Proposed anti-GMO bills have consequences
If passed, Hawaii County Council’s anti-GMO bills 109 and 113, submitted by Brenda Ford and Margaret Wille and to be heard at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, will have unintended and serious consequences.
Both bills send the wrong message to our next generation. In their actions, they imply that conventional farming is not an honorable profession. This, in turn, threatens our goal of food self-sufficiency.
They threaten the livelihoods of Big Island farmers. Competitors who are not on the Big Island would be allowed to use new biotechnology, but not Big Island farmers. New technology generally results in lower costs, thus this would leave Big Island producers as high-cost producers.
We are criticizing and threatening the farmers, the very people who feed us and the ones we should be encouraging to help us achieve food self-sufficiency.
In the old days, farmers were held in high esteem. Criminalizing farmers is a new, and ill-advised, concept. What we need now is to slow down, take a deep breath and do things in a steady, rational manner.
All major health and safety agencies, nationally and internationally, say there is no difference between biotech- and conventional-developed crops in terms of our health and safety.
We are threatening the spirit of aloha. The last round of testimony on these bills resulted in a shameful display, lacking aloha altogether. This could have been prevented with better preparation.
We should kill both bills and form a group – free of politics – to advise us how to proceed. This group should set a goal of figuring out how we can all work together to achieve food self-sufficiency in a way that benefits the most people. It should study economic impacts of various alternatives. It should study and report on the safety of rainbow papayas. This group should also study the social impact of various alternatives.
Instead of acting and then perhaps studying, we really must study the situation first before making decisions and acting.
Owner, Hamakua Springs Country Farms
Kahaluu development will add to congestion
I can’t believe Towne Development wants to build homes and timeshare condos mauka of Kahaluu Beach Park. The traffic is already bad. I live across from Kahaluu Beach on a private road. Sometimes I have to wait almost 10 minutes to pull out of my driveway since cars are coming in both directions. There are county signs on both sides of my driveway, saying no parking — and people still park there. Surf schools take up parking on Alii Drive and tourists do, too, when the parking lot is full at Kahaluu Beach Park. And when surf’s up — it’s crazy.
I went up Kamehameha III Road and there was a car accident. Everyone had to turn around since the only way out was on Alii Drive. It took me 45 minutes to get back to my driveway.
If the Planning department OKs this development, I hope they can sleep at night.