Beware of County Fathers in Sheep’s Clothing

I’m using ‘Fathers’ in the rhetorical sense here with no intended slight to Brenda Ford and Emily Naeole, but I’ve been wondering all along how the heck the County Council, more particularly certain members of the East side block (Ikeda, Yoshimoto and Onishi) along with Mayor ‘Big Boy’ Billy Kenoi think this is a good time to sell off County land when the market is down and probably will be for quite some time.

Imagine the cheek to actually count on those funds to balance the budget! It’s nice to consider other options before raising property taxes or giving up some of the unfilled but conveniently funded county positions (so the money stays in the budget creating a nice little slush fund for the mayor), or God forbid, going to layoffs or furloughs -gasp, gasp!

The headline on the front page of today’s West Hawaii Today, “Sell, sell, sell” is captioned with ‘HAMAKUA LAND SALE DECISION PREDESTINED BY COUNTY OFFICIALS’.

Now I understand after attending the Talk Story session at Waikoloa Village Association the other evening (our own version of Town Hall meetings sponsored by our popular Association Manager, Jim Whillock) and it’s becoming more clear all the time. Councilman Pete Hoffmann in attendance, opined that they (the East side block) might already have a buyer in the wings. Let’s see, a buyer positioned to acquire prime agricultural lands at historic low prices due to the current economy and ailing real estate market. Who could that be?

I’ll give you a hint as to who it may be -Monsanto. We’re talking over 3,500 acres for around $8 Million (less than $2300/acre). In case this doesn’t ring a bell, Monsanto is a multinational bio-tech corporation in the business among other things of producing and promoting genetically engineered seeds. GE Seeds as they are known, boast better yields, more uniform and disease-resistant crops and supposedly help the starving world and provide a boon to small farmers.

However independent studies have shown links to GE crops and organ damage, increased use of petroleum based pesticides and eventual guaranteed contamination of neighboring farms and crops. And according to OpEdNews.Com,

“the real problem with them (GE-Seeds) are the patents they come with. The bio-tech companies are monopolizing seeds themselves, actually privatizing the DNA of life. They sell the GE-seeds at many times the price of normal seeds.”

Not only do they sell the seeds at much higher prices, they engineer the seeds to be sterile after one generation so after wind born contamination, neighboring farmers can no longer produce their own seeds. They have to buy from Monsanto. Monsanto and other bio-tech corporations have bought up all the normal seed companies tightening the screws for farmers.

Does this sound like a good direction to go here on the Big Island? I don’t think so. It sounds like another nail in the coffin for diversified agriculture and devastating long term effects in exchange for a quick buck now to balance the county budget. Call the County Council members now and tell them you don’t want this land sale to Monsanto or any other GE-Seed company.

Aloha, “Mikie”

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Michelle Kerr
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