Letters for Tuesday, April 10, 2007

• Kaua‘i has a RICO office

• Are we now socialists?

• Remembering Charlie Kaneyama

• Imagine the possibilities


Kaua‘i has a RICO office

The state’s Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) apparently has not received much attention from the public on Kaua‘i as it has from individuals and groups on O‘ahu, especially with respect to complaints against the real estate industry. It is thus interesting to note that RICO is advertising, in The Garden Island, to fill the position of an investigator (with a minimum of a 4-year college degree) in its Honolulu office. According to reports in Honolulu papers, there have been many complaints against Realtors on O‘ahu who have promoted illegal vacation rental properties.

What happened near Ha‘ena on Kaua‘i recently, when an agent from the state came to post violation notices on a number of vacation rental properties (most of the owners of which live not on Kaua‘i) in the Conservation District, seems to indicate that RICO is beginning to pay attention to Kaua‘i, despite the fact that RICO had notified Mayor Bryan Baptiste and Planning Director Ian Costa as far back as last September that it intended to issue notices of violations in Conservation Districts on Kaua‘i’s North Shore. This brings to the fore another serious deficiency in the legislation pending before the County Council on how to deal with the thousands of vacation rental units of dubious legality on this island, the deficiency being the county’s apparent deliberate ignoring of such properties in the Conservation District and the Special Management Area (the latter being derived from the federal Coastal Zone Management Area rules, for the enforcement of which the federal government actually pays the counties in our state).

It thus appears the issue of how this county plans to solve this long neglected problem is getting kind of muddled by its own inept handling of the problem starting way back around eight years ago. The Planning Department completely ignored the direction of the Planning Commission, after months of public meetings intended to prepare the county for a broad-based comprehensive amendment of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, namely, to place as the first order of business, solving the worsening problem of vacation rentals.

At the council committee meeting last week, a lady, apparently a Realtor, passionately defended the right of her client at Ha‘ena, who presumably had received a notice from the state, to continue operating a vacation rental. It seemed the lady was not aware of the existence of RICO.

At this late date, perhaps, instead of waiting to be notified by the DLNR and/or RICO that there are problems, both the county and the public should take advantage of the existence of RICO and the fact that there is a RICO right here in Lihu‘e (3060 Eiwa St., Room 2A, telephone 274-3200), to help un-snarl the mess we and our county government have gotten us into.

Raymond L. Chuan

Hanalei


Are we now socialists?

In its infinite wisdom, the Kaua‘i County Council will now allow ag and open zoned properties a tax break no other zoning receives with minimal actual farming required. The council will allow these properties to be rented for 31 days or more, but not 29 days or less.

This effort to control vacation rentals is another example of government’s penchant for too much solution for too little problem. If anybody thinks this effort will actually create more long term rentals, I would like some of what you are smoking.

In Moloa‘a Bay, where I live, every property is zoned ag open, almost every property is a vacation rental and nobody does any real agriculture.

If implemented and enforced by the county, it will be an interesting federal lawsuit to determine whether this action by our government constitutes a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment.

It is also interesting to note that nowhere in the many meetings and discussions did I hear anything about protecting individual property rights.

What began as a republic has become a socialist state.

Michael Wells

Moloa’a


Remembering Charlie Kaneyama

I was very saddened to learn of Charlie Kaneyama’s passing, and I convey my sincerest condolences to his family. Mr. Kaneyama, as I will always know him, was a major influence in my very young life on west Kaua‘i with his musical talent, versatility, intelligence, and a delightful sense of humor. I have very fond memories of my experiences in being one of hundreds of students in his ukulele instruction and performing in concerts for many years. I believe he left a legacy with the children of Kaua‘i and as I learned later on, also with the senior citizens. How can anyone on the island not remember Charlie Kaneyama and his Ukulele Troops. I still possess the original ukulele my parents purchased from him for my lessons (early 1960s), and his memory is forever imprinted on this fabulous instrument.

Janet (Mamaclay) Moder

Loveland, Colo.


Imagine the possibilities

Terrorists will never be able to defeat the U.S. with suicide bombers. The last time this country faced suicide bombers was the last-ditch effort of Japan’s kamikazes at the end of World War II. Invading and occupying countries with terrorists will never stop terrorism. It will only enrage people and create more terrorists. So why are we fighting a war on terror? Simply because war is big business. War has always been about profit. Don’t believe the propaganda our corrupt government is spewing. If we don’t have an enemy then defense contractors can’t justify the trillions of tax dollars getting wasted on exciting new weapons. I will never forget the last conversation I had with Alan Shepard while I was a counselor at the U.S. Space Camp. We talked about the future of space flight and he felt very optimistic that the end of the Cold War might mean more money for space exploration. He told me to imagine a world where all the money that was spent on war was used to expand humanity’s reach into space. Imagine the possibilities, he said. We need leaders with vision, not greed-driven war mongers.

Jason S. Nichols

Koloa

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