Where does the responsibility lie?
The once sleepy, family neighborhood, tucked above the Wailua River has become a new notch on the list of concerns marking the rental crisis for homeowners islandwide.
It’s commonplace in today’s media to hear neighbors complaints and sighs of disturbances associated with Arbnb’s and VRBO’s but what happens when it’s a long-term renter causing distress to your right of everyday peace or normalcy. This is what multiple families in the Wailua Houselots are realizing is a new problem that isn’t going away.
Four family cats have gone missing in less than 30 days in a normally quiet and friendly neighborhood. We believe someone in the area is trapping and dumping the cats.
Although, they are permitted to trap animals on their property, according to KPD they must bring trapped animals into Kauai Humane Society for owners notification.
As homeowners for 16 years in this neighborhood not once has one of our pets gone missing. Our four children are completely devastated. These are older pets that our children have grown up with over the last 10 years. We fear someone has now taken two of our beloved pets and essentially left them to die somewhere away from their home. We are desperate to stop this inhumane act.
This instance brings up further concern of the compliance and responsibility of homeowners in our neighborhoods who choose to rent out their homes. Who is protecting our families from stress-inducing circumstances. If the homeowner isn’t responsible, who is?
Have we gone from the aloha of sharing avocados and lychee with our neighbors to stealing their family pets? We have come to a new fork in the road as our island continues to grow. Who is going to protect our families and our neighborhoods if the homeowners choose not too?
Dara Fugett, Wailua Houselots
Government regulations have benefits, too
A recurring theme from conservative letter writers is, “Government is not the solution; it is the problem.” Most recently this was stated as, “Government caused the housing problem.”
The shortage of affordable housing arises because the free enterprise system cannot build and rent or sell houses at a price which much of the public can afford. In short, the free enterprise system, seeing no profit, builds no inexpensive housing.
The conservative writers reject this economic viewpoint. With a quasi-religious belief in free enterprise, they reverently swear that free enterprise simply cannot be the cause of societal problems. They preach that if only the government didn’t impose so much unneeded regulation, entrepreneurs would build gobs of affordable housing.
History doesn’t favor this faith. From the start of modern capitalism in post-medieval England, far before significant government regulation, free enterprise has created pollution, disease, poverty, and for housing, squalid slums, and rarely cured (or cared about) those problems without massive government incentive or regulation. But facts rarely discourage devotees.
Consider the “unnecessary” regulations. Minimum lot sizes and set-backs: so windows of one house aren’t 4” from that of the next. Maximum lot density: so there might be space for a flower or tree. Parking spaces: so one could actually drive down the street. Building codes: so the plumbing actually works, using the microwave doesn’t turn off the lights, and there are sufficient outlets and separated circuits for a modern technological life, bedrooms and bathrooms are ventilated, the houses survive storms and don’t fall apart within 5 years, keiki and kapuna don’t fall down stairs, etc.; septic requirements: so our streams and beaches aren’t further polluted. Lots of regulations to require a minimum of functionality, comfort, and civil order.
All this for the working class and the poor? What a waste! Unburden free enterprise.
Without government regulation, free enterprise could build profitable slums which would proudly rival those of Dharavi, Neza, and historical London, right here on Kauai.
Don’t rely on free enterprise alone to cure the problems it creates.
Jed Somit, Kapaa