Monday, October 04, 2010

Aloha. Please Keep Kailua Target Free!

We’ve got everything we need right here and everything we need is enough
- Jack Johnson -
Our hometown is under attack. Target wants to build a 130,000 square foot monument to foreign merchandise in the small windward side town of Kailua. How big is that? You could fit two of Kailua High School football stadiums under the roof. The entire population of Kailua could gather together inside and shut the doors.

Nobody needs it and nobody wants it. Hawaii used to be famous for it's mom & pop stores. Most are gone now, but a few still remain in the 'country towns' outside of Honolulu. A Target will wipe out what remains of any local small retailers. And the aesthetics? Auwe! The Target shopping center out in Ewa is the ugliest, mainland style behemoth in the islands. From H-1 the giant walls that make up the back end of that place look like Los Angeles. It won't work in Kailua. It will destroy the town.

The County had better get it's head out of it's collective ass and stop this. This isn't about adhering to code or zoning laws. This is about acknowledging what makes Hawaii special. The islands are not mini continents. Honolulu is not L.A. Start acting like you control one of the world's most beautiful and unique living environments and not like some podunk hicks trying to keep up with the Jones. We are the Jones! We've (you've) taken out the sugar cane fields, decimated the pineapple industry, and covered the landscape with California style rooftops. You are getting ready to construct a giant scar across the landscape in the form of an elevated train. When do you quit? Forget our sense of loyalty to the 'aina. Let's talk money. The number one source of revenue for Hawaii is the tourist industry. How much longer do you think you can fool everyone with your TV and magazine ads that only show small glimpses of remote beaches and forest gardens that are getting harder and harder to find? Try doing an overhead of Waikele or Mililani Town. How about Sand Island or Hawaii Kai? People come here to get away from that. We seem to be on track to look like Chicago or worst yet, Taipei. Please stop.

Close your eyes, grab a Heineken, and think back how it was not so long ago. Thirty years only. Remember how bruddahs George Helm and Kimo Mitchell gave it all to save Kahoʻolawe. When Country Comfort, The Sons of Hawaii and even Gabby sang about the influx of Hotels. Remember when going to North Shore was mellow?

Hey, we can't go back. But we can save what's left of our islands and our soul. And we can start with Kailua. Please.