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• Same argument today
• I am not a locust siphoner
• Thank you, Mr. NIMBY
• KCC building will be one-stop info center
Same argument today
Michael Mann wrote a letter berating a previous contributor for questioning price and availability disparities between the Mainland and Kaua‘i. In it he repeated the same self-serving mantra that I have heard ever since moving to Hawai‘i 37 years ago — that prices have to be higher in Hawai‘i because we are in the middle of the Pacific and transportation costs are significantly higher.
At that time, costs were indeed high. But this had much less to do with transportation costs than the fact that the “big five” local companies had virtual monopolies and could charge whatever they wanted. Telephone calls to the Mainland cost $12 for three minutes. TV broadcasts were shown a week late and never started at the scheduled time. Whenever anyone complained they dragged out that old saw about transportation costs and distance.
A lot has happened in the ensuing years. Mainland retailers finally broke the monopoly and prices plummeted. TV comes via satellite and on time — with a hundred or more channels to choose from. Those $12 phone calls are now free with cell phone carriers. Matson has replaced aging bulk cargo ships with new container ships that require much less time to load and unload. I recently bought a computer and the tracking software showed that it was shipped from Shanghai, went to Alaska, then Indianapolis, then Memphis and finally on to Hawai‘i — all for the same shipping costs.
A more recent example of this fallacy is the fact that gasoline had to sell for 30 cents a gallon more on Kaua‘i than on O‘ahu — because of transportation costs. Then Costco opened and suddenly all other stations on the island could profitably sell gas for 30 cents a gallon less.
No, Mr. Mann, high costs are not caused by our remoteness — in the year 2007 we are no longer all that remote. High prices are a function of the greed of local retailers who dread losing their monopolies and the “old boy” network of politicians pandering to them with such a farce as the big box size limit — to keep our rural character. It is time to lay this myth to rest once and for all.
I am not a locust siphoner
This is a letter in response to Gordon Oswald’s editorials. Although I do agree with Mr. Oswald, I too am appalled at the over-development of the island and in part against vacation rentals. I do not appreciate his name calling.
He refers to Californians as “locusts, developers as “donkeys from the Wizard of Oz,” and he states that millions of Californians are just waiting to siphon monies from the Kaua‘i community.
Where does he get his information? If that were true, the island would sink. I totally agree with you that people who buy houses in a community setting and rent them out for profit should be stopped. There are those who buy and rent it out so they can retire in that house.
I come to the island twice a year and have been doing so for the past 10 years. If I lived there as you do I would join every group that is opposed to the over-development and actively stop it. I have watched a once beautiful and quiet island being pieced off and the highway turning into one big traffic jam. Stop writing and do something.
Thomas L. Giusto
Thank you, Mr. NIMBY
As regards the letter from Alan Burns (“There goes the Vegas trip” GI August 13) it might be of interest for readers to know a little about his current residence.
Portola Valley, Calif., and neighboring Woodside are without doubt the NIMBY capitals of the world. These are areas in which Larry Ellison is building a 23-acre Japanese villa (without the use of nails) and where a “fixer-upper” recently went on sale for $20 million. “Neighbors” will file multi-million dollar lawsuits over important issues such as fence color or height and not even Steve Jobs can obtain planning permission to remodel a ramshackle, albeit “historic” mansion. The mere mention of the phrase “vacation rental” would be enough to fill the Stanford Hospital emergency room with cardiac-arrested PV residents!
Thus I find it interesting that Mr. Burns feels no compunction about operating a business in a residential neighborhood on Kaua‘i that would be utterly unacceptable in his current location. It seems to me that the major problems currently posed by such TVRs can be traced to such absentee landlords. I seriously doubt that an ordinance against such activities would be deemed as “illegal taking” — just ask the Portola Valley or Woodside city attorneys.
KCC building will be one-stop info center
While we greatly appreciate the kind words from Virginia Beck, I’m afraid Kaua‘i Community College cannot take credit for such an ambitious project as she supposes in her letter.
We are indeed trying very hard to be “energy wise.” Indeed we have, since 2004, brought our kWh usage down by 4.3%, despite additions to the campus such as our new culinary facility. And Kaua‘i Community College certainly has a long-standing interest in alternative energy. Many may remember that in 1993, still recovering from Hurricane Iniki, KCC became one of the first community colleges to enter a solar car in national competition and came in ninth against four-year universities. However, in this case, I’m afraid the shiny surface of the roof of our new One-Stop Information Center is just metal, not photovoltaic cells.
I’d like to take this opportunity as well to let everyone know just what this rapidly rising structure is. We call it our One-Stop Information Center. For the first time students will be able to get all their business done — application, testing, advising, registration, tuition payment — in one place instead of spending valuable time marching up and down the campus going from office to office. The Center will contain Student Services, a career counseling center, placement testing center, financial aid office, business office, the University Center and administration. Phase II, for which design funds have just been released, will contain the bookstore and our Office of Continuing Education and training, including Apprenticeship classrooms. We are grateful to the support of the legislature, especially our Kaua‘i delegation (past and present) and the Governor in funding this much need building.
Peggy Cha, Chancellor
Kauai Community College
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