RANK PREVIOUS COMPANY
Maui Land & Pineapple Co.
Maui Electric Co.
Alexander & Baldwin
Wailuku Water Co.
Alas, poor Monsanto… There was a time—we’re thinking the Vietnam
War—when they were one of the most feared corporations in the world.
Their dioxin (Agent Orange) lay waste to much of the South Vietnamese
jungle and poisoned thousands of people, including many of our own
combat troops. Needless to say, multinational corporations may secretly
love that kind of reputation, but they certainly don’t advertise it
openly. Today their Hawaiian subsidiary is trying to make a quiet life
out here in Maui, growing genetically modified corn and other crops,
all looking very reasonable and scientific, but time seems to be
running out. According to a Feb. 14 online Pacific Business News
posting, last year Hawai`i lawmakers introduced more anti-GMO bills
than any other state in the union. And with a huge quantity of bills
pending this year, that distinction probably won’t change.
Shall we just agree that from now until the day when the wind and
rain erodes the last of the island chain that Everett Dowling is the
most powerful guy in the County of Maui, if not the State of Hawai`i?
The state is asking Dowling to build a high school in Kihei for them—in
the 1990’s he built them Kamali`i Elementary, which is also in
Kihei—and he’s now part owner of a huge swath of some of the most
ecologically and archaeologically sensitive territory in Makena. His
plans there, of course, are well known: expand serene Makena into a
resort similar to Wailea. Native Hawaiian groups are largely mute about
the proposed development in a large part because Dowling has built so
many Hawaiian Homesteads. And now he’s sponsoring a series of monthly
environmental lectures at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. When The
Maui News asked about the controversy of placing his name so close to
that of noted environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.—the first
lecturer—Dowling responded perfectly. “Anti-development is against all
development,” he said. “They’re never going to like the Dowling
Company, and they’re never going to like developers. There’s nothing I
can do about it.” What’s more, The Maui News editorial page agrees, not
noticing or caring to notice that perfectly reasonable people might see
a distinction between mere “development” and building condominiums and
golf courses for the wealthy in one of the most sensitive coastal areas
on Maui. MTW