“Kauai's next wave” — as defined by Sunset magazine — looks an awful lot like the last one: Hanalei surf school, shave ice truck, medicinal herb farm in Kilauea. Oh, and the obligatory illegal homestay — on ag land, no less — featured on the cover as “Shhh! Our secret B&B.”Like this is all hunky dory, and you, too, can move to Kauai and casually flout the law:
The reference is to Eddi Henry, a retired mortgage banker who built a house on ag land in Moloaa that she operates as “curated lodging experience” known as The Palmwood. Rooms go for $295-$350 per night. When the County Council was grappling with the homestay bill back in 2015, Henry showed up and played the sympathy card — “We're all retired senior citizens” — before claiming that TVRs and homestays “are completely different animals.”
Perhaps. But when they're operating without a permit, especially on ag land, they all fall into the same category: illegal. The Sunset story notwithstanding, we're wise to her dirty little secret.
Which is why Henry is now trying to secure an after-the-fact permit. That's likely to be tough, since the Council did not allow homestays/B&Bs on ag land in the ordinance it passed. It wisely recognized that uses like The Palmwood are working to make real farming economically unfeasible.
So Henry is taking the same approach as other illegal operators: gaming and dragging out the system. In this case, she's one of many seeking the recusal of the hearings officer assigned to review the appeals of denied applications.
Why bother to get a permit when you operate indefinitely and get free national publicity while keeping the legal challenge going? It's worked so well for the other illegal operators, and it keeps former deputy county attorney Jonathan Chun employed.
While it was somewhat amusing to find that, according to Sunset, the leeward side of the island does not exisit, or at least merit a mention, I shuddered a little when I read this comment from one of the interviewees:
We came here because of the lifestyle....
It was the reiteration of a quote from a North Shore high-end Realtor that I included in a piece called “Parallel Universes” that was published in Bamboo Ridge a while back and excerpted in what was then The Honolulu Advertiser:
“We all love Kauai. We don’t want it to change, either. It’s what we moved here for: the watersports, the surf, the weather, the golf. In fact, I had this little sign made for my desk, and when I’m talking to customers, I can turn it around and show it to them and it says, ‘I don’t sell real estate, I sell a lifestyle.’ I made that up myself. I think it pretty much sums it up.”
Yeah. I guess it does. And let's face it: it's a lifestyle that eschews local culture, and that most locals can't afford, anyway.
Meanwhile, to support this new lifestyle, the newbies keep providing us with revisionist history.
Like how the proposed dairy site at Mahaulepu, which grew sugar for a century and more recently pastured cattle, is “pristine.”
And how the stream at the Keahua Arboretum shouldn't have a bridge because the land there is “sacred” and shouldn't be accessed by tourists — even though the existing ford previously linked to an interior loop road that connected Kuamoo Road to Lihue and was traveled by tourists. Not to mention the youngin's now go back there to smoke ice before work in the visitor industry, and too many hunters wantonly dump pig guts and carcasses.
And how the trees back there shouldn't be touched, even though they're all introduced species that were planted 50 to 80 years ago as timber demonstration projects.
And how “intensive agriculture” is horrible, even though the Hawaiians for centuries cultivated pretty much every inch of arable land, greatly altering the natural landscape in the process.
And how legally-permitted, long-existing water diversions that provide hydro and irrigation are now "new dams" created by “ecoterrorists” — and by this they mean KIUC and Grove Farm, as opposed to the real ecoterrorists who vandalized the diversion and generated all the concrete rubble that has flowed into the stream, along with rocks and silt, during the recent gullywashers:
And how this diversion is also responsible for Hawaiian Homes keeping kanaka on the wait list, even though DHHL's plans to develop housing in the Wailua area were contingent on building more resorts at Lydgate to finance construction:
California transplants Hope and Tim Kallai are filled with revisionist history and misinformation, including their claim that the "ala loa" hugs the coast through Moloaa and Waipake before inexplicably cutting through Mark Zuckerberg's property to access Koolau Road.
It reminds me of a George Orwell quote: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”
How ironic that this destruction should be orchestrated by those who are convinced they are "saving" Kauai!