Wednesday, April 30, 2008


TAKING MY CHEW TOY AND GOING HOME: The second Kookaburra-Kangaroo, Kookoo4CocoPuffs, Jimmy-Jonny-Jabber-Jam event will actually be taking place tonight in Kekaha despite attempts by Surfrider co-honcho Diana LeBedz’s to sabotage the community event so she could preach to the choir about GMOs instead of having a dialogue within the community.

The preparations for the “big tent” event has tuned into its own big-top side-show in recent days after LaBedz saw that she would be unable to control the event she had glommed onto and that the whole community- including the people who work for the GMO companies- would be invited to talk about things like the way they are poisoning our kids in school.

Without any consultation LaBedz sent out an email/press release yesterday “canceling”
the event saying that there were “insurance” problems and that instead they would be holding a session in Hanapepe with two anti GMO speakers she had invited

But it turns out nothing was cancelled. The problem is that a community dialogue was not what LaBedz wanted but rather she envisioned having her speakers preach to the choir, what the local community wanted to talk about be damned.

It all started yesterday mid-afternoon when LaBedz, apparently without talking to the original organizers, sent out the following to dozens of participant and members of the press:

Our speakers will be at a new location tomorrow 7:00 The Big Tent has been POSTPONED

Because of insurance, security and permits needed, the big tent will be postponed
Jimmy Torio will let us know the new date. The Kekaha Community Center is not available on April 30.

The Community Gathering's new location is United Church of Chris Hanappe. Right off the freeway next to the Hanappe Library across the street from the Fire Station.

Time 7:00 to 9:00
No need to bring chairs
Call if you have questions. Thank you. Diana XXX-XXXX
It's going to be wonderful. Please tell your friends, neighbors and family.

The Big Tent Event POSTPONED

Well this was certainly news to everyone else and after an apparent flurry of phone calls from the other angry organizers LaBedz sent this email to the same group:

This has been quite an ordeal. I changed the place because of the concern over the permits, insurance, security etc that Jimmy did not have, and only a day to make the changes happen for our guest speakers.

Jimmy is still going to have his event. Below is from an e-mail he sent about Dr's Pang and Valenzuela. He gave them both only 15 minutes to speak, we were quite concerned. Now I understand why. People reported that they heard Jimmy say on KKCR that Sygenta and Pioneer will be speaking.

"Although we may not have the EXPERTS.. We happen to have something we feel is better at the tent to discuss GMO. The representatives themselves whom many of us happen to know on a personal basis. We had planned to have both at the event but not this time. We had all along intended to invite the companies to participate and they are!"

I am so sorry about all this. I had no idea this would get ugly. Diana

Well this was all too much for Jonathan Jay who originally joined with Jimmy Torio who owned a big party tent and they both envisioned setting it up around the island for talk-story sessions about the issues in the community in a grassroots manner as opposed to the Mayor’s Ka Leo highly controlled and exclusionary community sessions.

The original session in Hanama`ulu was a bit of a success according to those who attended and it was stressed that all opinions views and persons were welcome and no one would have their views tossed aside as so often happens at meetings with an agenda.

But LaBedz insisted on making the Kekaha session into an anti GMO rally. And when all speakers- including representatives from the GMO seed companies- were invited and were going to be given equal time with the anti GMO-speakers she decided to sabotage the big tent and hold her own event.

Jay finally wrote to clear things up a bit:

Clarity - would that be a nice thing to have right now. Evidently we don't get to have that right now - too much waters stirred. Speaking only for moving forward, and not dipping back into the present mud flats, please do not take the wrong lesson from the present snafu. Here is a clarification of the purpose of the BIG Tent:

The primary purpose for the BIG Tent is COALITION BUILDING. As such, the BIG Tent IS available for community events, and CAN be used to prioritize a particular issue of import to the community.

This embracing focus on a particular issue will be placed into a context
of issues to the community. This way, the focused issue will not exist in any kind of artificial vacuum. This way, the opportunity for coalition building and strengthening the community's ability to make progress is brought to the fore - the WHOLE POINT of the BIG Tent.

The BIG Tent is NOT available for EXCLUSIVE focus on an issue that excludes all other matters and perspectives. To do so would be to take the issue out of context and then only look at half of it, not a helpful approach to expanding coalitions. This can be exclusive rather than inclusive, and IS ONE OF THE PRIMARY BARRIERS TO COALITION BUILDING WITHIN OUR CONTROL. This can define ourselves in opposition to others, locking in our problems rather than finding new ways to reach out and come together with solutions. Aole!

To review and amend Judie's earlier statement:

General Community Events: yes, BIG Tent!
Embracing Focus on an Issue in Context: yes, BIG Tent!
Exclusionary Focus on Issue in Vacuum: `a`ole mahalo!

please try come to at least one of the events tonight - either the larger community event in kekaha or Diana's event in hanapepe. The split is unfortunate, but either or both will still be worth your while.


Respected local Kekaha leader, kupuna Jose Bulatao had been key to organizing the event, trying to bring the local community to the event after many of them- some of whom owe their livelihood to the GMO seed companies- have been up-in-arms over the obvious, reported-yet-ignored-by-authorities poisoning of their children and neighbors by Sygenta and Pioneer- to the event .

He wrote everyone on the email list saying

I concur and wholeheartedly agree with Jonathan's statements articulated (in Jonathan Jay’s letter).

Thank you,
Jose/Mr B

Now exposed as having fraudulently tried to sabotage the event and replace it with her own little event LaBedz wrote the following response to Jay

For clarity. This event was organized by the west side community members. The Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi, GMO Free Kauai, People for the Preservation of Kauai, members of the Sierra Club, Malama Kauai, the Surfrider Foundation, other organizations and individuals all had a shared vision. Our purpose is to help parents understand the abuse of chemicals around schools and the gmo plots spreading in our west side neighborhoods.

The tent's agenda, although good, distracted from our mission, diminished our goal and their leaders dropped one of our important speakers.

I had little time and choice when told that the red tape was not in order. So, it is what it is.

People can come to the Big Tent and hear the song sung by Pioneer and Sygenta and all the rest. Or, hear the honest truth from professionals that care deeply for Kauai's people and the land. ~Diana

To which Jay responded:

a hiccup with permits and insurance did indeed happen, but rather than resolve a very simple matter, a TREMENDOUS confusion has been sown.

now there are two worthwhile events (at the same time) rather than one, terribly garbled communications and altered plans at the last minute.

this is more than unfortunate; it is very junior high school.

Great team work is how as an Island we will resolve problems and move forward - evidently we need to work on our team work building skills.


We did hear from the voice of sanity on this, Katy Rose, who was not involved in the event but said this in an email to Jay today. It sums up a reality that LaBedz doesn’t seem to get.

I imagine you've already thought about this. If the discussion of gmo companies on the westside isn't taking into account the concerns of those dependent on the jobs, it will be a terrible discussion.

One way to frame the issue that centers it in the concerns of working people, rather than in the concerns of "elite" environmentalists: no one should ever be forced to choose between the health and safety of their families and putting food on the table.

This is just food for thought - put out there in the hopes that whatever discussion about gmo arises it will allow for the wisdom and creativity of those most impacted by their presence - in positive AND negative ways (ie the workers and their families) - to inform the search for alternatives. My fear, I suppose, is that the potential there might be lost by an elitist approach that alienates such people.

LaBedz and her husband Gordon live in Kekaha and founded the national Surfrider Foundation.


Joan Conrow said...

I heard bits and pieces about this, Andy. Thanks for putting it all together. It underscores why so much of what environmentalists do on Kauai is ineffective. Many of those in the movement won't even interact with those who don't think exactly like they do, which excludes most of the island's population.

If it's a community event, why not let the community define the issues that it thinks is important, rather than have a program already prepared for them? If they identify GMOs as a pressing issue, then hold a program that presents both sides and let folks make up their own minds about the subject.

Finally, people need to start by getting their facts straight. Not all the crops being grown by Syngenta and Pioneer on the westside are GMO.

Anonymous said...

"...the people who work for the GMO companies- would be invited to talk about things like the way they are poisoning our kids in school.
You now, that's an extremely serious charge. You have any verifiable proof?

Anonymous said...

I guess the proof is in the pudding. Numerous instances where children and staff at several Westside schools were sent home or sought medical attention for exposure to noxious odors. GMO or not, spraying herbicide and pesticides by or near school and residential areas is not good business and should not be tolerated.
visit for more info.

Anonymous said...

I also appreciate all the information on what is a very interesting and revealing story. I feel for Jonathan who I find to be a very reasonable idealist.
Most of all, though, I admire Joan's post on this topic which I find to be a thing of beauty and wisdom.
I realize my TGI letter was less than admired in some places; but, the writer I was defending also happens to be my fiance; so the gloves were off.
My letter and Joan's post, in my opinion, speak of the soft underbelly of a movement with the best intentions.
When I was a young idealist, I believed everything I read in the L.A. Free Press (late 60's) and was ready to burn something down. Now, my peers are Doctors and Lawyers who have 40 years of adult experience and are not going to accept a bunch of poorly researched crap especially when it includes the pretense that they need to be educated.
Don't belittle us. We have to use research based treatments, sort out the crap for a differential diagnosis or a legal brief on a daily basis. A lot can be at stake.
We then go home and try to be as green as we can because its the righteous way to live.
A valid environmental movement needs folks like us too and we're not easily convinced.
Regards, Pete Antonson

Anonymous said...

Aloha Pete,
But the fact that you can be open to the possibilities speaks volumes. Whether we're skeptical or not it's good to challenge and ask questions to better understand the situation.
The elite-ism that dogs many a movement has to be identified and confronted before the next steps can be taken. We're making progress but at times the road can be bumpy. If we walk that road alone it can be tiresome and lonely. If we partner up the walk can be more enjoyable. Peace,......Jimmy T

Andy Parx said...

That’s why I said I thought it was disingenuous Pete. You have every right to defend your fiancĂ©e but don’t do it without reading the document and then claim it’s others who haven’t done their homework, which is what I took from your letter.

I don’t need to list for you all the factual material on-line regarding the Superferry- or perhaps now I do. Did you even read the audit? Did you read the recent Times article? Just yesterday documents showed HSf lying about their lobbying expenditures and more revelations the day before about military ties in the lawsuit filing.

If you choose to attack the messenger - those who publish and comment on these documents- for being ill-informed at least read the documents.

We’re not making this stuff up. And most of us verify the validity of the source of the documents before we present them. I can’t think of an instance of someone providing faked documents in the on-line reporting on the HSf

If you had read everything presented since last August you couldn’t say what you did about lack of documentation- and if you didn’t how can you say it’s those who have who are ill-informed. At least go back and read the documents and then attack the veracity of the source material, not the messenger. I expect that idiocy from the anonymous trolls and get a chuckle out of it. But expect better from you because I’ve seen it.

Andy Parx said...

Oh- for those reading this and wondering what Pete and I are talking about it refers to the column from the day before at

Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
I don't see where Krisztina referred to any particular "document" that needed to be read like you did. She did refer to legal and environmental issues which I referred to as well and will now in more detail:
I was referring to the "concerns" first articulated by Judy Dalton at the Superferry PUC meeting, and the "after the fact research" that followed over the next two years. I agreed with the word: "concerns;" but, the "concerns" became "reasons" to stop the Superferry. I went over every study and presentation about whales in danger. None were peer reviewed. Some were discussions or reviews, not studys. Most were about different types of whales in different places and conditions. Every single one was sponsered or completed by advocates for whales and 12 mile an hour speed limits on the West and East Coasts and elsewhere.
I looked for substance, facts, or anything solid enough to stop somebody's business in regards to a homeless invasion, harbor traffic, increases in crime. There was anecdotes from other places with different conditions and a lot of concern and speculation. Invasive species is real. It's happening here and now and needs more attention. Stopping one boat does virtually nothing about it though. Ironically, more can probably be done quicker with Superferry. It would then be a model for what's imposed on all the rest.
Again, all this was good reason for concern; but, less than a reason for a crusade, in my opinion.
As far as "We were enforcing the law" rationale. The fact was that until overuled by a higher authority, the Dept. of Transportation's ruling was the law and it was followed not broken. The fact was that the Supreme Court ruling was specific to Maui and their ruling was followed not broken.
The revelations since August are just reasons to dislike the management, especially if you already do, or call for enforcement of any violations of the law. I doubt if those penalties include terminating services. The military conspiracy is a joke. I've followed up on each and every part of it since Juan revealed breathlessly that SF looked just like the one the Navy leased...duh. It is nothing more than association piled onto association. If it turns out that Austal has an antiunion or rascist streak or, to no one's surprise, their Deep South portion does, I don't see how that has anything with a Superferry they don't own or operate, or the next one once they release it. If you feel morally obligated to boycott; then do so.
There's a ton of quantity here and almost no quality. Enough to be concerned; enough to work cooperatively for remedy, not enough for what has developed.
Regards, Pete Antonson

Anonymous said...

I wanted to add 2 things: I'm not trying or expecting to change minds, just clarifying what has led to my opinion.
Andy, it was classy to go back and correct my name...Thanks, Pete

Andy Parx said...

I was referring to your letter Pete. And for the most part I was referring not to someone’s oral testimony ages ago. Did you read Harold Bronstien's filing with the PUC? did you read the source documentation it contained? I can’t understand how you can disregard the information from government and university studies on speed and whales. The speeds were from the MMA.

As far as military connections I hope you’re read all of Joan’s work and checked the documentation behind it. And if the Times article isn’t another smoking gun what is? Did you read the agreement with the loan consultants? It lists the military as one body to be consulted with along with the money people. Even the military sees and readily the connection. there are statements and articles from HSf and active military leaders as far back as 2003 trying to “sell” it to Hawai`i by pointing out how it could be used to carry troops and materials. It was sold as a potential transport for the Stryker brigade.

If you want to turn away and say it’s all BS be my guest. People say that about evolution. But don’t say the documentation for all this isn’t out there because all you read or heard were characterizations of it instead of reading the source material.

The DOT’s actions in exempting the project were found to be illegal. That is a fact. And your “only for Maui” is also the same lie that the same people who, like you, continued to say there was nothing illegal liked to say even though the SC didn’t say it. Whether the 120 day limit on filing is or isn’t found to be valid (it’s before the Int. court right now) doesn’t effect that legality or its jurisdiction. If it wasn’t illegal how come the legislature had to go back and make it legal?

Which all comes back to the point that the information you’re seeking is what an EIS is designed to identify (not that anyone expects an honest EIS from Belt Collins who have already shown their hand in banning emailed testimony and limiting testimony at the scoping meeting which they tried to play down as “informational meetings”). If you lacked information why weren’t you screaming for an EIS before the action, as is detailed in NEPA, which Act 2 directly violates.

Like I said, if you have actually read all the source material and think it’s not enough-especially for the military connection- then your powers of reason are a lot less acute than I thought.

By the way – the big military Superferry that was put in the water Saturday leaked according to sources at Austal. You may miss it since apparently you don’t read all the source material... if it gets reported outside the non-corporate alternative press maybe you’ll notice.

Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
If you begin with the premise that the military is our enemy and also have the premise that the Superferry is our enemy, all this information falls into a nicely prepared slot. I don't have either premise so this "mountain of information" is viewed by me in a different manner. The Times article tells us what we already know about Austal trying to obtain military contracts with their design. Austal built Superferry. That's an association. Associations are all I ever see waved around. Like Lehman and the Navy or the fact that the new CEO was in the military. This is guilt by association; not deeds. If either one does business with the military (deeds) in another arena, it simply does not mean that everything they do is militaristic. It's just another association.
Let me also point out that 50 pages about military clowns not doing the right thing and one page with loose associations about Superferry and former military personnel do not add up to 51 pages damning the Superferry. Ten paragraphs about Austal's Southern shipyard management doing bad things plus one sentence about Austal having built Superferry does not add up to 10 paragraphs damning Superferry; and so on and so on.
Here's another way the info is handled: John Lehman told the Pacific Business News that Superferry would ferry Strykers to the Big Island for training. Much was made of this and much should have been made of it. However, a year later, the statement was officially retracted and replaced with one that said the PUC would not permit it and Superferry had no plans to contract for military training. For the first statement, John Lehman was the "Minister of Truth." For the second statement, John Lehman was an exReagan admin. militaristic scumbag liar. Same guy making both statements. Whatever fits the foregone conclusion.
Regards, Pete Antonson

Anonymous said...

Also, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled the Dept. of Transportation was in error; not illegal. It also did not rule the Superferry's adherence to DOT's authority was illegal. It would be chaos if court rulings were able to lead to retroactive prosecution.
Regards, Pete

Andy Parx said...

Pete if you can’t critically read because your pro-military or pro-Superferry bias is so strong don’t assume others are “jumping to conclusions”. The military, in and of itself is neutral, although the need for a standing army can be debated. But that’s irrelevant.

If you don’t want to see any connection you’re not going to. The Lehman quote was “retracted” as a PR move. You can’t just “retract” something and make believe it never happened. Was there an explanation for why it was wrong and how they discovered their error? As a matter of fact if you had been following the daily comedy bit that is the HSf you’d have known that at first they denied he ever said it until someone went back and found the PND piece.

If you want to act the fool, be my guest- most people do.

The Times article and Austal itself not just admits but touts the fact that the LCS is based on the HSf design. And the evidence for the “rush job” due to the pressure of the military contract are voluminous and Austal acknowledges it but denies it cause poor craftsmanship (and yet another Austal worker- this time an inspector- verified this again in today’s BI weekly article). Everywhere you go where the information has not been put back through the spin cycle after the facts were reported show the connection.

There are none so blind- you’d make a piss poor cop or investigative reporter Pete- don’t quit your day job.

You can attack my or others’ characterizations- I could care less what- or more accurately whether- you think. But if you can’t put the facts together it’s not because every single one doesn’t fit.

Good inductive reasoning is a skill- perhaps you don’t have it. As I said, any prospective statement is a “theory”- including gravity, the sunrise or evolution. But lack of intellectual certainty can’t get in the way of functional or operational certainty. Though gravity is the least scientifically understood natural phenomenon it seems to exist whether we believe in it or not. Sure we could fall up tomorrow but I wouldn’t rely on that to conduct my affairs and as a matter of fact I’m going to rely on the opposite.

Theories change with facts that don’t fit. What doesn’t fit here? Where even the one fact that indicates there may not be “a connection”.

I refuse to be a frickin’ idiot because some insists on peeing on my foot and telling me it’s raining.

People who employ critical thinking and aren’t mentally hung up on their “beliefs” are the ones who can see the inductions that approach certainty as opposed to those who either force the square facts in a round hole or employ a base of belief and a “you can’t ‘prove’ anything” model of the world.

Anonymous said...

Dear Andy,
The difference between us is that you are a partisan antiferry advocate. "Partisan" usually refers to fervent, sometimes militant support of a cause, faction, or idea. You are accepting any and all negativity that can possibly be attached to Superferry by any association available. The choir (or nontrolls) you're preaching to laps it all up because they are partisan too.

I am not partisan. I am not writing proferry propaganda. I am applying analysis and evaluation towards the antiferry propaganda produced by antiferry partisans such as yourself. That makes me the critical thinker; not you.

By the way, we've all had to swallow our words from time to time because we're human and do make mistakes. I believe your statement "You can’t just 'retract' something and make believe it never happened" is an unreasonable position. I look forward to reminding you of it in the future.
Regards, Pete Antonson