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Some questions about the dairy for the Omidyars

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.

17 Comments
  1. James Graziano November 20, 2017 4:59 am Reply

    Rather than a dairy on this land, it would be better to support ecologically sound vegetable farming. Kauaii imports much of the food used by the residents, and intensive farming would reduce the cost of these products. This can be done in a manner to have minimal impact on the environment. Witness what is being done in the Netherlands, where that are farmland limited, yet have introduced forward looking sustainable agricultural practices, where they are able to produce up to 10x the normal yields per acre. Also, combined hydroponic and fish faring installations would benefit the oceans


  2. andy November 20, 2017 7:32 am Reply

    The last paragraph says it all, and applies also to all of the other dubious so-called “agriculture”, mostly on the Westside, which I like to call “Pesticide Central”.


    1. Amused November 21, 2017 8:20 am Reply

      Anyone who claims that the seed companies aren’t agriculture is revealing himself to be ignorant and/or woefully misinformed.


  3. JOSE E BULATAO November 20, 2017 8:29 am Reply

    With precious, limited finite resources that comes with an island environment, the highest priorities are on maintaining stewardship practices and principles (malama aina) and in the harsh realities of our carrying capacities. With that said, is this dairy proposal the best choice for the use of this land?


  4. Manawai November 20, 2017 8:36 am Reply

    “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.”

    Please tell us where we might see these “irrefutable facts”.

    BTW Judith, your prediction of economic mayhem due to the dairy is just what many, many people on Kauai want. Reduce tourism, reduce cars, make everything smaller and more agrarian like it was in the past. No wonder lots of people wholly support the dairy for reasons other than milk production.


  5. bob mikkelsen November 20, 2017 9:07 am Reply

    Given all the probable harm that the dairy could cause, or will cause, to our environment, I, too, question the motivation to continue with the dairy.


  6. M. Ortiz-Garcia November 20, 2017 9:43 am Reply

    Mahahlo nui loa Friends of Mahalepu. We stand with you on this issue with the opposition of the dairy farm being proposed in Mahalepu.
    Aloha and may Ke Akua Bless Each and Everyone one of you.

    M


  7. Teresa Hassanally November 20, 2017 1:46 pm Reply

    Can FOM bring to Odmidyar another location? Find, present it to them. (if this hasn’t already been tried)
    Reason, they can’t select another location?


  8. WestKaui November 20, 2017 2:49 pm Reply

    I still think the proposed dairy is a ruse. Once the permits are withheld, the property owners and developers will claim that they are unable to use the land for agriculture, and petition to have zoning changed to residential or resort.


    1. Manawai November 20, 2017 5:46 pm Reply

      That could be interesting. It wouldn’t work but that would be cool if it did! Highest and best use is houses like all these protesting NIMBY’s live in.


    2. Amused November 21, 2017 8:16 am Reply

      Well, the antis are certainly playing right into that scenario! Can you imagine any form of ag on that parcel that they will find acceptable?


  9. Pete Antonson November 20, 2017 4:27 pm Reply

    If Rachap actually had irrefutable facts, or even knew what such things look like, then this letter wouldn’t be necessary nor all it’s little propaganda techniques like using the term “industrial” or declaring the routine assignment of court costs a “Victory!” This is the world of alternative facts. Integrity no longer matters; just what is good for our side!

    The answer to “Why don’t you quit” is simply that NIMBYism based solely on hyperbole cannot be allowed to prevail. If it is, the day is lost and along with it; the future!


  10. Josh solbach November 20, 2017 4:39 pm Reply

    I think we should contract a Kelly Slater wave pool for that land!!!


  11. Manawai November 20, 2017 5:56 pm Reply

    Jose, the FOM care less about the ecology of Mahaulepu, a useful stratagem, than they do about potential smells and flies around their multi-million dollar homes these malahini live in. It’s all about preserving their investments in their costly little piece of paradise.


  12. JOSE E BULATAO November 21, 2017 8:58 am Reply

    So, if this is a matter of competing entities to determine whether our finite land resources should be used for a dairy or resort development or establishing housing units for an increasing residential population, don’t we still need to pay attention to our carrying capacities and stewardship principles? The proponents of any of these proposals, along with all other ideas, should articulate the breadth and depth of their projects. The planning commission, along with other public entities—-along WITH the constituency from the community-at-large—-should have opportunities to review these proposals—–so that there is awareness and involvement in determining what might emerge to be “highest and best use” according to the dictates of maintaining “malama aina” practices and principles to enable us to protect and preserve the environmental integrity of our island and to be cognizant of the limitations placed upon us because of our carrying capacities. We should not forsake these realities and these mandates. It is our shared kuleana (responsibility) to keep these priorities intact.


  13. John Zwiebel November 21, 2017 2:35 pm Reply

    Where is Milk suppose to come from? I like cream in my coffee. The complaint that the Milk has to be sent to Oahu for bottling is a ruse. The milk we get now makes a several day voyage from California. Doesn’t the ecology of California count too? Anyway, once the dairy produces enough milk perhaps a bottling plant could be built here on Kauai.

    As long as people insist that Planned Parenthood should be outlawed, the problem of how to feed people is going to exist. The war-induced famine in Yemen is a good example. The fact that there are 65 Million refugees in the world today is a good example. All of these issues fit together to make the demands on the land for producing food grow and grow and grow. Those against the dairy might also consider how climate change is killing the ocean (actually the stuff we eat that comes out of the ocean).

    The problem is convoluted, extensive and massive and it boils down to the fact that there are too many people in the world. If you can’t deal with that issue, then the problem of the dairy is trivial.


  14. JOSE E BULATAO November 25, 2017 1:03 pm Reply

    There will be arguments to “justify” as to whether we should or should not have a dairy established here on the island of Kauai, so whether one is for it or against it is a moot point.
    The bottom line is this: Whatever is decided, the shared kuleana (responsibility) is protect and preserve the precious limited finite resources we have on this island. No matte what decision is reached, that responsibility cannot be overlooked or ignored.


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