hazardous to humans, animals and aquatic creatures, not to mention bee’s and other organisms.

c.       A third group of pesticides being used by these companies and not being disclosed in the Good Neighbor Program are those pesticides referred to as “Special Local Need Label Registrations”.

These are pesticides in which the seller/user of the pesticide requests and receives from the State Department of Agriculture special consideration and exceptions to the existing Federal label requirement’s.  These “special exceptions” include allowing the pesticides to be used in wind conditions double the recommended wind speed on the existing label, and increasing the frequency of pesticide applications above and beyond the federal recommendations.

These pesticides carry strong warnings as to health and environmental impacts, yet there is no public disclosure when the labels are changed/amended and no public disclosure via the Good Neighbor Program.

i. One of the pesticides where the label has been changed is Evik (herbicide where allowable windspeed was doubled (10mph to 20mph) for application on Maui sugar cane).

The Maui sugar industry complained to the State Department of Agriculture (SDOA) that it was too windy on Maui to use Evik and alternatives would be too costly and requested that the SDOA change the label on Evik to double the allowable wind speed from a maximum of 10mph to 20mph.  The SDOA complied. There was no requirement to inform the public of the proposed change, no questions were asked as to the quantity of the herbicide being used, nor any in depth investigation as to the location of population centers, nor any discussion about the impact of burning the cane and the consequently the burning of that herbicide.  Conditions were placed to minimize drift and the applicator admonished to not apply when drift might occur, but bottom line is the allowable wind speed was doubled, there was no public notification and little due diligence went into the decision making

Amended label for Evik is here:

The regular Evik label is here:

This label warns Evik is toxic to aquatic animals and to not use near waterways.  There are numerous other warnings including warnings about burning the empty containers as a means of disposal.

ii.  Another of the pesticides where the label has been changed is Tilt and is a fungicide used on corn.

The amended label allows for an additional application of this fungicide by shortening the break between a pre-harvest application from 30 days to 3 days is here:

The regular label is here:

This label warns that because of residue issues, no food crops or animal grazing should be done for 100 days after application. In addition there are numerous additional warnings.

iii. A third pesticide where the label has been amended without any disclosure or public notification is Admire Pro.

That amended label is here:

The regular label is here:

Admire Pro is “highly toxic to bees” (and other organisms as well).  This label also carries the below warnings:


IMPORTANT: Bayer CropScience has not investigated the use of ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant for potential adverse interactions with any other crop protection or fertilizer products used in seed corn production, nor across potential commercial breeding lines. Therefore, adverse effects arising from the use of ADMIRE PRO Systemic Protectant on seed corn cannot be predicted and are therefore the responsibility of the User.

d.      A fourth group of pesticides that are not disclosed in the Good Neighbor Program are those that require a “Experimental Pesticide Use Permit”.  While the fact that these permits exist is known, the quantity and nature of the permits and experimental pesticide use is not known as there are no disclosure requirements.

Permit samples are here:

and also here:

Read The Actual Good Neighbor Program Requirements Here:

1)      The voluntary buffer zone of 100’ is woefully inadequate.  In addition the buffer does not apply to other areas where people regularly congregate such as businesses, parks, and roadways.  In addition the buffer does not apply to streams or other sensitive environmental waterways.  In any case 100’ is nothing.

2)      Pre-application notices are only for schools, hospitals and medical clinics who register.

What about everyone else?  Other homes and businesses or people traversing the area?  There should be pre-notification for the entire community so people can avoid the area if they are concerned or represent an especially sensitive population (pregnant women, young children etc).

3)      There is no provision of immediate disclosure in the case of suspected exposure by any resident who might be in the area.

A list of Special Local Need Label Registrations is here:

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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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