Next mayor must put island first
The campaign for mayor of Kauai is in full swing. Campaign signs are proliferating. The most and biggest belong to candidate Derek Kawakami. An article in the July 16 The Garden Island suggests why. With over $200,000 in donations, his campaign war chest is more than four times his nearest competitor.
About one third of the reported donors ($100 or more), and well over half those donations, come from Oahu and the Mainland. Investment firms, resort developer and management firms, consultants, architects and construction companies want Mr. Kawakami for mayor. Also top management of unions, more supportive of developer interests than they are of their rank-and-file members, have stepped up big for Mr. Kawakami.
They’re not getting in line to build critically needed affordable housing. For example, MacNaughton Group, specialists in luxury highrises, donated $4,000. Resort architects Mitsunaga Associates gave $6,000.
From the sugar barons to Sylvester Stallone at Anini to the billionaire Omidyar’s dairy enterprise, the natural wealth of Kauai has been mined for profit from the outside. But there always has to be local kine enablers. Now, there is no more margin of forgiveness. The infrastructure on Kauai is beyond maxed out, and more crucially the delicate ecosystem of this little island cannot absorb any more waste brought on by unchecked development. Rising enterococcus bacteria counts at beaches and shore breaks recorded monthly by Surfrider Foundation tell this grim reality. They are just one measure of special-interest profits trumping the health of the island’s environment and people.
The next mayor needs to get this and not be beholden to any but the island and its people.
Kip Goodwin, Wailua