A few tiny patches of blue can be seen among a canopy that is mostly gray, but I wouldn't go so far as to believe that sunshine is really in the forecast, though it's certainly what we need.
What we don't need are another 400 visitor units and gentleman's estates on the North Shore, but that's exactly what developer Jeff Stone wants to give us at Princeville.
But hey, what's another few thousand tourists driving to the end of the road, laying their bamboo mats on the sands of Hanalei Bay, choking out Anini and Kalihiwai, when you've already got 10,000 to 15,000 fricking vacationers milling around in Pleasantville and spilling out into the surrounding environs on any given day?
Just focus on the “really fabulous” — to use Stone's words — future construction and economic impacts. That way you can pretend there won't be all those other impacts.
Of course, it will provide jobs, though most could end up going to off-islanders, just like the $5 billion Oahu rail project and construction of the Princeville Westin.
What I'm wondering is how much of Princeville's planned Phase II is in the vacation rental-friendly Visitor Destination Area, which the County helpfully expanded into the Western Plateau. That was back in the day when Ron Kouchi, Maxine Correa, Jimmy Tejada, Joe Munechika, Jesse Fukusima and Randal Valenciano served on the Council — remember that stellar line up?— and JoAnn Yukimura was mayor. If you can read this map and figure it out, please fill us in.
As for the future of Princeville, well, here's a look-see at what's coming down the pike. Stone essentially plans to fill in the land between Anini Vistas and the shopping center, while Montage Hotels and Resorts, whose investors include eBay tycoon and Civil Beat founder Pierre Omidyar, will so thoughtfully give us an ultra-luxury resort near the St. Regis.
I wonder, how does an ultra-luxury resort on the North Shore and Montage's ownership of the pesticide-drenched Prince golf course fit in with Omidyar's philanthropic Ulupono Initiative and its supposed mission for “positive, sustainable change” in the Islands? Other than as a total antithesis, of course. As the Ulupono website states, among other platitudes that will make you want to keep the barf bag handy:
Pierre and Pam are guided by the belief that people are basically good and that every person has the power to make a difference.
So then why do they want to fuck up Kauai's North Shore even more than it already is? Don't they already have enough money? Why must they exploit the `aina to make more? Can't they see that their actions are running counter to their supposed beliefs?
The floods of the past few weeks have given us a clear message: the North Shore is vulnerable, it's fragile, it's maxed out. It doesn't need any more tourists, vacation rentals, mansions, gentleman's farms, shopping centers or uberswank resorts.
What it does need is some respect and a lot of TLC.
But that message is apparently lost on the money-grubbing Jeff Stones and Pierre Omidyars of the world. Who gives a shit about the land, the water and the local people when there are many millions still to be skimmed off Kauai.
It's times like this that I feel like throwing in the towel and tending orphaned sloths in Costa Rica.