While The Garden Island is busy covering creationism as news and repeating the same old complaints against Hawaii Dairy Farms, it continues to miss major stories impacting large swaths of raw land on Kauai.
It has yet to catch up on the 1,103-acre Princeville sale, and completely missed news that Jimmy Pflueger has sold his 383-acre Pilaa property in advance of a state foreclosure action. The state was preparing to seize the ag land, which lies between Kuhio Highway and the ocean, south of Kilauea, after Pflueger failed to pay a $4 million fine levied after he caused a big mudslide there in 2001.
The Star-Advertiser reports that Pflueger was due to close the deal last Friday. He reportedly sold the land to Koa Kea International LLC, which in turn will convey a portion of it to Pilaa International LLC and West Beach Kauai LLC, which is registered to Honolulu attorney Gino Gabrio. Ironically, Koa Kea means “white coral" — a stark contrast to the reef at Pilaa after it was buried under tons of sediment.
Koa Kea International was registered by Honolulu attorney Wesley Ys Chang on Aug. 14, 2013 and lists one principal, Melange International LLC, a Colorado-based gas and oil exploration company that holds interests in oil and gas fields in North Dakota.
Koa Kea's managers are Gary Stewart, CEO of Melange, Theresa Stewart and Sara Jehn, an architect involved with the Coco Palms restoration. Campaign spending records for 2012 show Gary Stewart contributed to ultra conservative Republican candidates in Colorado and Democrat Tulsi Gabbard in Hawaii.
One has to wonder how long Pflueger — still awaiting sentencing for his role in the 2006 Ka Loko dam break that caused seven deaths — will be allowed to pull these stunts and literally get away with murder. If you're well enough to pull off a multi-million land sale to beat a foreclosure, surely you're well enough to withstand a sentencing hearing.
Meanwhile, in The Garden Island's article on the new dairy, reporter Chris D'Angelo draws an unwarranted conclusion in an apparent attempt to be clever:
Hawaii Dairy Farms’ revised plan for 578 acres in Mahaulepu continues to cause a stink for one South Shore resort and a number of local residents.
Isn't the whole issue, the focus of the lawsuit, whether the dairy actually will cause a stink, or one that either the Hyatt or Poipu residents will notice? At least TGI ran a graphic showing the dairy is 2.5 miles from the Hyatt and 2.3 miles from the closest subdivision. That seems a very long way for a smell to travel. Even the purported fly problem is a bit of a stretch. Consider this, from Penn State:
Flies normally stay within l/2-2 miles of their point of origin, but have been known to travel as far as 20 miles to find food and ovipositional sites.
If they've got plenty of manure at the dairy, why would flies be flying to the Hyatt? Except maybe the food is better.
It was especially bothersome to read this:
Koloa resident Bridget Hammerquist, an outspoken opponent of HDF’s plan and member of local group Friends of Mahaulepu, doesn’t believe it. She says the diary’s quest for profit should not be allowed to trump concerns about health.
Doesn't Bridget realize that HDF is intended to be a demonstration model? Because it is being financed by billionaire Pierre Omidyar's Ulu Pono Initiative, it doesn't have to be bothered with such pesky concerns as making a profit, or even staying out of the red. But those sorts of comments are bandied about to falsely portray this as some sort of evil corporate farm ready to sacrifice the environment to boost its bottom line.
The real meat of the story comes at the end, in the comment from Ulu Pono's Amy Hennesey:
[I]f development cannot coexist with agriculture, Kauai’s farmers, local food industry and, ultimately, families will be the “victims of unfettered growth.”
And with two large parcels of prime Kauai ag land being swooped up for upscale development just last week, that's not a stretch.