Letters for Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017

• Support of dairy could be a mistake • Kalani deserves accolades

Support of dairy could be a mistake

In Derek Kawakami’s op ed of Feb. 9 (TGI), he is rightly proud of his family’s place in recent Kauai history, but he is a willing public servant, obliged to answer to public scrutiny.

Supporting the dairy at Maha‘ulepu is a bold move, one that will define his role as a decision- maker. If he is right, Kauai will gain a dozen jobs. If he is wrong, potentially hundreds of visitor-industry jobs may be lost, South Shore property values, and county real property tax revenues could plummet, and single-source environmental damage never seen before on Kauai could occur.

Mr. Kawakami asserts a strong motivation to advocate for viable agriculture initiatives that grow food for local consumption. For Hawaii Dairy Farm to qualify as such an initiative, Mr. Kawakami must be right when he says, “all milk produced on the farm will stay in Hawaii.”

Why would Meadow Gold, the company that would process the milk on Oahu, or its corporate owner, Dallas based Southern Food Group, commit to that? Why should we not think they would sell the milk on the open market to the highest bidder, like China?

In its fall newsletter Waioli Corporation announced Kawakami had accepted membership on its board of directors. Waioli Corporation is the 501 (c) (3) charitable arm of Grove Farm. One of its functions is to burnish the reputation of Grove Farm as a necessary institution on the island.

Grove Farm owns the land Hawaii Dairy Farm leases, a new income source for Grove Farm.

Questions are being raised about Grove Farm’s capturing and selling surface water, and whether it is violating the public trust doctrine in the Hawaii Constitution, as was Kauai Springs when it lost its case in the Hawaii Supreme Court in 2014. Under the law, there is no fundamental difference between the way Kauai Springs took water, and the way Grove Farm takes water today, except in quantity.

In the present circumstance, the dairy cannot operate without getting that water from Grove Farm.

For any public servant, appearances count. Mr. Kawakami has tied his fortunes to the moneyed interests Grove Farm and Hawaii Dairy Farm. Constituents are left to wonder where their interests stand in Mr. Kawakami’s playbook.

Kip Goodwin, Kapaa

Kalani deserves accolades

The Garden Island newspaper wrote a huge article about the winners at the Grammy Awards but failed to mention thatHawaii’s own Kalani Pe‘a won a Grammy! He is a very talented musician who gave a wonderful performance at the GardenIsland Arts Council’s E.K.K. (E Kanikapila Kakou, or “Let’s All Sing”) on Monday, Feb. 6.

One of the Oahu papers had a front-page picture of him plus a great article! Every island, every local newspaper should helpcelebrate when one of our own gets such a coveted award.

Peter Sterne, Koloa

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Editor’s note: TGI published a story in print and online about Kalani Pe‘a on Feb. 5 prior to the E.K.K. concert, and published another story online about his Grammy award on Feb. 13.

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