Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 |
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• Affordable housing
Affordable housing was to be the “big” issue at this year’s session of the Legislature. Now, as we come to the conclusion of the session, the issue is down fairly low on the priority list.
The plans coming out of the House and Senate are based on taxing those who are buying higher priced homes, especially second homes and vacation homes.
Governor Linda Lingle wanted special tax credits for developers of affordable housing, a block on moving monies out of the housing fund into the general fund or elsewhere and more of the property conveyance tax going into the state’s rental housing trust fund. Results: no special tax credits, no block on moving funds and a boost in conveyance funds going to buy lands for public use (but not for affordable housing).
We will see as 2005 rolls on what exactly happens with the tax funds being allocated for affordable housing. While action on Hawaiian Homesteads lands is moving at a faster pace than ever, affordable housing may take its place on the list of slow moving housing solutions.
There needs to be expedited action on the affordable housing issue on the state level. It appears the County of Kaua‘i is moving along well on the issue. Lack of affordable housing is impacting the local community as waves of new affluent buyers move in, shaking up the traditional social structure of Kaua‘i, forcing more and more long-time Kaua‘i residents, young and old, to depart for Las Vegas and other areas where there are homes they can afford on average wages.
Kaua‘i Police Commissioner Leon Gonsalves Sr.’s alleged racial slurs about Kaua‘i Police Chief K.C. Lum are being looked over by the Civil Rights Commission in Honolulu.
Away from the glare and push and shove of Kaua‘i politics, the august commission should be able to make an objective judgment on the issue. The complaint was filed by the Police Chief, and he is justified in refusing to pull it back, as he’s been requested to do.
In overriding Mayor Bryan Baptiste on the issue, the County Council is taking the responsibility for keeping Gonsalves in his seat on the Kaua‘i Police Commission. If it is found that Gonsalves is guilty of racial discrimination, it should be justly noted that the County Council supported his actions.
This incident also speaks to our times, and overlapping generations. We are in the 21st century, a time of instant electronic communications. What you write in an e-mail today, may be broadcast on Web sites across the world tomorrow, resulting in either positive or negative fame for the e-mail writer, depending on the content of the communication.
Perhaps in this case the Internet has ferreted out an underlying, longstanding problem in local government. The racial slur Gonsalves is accused of making most likely would have been swept under the table if it hadn’t been for the easy dissemination of the e-mail to various recipients outside of the Police Commission, including The Garden Island. For the record, we greatly take offense at the racial slur having been made by a public Kaua‘i official, and see K.C. Lum as a highly-qualified law officer, and a man who has taken the Kaua‘i Police Department further and faster than any police chief in recent times.
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