Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Musings: More, More, More

The rain came early in the night and lingered, then turned into a downpour just before dawn, giving Koko and me an excuse to lounge around in bed for a while listening to the delightfully comforting sound of it beating on the leaves, roof, skylight, with me, as always, hoping for more.

So it was later than usual when Koko and I set out splashing through puddles and the little river flowing alongside the road, and that turned out to be a good thing, as I ran into both Farmer Jerry and my neighbor Andy, neither of whom I’ve seen much of for a while, as I’m usually up and out and back before either of them.

As Jerry and I chatted, we took note of a smoky cloud drifting over the Giant and the sun lighting up a corner of the backside of Kalepa, causing it to shine gold.

“Those are prime ag lands,” said Jerry with a satisfied smile that lifted all the fatigue from his face. He’s been working 16-hour days, doing his regular job, then coming home and harvesting lychee until it’s too dark to see.

It’s not easy being a farmer, which is why so many ag land owners skip that step completely and instead pluck the low hanging fruit of tourism. That crop is watered and tended and fertilized for them by state- and county-funded promotions designed to lure visitors to Kauai.

What condition do you suppose ag would be in if it was supported to the same degree as tourism? And what condition do you suppose Kauai would be in if people were working to malama the aina, instead of the visitor?

Anyway, the bill allowing vacation rentals (TVRs) on ag land is up for a public hearing before the County Council this afternoon. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone shows up to testify besides the regulars in opposition.

It’s a little bit peculiar that TVR owners have been a no show at the meetings thus far. They haven’t been publicly petitioning the government, pleading their case, saying this is why we need this bill. Is it because they don’t really want it, don’t really care? Or is it because they don’t really need to, having already done their lobbying — or shall we say, lawsuit threatening — behind closed doors?

Other ag land owners seek to capitalize on both tourism and the well-heeled folks looking for second (or third or fourth) homes that it attracts, as in the case of A&B’s Kukuiula project near Koloa. They are so eager to cash in on the big bucks that they go through the process of taking the land completely out of ag so they can build a shopping mall, golf course and luxury homes.

And when the real estate market tanks, as it tends to do in cycles, they come crying to the county, looking for a break from their measly little 75-unit affordable housing requirement, which they're supposed to start meeting by 2013.

[A&B/Kukuiula's Tom] Shigemoto is arguing the current housing market has gone south since the deal was signed and wants better terms that are fair and concurrent with affordable housing policies.

Interesting that they’re not asking for more time to meet the requirement, as might be considered reasonable since the entire project is stalled, but instead want to dramatically weaken it so the houses can be sold at market prices within 20 years, instead of 90.

These big ag land owners seem to conveniently forget that they have already been given the huge gift of land reclassification and zoning, yet they always want more, more, more.

Just as the seed companies want more land on Kauai, which has Grove Farm pushing out the ranchers who currently lease their land, putting their cattle operations in economic jeopardy.

And just as Monsanto wants more and more control over seeds. In a Monday Supreme Court decision that both Monsanto and the Center for Food Safety claimed as a victory, the justices overturned a lower court’s ban on Roundup Ready alfalfa, but also prohibited it from being planted until it’s deregulated by the USDA, which is conducting an EIS.

It’s the first time the Supreme Court has ever heard a case involving a genetically modified crop. The decision points to the likelihood of more GMO litigation ahead, especially since it’s become clear that these crops cannot be contained and thus pose the potential for harm to both the environment and farmers who don’t want to grow that stuff.

Meanwhile, more and more and more of it is being planted on Kauai, with no EIS or thought to what it might be doing to our natural environment and our ranchers and farmers.


Wahine Warrior said...

it is all coming back on the agenda, on July 7th.
Farm worker housing and Kukuiula on the same day.
Should be an extremely interesting meeting.

Anonymous said...

TVR problem.
Move the barking dog owners into the prime TVR neighborhoods at the prime vacation time, Christmas spring break. Sprinkle with the "noise boys" motorcycle o, and problem solved.
The normal neighborhoods get relief and the tvr's lose income and miss acouple of payments!!!

Anonymous said...

I look forward to the former Planning Director's effort to bend the arm of council with respect to the reduction of terms of the agreement by changing the number of years those afforable housing remain in the housing stock.

I must have missed the study that shows a surplus of affordable housing in 21 years.

Anonymous said...

can't say as I blame them for trying to renegotiate the extortion exacted from them by the county.

Anonymous said...

For those who haven't lived here Joan...Kauai use to be an agricultural island.Sugar and pineaplle fields galore.Kauai was very poor then. Sugar only was profitable because of the US price support. Be careful what you wish for on Kauai.Agriculture will never work because the price of labor is always to high to compete with the rest of the world. Kauai has chosen tourism and does a lousy job at that. Kauai is destined to be a third world country....thanks "Locals".

Anonymous said...

To: Anonymous June 23, 2010 1:57 PM

I'll take Kauai any day, even if it becomes a 3rd world country. We like Kauai. We don't need your changes. There is nothing wrong with the "local" style. If you don't like it, you know the drill. Go home!!!

Anonymous said...

This is now "home" for me and a whole lot of my friends.

We're doing a "makeover".

Don't like the new look that's forming? Move! It's a free country.

Kauai isn't "yours". It belongs to whomever owns the land fee-simple, pays the most taxes and garners the most votes.

I think "we" can do that better than "you".

Let the "makeover" continue.

For "you", there's always Fiji...

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous: June 23, 2010 4:12 PM

You and your friends destroy the quality of life for all. Your arrogance is disgusting. But, it's nothing new. Thank goodness the Lord does not sleep.

Anonymous said...

Considering the way things are going, what has He done for you lately?

Anonymous said...

Wrong question dude. I think you just jinxed yourself.

Anonymous said...

There are trade offs, even for those who want to do a makeover of the island. Yes, there's more economic opportunities, but if you don't see that other factors that bear upon the quality of life on Kauai have been adversely affected by growth and development, then you're blind. Even those who move here twenty years ago know this. Really, if you want LA, why come here? There's already a SoCal for you makeover types.

Anonymous said...

Southern Cali or old time Kauai is a false choice. It will never be either.

Anonymous said...

Then why not let it be? Why the desire to make it into something it's not?

irk said...

Anonymous said...

Overnight Mother Nature can take all your transformation and turn it into the garbage that it is. Build your dreams on sand...

Anonymous said...

it will never be what it was, things change, demographics change, land use patterns change,

go with the flow, stop living in the past and stop trying to make this someplace it is not.

It is Kauai, it will always be Kauai, no matter what you or your 'friends' do or don't do.

Anonymous said...

Yes Kauai has changed.The "Locals" are responsible for the changes...they are in control of the Government. So "Locals" stop complaining about all your's your own elected and still stand behind these people who sold you down the river.

Anonymous said...

Yes Kauai has changed.The "Locals" are responsible for the changes...they are in control of the Government. So "Locals" stop complaining about all your's your own elected and still stand behind these people who sold you down the river.

Anonymous said...

Obviously, "locals" isn't some monolithic entity. Although the no-change-niks call locals who don't go along with their agenda "sell outs" it's not true. They just can't stand that all locals don't agree with their philosophy of stagnation.

Anonymous said...

wow. what a bitter crowd on here. If you feel like that, let us see you put your money where your mouth is. Show up at a meeting for a change instead of hiding behind anonymous. Would really love to meet some of you in person, so I can attach a face to the bitter, overbearing, sanctimonious we are better then you arent you grateful we came here to save your butts mainlanders that you all seem to be.

Lets see you come to those meetings and defend your agendas. Yes there are total sell out coconut locals all over. guess what some of them are home grown but most of them are from Oahu.

And I tell coconuts straight. Remember where your pikos lie. And make your decisions accordingly. Because it will all come back to bite you in the end.

Kauai has its own agenda. The land, and the ocean will have its way with all of you eventually.

Oh and don't forget to introduce yourselves to me when you come to the meeting. Since you are so proud of your opinions here, you should be very proud to introduce yourselves to me and shake my hand.

Then you can continue to tell me all about your beleifs and opinions. The trick is you have to look me in the eye when you do it.

Oh wait, you don't know who I am? Well then, shake everyones hand, and tell them all about your opinions on locals and Kauai at that meeting. Get around, introduce yourselves.

See how well loved, respected and glad people are to hear about what you think.

They probably wont be smiling when you start spewing your ridiculous vitrolic and acidic toungued rhetoric.

Good luck with that. Be brave be very brave. Just pretend you are just typing out your anonymous stuff on Joans blog.

Anonymous said...

-- We're doing a "makeover". --

What an ego. The makeover began long before you and your "friends" knew that Kauai even existed. When you say that you can do better, do you mean that you'll make improvements to the island or that you'll do a better job of fucking it up?

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the Lord does not sleep.

Considering the way things are going, what has He done for you lately?

Wrong question dude. I think you just jinxed yourself.

No worries. If you're that mindlessly and pathetically superstitious, can just toss some salt over your shoulder or rub your rabbit's foot or rattle your mother of god beads or pray to the great white bearded one who lives above the sky or whatever you idiot morons do.

jonathan jay said...

it is great that there is such an in depth exchange of views here, but i can't help but think the tenor an tone would be healthier and more constructive if there was less "anonymous" postings, and more people who actually stood behind their statements with their name.

If you have something to say, great! Now, try stand behind what you say, by also saying who you are.

It's not so hard.

Anonymous said...

Reply to anonymous June 23, 2010:

Forget large scale industrialized mono-crop ag like sugar and pineapple. Those two industries made a few rich and destroyed the land in the process. Replacing those former ag lands is large-scale development, again making a few rich and the rest barely surviving.

Kauai needs a return to a self-sustainable economy, something that exsisted before, for example at the time of Manokalanipo's reign. Known as a time of peace and prosperity for maka'ainana and ali'i alike. Forget "third world". The closest Kauai became to a third world was when the sugar plantations were in their hayday,and all the owners/managers were living high on the hog off the backs of cheap labor from Japan, China and the Filipines.

Kaua'i needs to focus on supporting small-scale diversified farming and fishing that will feed our communities w/out dependence on goods from Costco or Wal-Mart. When the next natural disaster or economic crisis hits Kaua'i, we will be able to sustain our families and communities fairly well.