Wow! More than half-million-dollar award — a huge win for Friends of Mahaulepu (FOM). The members of the Board of Directors of FOM deserve to be lauded and applauded. They have endured countless hours of grueling reading, researching, fundraising, attending meetings, educating regulators — many of whom are sadly uninformed or misinformed about their own areas of responsibility, providing timely information to the public, explaining issues to state and county officials, interacting with attorneys and judges, and on and on. And all this working as citizens of Kauai, as volunteers.
I have been asked this question: “If you could sit down with Pierre and Pam Omidyar and speak with them directly, what would you say?” I would answer this way (with the hope that Mr. and Mrs. Omidyar will read this):
Why do you want to build this dairy, in light of strong community disapproval and resistance?
How much are you willing to sacrifice your “positive” philanthropic reputation to negative, ugly, unfavorable publicity?
Despite public outcry, adverse rulings in both federal and state courts and a review causing withdrawal of your Environmental Impact Statement, why do you continue your intent to develop a 2,000-cow dairy?
Is it ego that drives you?
Is it your desire for more money? Your latest net worth, according to Forbes is $10.1 billion. Is that not enough?
You live in Hawaii; have you no sense of your greater community?
Be assured that FOM is motivated and committed to follow through in the courts to the highest level, for as long as it takes and as much as it costs, to prevent your operation in this location.
Be assured that FOM is well-funded.
Be assured that FOM will continue its push for more in-depth national publicity to expose the folly and selfishness of this endeavor.
And what about Grove Farm, the owner of the land that is leased to Hawaii Dairy Farms? How can a company, that has been a member of this community for 150 years, whose mission statement speaks of their commitment to Kauai “… while being a responsible steward of its aina,” allow, indeed encourage, the operation of a 2,000-cow industrial dairy — one which, by Hawaii Dairy Farms’ own admission, is an experiment — on its property?
Irrefutable facts, easily available to the public for scrutiny, have proven the proposed dairy will be devastating to the ocean and marine life below the property. To Grove Farm I say — shame.
This is an islandwide issue. If the proposed dairy operates in its proposed location, the following events are inevitable: Visitors will not come to the largest Visitor Destination Area on the island.
Although the South Shore will be most severely impacted, hotels, time-shares and other accommodations, as well as restaurants, retail shops, adventure activities, etc., throughout the island will be forced to operate with skeleton staff — or to close.
Jobs will be lost. Unemployment will increase. The tourism industry will suffer. The area hosts a large residential area, with homes and properties in diversified price ranges. Property values are destined to plummet, causing hardship on their owners.
Devalued properties will require lower tax assessments. The amount of taxes collected by Kauai County will decrease. Because the county’s expenses will not decrease, taxes will have to be increased in other areas throughout the island.
This site, rather than being used for a filthy dairy, should be utilized for growing crops that will benefit beautiful Kauai, its residents, its environment and the aina.
Judith Rachap is a resident of Koloa.