Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., on October 31vetoed Bill 2491, which would require the major users of agricultural pesticides to report their spraying activities (all but one is a GMO seed company), require buffer zones around schools and hospitals and waterways, and mandate a study to determine the health effects of pesticide spraying on the Garden Island.
The Kauai Count County, which passed Bill 2491 by a 6-1 vote, has 30 days to override the veto. An override requires at least five votes of the seven member council.
However, effective November 1, one of the council members who voted in favor of the bill, Nadine Nakamura, stepped off the council to accept a a post in the mayor's cabinet as the country manager. This leaves six people on the council, and all but one has to vote to override the veto in order for Bill 2491 to go into effect.
Under the council charter and by tradition, when a council member vacates a seat during a term, the next runner-up from the prior election fills the vacant seat. That person is KipuKai Kualii.
Kualii's prior service on the council and in other public roles suggest he will vote to support the veto override. The two outstanding question are whether he will take his set to vote on the matter and whether he will follow the pattern suggested by his prior actions.
Meanwhile, public anger at the mayoral veto already is stimulating talk of a recall initiative to remove him from office, doing this even before he faces a re-election contest next year. No petitions have yet been filed.
If Bill 2491 is not enacted with a County Council override of the mayoral veto, mounting rumors of an international "Boycott Kauai" movement may becoem a reality. A major tourism boycott of Kauai likely would cripple the island economy.
Stay tuned. The battle over GMO pesticide spraying on Kauai and elsewhere is far from over.