Is anyone else weary of the “Kauai as paradise” myth?
Especially when it's being used to advance such non-paradisiacal ventures tourism, at the cost of agriculture or any other sustainable endeavor.
Case in point: Today's letter to the editor from a “common-sense visitor” who knows all about what's best for Kauai because he loves it, and has visited often enough to convince himself that it was created to be a “paradise on earth.” Which means it's unfit for dairies or anything but accommodating the adoring hordes.
What's so ironic is the writer — David Boruta — doesn't realize his attack on the dairy could just as easily be applied to the tourist industry:
It is beyond any reasoning to plan a dairy operation of the scale planned for Mahaulepu considering what will happen to our paradise. “Paradise lost” is something no one should take lightly. There isn’t a single reason to build the dairy here other than financial motivations for a few individuals. This will be at the expense of everyone else. More than the expense is the compromising of our most precious asset — Kauai’s paradise.
My favorite line:
The land does not belong to anyone, it belongs to everyone.
Well, except that land owned by folks like David Collison, who recently opined that the diary “will also certainly impact my property values and those of my neighbors as well as detrimentally affecting the tourist industry of the area which is, of course, one of the primary engines of Kauai’s economy.”
David Boruta ends his misinformed missive with this:
Congratulations to the Kauai planning board for taking a responsible stand on the new Coco Palms Resort project. This $135 million dollar project will celebrate paradise while employing thousands of locals.
Because paradise is all about perpetuating illusions like “Blue Hawaii” and all those smiling natives who just live to share the aloha spirit, and every blessed inch of their island, with ever-increasing numbers of wealthy white folks.
Meanwhile, Friends of Mahaulepu (FOM) is ramping up with the rhetoric with their "green ambulance" chaser, Oregon attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who is publicly posturing over plans to sue Hawaii Dairy Farms, Grove Farm and Mahaulepu Farm, LLC — the important ag lands — for alleged clean water violations.
The rhetoric, and intent to sue announcement, mimic the legal strategies employed by the other foes of Hawaii agriculture: Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, which rely heavily on similar scare tactics.
Still, it's puzzling how Surfrider, FOM and other dairy opponents keep talking about how “pristine” Mahauelepu is, even while releasing data showing it has the island's most polluted stream.
Mmmm, how can you have it both ways? And if it's still pristine, even as the island's most continuously polluted water flows through the valley and into the ocean, is there a problem?
Meanwhile, those who love to talk about sustainable farming have a chance to put their money and muscles where their mouth is. The Agribusiness Development Corp. is looking for tenants to lease 740 acres of former sugar cane land, with water, on the Mana Plain in Kekaha.
That should come as welcome news to the KKCR crowd, which is talking about growing kenaf as an alternative to the seed companies. Perhaps this would be a good place for them to put their model to a test. I'm sure they'd have no problem competing economically with China, USSR, Thailand, South Africa, Egypt, Mexico and Cuba, which also grow it.
Except I'm not sure how they would justify growing kenaf, which is used for fiber, after they so roundly rebuked the seed companies for failing to grow anything they could actually eat.
Kenaf is also useful as a forage crop, but since they're dead-set against a dairy, it's unclear who might be able to use it for that purpose, especially on the scale that would be required to support tens of thousands of acres in cultivation.
And since no one wants anything “industrial” in paradise, they'd likely run into opposition from their friends if they tried to process the fiber into cardboard or newsprint on-island.
But no worries. If that doesn't pan out, they've still got a chance to create utopia at the Kilauea ag park. Though Keone Kealoha has never really accomplished anything of note, the ADC just gave $120,000 in public money to bring that 20-year-old pipe dream to fruition.
In other words, taxpayers are subsidizing the dreamers so they can compete against real farmers who made it all by themselves in the private sector.
Hmmm. Perhaps paradise still exists on Kauai after all.