Outspent $7.9 million dollars to $60,000, Maui County citizens showed that community organizing can triumph over corporate PAC money and passed the GMO Moratorium 50% to 48%. The initiative asks the chemical companies to do an environmental study showing safety of their operations prior to being allowed to plant any new GMOs.
Monsanto and Dow spent $174 for each of the 45,356 voters in the election. Or $362 for each ‘no’ vote. This is more money than has ever in the history of Hawaii elections been spent on any race including statewide governor or U.S. Senate races.
It was a long journey to get this initiative on the ballot – the first time that any group was able to gather the onerous 20% signatures of registered voters voting in the last election.
Then Monsanto and Dow ran nonstop ads against the initiative calling it a “Farming Ban” even though only 1% of Maui farms grow GMOs – one coffee plantation, a small farmer growing GMO corn in Kula plus Monsanto and Dow.
It looked like Monsanto and Dow would overwhelm public opinion with their nonstop TV ads on every station until the Campaign Spending Disclosure came out a week before the election and voters realized that these two billion dollar corporations had spent almost eight million dollars attempting to buy the election.
The revelation that the entire “No” campaign had been funded by Monsanto and Dow and the astounding amount by which it was funded had a profound effect on voters. Early mail-in and walk-in votes were counted on the first readout. Many of these votes were made prior to the $7.9 million disclosure and showed the GMO Moratorium losing by 10 points. Then as the election day votes came in from the voters who had become aware of the huge amount of money that the two chemical corporations had spent the tide turned.
Hawaii is ground zero for GMO and associated pesticide experimentation. These corporations are able to buy most of the politicians which is why the counties of Kaua’i, Maui and Hawai’i have all passed county ordinances restricting these chemical companies and their GMO/pesticide experiments. Chemical/GMO companies have been issued more open air EPA experimental permits in tiny Hawai’i than any other state in the union.
Ironically these two companies have been claiming for years that there are “thousands of studies proving their safety”. The Maui GMO Moratorium simply asks them to do an environmental assessment proving safety. One has to wonder why they would pay $8 million to defeat this rather than to gather these studies and have them ready to present in order to lift the moratorium.
Dr. Lorrin Pang (one of the five individuals bringing forward the initiative and the Maui Public Health officer) said,
“Now they’ll sue us. But we’ll use it as an opportunity to educate.”
Reprinted from DailyKos