We subscribe to The Garden Island online and we were very disturbed to read the article in the April 24 edition entitled “Road war heats up at Pila‘a.”
When the mudslide occurred at Pila‘a in November of 2001, we witnessed an environmental catastrophe.
We saw firsthand the extreme devastation to the Pila‘a reef, Pila‘a beach and to our friends, the Marvin family. Their lives went from paradise to a battlefield. Pila‘a was one of the few pristine beaches left in Hawai‘i and it became a mud-hole overnight. For years, we swam, surfed, picked shells and snorkeled with our children from the Marvins’ home. After the mudslide the reef was smothered. The situation was made even more tragic by the fact that it was a manmade disaster. The Marvins have lived with this tragedy every day for the last 41/2 years, and it isn’t over yet.
The reef at Pila‘a will take generations to recover and the Marvins’ battle continues. For the last 14 years we have always driven our vehicles down the cliffside road directly into the Marvins’ yard. We have never used a footpath. It is utter nonsense to believe that the Marvins constructed the road in 2000. The Marvins had four children and it’s not reasonable to think she had been hauling four children, was pregnant with her fifth child and carrying groceries, surfboards, backpacks, propane tanks, library books, briefcases, laptops, school projects, etc., up and down the cliff on a footpath. The road was built by a movie company for the filming of None But the Brave. It’s a part of Pila‘a’s history.
We have been residents of Kaua‘i since 1978. We have provided recovery assistance in the wake of two natural disasters: after the Anahola river flood and after Hurricane ‘Iniki, both acts of God, not man. My husband, along with friends David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Willy K and many others joined together to produce a The Hurricane Relief Fund, and generated two paying concerts on O‘ahu and a free concert here on Kaua‘i a month after the hurricane. We brought a million dollars to the people of Kaua‘i. The money to produce these shows was covered by money out of our pockets and the good will of our friends and community. The money went to rebuilding our community, its churches, canoe clubs, schools, na hula halau, kids sports programs and to the things that would help rebuild our island with the basics that make Kaua‘i our home. We are always ready to help our island and its people however we can. Therefore, it is very disturbing to witness this blatant and abusive disregard for Kaua‘i’s natural resources, and her community, by one powerful individual, Mr. Pflueger. I keep hearing what a good guy the man is but it seems to us that even if he didn’t think he was responsible, why, with all his resources, hasn’t he come forward to do something?
We have nothing to be gained by this commentary except seeing our friends protected and yet we see that money and connections can protect Mr. Pflueger from responsibility. Many suits have been brought against Mr. Pfueger but he has more money than most people and the people don’t have the time or the resources to fight him. I have been witness to the daily trial and tribulations that Mr. Plueger has put the Marvins through. To name just a few: the pig sty that was placed near the entrance of the road and upwind from their house; the chicken manure dumped at the beginning of the walk path; the two outhouses placed, one at the front of the house and the other right out their bedroom window; and the barbed wire that runs from the side of the property to the ocean. These are not allegations, the reality is there for anyone to see. With all of Mr. Pflueger’s property, I find it nothing but a blatant disregard for the Marvin family by the placement of these unnecessary annoyances.
These are but a few of the things that have gone on down at Pila‘a. I mention these few items because I thought I could omit the word “alleged.”
As to Mr. Pflueger, why would such a “good guy” do this to anyone? Maybe because he had a major land development above the Marvins’ property and the icing on the cake was the Marvin’s beach spot, the perfect place for the private beach club for the exclusive homes above. Allegedly Mr. Pflueger has always wanted the Marvins out. Even if he offered the Marvins top dollar it would be nothing compared to what he will gain in the sale of his estates above.
After the hurricane relief I was nominated for the One Person Can Make A Difference Award. Roselle Bailey presented it to me. It’s given in recognition of contributions towards improving and protecting Kaua‘i’s environment. I would like to publicly nominate Amy Marvin for consideration.
I found it interesting that the report ran on the front page of April 24 and that the Marvins are defended in Letters to the Editor at the back of the newspaper.
• Graham and Susan Nash are residents of Hanalei.