Letters for Saturday, April 28, 2007

• Farmers need supplemental revenue to survive

• Get ready for the invasion

• Dalai Lama’s visit warranted more coverage

Farmers need supplemental revenue to survive

Here on Kaua‘i, many of the large agricultural landowners have commercial venues where tourists pay money to tour farms and facilities. This revenue helps to subsidize crops and support farmers.

Remember how sugar was subsidized for years by the federal government to keep it viable and jobs retained. For years, Guava Kai operated a retail commercial center for visitors that helped support their guava-growing operation. Robinson uses his conservation and ag land for ATV tours to help raise funds for the work he is doing to preserve native plant species.

Many people and organizations are now using “ag” land for commercial uses. Big developers who own ag land go to the planning commission for a zoning change when they want to make developments on agricultural lands. The big 3,000-unit development in Po‘ipu is on ag land that was rezoned for development. Knudsen has recently put in a request to rezone 125 acres of ag land in Waimea. The cost of buying land has made it very difficult to farm and make money on ag land so it is only natural that these large land owners would seek ways to use ag land in other ways or to get it rezoned. Witness all of the ATV, hiking, kayaking, and waterfall tours which have sprung up all over the island. These are excellent uses which serve to preserve agricultural and conservation land with minimal impact.

In New Zealand and many other countries in Europe, people who own small farms have farm stays which allow tourists to stay on the farms and see how the locals live and grow crops. Many of these visitors have no interest in staying in big elaborate hotels or resorts. The income generated from these farm stays allows the farmer to keep growing small, diversified agricultural crops and to keep paying ever-increasing property taxes. These farm stays keep big business from buying up the small farms and monocropping the land.

Farm stays are a way to use agricultural land to promote what is called agricultural tourism. Farmers who live in places like Italy and New Zealand are actually encouraged by the government to operate these visitor accommodations.

However with JoAnn’s bill to prohibit vacation rentals on ag land, many of the small farmers on Kaua‘i with visitor accommodations like these farm stays, will be forced to sell their farms. Although it is important that vacation rentals and hotel accommodations of all kinds be limited on Kaua‘i, we need to encourage small farmers, and we need a variety of visitor accommodations.

Michaelle Edwards


Get ready for the invasion

Are you ready for the forthcoming homeless invasion ?

O‘ahu is struggling with a thousands of homeless camped out on beaches and loitering downtown areas. Homeless people represent the dregs of society with all the negatives such as drug abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, lethargy and crimes, petty and serious.

With the citizens of O‘ahu becoming fed up with their beaches being taken over, all the shelters long filled up, social services overwhelmed and the mayor under intense pressure to do something, along comes the Superferry to the rescue

Superferry will relieve the pressure by making the homeless disapear as it whisks them off to neighbor islands to become somebody else’s problem. An age=old mainland police practice is to put problem homeless people on a greyhound bus and send them far away. Until now this method has been unavailable in Hawai‘i. I’m sure the people of O‘ahu would support this. Try looking at it from their perspective, why should they alone be burdened with this problem ?

But, you say, “the homeless can arrive on Kaua‘i by airplane and have yet to do this in great numbers, what makes you think they will suddenly arrive by the Superferry?” Well, the answer is that many or most homeless actually have old cars that they use to sleep in, get around in and to store all of their stuff like lawn furniture, bbqs, cooking equipment, coolers, clothes, guitars, drug paraphernalia, dogs, cats, children etc.. The Superferry will allow them to bring their “home” and all their “stuff” with them.

Also, as many homeless have arrest warrants and/or drug addictions, they are unwilling to undergo the scrutiny required to board an airplane these days. Superferry can not possibly scrutinize and search as completely so the homeless will feel much safer about bringing contraband with them.

Enjoy your beaches and feeling of safety as you leave homes and cars unlocked these last few months as it will never be the same after the Superferry arrives.

T .L.Cameron

On the web

Dalai Lama’s visit warranted more coverage

I was surprised by the lack of coverage that the Dalai Lama visit received in The Garden Island. While I appreciated the article in the April 20th newspaper regarding the upcoming talks, there was no reporting of the event itself on Maui April 24-25th. It seems that when a recognized head of state and prominent spiritual leader devotes his time specifically to Hawai’i that it would warrant more than a single article prior to the event in only the religion section.

His concepts are secular in nature. They go above and beyond any one religion. His message of positivity and compassion in a world of negativity and suffering is more important now then ever. Why The Garden Island would choose to run a front page article the day after the event on a missile being destroyed versus this monumental occasion is beyond me. All of the major newspapers of the other islands seemed aware of the importance of this event (he has only been here twice before in 1980 and 1994) and followed it as it unfolded.

For those of us who were blessed to attend — there was a substantial contingent of Kaua‘i residents who made the trip — it was a profound experience. In addition to his two public talks attended by more than 20,000 people, His Holiness spent his two-and a half days on Maui tirelessly working with local Hawaiian elders and community leaders to address the issues of indigenous Hawaiian people and developing more peace in our local communities through non-violent means. His belief in the “Human Approach” of loving kindness and respect to all individuals is a pivotal message that is sorely needed in our culture today, both here on Kaua’i and the world at large.

Thank you for the opportunity to voice this concern.

Dr. Kathleen Van Kirk



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