Monday, Oct. 2, 2023 |
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• Drying Waikomo Stream
• Fact or supposition
• Taking neighbors from hoods
• Grasping the obvious
Drying Waikomo Stream
Since the drying up of Waikomo Stream was in the The Garden Island (“South Shore stream bone-dry,” A1, July 14) as well as in testimony given at the Kaua‘i County Council meeting, and since the lower Waikomo was my childhood playground, I had to go see for myself.
I saw that Waikomo was still trickling along where it exited the golf course along Po‘ipu Road, but farther down was dry under the Ho‘onani Road Bridge. I do not know if the large pools found between the bridge and the ocean were also dry.
While an opening of a streamside lava tube could easily swallow up the stream’s present trickle, if the pools have dried up too, as the reports imply, then a better explanation would be a lowering of the underlying water table from a combination of the present drought and cumulative overall stream and aquifer withdrawals.
It is worth noting that Waikomo, at least in the late 1940s to late 1950s, was usually reduced to still pools in the summer. In the winter the stream was often a raging muddy torrent, due, I believe, to release of excess water from Waita Reservoir.
Waikomo presently drains mainly the Oma‘o watershed. In pre-plantation times it probably also drained the entire Waita watershed, whose waters were later captured for cane irrigation and storage in Waita. This must have contributed to the historical dryness of the Po‘ipu area.
One unfortunate result of now keeping Waikomo flowing yearlong, to enhance the golfing experience, is the silting of Koloa Landing bay and resulting reduction of fish species’ abundance and diversity.
My point is that we may be seeing a problem in overall water usage rather than a construction accident.
Fact or supposition
This is in response to a Monday letter (“There goes the Vegas trip,” Letters, Aug. 13).
I think the author missed the point in my letter. I wrote vacation rentals and property taxes are related, but not the sole reason for this absurd increase. I applaud you for being honest and paying taxes on your rental. Many people do not pay, are not listed with the county as vacation rentals. The fact remains that VR property drives the price of property taxes higher for those in the community. My letter was based on fact. Your letter is a scenario of “what ifs” and “suppose.” There is no fact in these types of statements. Vacation rentals are not the only homes that support cleaning people, carpenters, painters, gardeners, etc. for the maintenance of homes. I read this all the time in letters that support vacation rentals.
Vacation rentals are a serious problem here. I am not against vacation rentals. They have their place in some areas of the island. They need to be regulated as a business. Residential homes should not be taxed based on the fact that they are next door to a vacation rental business that has a higher resale value. The tax assessor should never view a business and a residence the same. Bottom line, my taxes or anyone else’s should not go up 160 percent in three years.
Taking neighbors from hoods
I certainly appreciate the perspective of vacation rental owners who have been used to living on income from the properties they own on Kaua‘i. The message by Alan Burns from Portola, Calif., (”There goes the Vegas trip,” Letters, Aug. 13) is a perfect example of rationalizing the impact on Kaua‘i in favor of continued vacation rental businesses popping up in every neighborhood.
People who buy houses on Kaua‘i should be people who are actually looking for a place to live, just like in Portola and nearly every other town and city in America. When homes become a weekly tourist business for the millions of Californians who would love to siphon money from the Kaua‘i economy, we have a problem. Sure, a percentage of the vacation rental owners pay VAT and GET taxes. So do the hotels and “legal” accommodation units around the island that these tourists would stay in if not for neighborhood vacation rentals. The real problem exists because the residents of Kaua‘i are forced to compete with millions of “small business Californians” to buy homes in their own neighborhoods. Not only does it artificially drive the cost of homes through the roof, but aren’t “neighborhoods” where some people spend their entire lives? Aren’t they supposed to have kids playing who know each other, neighbors talking over the back fence, help in a storm etc.?
Locals can’t possibly pay the inflated price for a home. When you compare their ability to pay for a reasonable mortgage amount with the higher mortgage a vacation rental business owner can service by renting out their home to tourists by the week it becomes obvious. That’s called “artificial value enhancement” and there is no rationalization that makes this OK.
The contrast lies in people who want to make Kaua‘i their “home” versus those who want to make it a “business.” Can both exist side by side? Of course. Leave the neighborhoods alone to be “neighborhoods” and control the amount of, and areas, where vacation rentals can be a “business.” Here’s the real test: ask yourself this: “If everyone did it, what would be the result?”
Say goodbye to your neighbor-hoods. Come on council. Quit flapping your lips about this issue and do the right thing. Only allow vacation rentals to exist in those areas set aside for them. Make them a thing of the past in our neighborhoods. Just do something for (word removed to protect the innocent) sake.
Grasping the obvious
The store size issue is a done deal. The local government, in its great wisdom, has decided for us. Yesterday, I set out to find an exercise bike for my husband’s birthday. Wal-Mart has over a dozen models on the Internet. Problem: they don’t ship to Hawai‘i. They have one (count ‘em) floor model available. Ditto for K-mart and Costco.
Simply put …. little selection, take what you can find. Smaller stores, smaller selection. On a related note, on a recent stroll through a Mainland grocery store, I had acute reverse sticker shock. A box of cereal is nearly half. With all the concern about affordable housing, affordable food would be nice.
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