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Anti-GMO Group Needs 4K More Signatures to Get on Maui Ballot

County Clerk Danny Mateo says the SHAKA Movement's GMO Petition still needs 3,745 more signatures in the next 20 days in order to be included in the November ballot. Maui Now Graphic.

The SHAKA Movement’s GMO Petition still needs 3,745 more signatures in the next 20 days in order to be included in the November ballot. Maui Now Graphic.

By Wendy Osher

A petition seeking a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically-engineered organisms or GMOs in Maui County is thousands of signatures shy of the amount required to be placed on the November ballot.

County Clerk Danny Mateo says a review of the petition shows 9,768 signatures were submitted, but less than half of that, or 4,720 of those signatures were deemed valid.

According to Mateo, a total of 5,048 signatures have been deemed invalid due to a variety of issues including duplicate signatures, insufficient or incorrect information provided, or illegible handwriting.

Mateo says the SHAKA Movement needs 3,745 more valid signatures in order to be placed on the ballot, and now has 20 days to submit supplemental signatures to the Office of the County Clerk in order for the petition to move forward in the Charter-mandated process.

More than 1,000 marchers participated in the Anti-GMO event.  Pictured at center is Dustin Barca in the camouflage pants and bullhorn.  Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

More than 1,000 marchers participated in the anti-GMO event on March 30, 2014. File photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“Our office has carefully and diligently reviewed each line of the petition to ensure a thorough and fair review for all sides of the issue,” said Mateo in a county issued press release. “Our office looks forward in assisting the public utilize their rights as citizens of Maui County. We will continue to provide fair and unbiased assistance on all issues presented to us,” he said.

Mateo noted that the ratio between valid and invalid signatures is “fairly consistent with previous initiative petitions made in other counties,” including two Hawaii County petitions in 2006 and 2008 where an estimated 45% of signatures were deemed valid in each year. The Maui petition garnered an estimated 48% valid signatures.

When the SHAKA Movement submitted the initiative petition on April 7, Mark Sheehan PhD, one of five residents who started the petition, said the group had an additional 1,500 petition sheets that have yet to be notarized, and the group was still working to gather more signatures as a buffer to ensure that the group has the required 8,465 valid signatures to qualify for inclusion on the November ballot.

At the time, Sheehan said the action has become necessary because of the thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to Maui legislators from Monsanto and chemical corporations. He also said a critical factor for petition backers is their belief that, “a wide range of illnesses — childhood cancers, miscarriages, birth defects, ADD, ADHD, allergies, asthma, and more — are related to the contamination of the environment from massive use of pesticides.”

Representatives from Monsanto Hawaiʻi meantime responded to the petition at the time calling it “a terrible initiative,” “unnecessary,” and “meaningless,” with claims that biotech crops are safe and protect crops threatened by disease.

Dawn Bicoy, community affairs manager for Monsanto Molokaʻi issued a statement saying the company will be mounting “an aggressive campaign against this initiative,” saying it would “devastate our county’s fragile agricultural economy.”

Sheehan’s argument countered that claim saying, “you only have to dig a little bit to understand that GMOs are living organisms that stay alive in your gut; gut bacteria accounts for 70% of your immune system.”

About 200 Monsanto employees on Maui and 140 on Molokaʻi held signs during a rally in April to demonstrate support for Hawaiʻi’s seed industry; while petition supporters joined in an anti-GMO rally held on March 30 in Kahului that drew more than 1,000 participants.

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  • just noise

    Sounds to me not to many people is what they say. No body like sign now? What’s the deal???

    • Brian Mcc

      Once people educate themselves about GMO,s They see how mindless and ignorant the protesters are. Your lies turn thinking people off.
      Still don’t worry, There’s enough idiots here to get your signatures.
      Then the lawsuits will start.

  • http://www.chucklasker.com/ Chuck Lasker

    Even after paying people $5 per signature they couldn’t get enough? Maybe if they had a factual basis for their claims, more people would sign it.

    • Brian Mcc

      Half cant even print their names legibly. Lol. That says a lot.

  • stevesavage

    “…GMOs are living organisms that stay alive in your gut; gut bacteria accounts for 70% of your immune system.” Who is this “PhD” and what the heck is he talking about? There is no such issue

    • Brian Mcc

      They HAVE to lie. The have NO facts. Its all lies and half-truths.

      • The TRUTH

        Kauais’s recent increase in birth defect rates around areas with increased usage of pesitcide experiments on gmo crops is what they based their initiative on over there… do you know your facts Brian?

        The Maui GMO petition basically says stop doing what youre doing until we know its impact.. seems only fair to me.

  • guest

    I particularly liked the “scientists” that blamed GMO corn as the cause of diabetes. While I think corn — GMO, natural or organic — should be banned due to its contribution to obesity. They put corn syrup in everything.

  • NOGMO

    “mommy my eyes and throat are burning again, tell them to stop spraying chemicals on our island”

    • rfarmer

      Stay in your own property.

    • rfarmer

      What is your ethnicity? I am Portuguess, Hawai’ian and German. That makes me GMO.

      • Kanaka

        If you are truly part-Hawaiian, you should know the ‘okina appears only in the word, Hawai‘i, and not in the word Hawaiian.

        • rfarmer

          Sorry. HAWAIIAN

      • jazzfeed

        No it doesn’t. You are using your own definition of GMO, not the correct one.

    • Brian Mcc

      So you just copy and paste your irrelevant/ off topic post to every GMO article?

      • jazzfeed

        Perfectly reasonable because it IS relevant. It IS the topic!

  • Just say no to gmo

    Its great to see all the advanced countries banning GMO! And its about time Maui does it to. To many many people getting sick with cancer from all the chemicals being sprayed and eating the unhealthy GMO food.

    • First Officer

      Like Saudi Arabia, along with women driving and showing their faces in public.

      • jazzfeed

        Your points are completely irrelevant within this issue “First Officer”. Any country that bans GMOs is giving consideration to public health, whether or not its other policies are oppressive.

  • Maui_Mike

    There is enough evidence and proof collected in countries that ban GMO that should give any reasonable person concern about eating this un-natural garbage, I think it’s foolish to risk our health when there are better options.
    The roundup and pesticides that contaminate soil and runoff into the ocean are just another aspect of the undeniable damage being done.

    • First Officer

      Actually, GMO’s, especially the insect resistant ones, carry less toxicity due to decreased fungi (and their mycotoxins) growing on decreased insect damage.

      • Maui_Mike

        I am sure your statement is valid, but that one plus is not enough to erase or dismiss the many negatives of GMO.

        • First Officer

          Health concerns are not among the negatives of GMO’s. There are actually no net negatives to creating a new strain of crop using GE tech than with any other technique. Every other technique changes or introduces many more genetic differences as compared to GE, many which are indeed novel, to the strain at hand. Even the ancient open cross pollination technique, which introduces novel mutations that have occurred via background radiation and cosmic rays. And, yes, you can create RR crops through non-GE techniques. The very fact that weeds can evolve against glyphosate is proof of that.

      • jazzfeed

        “…less toxicity…” Less than what?

  • rfarmer

    Where you getting your facts from? Wikipedia? Sounds to me that you petitioners want humans dead and rodents alive. If it was that critical, the government would’ve shut it down. If there are so many chemicals used in foods, we would’ve all been dead.

    • Maui health

      Ya like that makes any sense…the government is looking out for our best interest… That’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard!

      • rfarmer

        If it was dangerous, the government would’ve controlled it. Why are we still here if the government didn’t control it? You alive right? If the government didn’t control it, we would be dead by now.

        • sofa_king_stupid

          so are you saying cigarettes are safe? perhaps you would like a side order of Asbestos as well?

          • rfarmer

            What does cigarettes have to do with GMO? You can’t eat cigarettes! Cigarettes been around a lot longer until people decided that it was unsafe.

          • First Officer

            That’s the salient point here. These allegories made to cigarettes and asbestos fail because GMO’s have been tested, and extensively so, before they are commercially released. Unlike tobacco, which has been smoked by non-native Amercians for a few hundred years now, well before modern biology took root.

          • First Officer

            Ironically, Asbestos is an all natural mineral.

    • TSL

      Warning warning the dumbing down of america is alive in the minds of those who are full of toxins!I don’t think i need to argue the fact’s, the truth is preaty clear!

      • rfarmer

        Something tells me your are against GMO. Now let me ask you, what is your ethnicity? If you have 2 or more nationalities, you are considered to be GMO. If you have children, they are GMO. If you are against GMO and have kids, then you better tell your kids not to have children if GMO is so bad for humans! GMO is not a chemical, so stop thinking that it is!

        • TooDumb

          You are ignorant. GMO is not the same as interbreeding within the same species, it is artificially inserting the DNA of one organism into another. If you have mouse genetics or fish genetics then you are GMO, otherwise not.

          • rfarmer

            If I were you, look in the mirror before you call people ignorant. It’s the same damn thing! If you aren’t a farmer, then you don’t know anything about GMO. Oh, I hope you don’t drive because ethanol is used in gas and you know what that is? GMO CORN! This is why there is no agriculture left in the state of Hawai’i. It’s people like you shutting down agriculture and then you complain that there isn’t food to eat! So why don’t you appreciate the food that us farmers provide for you IGNORANT people and leave your nose out of our businesses. I may be young but I sure as hell know more than you so if I were you, SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH and APPRECIATE! If GMO was a chemical, WE WOULD BE DEAD BY NOW SO NO EVEN ACT LIKE YOU KNOW WHAT GMO IS! GMO IS NOT A DAMN CHEMICAL, IT IS NOT POISON, IT FOR PROVIDING FOOD!

          • openyoureyes

            No. GMO is a geneticist program design to rid the planet of ignorant, uneducated people. It’s very simple. Those that take the time to research GM foods will be the survivors. Those that wish to stick their heads in the sand…well this program is meant for you.

          • rfarmer

            I think that’s you. Stick your head in the sand.

          • rfarmer

            Why do you think its a chemical? Go to school!

          • TSL

            Conventional or organic?Chemical or bacteria?Education or ignorance?

          • rfarmer

            So where does GMO stands with you?

          • Rfarmer2

            I think GMOs have genetically altered this rfarmers brain and rendered him incapable of mindfulness, intelligence and morals.

          • rfarmer

            And what is GMO is to you if you are a farmer?

          • jazzfeed

            Thank you. Foiks, stop wasting time with morons and trolls. They are obvious now.

          • TooDumb

            Please stop writing. You are your own worst enemy. Nobody said GMO is a chemical or poison. It is a way of artificially altering the genetic material of an organism-plant, animal, bacteria, fungus, etc. Nobody knows the long term effects of these genetic modifications. That is all. Keep calm, no need to shout.

          • rfarmer

            So why is it wrong if you are against GMO.

          • Brian Mcc

            Its not wrong. Its your right to protest. But you need to have the facts, educate your self. You don’t even know difference between GMO,s and selective breeding. That’s basic stuff. Farming stuff.

          • rfarmer

            You shut the hell up. Yeah you have the right to protest but you people protest against the wrong thing! You protest against GMO but not drugs. So why don’t you shut the hell up and educate yourself.

          • THE TRUTH

            Kauais’s recent increase in birth defect rates around areas with
            increased usage of pesitcide experiments on gmo crops is what they based
            their initiative on over there…

            The Maui GMO petition basically says stop doing what youre doing until we know its impact.. seems only fair to me.

          • First Officer

            What increase of birth defect rates? You scream about the pesticides but you want to ban GMO’s, regardless if any pesticides are used or not. We already know you would ban GM papaya if you could even though it uses not one iota more pesticides than the non-gm, and probably less as you don’t have to keep spraying to keep the bug that spreads the virus in check. The anti-Gmo movement is luddism and anti-science at its worst.

          • the truth

            maybe you should research yourself whats going on… like I said, its everybodys human right to know what chemicals they are being subjected to against their own knowledge… im not saying gmo’s are good nor bad, just that the whole industry needs to be transparent and we have the right to know what is happening on this fragile island…

            WAIMEA

            – Citing notable incidents of birth defects and elevated rates of
            diseases in their clinical practices, doctors and nurses in west Kauai
            are imploring Mayor Bernard Carvalho to sign Bill 2491 into law.

            Doctors and medical professionals island-wide are adding their support to the growing list of medical professionals urging bill passage for the sake
            of their west side colleagues and patients. To date, at least 50 doctors, nurses and mental health professionals have formally expressed concurrence.

            In one letter delivered by medical professionals to the Mayor, several doctors point to specific and rare birth defects, some that may be occurring at a rate 10 times above the national average.
            One letter signed by several doctors describes a general calculation
            of a rare set of heart defects that appear to be higher in west Kauai
            newborns:

            “Recent
            CDC statistics put transposition at 1/3300 births, hypoplastic left
            heart at 1/4344 births and hypoplastic right at 1/17000 births. In the
            last 3 years we have had about 750 deliveries; this gives us an
            incidence of 53/10,000 births for these 4 defects. National US data shows an incidence of 5.5/10,000 births, so we have 10 times the national rate.”

          • First Officer

            That’s the problem with low counts of rare birth defects. (By the way, County of Kauai had 828 births in 2012 alone). I’m having trouble finding the original data but i believe it was 1 of each plus 1 more. You’ll have years of either 0 or 1 or even 2 of each, given normal statistical variances of low counts and the fact you can’t have a fractional birth defect rate per annum in any one year. Every so often, you will run into a blip of higher birth defects for no reason at all because of the above.

            Again, you say the pesticides are the problem but you ban GMO’s purely because of association.

          • jazzfeed

            Wrong. The process of genetic modification itself creates toxic mutations regardless of the addition of xenobiotic chemical. That is, toxic to human beings. What species are you?

          • First Officer

            I have to agree, rfarmer, calm down a bit. I usually encounter this kind of vitriol from the anti-gmo side.

          • First Officer

            BAB, and many other anti-gmo groups and people, regularly call GMO’s poison and chemically, “laden”.

          • jazzfeed

            Because they are! Do you have any other reason to exist than for making utterly meaningless statements?

  • First Officer

    I wonder how many, “Bruce Banner”‘s, are on those petitions.

  • First Officer

    The US grows more RR soybeans than anywhere else. Funny how none of these problems are reported by the farming community. “Most cases, the fetus dies”, just form inhalation? The US farming community would have been totally wiped out by now, along with most suburbanites using roundup on their weeds. Where are all the 2 headed Americans by now?. Monsanto denies it because the claims prove lacking to even the most cursory inspection. Where’s all this cancer??? Cancer rates have been trending slightly downward over the past 10 years. See Cancer society stats and figures 2013.


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