Losing three out of four in last November’s general election has done nothing to deter the anti-biotechnology radicals in California. No one really expected resounding defeats of anti-biotech initiatives in Butte, San Luis Obispo and Humboldt would dissuade this crowd.
At least a dozen California counties are being targeted now with for either anti-biotech initiatives or ordinances. Most of the counties targeted are in the Bay Area. The first one to rise to the surface after last fall’s defeats is in Sonoma County where GE-Free Sonoma is trying both ordinance and initiative routes at the same time.
GE-Free Sonoma has turned in petitions containing more than 45,000 signatures trying to force the county board of supervisors to call a special election this spring to place a 10-year moratorium on biotech crops in the county. The 10-year moratorium is just a smoke screen. The leaders of the anti-biotech movement in the county have no intentions of letting biotech crops into the county.
The Sonoma anti-GE radicals tried to get the initiative on the ballot last number when they presented 8,000 of the 29,000 signatures needed to get it on the ballot. They tried to coerce the supervisors into putting it on the ballot, even though they were short of signatures. They said it would be cheaper then than when they would come back later with more signatures now. Blackmail didn’t work.
Now they are trying it again.
Newspapers are filled daily with accounts of California cities and counties strapped for cash. The majority of Sonoma County voters -- 45,000 signatures or not -- would not be happy about supervisors spending $500,000 to fund a debate and a single issue election on a subject that even if the anti-biotech initiative passed would likely be ignored or unenforceable.
It does not take an organic rocket scientist to figure what the anti-biotech crowd is up to. If Sonoma supervisors rightfully balk at spending a half million dollars to appease a group looking for a tokenism vote, the anti-biotech crowd could say, "well just pass an anti-biotech county ordinance like we palmed off on Trinity, Marin or Mendocino counties and you don’t have to spend $500,000." Blackmail again.
However, as we have said all along, it is not about biotech. It is about freedom of choice and one of those is the freedom to farm. Many of the leaders of this California anti-biotech movement are not really that interested in biotech. They prefer to take freedoms away from people with whom they disagree.
The Internet provided a revealing look at what one anti-biotech leader and his other interests.
Daniel Solnit is the campaign coordinator for GE-Free Sonoma County. Solnit is identified on the Internet as founder and executive director of the Institute For Local Economic Democracy, a group dedicated to "sustainable alternatives to corporate globalization." Solnit is also allied with The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center (OAEC). Dave Henson, who authored the Sonoma Anti-GE initiative is a director of OAEC.
Solnit authored a revealing article several years ago that has been reprinted several times in alternative publications on the North Coast. Apparently the first time it appeared was a month after 9-11. It reflects his interests go far beyond agriculture. The article with Solnit’s byline appeared in one publication under the headline:
"Confused? Having difficulty telling the good guys from the bad guys? Use this handy guide to differences between terrorists and the U.S. government:"
Here are some excerpts from Solnit’s insightful piece.
"TERRORISTS: Supposed leader is the spoiled son of a powerful politician, from extremely wealthy oil family.
U.S. GOVERNMENT: Supposed leader is the spoiled son of a powerful politician, from extremely wealthy oil family.
TERRORISTS: Leader has declared a holy war ('Jihad') against his 'enemies'; believes any nation not with him is against him; believes god is on his side, and that any means are justified.
U.S. GOVERNMENT: Leader has declared a holy war ('Crusade') against his 'enemies'; believes any nation not with him is against him; believes god is on his side, and that any means are justified.
TERRORISTS: Supported by extreme fundamentalist religious leaders who preach hatred, intolerance, subjugation of women, and persecution of non-believers.
U.S. GOVERNMENT: Supported by extreme fundamentalist religious leaders who preach hatred, intolerance, subjugation of women, and persecution of non-believers.
TERRORISTS: Kills thousands of innocent civilians, some of them children, in cold blooded bombings.
U.S. GOVERNMENT: Kills (tens of) thousands of innocent civilians, some of them children, in cold blooded bombings.
TERRORISTS: Using war as pretext to clamp down on dissent and undermine civil liberties.
U.S. GOVERNMENT: Using war as pretext to clamp down on dissent and undermine civil liberties.
TERRORISTS: Weapon of choice: a three-dollar box cutter.
U.S. GOVERNMENT: Weapon of choice: a billion-dollar B1 bomber."
Now convince me that some of the leaders of this California anti-biotechnology movement are really concerned about biotechnology.
Not everyone in this biotech debate can be painted with the same brush as Daniel Solnit. There are farmers and ranchers and well-meaning urban citizens who have what they believe are legitimate concerns about biotechnology and the companies developing it. It is unfortunate that they are being represented by a bunch of radicals with hidden anti-societal agendas.