IMAGINE THE FUTURE
November 16, 2016

IMAGINE THE FUTURE

Kauai lucked out in 2017. A great American, a philanthropist who chose to be anonymous, bought scads of land on the island to protect it from further development.
I was ten. My mother came to Kauai to teach kids in a public school, and we both fell in love with the place.
Although confronted with many problems—over population, traffic jams, foul air, polluted water, lots of homeless—its spirit, its people, its open spaces, its great beauty, left us with hope for a better future.
It didn’t take me long to adjust. My brown Latino skin felt right at home, and my mother told me about the wonderful diversity–race, religion–this small spot in the Pacific was blissed with. The purchase of so much land by some mysterious person cornered all the chatter. It seemed to be all anybody talked about.
What did it mean? What would happen?
The first thing that happened, a new real estate firm opened in the Grove and everyone held his breath. Turned out nothing was for sale, but all the land called Keka Agricultural Park was laid open for lease. Small and medium parcels were offered. Large sections for orchards: orange groves, citrus, avocado, papaya, mango, coffee—an interesting circle of sites to grow breadfruit cropped up. Adopt and care for a tree and a new recipe to go along with it and there will be a special stand to market this original Kauai treat. So diverse: Maui onions, tomatoes, organic soybeans, carrots, corn, you name it.
Plenty of land for free range chickens and green meadows for registered Jersey.
There were fresh ponds where tilapia flourished, kids could even swim there.
There was plenty of land for anthuriums and hibiscus and carnations and pikaki and plumeria. What my mom and I loved most was the more fragrant trees and flowers were planted near the towns, so people could enjoy a heady breath of scented air as they walked or worked.
All the roads inside this real come-to-life fairy tale Agricultural Park were well- packed dirt and, sometimes, red or black tire mulch. You walked in there, or rode, or motored about on golf carts.
Only those farmers who had to truck their produce in or out were allowed pickups.
Multi national flower and plant stands lined the road. Mexican, Hawaiian, Japanese and Filipino farmers built them and decorated them. It was a kind of United Nations Ag Park, the first of its kind.
Just being in this special place was delightful.
My mom loved to grow chili peppers, she remembered the wide variety of chili beans my grandparents grew on their little farm in Baja.
She managed to get a year lease, they were reasonable priced and a promise was made from the leasors that if you could make it go, a better deal could be worked out next time. Absolutely no dollar crops allowed.
The family who leased the small piece of land next to ours was from the Philippines and their stand was a nipa hut. They had a disc that played Bahay Kubu and I learned to sing along.
We taught them to sing De Colores. Before long our entire road was filled with music. Nobody tried to out blast the other. Mom decided to grow some flowers and maybe have a Kauai rooster–they’re the official island bird–and a couple of hens so we could share fresh laid eggs.
Kauai soon became the Hawaiian food basket. We fed the state. Sustainability, island wide, was the goal.
We suddenly became famous and another billionaire showed up. She wanted in on the act. She bought up all the automobile and car rental properties and shut them down. This lady bought her way into the Mayor’s office, got her cronies elected, and they passed a law about automobile ownership. Car owners were taxed off the wall and the money the rich automobile addicts contributed bought a transportation system, so clean, so sweet, so Kauaian tourists would come just to ride around in it.
This batch of lawmakers also passed a law that no more hotels could be built. Ever. That filled every existing hotel/motel to the fullest and every visitor who planned to stay more than a day had to have a reservation. That worked because visitors could only visit when a room was available. You had to stand in line, the whole world over, to book a room on Kauai.
Sometimes it got a little crowded in the Park, so visitors were asked to buy a ticket. Locals, of course, got in free. Lots of lucky guys, who stayed in private homes, had guest privileges, if their host wanted to treat them.
The super stupendous surprise was a solar city built tall with a every small foot print, at the foot of the cliffs–not much concrete here, at least on the ground–and visitors were often struck with an extraordinary shock: they didn’t even see this high rise city until they walked through the front door.
Lots of locals often didn’t even know it was there.
Health Spas, renowned world wide, also sprang up. If you wanted to get healthy spend a week or two in a spa on Kauai. Amazing how many tourists were sick and needed healing. Very expensive for out- of- staters, locals got a kamaaina rate. We rarely sold them, that was bad, but you know how some people are.
A local spiritual group created an Hawaiian Lourdes. A special bill had to be passed to find a way to limit attendance. On opening day all the public transportation and golf carts, even some pickups, had to be commandered. One historian said it was like a Dunkirk without the danger, guns, and huns.
It grew up to be a farmer’s joke, “Where was your pickup when the hoards flocked to Lourdes?”
Answer, “Every pickup on Kauai was at Lourdes.”
We’re the healthiest happiest people in the world. And we intend to stay that way.

MAKE KAUAI GREAT AGAIN
February 28, 2016

…again?

Doesn’t this imply  once it was great and now it’s not?

If  so, then wouldn’t it  be true, only one who lived on Kauai during its great period could respond? I mean,  what changed? To go from greatness to not so great must mean something changed.

My husband and I sailed to Kauai in 1969. We tied up at the sea wall in Nawilili, just around the corner, as it were, from one of the hottest hot spot saloons on the island. The first person we met was Walter Brian–Head of the Water Department–we’d known  him on Oahu–and my husband was headed towards a job as Engineering Department Head of McBryde Sugar.

Sugar was King.  Actually, managers of sugar plantations were Kings. Department Heads and their wives were Lords and Ladies. There was an inside joke:  haolis lived in the haoli camps;  field hands lived in Japanese camps, Filipino camps,  Portuguese camps. But– by our time– racism was floundering. There were lots of  shanties.  Warm. Dry. It was a feudal state,  but McBryde was  benevolent.  Mules–Brownie, Blackie and Caliban– wore saddles filled with seed cane to replant at planting season. It was a great life, for most of us. Bill loved the men he worked with, they loved him. Bobby Pfeifer was President, Ceo, and  Chairman of the Board of Alexander and Baldwin of which McBryde was a totally owned subsidiary.  There couldn’t have been a better man at the helm.

Cane was a dollar crop. Grown to maturity for almost two years.  Burned to harvest. Cane fires flared in  splendor in the still winds of early morning sky. Then milled and shipped to California to be refined and packaged and sent back home.  Alexander and Baldwin is Matson, remember?  Those guys didn’t go to school to carry their lunch. Sugar kept their ships full going out and full coming back.

This glorious field of long tall grass worked with grace and beauty to keep our air fresh. The air on Kauai,  clean and invigorating,  filled our lungs with the essence of life. Of health. Breathing is the most important thing we do on this planet.  Breath bad air, breath illness and misery and death.

I see more cars–spewing stink and CO2 and sporting angry drivers–driving to Lihue  then there were on the island when we arrived. Today, on Kauai, there are places where you should wear a little white mask to keep your lungs working.

We’d little crime. Few homeless.  Few unemployed.  We weren’t rich, but, for the most part, we were happy. Put a dollar sign on that.

Recently someone suggested we contact young Mark Zukerberg–philanthropist– to get us back on track.

May I humbly suggest we contact Ted Turner? He’s a philanthropist. He owns over two million acres of land. “The sad thing about destroying the environment is that we’re going to take the rest of life with us…” I think Bobby and Bill would have loved him. I do.

 

 

 

 

TED TURNER
January 29, 2015

Just when too many of us despaired about  billionaires and such, someone came along. Fell off my screen and into my lap as it were. Saw pictures-cute-and read on my computer about a guy who owns more land in America than any other American. Two million acres of personal and ranch land. That’s’a’lot’a square feet.

What does he do with it? This question coming from a lady who once lived in comfortable middle class territory but who has downed-or upped-her economic status bt managing to survive as upper lower. I got some land. 160,000 square feet of jungle to walk around on. Aint so bad. I got shelter, transportation, feed me and my zoo, Aristotle-my famous horse-a grown up puppy, two cats, one hen and a Macaw and, so far, manage to pay my bills.

So who is this guy?

His name is Ted Turner. I started with his quotes. I’m a writer. I love quotes. “The sad thing about destroying the environment is that we’re going to take the rest of life with us. The bluebirds will be gone, and the elephants will be gone, and the tigers will be gone, and the pandas will be gone.”

I fell off my stool. Plunked off on my skinny okole. Picked myself up, brushed myself, and began to google.

Mr. Turner, I read, managed to unite economic with ecological sustainability. Relying on bison and hunting/fishing/nature and tourism. On his web I see a picture of happy bison in green grass. I see gorgeous open land and hear he created this “…to save the land from development.”

Another quote, “I love this planet…I want to see the environment preserved and I want to see everybody living decently in a more equitable, kind-hearted, thoughtful, generous world.”

He’s an incredible philanthropist. His foundations. The Ted Turner Foundation (TFI) supports efforts for improving air and water quality, developing a sustainable energy future to protect our climate, safeguard our environmental health, maintaining wildlife habitat protection, and developing practices and policies to curb population growth rates.

Mr. Turner?  May I call you Ted? Speaking for many of us on Kauai who like coquis, crowing roosters, parakeets, feral pigs and goats and cats and the beauty we are surrounded with on our little piece of paradise, please help us out.

We are threatened with over development. Suburban sprawl.

Destruction of our air, waterways, and soil by powerful corporations-with dollar signs instead of hearts-who would turn Kauai into one vast experimental plantation. Growing GMO corn we cannot eat. Producing milk we cannot drink in a milk factory that threatens every living thing in its path.

We invite you to visit us. Stay with us. Bed and breakfast. Free. As long as you like. Incognito. Meet interesting guys. RSVP

My horse, Aristotle-who in a previous life was a famous philosopher-told me to write this. He said, “Even billionaires love a free lunch.”