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Incumbent Kauai mayor easily leads the pack

Carvalho and the top two County Council vote-getters rejected a new pesticide law

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 10:28 a.m. HST, Aug 10, 2014

Incumbent Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. garnered the majority of the votes against three other candidates Saturday in the race for his seat.

"I'm very, very thankful," Carvalho said. "There's a commitment from all of us, from my administration, to find balance, to really do what is best for the people of Kauai and Niihau."

A central issue in the race for Kauai mayor was the controversial new law that will regulate the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops by large-scale commercial operations. Carvalho said he supports mandatory disclosure and buffer zones imposed by the law but wants further community discussion on the issue.

Carvalho, 52, who has served as Kauai mayor since 2008, vetoed Bill 2491 (now Ordinance 960), describing it as legally flawed. The County Council voted 5-2 to override his veto. The new law is due to be implemented Oct. 1.

Carvalho will face second-place finisher Dustin Barca, 32, a professional surfer and mixed martial arts fighter who is a strong advocate of the new law and co-founder of 'Ohana 'o Kaua'i, in the general election in November. Barca alleged pesticides sprayed by seed companies are the cause of ailments for residents.

Candidate Debralynn DeSilva Carveiro, 54, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the County Council in 2010, came in third. DeSilva Carveiro opposes the growth of genetically modified organisms, while candidate Curtis Hendrix Lake, 45, said seed companies should be removed from the islands. Lake finished fourth.

In the County Council race, incumbents Mel Rapozo and Ross Kagawa were the top vote-getters. They both voted against Bill 2491.

"It validates what I try to do and what is right for the community, whether it's GMO or fiscal responsibility," Rapozo said about Bill 2491. "My position on a lot of the controversial issues are aligned with the majority of the voters."

"My position was based on fact, based on study, based on law," he said. "I just choose the path that is legal and not circumventing law."

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