Letters for Monday, Nov. 25, 2013

Councilwoman left unfinished workTourists want to know the truthHelp Hawaii get fair paySchool earns an A

Councilwoman left unfinished work

Is Nadine another Sarah Palin? She took the office of County Council to serve the people of Kauai and left before completing her term for a better, higher paying job? Or, was there another reason you left? The people of Kauai should know your true reasons. Where are your ethics? What you left behind was huge, unfinished business.

Y. Suye

Lawai

Tourists want to know the truth

Our Canadian family has been visiting Kauai for over 30 years, bringing many generations together on an annual basis. We love Kauai.

This year we have been interested in the Bill 2491 story, which appears to be asking for information on what chemicals are being sprayed on seeds. We don’t know enough on the topic to develop an informed opinion, but I was surprised to read a letter in The Garden Island that suggested that tourists would be “scared away” by Bill 2491.

While we are not particularly enamored with eating foods grown from chemically-treated seeds, our perspective, as tourists, is that we value transparency. We like to know the truth. If there is a problem, we like to know that it is being addressed and, hopefully, solved.

So, hiding the issue and withholding information, would not appeal to us as tourists.

Laura Groos and family

Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Help Hawaii get fair pay

Can someone please explain to me how some fundamental economics are being seemingly overlooked on our island and in our state? A few things to consider.

Minimum wage in Hawaii is $7.25 an hour. Eight other states have a minimum wage of $8 an hour or higher, with Washington state coming in at the top of the list at $9.19 an hour. Eleven additional states boast a minimum wage that is over $7.25 an hour. Meaning many full-time jobs here can earn an individual under $1,200 per month.

Everything from groceries to gasoline costs more here since it has to be shipped thousands of miles to get to us, so we’re not exactly catching a break as consumers in that regard. Add the fact that housing costs are astronomical and borderline criminal, and I just can’t figure out how the majority of people are getting by.

And here’s the real head scratcher: all of the empty vacation rentals. All of the property that is owned by out-of-state residents that is making exorbitant amounts of income for a handful of privileged people that live somewhere else. A famous singer rents out his Maui estate for $1,250 per night, for example. If his home is rented successfully for only half of the year, that’s over $225,000 in rental income going to someone that I’m sure is very unlikely to be pumping that money back into our communities. Some of these places are charging $10,000 a week or more, most if not all homeowners residing elsewhere.

The north shore is littered with empty vacation rentals, empty homes on the market, foreclosed homes, meanwhile local, hard working people and families struggle to find housing, then have to work multiple jobs in order to afford the atrocious rent that doesn’t seem to be regulated in any way, allowing greed to set the bar higher and higher.

I understand the role tourism plays here. It’s pretty incredible the amount of money that pours into our state, but why do we sacrifice the welfare and happiness of the residents to accommodate the visitors? Half of the vehicles on Kauai are rental cars.

Other states have laws in place to prevent that from happening, here we just send more when we’re booked out. Now our one highway is so clogged with excess traffic that it was never meant to support, locals have a lengthy commute to accomplish almost any task, and frustration on the road is through the roof.

I wish I had resolutions but I can’t say that I do. I just want to get some conversations going.

Piper Alfascara

Kilauea

School earns an A

I was impressed with your story about some of the novel and exciting ways that teachers at Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha in Kekaha are engaging students to learn. The article was very well-written and informative.

As someone who lives on the Mainland, but who has spent some time on Kauai, it was interesting to see how students there are being taught not only about sustainability and teamwork, but about their cultural heritage as well.

The school, with its strong test scores and commitment to promoting Hawaiian heritage, is well worthy of recognition.

Libor Jany

St. Paul, Minn.

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