Like a lot of people, I was disappointed that the Honolulu City & County left mandatory GMO labeling out of its Resolution 11-339 which will go to the State Legislature for action. The other three counties (Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawaii Island) included that in their draft of the Hawaii State Association of Counties Legislative Package that the Hawaii Legislature will look at in 2012.
And like a lot of you, I sat through the hours of testimony that were overwhelmingly FOR the mandatory labeling of GMO products. There was a lot of written testimony submitted too, and I wondered how many were for GMO labeling, and how many against.
The Council's web document sharing system links all submitted testimony, but doesn't label it "For" or "Against." I'd think that kind of info would be helpful to the council members, but what do I know. I decided to look at every piece of testimony, tally it up and present it here...
There were 213 people For, and 18 people Against which breaks down as 92% For GMO labeling and 8% Against. The submitted testimony was overwhelmingly FOR the mandatory labeling of GMO foods. So why did the Honolulu City Council vote Against labeling GMO? The ones testifying Against are GMO lobbyists and other folk with money. Has it become a matter of "how much democracy can you buy?" I know the Occupy movement decries the influence of corporations on the political process -- I mean, you think? (My post, "Competing GMO corporations sit at the same table in Hawaii.")
I do notice State Senator Maile Shimabukuro (District 21, Leeward Oahu) submitted testimony FOR. Yay Maile!
Now let's get our stuff together for the Legislative session. Any suggestions? GMO has got to GO!
H. Doug Matsuoka
17 December 2011
P.S. The curious (or suspicious) can download my tallysheet as a Google Doc by clicking the pic below:
|Click here to open as Google doc or download|
Update of 12/18/2011: 4:59pm. I sent a link to this post to all Honolulu City Councilmembers asking if they took a For/Against tally of the spoken testimony. Within 4 hours, I got a response from Councilman Tom Berg:
"I did. I separated them - I had 9 out of 10 for labeling. About three inches of paper- written testimony to document the people should have a right to know. Tom Berg"
I'll post any other responses I receive from Councilmembers.
Update of 01/18/2012: If anyone would like to keep track of efforts to regulate or label GMO during the 2012 Hawaii legislature, join GMO-FREE OAHU on Facebook. It's a small group now but can be used for legislative updates, communication, and discussion.