A letter to the editor criticizing Oprah Winfrey for her property developments on Maui appeared in the Nov. 17 edition. The writer claimed that Winfrey bulldogged her way onto the island and infers that she will somehow unfairly compete with established farmers and business.
Oprah Winfrey has proved to be a considerate neighbor and a welcome contributor to the local economy. The property that she acquired Upcountry continues to be productive pasture for the Haleakala Ranch. She has shown respect for the historic setting, in part, by maintaining the rural character of the buildings on her property. There are many full-time residents of Maui who have financially benefited through wage and contract employment on her land when other sources of income were shrinking.
I know or have met several people who have worked on projects on her property, and I have never heard one complain about being treated unfairly, indeed just the opposite.
Oprah Winfrey does not pose a threat to other farmers and small businesses. Her involvement in the local economy is more likely to bring more business to our island that will ultimately be shared by other commercial operations. I am confident that Winfrey will prove herself worthy of our aloha.