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Letters for Thursday, March 4, 2021

The ADC needs support, not slashing

Aloha. This is in regard to the most recent front page article regarding a bill to end a state agency.

My and most peoples first priority is food then shelter and then transportation. 1% to 2% people of the U.S. population farm. Why is it I am asking such a critical cog such as the ADC is on the verge of being doomed. Reasons to end it are not good enough. My family has farmed 100’s of years in the Philippines and Hawaii. Without the guidance at the outset would only be a setback to those new farmers itching to get started. You would think “All Hands On Deck” for a skimpy but much needed production.

These troubleing times aren’t necessarily due to sickness and strife for farmers or is it? State of Hawaii and Federal and County funds should be ramped up for Hawaii’s locale isn’t exactly ideal as far a worldwide distribution to here. The ADC is doing the best and needs moral support if it is to remain the assistant to many farmers.

Feed yourselves well but admit you need help! It is enforceable….

Modesto Rabina Jr., Lihu‘e

Find something else to do

Yes. Businesses that depend on tourists are in trouble and some may need to find something else to do.

Businesses expanded to fit the need of 25,000 or more tourists per day. But 25,000 tourist per day proved more than our island can healthily handle. The island has needed the hiatus caused by Covid in order to heal. Hopefully it will never have to endure these hordes of tourists again.

So, some of the businesses need to find some other purpose in life. Look around, there is lots of work needed to be done on this island.

The service industry regularly advertises for sales people, drivers, cleaners, and home-aides. More people are needed to work on farms, to lease plots of land on which to grow food, and to ready these products for market. Persons are needed to train as nurses, accountants, electricians, plumbers, contractors, schedulers, and even handymen. INDEED regularly sends out ads for workers. Instead of limited scheduling of road maintenance, more crews could be developed to relieve us of our potholes, broken roads, and over growing vegetation.

For those who wish to remain businessmen, proprietors could develop alternate businesses such as movie-making, sewing, lumbering, recycling, exporting, training, and tutoring. Our island needs these additional industries.

When America sent her people to live here, to buy land, and to do good, why didn’t she provide us with some of the American ingenuity as well. Bringing the tourists back in large numbers will not really solve our problems; it’ll just create different ones.

Marjorie Gifford, Lihu‘e

  1. Reality Bites March 4, 2021 4:01 am Reply

    Ms Gifford, ….ah, sanctimonious much? Have you, ah, ever, ah, owned or run a business? If the answer is “no”, then in the future, you might want to speak about something you have experience with… attacking the bad white man, and discussing your biased opinions of the bad US Government keeping Hawaii down. SMH.

    I won’t even go to what empirical data you used to say “25,000 tourists per day….” is more than we can handle.

    Blame your “born and raised” elected Government officials…..Senators, Congress, Mayors, County Council, for NEVER looking past Friday to create ANY industry, beyond TOURISM, since Hawaii became a state in the USA. Hawaii only has Tourism, and everything else supports it. Hawaii does not actually produce anything. We are all ears on how to transform the economy from tourism to Nirvana.

  2. Croesus March 4, 2021 4:47 am Reply

    “Find something else to do”

    That is exactly what president joe thought when he put thousands of Americans out of work in his first day on the job.

    45% of every tax dollar collected in Kauai county comes from real property tax, and the hotels and vacation rentals pay the highest rates.

    The county could not operate without real property tax (per county website) ,which helps pay for the fire and police departments, street maintenance, water, sewer, and trash collection.

    While you wait for Kauai’s business owners to find something else to do, which of the services paid for by the visitor industry are you willing to wait for?

  3. Mark Spencer March 4, 2021 5:18 am Reply

    So Marjorie, tell us this, in a future with zero tourists money filling the coffers, exactly what will be the new currency? The changes you suggested will be paid for with what? Before you answer remember there will be no cash flow but the bills, oh ya the bills won’t stop. Everything idea you posted no matter how wonderful carries a price tag right? You understand that right? Finding something else to do at 30,40 or 50 even 60 will cost some one something right. Only in bizaro land can you make an economic 180 degree turn and expect it to work. The 62 year old shop owner who has worked in the tourist industry for 40 years paid taxes to support every road improvement you drive on, every school your kids attended and invested every dime she made back into her business, will with a wave of Marjeries magic economic wand turn into a marijuana farmer?then instead of tourists dollars that no longer exist because you despise tourists and COVID was actually a good thing getting rid of this lousy money spending parasites, pot can be used as Kauai’s new currency. Sounds reasonable, in Bizaro land. So tell us Marge, because we really want to know, without the one economic engine (tourism) by far and away Kauai’s greatest revenue generating mechanism in place, dumping all that incredibly important life as you know it cash into Kauai’s devastated economy how will your Peter Pan ideas work? Because we really want to know…

  4. nobody March 4, 2021 7:39 am Reply


    And then there’s the real world.

    Any throttling back of tourism without an actual, successful, working plan of diversification of Kauai’s economy will put working class people out of work. Period. If you simply do not care about the working class then force them leave Kauai to find a life elsewhere by cutting tourism.

    People who don’t need to work, or have some non tourism related secure job, the wealthy retired and Financially Privileged, of course don’t want tourism. Why would they?

    Kauai diversified it’s economy from sugar and pineapple to tourism in the 70’s. Since then we’ve tried coffee, tech, chocolate, film making, GMO, papayas, etc. The most recent new industry is supporting the billionaire class that has recently migrated here. Construction, yard maintenance, housecleaning, catering, etc. (This actually may be one of the more successful ones.) It’s not that Kauai hasn’t tried to diversify, it’s just that none of these industries can provide the income for the working class that we need for Kauai to survive as a community.

    Fifty years ago Kauai successfully saved its economy by diversifying from ag to tourism. We only forgot to improve our infrastructure to handle the success of the tourist industry.

    Please don’t kill tourism until you have a better, working diversification plan in place. When you throttle back tourists, you throttle back the working class. Get it? That’s us.

    It feels like much of the entire island is in some sort of LaLa land due to all of the free money poured into the community from the fed. The harsh reality of the lack of tourist dollars will be in our face soon as the free money from the fed dries up.

  5. Helen Mulon March 4, 2021 12:59 pm Reply

    Marjorie, Kauai has only 2 Natural Resources: Aloha and Tropical Warm Beauty entailing its clear ocean waters, white sand beaches, 10 rivers, amazing rainbows, mountains, gorgeous waterfalls, hiking trails, surfing of all types, vistas by land, sea, and air, cleanest air on earth, Hawaiian Culture, and so much more that people need to experience in order to recharge their life batteries, and to satisfy their curiosities so they can go back home having experienced something of life value, and then provide us the 95% of things they send us that we cannot live without.

    The short list we cannot Iive without contains food, medicines, all transportation aspects, fuel & vehicles, and home building materials. It’s all from the US mainland and many other countries.

    If we cut them off, what if they do same and leave us hungry, sick, and no roof over our head in the rainiest place on earth.

    Aloha is not being selfish.

    The Mayor with a word, quarantine, cut out our food, medicine, and home providers. but cannot figure a way to provide for them who provide for us.

    Shame on the highway system people who cannot figure out the traffic flow. some congested cities have solved that problem.

  6. Kaaona Kipuka March 4, 2021 3:09 pm Reply

    AWESOME letter Marjorie…You tell em!!! Go find something else to do or even better, GOBACKCALI!!!

  7. I saw a Vampire once March 4, 2021 3:43 pm Reply

    And what did the ADC tell you when you needed more work? I think farming is a family thing. If you’re a full time farmer, money wise it is not so good. Many people are farmers. In high school they have a club for it. I remember. I had my picture on the yearbook. This is how I graduated. Very interesting. But money still comes in. The important thing is farming is for everybody. It is a past time activity. We all should learn something about it.

  8. kauaiboy March 4, 2021 4:01 pm Reply

    Marjorie and Modesto- you two are both clueless.

    1. Modesto, what exactly has the ADC done for you? Provided you with land and infrastructure to farm? Please name 50 individual and independent farmers who have been assisted by the Agribusiness Development Corporation. Oh, you cannot name even 5?

    I am thinking that you and your family either have cushy jobs with this useless agency or work for the PESTICIDE TESTING CORPORATIONS (disguised as “seed companies”) who the ADC is in bed with, operating their poisonous practices on land leased from the State.

    Get rid of the ADC and get rid of the PESTICIDE companies. Then the State should lease those thousands of acres to a consortium of hemp farmers who can grow hemp to sell to locally owned added-value companies who can brand their products “grown and made on Kauai” and export them worldwide, with the income kept here on Kauai to support local residents and businesses.

    Which brings me to:

    2.Marjorie- Get a grip. Until we can ramp up the hemp businesses mentioned above, we need those tourist dollars to survive. When do you think the majority of $ comes from to pay “sales people, drivers, cleaners, home-aides, farmers, nurses, accountants, electricians, plumbers, contractors, schedulers, handymen, road crews, tailors, lumberjacks (!), recyclers, trainers, and tutors? The majority of money comes from tourism and tourism-related taxes. We are not all rich and retired with a great big portfolio of stocks and pensions, and we do not want to become an island of the rich and wealthy as the only ones who can employ the trades you so feel the need for.

    BTW, the State and County are having to tighten their belts due to a decrease in taxes. So until tourism dollars return, do not be put off by slower roadwork, slower police and fire response, and slower building and zoning permits. Also, until tourist dollars return there are less restaurants to dine out at, less live music to listen to, less theater to enjoy, less flight options when you want to travel.

  9. manawai March 4, 2021 9:50 pm Reply

    Marjorie is old and retired and living off of her pension. That’s why she could care less about the jobs and livelihoods tourism creates and fosters. Tourists are an annoyance to her and the other second home-retirees-indpendently wealthy folks. But for the rest of us, they are a necessity.

  10. andy March 5, 2021 9:08 pm Reply

    Mahalo, Marjorie- I have no idea who you are or what your personal “situation” is, but it is obvious that you actually care about the future of this island. Anyone who says that there is no possible way for us to survive without full-on tourism is living in the past and is unwilling or unable to think outside of the box…but that is very common these days. Anyway, thank you for at least stimulating the conversation, and I would also mention that if you pay attention to the comment section herein you know already that many of the commenters are folks who love to voice their opinions but may not have actually contributed to our community in any meaningful ways.

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