It's definitely getting light earlier, which is making our morning walk on a narrow road less perilous, and this pre-dawn it was especially bright, with a bigger-than-half moon illuminating the cloud cover and the air so heavy and calm that I could have stood much longer, enjoying the fragrance of my neighbor's puakenikeni tree. But the dogs had other ideas, so we kept moving.
The folks living in Koloa Camp staged a sign-holding event yesterday afternoon intended to make it clear they don't want to move. (Hey, nice to see Councilman KipuKai Kualii in the group!) They're still holding out hope Grove Farm will let them buy their camp houses, and in the process preserve a slice of Kauai history.
Because that's what visitors want now: history and culture. Or so says George Costa, the county's director of Economic Development, in an interview that makes it clear the county has neither plans nor ideas for diversifying our economy. Instead, we hear the same tired mantra that's been trotted out forever: gotta keep supporting tourism and then we'll work on diversification.
Just like FEMA doesn't have blankets and food, the county doesn't have a plan for life after tourism, or even life other than tourism. We're on our own.
It made me think of an anguished call from a friend who expressed doubt that Kauai will be able to make it economically in the long haul. Hey, chillax, that's in the future! We don't go there on the Garden Island. Everything's fine! Well, so long as oil remains relatively cheap.
In the meantime, George thinks there's room for more shops selling tourist trinkets, and restaurants that will open and then close before you can find a parking space. Oh, and don't forget the thriving growth industry of massage therapists.
Or, he suggests, we can exploit our kupuna, one group that hasn't been thoroughly wrung dry by the visitor industry's insatiable need for something new to satisfy the jaded “been there, done that” crowd.
At least we aren't likely to see construction begin on the resorts that the planning commission approved, even though they weren't needed. That's because hotel occupancy is only at 60 percent, catering to just 22 percent of the visitors. The rest are going to time shares (28 percent) and vacation rentals (25 percent).
So where are the remaining 25 percent staying? Kalalau? Perhaps that explains why 37 hikers had to be rescued at Hanakapiai one afternoon last week. Yes, I know, that used to be a wilderness area — before the trail was “improved” to allow easy access for all our nature-loving, but ill-prepared, tourists.
Still, ya gotta give George credit for a sense of humor. I'm talking about his comment on the importance of “networking.” So true that, especially if you want to be appointed to one of those high-paying jobs in the mayor's administration.
He did briefly mention agriculture, with the long-stalled papaya industry one supposed bright spot. I think a comment left on last Tuesday's post more accurately summarizes the reality of the situation:
The County's efforts to preserve ag land are appalling. We have encouraged mansions, resorts, commercial tours and every non-ag endeavor on ag land. It doesn't matter who the mayor is because it occurred during Kunimura, Yukimura, Kusaka, Baptiste and Carvalho's administrations. So politicians, quit paying lip service to the politically correct but factually incorrect assertion that you want to preserve ag land because you don't. Admit that you are controlled by the realtors, contractors and aina rapists that line your campaign coffers and stroke your fragile egos.
Food? Who needs food? We've got Costco.
Another reader left a noteworthy comment on the post about regulating vacation rentals on ag land:
Copies of the planners report, agency comments, and the actual permit with conditions issued are not posted. We get to beg for them and pay for paper copies.
Really. Why isn't this stuff posted on-line so citizens can review applications and submit comments without having to drive into Lihue, stand at the planning counter and paw through a stack of documents?
And since the planning department only operates on an enforcement basis, it seems this information should be readily available to the public. Otherwise, how are people supposed to know if someone's in compliance if they don't know what conditions were imposed?
Of course, such a system works great if you don't really want to encourage citizen participation and have no interest in doing any enforcement
And finally, I meant to respond some time ago to a comment inquiring about a more sustainable approach to feeding chickens.
At the workshop I attended, Sky Roversi-Deal discussed a chicken diet that is one-third greens; one-third fallen fruit and cooked starchy root crops, such as cassava, sweet potato or taro; and one-third protein, such as blood worms, army worms, fish scraps, soldier fly grubs, bugs, centipedes, etc. If you can't come up with sufficient protein, or your birds are not allowed to scratch up their own by going free range, you can substitute layer crumbles for all or part of that final one-third.
The cool thing is, you can produce most all of what they eat, because a lot of it's the same stuff you eat, in your own backyard.