Seems like we have a surfeit of billionaires behaving badly lately, here on the Garden Island.
We’ve got one building walls instead of friends on the North Shore. On the South Shore, no one seems to be able to connect with Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar to somehow convey to him the extent to which his dairy is upsetting the community — an alarmingly bad fit, situated so close upwind and upstream of our beaches, drinking wells and resorts.
No matter how you slice and dice and wrap it up in all that developer-speak with a bow on top (and an EIS from a company that’s been on your own payroll) it still stinks. And the cows aren’t even here yet — all 2,000 of them.
Oh and there’s another billionaire no one’s talked about much, who in fact grew up on Kauai and spent time as a kid exploring and cavorting along the trails, cliff sides and beaches of Mahaulepu.
That would be AOL founder, Steve Case. He’s the one leasing the land to Omidyar for the dairy. His involvement may be superficial, but its impact will not be. How can it be that someone with generational ties and family in Hawaii, who professes to cherish memories of Kauai and Mahaulepu, has not engaged with the community here about this project?
And then there’s the folks who work for the billionaires. I’m still waiting to hear of the first executive from Ulupono or HDF willing to invest in a home or condo or even rental property in the Poipu area.
If you’re all so sure the dairy will be impact-free, come and invest — sink some roots. Come on, Amy Hennessey! Karl Datta? Come on Murray Clay, Greg, Jesse, Mike, Jeff. C’mon, Pam and Pierre! Be a neighbor. Take the investment challenge. There are listings in Poipu right now for land, homes and condos, and I can recommend a good agent.
Show your commitment to your corrals and berms and cattle and manure-spreaders, and spend some time close to your work — as close as the rest of us will be. The commute will be fast, I promise. You can really get to know the area — not just stop by for a paycheck. It’s beautiful here — pristine beaches, clean drinking water, lots of fresh, fragrant air, thriving tourism, incredible views, parks for the keiki to play in … unhindered by flies that bite.
Anyone interested? Any takers? No?
Didn’t think so.
Steve Lauryn is a resident of Poipu.