There’s a New Kid in Town


Mauidailyescape is rolling out a new Page. Realizing there was so much interest about Mike’s career as a surfer, surfboard shaper, and founder of “Country Surfboards”, you can now click on “About Surfer Mike Turkington” at the top of the page.

Since he’s pretty much the source of information for this blog on Hawaii’s history and the explainer of its many quirks, I figured it was high time he got his own page.

Let me know what you think, if you have any questions, and feel free to comment away!

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Even Paradise Has A Dress Code

So um, no…not like this it doesn’t, just in case you’ve ever wondered:


I saw a tourist family dressed like this at Costco the other day, except the pattern was bright red. And frankly, they looked like they’d escaped from a nearby asylum. Mr. Mauidailyescape tells me that back in the day it was actually cute and kosher for a couple to wear matching Aloha (Hawaiian print) wear in Hawaii. His shirt and her mumuu, out on a date together. The younger women wore short mumuus and the older ladies wore long mumuus. Aww.

But then something happened, as often happens: it got bastardized by cheap fabrics and the tourists took over the look, and then suddenly it was OVER….probably right around the time Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI had the entire country in Hawaiian shirts (because every guy wanted to look like Tom, right?)


C’mon, fess up. Did you have this shirt? I had this shirt.

The last time my dad and his wife came to visit us in Maui she made sure they had matching outfits “so they’d be sure to fit in.” And off to the luau we went! But if your goal is truly to fit in, not stand out or scream “tourist”, please resist the urge. That looked died somewhere around December 11th, 1980 when “Magnum” premiered.

But if you simply must have that shirt from the show, one like it can be found here:

Just don’t go putting everyone in your family in one. The thing now is for a family to have a portrait done here all in matching WHITE or CREAM Aloha shirts….there is no color, just tone-on-tone pattern. The Tommy Bahama shirts are mostly tone-on-tone pattern now, though they come in colors, also:

Please enjoy your Aloha-wear, ahem, responsibly. So that no one needs sunglasses to look at you.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Victory…by 1,077 Votes


If you ever think your vote doesn’t matter, think again. Maui County is a shining example of what happens when concerned people get behind the vote.

A Maui County ballot initiative to temporarily ban genetically engineered crops passed Tuesday by a mere 1,077 votes. This followed one of the most heavily financed political campaigns in state history.

Even with the lowest voter turnout in Hawaii state history, the controversial measure pulled ahead late Tuesday, passing 50 percent to 48 percent — a difference of just 1,077 votes. It was an awesome turnaround, after the measure was initially losing by 19 percent when the first results rolled in, and opponents were already bragging on TV.

The county’s first-ever ballot initiative targeting global agriculture companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences attracted nearly $8 million from opponents, making it the most expensive campaign in Hawaii’s history.

Kaniela Ing, State Representative, Wailea and Makena, interviewed after the returns said, “It’s a rinky-dink Island….and the big corporations spent $8 million to defeat this. They said, “How dare you think you can run your own island? ”

But the people have spoken and won (for now) in what is essentially a David and Goliath story. When asked why he thought the initiative passed, Mark Sheehan, PhD, one of the proponent group SHAKA founders, said he thought it was the issue of the pesticides in the water and the keiki (children’s) futures.

Both the drinking water and our water playground. Think about it….all those votes from surfers, paddlers, snorkelers, and divers.

Ashley Lukens, who directs the Hawaii chapter of the Center for Food Safety, a national nonprofit that has been lobbying for more regulation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), said Maui County residents deserve all the credit for the turnaround.

“I think that this is a really strong message to the entire agrochemical industry in the state of Hawaii that we are no longer going to sit idly by and watch them expand their operations without the kinds of regulations that ensure the health and safety of people across Hawaii,” Lukens said.

Opponents outspent advocates more than 87 to 1, according to the latest campaign spending reports available Tuesday. That amounts to more than $300 for every “no” vote.

But it still wasn’t enough to beat scores of Maui County residents who spent weeks canvassing, sign-waving and calling friends to share their concerns about seed companies’ farming practices.

Hawaii is a key location for the seed industry because the state’s weather allows for year-long farming. But residents on all islands have become increasingly concerned about how GMO farming and its pesticide use may be impacting both health and the environment.

Monsanto owns or leases 3,100 acres on Maui and Molokai, and employs about 540 people, including part-time or seasonal workers. Dow AgroSciences’ affiliate Mycogen Seeds farms about 400 acres on Molokai and employs around 100 people.

But the measure isn’t out of the woods yet.
A Federal judge ruled that Kauai’s law meant to restrict the use of GMO’s and pesticides is invalid. “If the big corporations spent $8 million on this, you can imagine what they’re prepared to spend to fight it,” said State Representative Kaniela Ing.

But there is hope. The people have spoken.

(Facts sourced from Nov. 4th, 2014. Article by Anita Hofschneider)

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the Follow button to the right or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Divisiveness to the Max

There’s an elephant in the room in Maui. It’s been here for months, everyone is sick of it, and it’s not leaving until Tuesday. Even then, there will probably be great piles of elephant dung left flung about.

I’m referring to the Maui County GMO Initiative (genetically engineered organisms),calling for a moritorium on the growing of GMO seeds in Maui County, until further studies can be carried out. Hawaii has the lowest voter turnout in the ENTIRE country, and Maui County has the lowest voter turnout in the state. You do the math. But this initiative has driven more residents than ever to get involved. And it’s getting

In a nutshell, Monsanto and Dow Chemical corporations are planting four crops per year on Maui, and spraying over 80 chemicals in their open-air laboratories and chemical test sites. These chemicals mix in the fields and spread into the neighborhoods, ocean, reefs, groundwater and our bodies. The Environmental Protection Agency admitted that they do not test to regulate any of the billions of possible chemical combinations occurring in and around the GMO fields. In July, 2014 the State Department of Health stated that ALL surface waters tested in Maui County are contaminated with pesticides.

And birth defects are on the rise. According to doctors on Kaua’i, babies born next to GMO fields are born with 10 times the national average of a rare heart disease. On Kaua’i, Moloka’i, as well as Maui there are cases of babies being born with their intestines on the outside of their bodies. The Big Island now bans any new GMO crops because the GMO Rainbow Papaya has contaminated the island.

Monsanto and Dow Chemical are the only two chemical corporations growing commercial GMO seed and test crops on Maui. They are not growing any food for Hawaii.

According to the SHAKA movement (proponents of the Initiative), the “Citizens Against the Farming Band” is a front group that was created by a project manager of Mycogen (Dow Chemical) on Moloka’i to trick the voters into voting against their own best interests. Monsanto and Dow have spent millions (8 million…they have outspent opponents of GMO’s 100 to 1) on propaganda to confuse and scare uninformed citizens, all in order to avoid safety studies and maintain its seed-testing operations on Maui. With Monsanto contributing $5.1 million to the fund, it’s the most money ever raised for a single campaign in state history, according to Tony Baldomero, Associate Director of the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission. By comparison, “Former Governor Linda Lingle spent about 6.5 million…but that was over a four-year period. This is over a two – month period,” he said.

So that’s one side of the coin. On the flip side, small farmers believe they will be fined or jailed and that the Initiative’s moratorium on GMO’s will not allow crops to finish their lifecycle. They believe there will be job losses. (However, the GMO corporations can switch back to growing non-– GMO seed crops, which they have already begun to do.) The Initiative is not a pesticide law, but farmers have been persuaded that they will not have a right to use pesticides….

The facts are this: Monsanto and Dow Chemical have caused 189 “Superfund Cleanup Sites.” These are sites contaminated with hazardous substances. In each case they claimed everything was safe until the court ordered them to pay. On July 25, 2014 Monsanto was ordered to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange. On August 21, 2003 Monsanto and Solutia, Inc. were ordered to pay $700 million for poisoning Anniston, Alabama with PCBs.

Dr. Lorrin Pang, Maui District Health Officer, and Mark Sheehan, Ph.D., started the SHAKA movement petition to implement a “temporary moratorium” on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops in Maui County “until studies prove they are safe.” The group gathered more than 9,000 valid signatures in support of the measure, becoming the first citizens group in Maui County history to have gathered enough support to put initiative on the ballot. Several states have pushed for GMO – labeling laws but only two, Maine and Connecticut, have managed to successfully pass labeling laws.

Advocates argue that biotechnology helps fill a critical need for food in the world. The (Bill) Gates and Warren Foundations, both private humanitarian organizations, partnered with Monsanto to fund an effort on a seed farm in Kihei (Maui) to develop drought resistant maize that could be grown in the poorest, driest areas of Africa. Pang stated that while those groups may have good intentions it doesn’t change the health affects their GMO practices might have on the environment and the public. When asked why regulatory agencies like the EPA and FDA allow the cultivation of crops, without having completed sufficient studies, Pang likened GMO to cigarettes. “Until the 1950s, big tobacco (companies) said, ‘no harm has been shown.’ That doesn’t mean there is no harm; it just means studies haven’t been done,” he said.

On a lighter note, you can view a SNL-type parody by the SHAKA group here: (quite funny…wait for it…)


Also, my friend who is a Maui attorney read every word of the Initiative. I didn’t have that kind of patience, but as a lawyer, I trust that she wrangled the facts buried in all the legalese. She is voting “YES” for the Initiative, for a GMO moritorium on Maui. Here it is:


Yes, these are sad, stressful times on Maui. Dr. Lorrin Pang says he does not eat papayas anymore because of this issue. Mayor Alan Arakawa was quoted in the Maui News ( on October 19, 2014. As he heads into what he hopes will be a new four-year term, he reflected on the changes in the community he was reared in and the one today. Watching the ugly bullying, threats, defacing of trees and signs and cursing going on over the GMO Initiative worries him. “It is really sad. That shift is what I think will be the ruination of our community and breaking all the lines of trust that we have built for generations,” he said.

If you are local, PLEASE vote your heart on this coming Tuesday, November 4th. If you love Maui…please vote.

(All facts sourced from The Maui News and the group “Maui Citizens’ Initiative for Temporary Moratorium on GMO Crops”, PO Box 790538 Paia, HI 96779)

A hui hou. Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica