Letters for Wednesday, March 21, 2007

• Council should do the right thing for economy, residents

• No excuse for recent near-accident with child

• Read Paula Zina’s book

• How about a little maturity?


Council should do the right thing for economy, residents

My wife and I are non-resident owners of a vacation rental in Wai-niha. We have been doing so since Fall 2005, after we purchased the land and built a home — specifically in local style so as to not stand out or degrade the look and feel of the neighborhood. We were residents of Honolulu (Kaimuki) at the time we purchased the property.

We understand the concerns leading to the creation of this bill — rising prices and a very tough housing market for long-time residents is never good — we currently live in San Diego (where I grew up) and we are experiencing the same issues, but to a more extreme degree. But this bill is reactionary — it solves nothing, and actually hurts the people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of its changes.

As a vacation rental owner, we pay higher property taxes; we pay the excise and transient taxes; we spend money on an ongoing basis supporting local business, from cleaners to gardeners to repair people to the various suppliers of everyday necessities. We bring in additional dollars to the local, as well as regional economy. And unlike the large hotels and condo complexes the council seems willing to approve, most of these dollars are staying on Kaua‘i, not fleeing to some multinational on the Mainland.

As vacation rental owners, we are more than happy to contribute our fair share to alleviate residual problems that are proven to be caused by our type of business. We are more than willing to pay additional fees or taxes — fairly assessed, not just to the middle income owners such as us. We are not selfish — we are not rich — we invested in a place we grew to love and respect, and we will do anything we can to maintain its beauty and solitude. We find it odd that places such as Kapa‘a, Prince-ville and Po‘ipu can grow at any pace, with buildings that border on suburban California style, yet those of us attempting to maintain traditional aesthetics and minimize our impact are being singled out and punished. In addition, though I am not a lawyer, I have done some research and find much of the law, especially any attempt to “back date” acceptable structures, way outside of what is probably legal — or ethical.

We are saddened that an honest, thought-out attempt to address the real and ongoing issues has not been tried — most well-meaning vacation rental owners would be more than willing to find a way to put more back into the community and assist with the housing issues. In addition, the feel of the island — the reason we came in the first place (and the reason most tourists come) is being destroyed by the large, seemingly unabated large-scale development — that drive through Kapa‘a has become a nightmare — and quite unattractive over the past few years!

We encourage you and your fellow council members to do the right thing — do the sensible thing for your economy and your residents — and do the ethical and legal thing, and rethink this bill.

We would love your input or any suggestions as to how we can help make this happen! Mahalo

Joey Neremberg

San Diego, Calif.


No excuse for recent near-accident with child

This afternoon, while driving back home from Lihu‘e, I witnessed a near accident involving a child. This child was apparently walking home from school along Kaumuali‘i Highway in ‘Oma‘o, and the silver RAV4 driving in front of me drifted into the shoulder and nearly hit him. The child turned around with a look of disbelief on his face as the driver passed.

I had been behind this driver since the turnoff to Koloa, and she had been drifting on and off the shoulder the entire time. She continued to do it even after she almost hit this child. I don’t think she even had a clue what almost happened. Speed was not the issue here — this woman simply wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing, like many other people on the roads here.

I know there are people who read this Forum and think I am just some arrogant, demeaning loudmouth with nothing but constant complaints and nothing better to do. But for heaven’s sake, can we AT LEAST agree that putting the lives of the island’s keiki in danger like this is not acceptable, and we simply won’t tolerate it any more? I am begging people to please pay attention to what you are doing when you are driving. A pedestrian or bicyclist on the shoulder of the road does not have a chance in an encounter with your two-ton (or more) vehicle, whether or not you are driving the speed limit. Please stay in the lane! There is absolutely no excuse for the way people use the shoulders around here.

Michael Mann

‘Ele‘ele


Read Paula Zina’s book

Paula Zina has written an incredible autobiography of her family’s extreme struggle for a better life. If you have not read her book, run — don’t walk — and buy one of the most exciting and interesting books you’ll ever have the pleasure to read. You won’t be able to put the book down and it will leave you with great admiration for this local family.

Thank you, Paula, I’m always glad you live here on Kaua‘i!

Karen Navratil

Kapa‘a


How about a little maturity?

This Sunday I went to Kealia Beach where I often go. I parked my car on the side near the road.

Upon my return, I found that some mokes had played humbug with my car. In an oversize 4wd, they spent several minutes spraying mud all over my car with their tires spinning.

The back window was down a mere 1.5” In addition to the ENTIRE exterior, the mud got all over my dashboard and instruments, imbedding red dirt into the deepest crevices of the dash. I just finished detailing this car last week in prep of a sale, and this blatant vandalism dropped $1,000 off the value of my car.

There were no witnesses, and though I later saw a truck at the beach that looked suspicious, I could not confront without proof.

Many families use Kealia for their beach relaxation, how about those responsible showing a little maturity if possible, eh?

David Christy

Waimea

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