About GMO bill
Prices for GMO papaya started dropping when it was introduced years ago, and Bill 79 — which proposes to prohibit GMO crops, plants, seeds, trees, fish and livestock on Hawaii Island — had nothing to do with it. Consumers have voted with their dollars and farmers growing GMO papaya are earning so little for a crop that requires expensive, toxic sprays. What is greatly underserved and in demand is non-GMO and organic papaya at the wholesale produce markets in California. Growers of non-GMO papaya are earning premium prices.
Bill 79 would allow GMO papaya, non-edible horticulture products, imported GMO feed for livestock, and medical and agriculture research, as long as the organisms are contained, making all of these into non-issues under the bill. Non-GMO and organic papaya can be grown free from contamination if all growers use hermaphrodite trees and take precautions to prevent spray drift contamination.
It would help greatly if the makers of GMO papaya seed cleaned up all the rogue trees that have escaped into the wild, and educate consumers not to replant the GMO papaya seed to give cleared ground for all farmers.
GMO corn, however, is a crop that cannot be exempted because the herbicide-resistant and insecticide-producing pollen cannot be contained. Researchers have found corn pollen in the Arctic and Antarctica.
If this is a fight for freedom to grow all kinds of GMOs, what about the freedom of all other farmers and consumers who have no protection from this new technology in this state or county. GMO agriculture diminishes biodiversity, contaminating all related species.
Monsanto has 70 to 80 new crops in the pipeline and is buying up seed companies with the intention of patenting them all. There may well be a day when home gardeners won’t be able to save seed just as industrial farmers cannot under threat of prosecution.
Property tax rates
We must give thanks to the two former County Council members, Mr. Pete Hoffman and Ms. Brittany Smart, for attempting to get the property tax rates and designations on an even keel.
The rest of the council members and the administration were sitting on their hands and did nothing.
Now, there is a move afoot to get a panel together to do just this.
There should be no one from the tax administrator’s office on the panel. They are part of the administration. The finance director’s opinion also would be skewed.
Let’s use real estate people, independent appraisers and others with no allegiance to the politicians.
A note about valuation. The taxable values were not reduced when property values actually fell on the island. In other words, a lot of tax values were overestimated and taxpayers were overcharged.
Where is our audit?