October 9, 2016

To produce real, nutritious milk two healthy mama cows–contented belle and boss– need a little over an acre on which to graze. They need a clean barn to come home to, to be milked and fed supplements during the process.
In high tech barns they get a quick exit shower to freshen them as they wend their way into the day.
Inside, people clean up after them. Mama cows are not potty trained. These guys bag the stuff and sell it to farmers who use it to fertilize their organic gardens. Health and happiness is the essence here and those sweet mama cows can live productive lives for 13 or 14 years.
The milk so generously gifted is sent down the road to be pasturized, to be bottled and home delivered, sold to stores, shipped off island or kept at the farm to be sipped in a soda fountain designed to delight the eye and tummy of tourist and local folks alike Especially kids. Remember milk shakes?
It’s the only real dairy in the state. Many milk products are created here. Cheese. Ice cream. Butter. A new industry and a tourist attraction are created.
It’s a world class show place. People come from all over to see it.
It’s a win/win/win. Jobs. Money. Green grass in the fields keeping fresh air fresh.
Visitors arrive in buses. Two trams– Nani and Hoohaku– belong to the dairy and haul in lots of bucks and contributions. Pretty local girls and handsome guys–drivers– love to talk story about how this wonder came about and make sure their passengers note how little space the parking lot and road take. Not much concrete here.
Two thousand mama cows on three thousand acres are the island–and the state–pride and joy. Their beloved babies, before they’re sold–the farm tries to find them good homes–bring joy to all who watch them gambol.
It’s a glorious piece of nature and it’ll remain in place forever.
A destination, movie stars and models come. Even Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Every tour agent in the world sings its praise.
Long pause.
Why doesn’t it happen?
Well, in Hawaii, we have a hard and fast rule. Land must be put to highest and best use.
What is highest and best use?
Development, of course. Three thousand acre!! Six thousand houses with two cars in every garage. Paved streets. Underground utilities and water in every tub
Land owners, contractors, realtors get rich. The state gets rich. Property tax is money you know, which it will need to create and clean up this endeavor.
It needs a new police and fire station. It has roads to maintain and repair. Foul air to deal with. Traffic jams and suburban sprawl to uglify the landscape.
And, once this development is complete, it’s time to find more land to concrete coat.
On our precious island paradise, as in the rest of the country, money trumps health and happiness. Every time.


February 22, 2016


When I first arrived on Kauai some forty years ago, Kauai was a feudal state. The plantation managers were the kings and their department heads were  lords and ladies. Field workers lived simply, but, for the most part, peacefully together. Outside this circle were the big land holders, small business and services, schools and hospitals, a few quaint island style hotels and a rich rash of city and county workers. It was a benevolent state. All of us, at our different levels, lived in peace with each other and the extraordinary beauty of the island and its surroundings. I think of the great and glorious fields of waving green cane,  a cash crop, which contributed to clean fresh air and extraordinary beauty.

I think of Iniki.  Troubled times, and how we all came together…visitors, too, some of them…as a family and worked towards restoration. I think these times are gone.

Today the island is a third world country. Treated with much indifference and malignancies by the rich.  The powerful.  The greedy.  The military  And a most fragile industry, the tourist industry. Today we are a hard hit, rapidly disappearing middle class, with a steadily increasing number of unhappy islanders.

How dare I  express this?

Because it’s true.  We live at  the end of a long line of destructive influences. Some people, mostly newcomers, question why we didn’t protest over-development. We did! But the big land holders, the rich and the greedy and their bought off political cronies, held all the cards. Look at the mess they’ve created on the highways.  None of us can afford the million dollar  needed to build more roads.

All of us on this island, rich and poor, brown, black, yellow and white, young and old will be catastrophically impacted by this ignored insult left unanswered. This monstrosity is always in the headlines.

We all have to transport ourselves to somewhere. Some people must commute.  And you can’t even write that  expense off your taxes. Buy a car, buy some gas, some oil, tires, batteries–whatever–go broke in the process.  Working people  have to get to jobs so they can pay for the commute. They have no choice. The rush to work, the rush home, causing road jams that just won’t quit.  We have constant, disgusting, frustrating  traffic jams. Bumper to bumper fore and aft. Any hour. Any day.  Coming or going.  Where or why. To satellites overhead we must look like ants on a senseless journey to and fro.

Add to that visitors who fly in and  rent a car. Off to their destination. Off to see the sights.  Which they can’t see, they’re driving so fast. Or grumped miserably in a lump of exhaust that takes the breath away.

Then we have locals who love their cars, trucks–four-wheeled noise makers–like Americans, a few years, back loved their horses. “I’ll die before I’ll let you take these reins from my hand.”

Horses were prettier, but history repeats itself. Such a bother. Such a bore.