February 27, 2013 | Scott Innes
Larry Ellison’s purchase of the island of Lanai is a positive thing for Maui County according to Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa.

“First of all, I’d like to really thank Larry for inviting us to visit with him. As a new owner of much of Lanai, and one of the richest people in the world, he was also one of the nicest gentlemen I’ve come to meet, and we struck it off really nice.
Larry explained to us that he came from a home where he and his mother were actually on welfare and he really had to go through some very hard times. Like every other family he had difficulty raising his children and sending them to school. It’s only because he was able to take roughly $1,200 and invest it at a time when he was just very fortunate to come up with a very new concept in building Oracle, that he was able to build this empire. But, most of his background is an average person trying to make a living. Coming from that background, he is very much aware of what people’s needs really are and how tough it is to make a living.
Almost everything he’s doing on Lanai is geared toward trying to better the community–provide better living conditions. At the same time, provide business and economic opportunities for himself and everyone else involved–and that really is everyone including the citizens there.
He’s looking at trying to be able to put in a desalinization plant because the community water system is lacking. That water desalinization plant will allow them to bring in some of the top experts from around the world to start doing alternative planting–being able to create different kinds of agricultural commerce. When I say alternative planting, it can be anything from veg crop to orchards. He is looking at trying to create orchards for export.
As he explained it to us–cause people have asked me why would he be spending so much money on Lanai. If you take a big city like San Diego or someplace else on the mainland, it’s just too massive. Anything he does there, it’s just too massive, and it gets lost. On Lanai, he has a little over 3,000 people living there and he can affect each and every one in a positive manner. He can actually change their lives for the better and he can be a participant in the community.
At the same time, helping the community gives him a base to be able to walk through the community and have people that actually like it. You can’t buy that kind of feeling. You can only create the opportunities for people to like you, but you have to be genuine about it. I think he’s a very genuine person, and he genuinely wants the community to have a higher quality of life. So, he’s going to go out of his way to find ways to be able to improve that community’s position and to improve every person’s quality of life there to the level that they’ll allow it.”


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