Zuckerberg On Kauai

Locals should welcome new neighbor with aloha (April 10, 2018)

I read with dismay your story focusing on negative attitudes toward Mark Zuckerberg’s presence on Kauai (“Kauai: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Has Few Friends On This Hawaiian Island”). You managed to interview a few people who view him with suspicion or hostility.

I feel differently and I know many people here who do as well. There is a small but vocal group of folks on Kauai who you might call conspiracy theorists. If the so-called establishment favors a certain point of view, whether it be scientific, political or sociological, you can count on this group to oppose it. Evidence and logic rarely play much of a part in this. It’s more of a tribal thing.

Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s 2017 Developer’s Conference in San Jose, California. He is also a part-time Kauai resident. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

I doubt that a single one of the people you interviewed have ever met Mark Zuckerberg, yet they feel free to form opinions of his character. Ironically, they enjoy using Facebook as a primary tool to share these opinions.

I don’t know him personally, but based on his accomplishments, I suspect that I would enjoy his company greatly if I happened to meet him. I for one am glad that he chooses to spend time and build a house on our island.

As for his estate, he has chosen to build a single house on a property that would have been entitled to build a hundred. This is a good thing for the environment and good for reducing the runaway overpopulation of the island. The low stone wall in front of his property was mostly built before he bought it.

Who can blame him for feeling the need for security when people he doesn’t know decide to picket and protest in front of his property?

It’s hard to feel sorry for a guy with that much money, but I actually do. He no doubt came here to enjoy himself in a place that seemed relaxed and beautiful. Now he has to worry about his personal safety and that of his family. I am embarrassed at the negativity with which some folks here are greeting their new neighbor.

I can assure you that these feelings are the exception rather than the rule. I hope Mr. Zuckerberg realizes this. There are many here who would love to meet him, get to know him, and welcome him with aloha.

— David Katz, Kapaa

Let the man have his privacy (April 10, 2018)

I am among those who welcome Mr. Zuckerberg to Kauai.

When he first bought the acreage, which had exactly zero homes on it, he waived a permit that came with the property to build 80 estates. Access is via a rural county road, and the mess that would have been caused by construction alone would have completely changed the complexion of the area. Never mind what would have happened to property values in the vicinity.

Are we to fault him for building a home for his family? The photo included in the piece is clearly a barn or storage facility, not a “mansion.” And you can bet when does decide to build a home, it will be completely out of public view.

He and his wife have also made sizable donations to several charities on Kauai, including $25,000 to the Kilauea Point Natural History Association, which supports the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Also, much of the lava rock wall was already there when he made the purchase, and he simply extended it. Some of that extension is a bit taller, but completely within community standards.

I say we let the man have his privacy and thank him for the ways he has already made the area a better place.

— Hob Osterlund, Founder of Kauai Albatross Network, Princeville

Cat Lives Matter

Victims of ‘human irresponsibility’ (April 8, 2018)

Hawaii has no aloha spirit, to condemn these sentient beings and their compassionate caregivers (“Feral Cat-Friendly Measure Dies In The Senate”)!

This action influenced by PETA’s perverted anti-pet philosophy is beyond despicable. Homeless and feral cats are victims of human irresponsibility. Lives of all species matter! Trap-Neuter-Return is the effective and humane response to their plight!

I loved the islands and could think of no better place to move and live with my cats than Upcountry Maui. I will never visit Hawaii again, not even in my dreams.

— Carole Miller, San Jose, California

The science is ‘quite clear’ (April 10, 2018)

Teresa Chagrin’s recent letter (“The world’s most deadly species,” April 6) only adds to the misinformation and scaremongering on the subject of outdoor cats, thereby undermining any chance for reasonable discussions and fact-based reporting.

The science is quite clear: there are only two ways proven to reduce, and eventually eliminate, a population of free-roaming cats: 1) intensive sterilization efforts, or 2) intensive eradication efforts, such as those using poison, disease, lethal trapping, and hunting on small islands (the largest being about one-fifth the size of Kauai).

Given the horrendous methods employed — and costs that can exceed $100,000 per square mile — eradication is a non-starter in the U.S.

Indeed, as the Hawaii Legislature has learned in recent few years, even less drastic measures targeting outdoor cats and the people who care for them are often met with considerable public outcry. And yet, similar efforts persist year after year.

Regardless of how you feel about free-roaming cats, the irony is hard to miss: Targeting Hawaii’s outdoor cats is distracting attention away from the very conservation efforts being used to justify lethal control methods. There are no winners here.

— Peter J. Wolf, Research/Policy Analyst, Best Friends Animal Society, Kanab, Utah

Help keep cats fixed and indoors (April 10, 2018)

As a cat lover who has owned cats over many years, all of which were house cats, the only time they left our home was to go to their vet. I fully agree with the statement made by Teresa Chagrin. Cats die fast and painfully out on their own.

Anything Civil Beat can do in reporting to educate more folks here in Hawaii to keep cats indoors, spayed or neutered and chipped would be terrific.

— Sandy Salisbury, Honolulu

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