Vote for candidates who let people decide on issues

On June 28 at the Mayoral Forum, both Derek Kawakami and Mel Rapozo were asked directly if they were going support the affordable housing resolution proposed by JoAnn Yukimura. The resolution, if passed on Wednesday, would appear on the fall ballot giving the voters an opportunity to decide whether or not 3 percent of the existing real property tax (about $4.3 million) should be used for affordable housing on Kauai. The resolution does not propose any increase in real property taxes.

Both mayoral candidates said they would NOT be supporting the affordable housing resolution. Both candidates claim, in their campaigns, to care about affordable housing. Do they really care if they are not willing to let voters decide on the proposed charter amendment? Both candidates cited lack of money as the problem and committing 3 percent to affordable housing would cause budget problems.

This is inconsistent with the record established when the last budget was passed. In the last budget session, vacation rental property tax was increased, adding more than $4 million to the 2018-19 budget year. (May 30 County Council meeting.)

The annual 3 percent commitment would create a fund that would grow and become a source of credit and seed money for other private public partnerships like the one recently finalized for 134 units in Koloa.

During the budget meetings this year, the council had a windfall of $12 million, six months of the new ½ percent increase in the General Excise Tax (GET). Next year they’ll get double that amount as there will be 12 months of the new ½ percent GET. There were three one-time funding awards in the budget: $750,000 for restrooms at Vidinha Stadium, replenishment of the Open Space Fund and a replenishment of the Emergency Fund used to cover flood costs.

There are excesses in other areas. Monies are allocated for salaries of job positions the county has not filled. Some have been vacant for over four years but continue to be funded each year. At the end of December, the money for these unfilled positions from the prior tax year is returned to the county as a surplus. The head of the Department of Public Works was allocated more funds than he even requested. The Mayor’s Office has 17 employees, as does Human Resources; this seems like overkill.

Over the last 10 years, the population of Kauai has grown by less than 2 percent annually. The county government has grown by 7 percent annually. To make matters worse, during this last budget session, our mayor gave county employees two additional administration days off with pay. The mayor’s rationale was that they hadn’t gotten any additional paid days off in several years. As it is, between sick days, federal holidays, Hawaiian holidays, vacations and administration days, the county employees get approximately two months off with pay per year.

In the budget the council funded $1.2 million for affordable golf. I have a problem with affordable golf being funded before affordable housing. Does the affordable golfing rate need to be so low? I know many well-to-do men that golf at the county golf course. Maybe there should be a sliding scale for those that qualify. Only those who truly can’t afford golfing will want to bother with filling out the necessary paperwork to receive the lowest rate.

It appears there is plenty of money to cover the 3 percent for affordable housing if they quit growing the government and thinned out the number of employees by attrition and eliminating the nearly 100 job positions funded but unfilled.

Send your favorite councilmembers an email letting them know you want them to approve the affordable housing resolution so that you get the opportunity to vote on it. When it comes time to vote for the next mayor, remember who wants you to have the right to vote on funding affordable housing and who doesn’t.


Eileen Kechloian is a resident of Koloa.

  1. Just Saying July 9, 2018 4:33 am Reply

    Unfortunately, the golf/housing analogy is very, very weak. One is easily solved and the other is very difficult to solve.

  2. manawai July 9, 2018 7:28 am Reply

    Eileen Kechloian forgets that we are a republic; not a direct democracy.

  3. Chamundi Sabanathan July 9, 2018 9:43 am Reply

    Affordable golf??? If affordable leisure activities are such a priority over affordable housing here, then why isn’t the county subsidizing affordable helicopter rides, catamaran rides, ziplines? Oh, and what about affordable dinners in fancy restaurantst?

    What percentage of Kauaiians actually play golf, anyway? Who is the county council catering to? Aren’t they supposed to represent their voters?

    Oh I forgot, they just represent those with the funds that will get them reelected–in other words, the golfers–those with plenty of money & plenty of idle time on their hands. Certainly not anyone who has to work two or three jobs just in order to live Kauai.

    I agree with Eileen–vote for candidates who will let us decide whether or not we want to support affordable housing.

  4. Observant July 9, 2018 9:47 am Reply

    The Mayor should be in jail instead of running for Lt Governor.

    Melvin Rapozo should be in federal prison instead of running for Mayor.

    Derek Kawakami should be in federal prison instead of running for Mayor.

    Yukimura should be in jail for making her brother rich by banning other chain stores to come to Kauai and lower the food costs.

    Brun is a crazy story.

    Kaneshiro created the problem with Mac mansions and multiple TvR’s on AG land.

    Chock well we know to keep it in the closet.

    Lenny is a disgrace of a parks and Recs Director. Really nice guy though.

  5. JOSE E BULATAO July 9, 2018 10:36 am Reply

    When, where, and how do we factor in an “attitudinal requirement” in having the privilege of BEING a parta of Hawaii-nei as a resident and/or a visitor? Either-or, ALL need to be aware of and willing to support and practice what it takes to “malama aina” with integrity and to adhere to the essence of aloha in the way we interact with one another. It must come “from the heart—-with a willingness and a consciousness to “live aloha” as truly, a way of life. Hawaii is in the most isolated spot on this planet. There is limited space and there MUST be a conscientious and concerted effort to be “on target” in attaining and maintaining that goal to realize how we have an extremely crucial role in taking care of this place f this place we are privileged to be in! Let’s not take things for granted. We can’t just “think about it”, we have to make a conscientious effort to “live aloha” day by day and to be sure that we do not callously degrade and decimate special finite resources of our Beloved Hawaii!

  6. I saw a Vampire once July 9, 2018 12:10 pm Reply

    If that Bulatao guy paid people off, of what election he (Kawakami) wants to win? Ron Kouchi. Height.

  7. yvonne Kealoha July 9, 2018 1:06 pm Reply

    But ..we have a “affordable” housing development coming up thee in Hanamaulu…..many have already been sold…..How many to local/born here people???? why build affordable housing for “locals” when outsiders come in and scoop everything up????We need tor Hawaiian homes to clamp down on the lessees who do not live on their land and have sub leased it….we need for Hawaiian homes to hand out lots to the people as they did before…here is your lot…build your home be sure it is to specs…be sure you get all necessary permits and inspections….One could build a affordable home with the help of friends and family not how the are doing it now putting developer build homes on the lots oh here is your 4hundred thousand dollar home….”afforadable”???NOT……and oh yes…you do not own the land…..The state is sitting on lots and lots of lands that belong to the citizens of Hawaii….why should the County have to buy land…???they would work with the state to open up those lands to ALL the people and not a select few well off people not necessarily those born here… “locals” true locals need to have a piece of the rock why should they be flying away from home to find something….all the while outsiders fly in and buy everything up????We need NEW BLOOD FOR MAYOR….AND NOT SOMEONE WHO ALREADY HAD A CHANCE….GET OUT AND VOTE FOR NEW BLOOD…..AND VOTE DEMOCRAT…..

  8. judykauai July 9, 2018 2:27 pm Reply

    So now, after years and years and more years of complaints about the lack of affordable housing on Kauai, we have someone — one of the candidates for mayor, JoAnn Yukimura — introducing a specific, reasonable, workable, realistic solution to the problem.

    Ms. Kechloian has done a commendable job of explaining the financial realities of the Kauai County budget and expenses. There is money available with NO tax increase to taxpayers.

    Two candidates for mayor — Kawakami and Mel Rapazo have stated their opposition to even the possibility of giving the taxpayers the opportunity to voice their opinions by voting for or against the proposal. Sounds completely self-serving to me — us against her.

    I want the opportunity to vote on this issue. I want to see it on the ballot. I want to have some tangible indication of the INTEGRITY of the candidates for mayor as well as for those running for county council.

    1. Jake July 10, 2018 5:36 am Reply

      Um, sorry, but this IS a tax increase. It’s a zero-sum-game. You can’t take millions of dollars and not have it affect another line item on the County’s Budget. Seriously?

      So when does taking a percentage of property taxes (proposed 3%) to “supplement” the income of a person/family become a tax increase?…..Why not make it 20% of property taxes?…..Is it now a tax increase??

      Living on the islands is a choice. It is the 21st Century. It takes effort to live here. “Subsidizing” another person’s home with taxpayer money is extortion. GOVERNMENT subsidizing solves NOTHING. Ask yourself the last time the Government fixed anything without taking your money??

  9. manawai July 9, 2018 6:54 pm Reply

    Judykauai said, “There is money available with NO tax increase to taxpayers.”

    That it totally false! The County had already built in a property tax increase for OTHER THINGS than affordable housing. So, those other things will go unfunded because the money will be spent on affordable housing, and so…the County will have to raise property taxes AGAIN to fund those things they committed themselves to do already before JoAnn redirected those funds. Remember, JoAnn was the person who authored the regulation that all developments MUST have 40% affordable housing. Sounds great but… it pretty much ended ANY residential development that wasn’t already in the pipeline (like A&B’s huge project.) You can’t make a profit building house that are 40% in the affordable price range. JoAnn has singlehandedly been a major factor in making Kauai one of the most expensive places in the country to own a home. And you want her to be Mayor? GAWD!

  10. KT July 10, 2018 8:15 am Reply


  11. Oingo boingo July 10, 2018 11:33 am Reply

    Yep…….looks like Mrs yukimura is the smartest and most qualified… she is the front runner for my vote…

  12. Vegas July 10, 2018 12:27 pm Reply

    Jake, living on this island isn’t a choice for those who generations born and raised here, why should it be their choice? Real locals on this island didn’t get to choose the amount of advertisement Kauai is being marketed throughout the world which brings many more transplants here causing this tiny island to be RIDICULOUSLY over crowded and creating all cost of living to the extreme. So IRRAZ … its takes effort to live here..BS DUDE, it take people away from their families working 3 jobs just to get by cause to many outsiders are being allowed in. A CAP its need for Kauai.
    Eileen Kechloian can you enlighten us with the answer to why Kawakami and Rapozo won’t support Yukimura’s bill? I didn’t see that answer to what their response were…

    1. Just Saying July 11, 2018 1:59 pm Reply

      Let’ see, our Founding Fathers wrote “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” just for a handful of locals on the Island of Kauai. OK, got it!

  13. My voice July 30, 2018 12:15 pm Reply

    Good ideas here by Joann and I like that we are trying to find money to help fund affordable housing.
    Still worried about 2 things even if this did all happen. One is our definition of ‘affordable’ on Kauai with the high cost of living. Can people make mortgage payments when they borrow close to a half million dollars even if they ‘qualify’? And secondly, how can we make sure that the people who are getting closed out of housing, the people who have been here for decades/their lives, be up first for this housing? Local people are having to move to the mainland and mainland people are moving here and scooping everything up.

  14. Shawn S August 1, 2018 11:45 am Reply

    We don’t want this island to BE SOLD. You can easily find the advertisement for “DK for Mayor” on Google or YouTube now. His campaign budget is more than four times his nearest competitor. Of course, nothing wrong with pouring money into Advertisement.

    The problem is that more than half of his donation is funded from the Mainland and Oahu. They are investors and resort developers. They don’t pour money to care about residents or nature on the island. Their interest is only their businesses.

    DK already answered that he doesn’t support JoAnn’s affordable housing resolution saying 3 percent of the existing real property tax should be used for affordable housing on Kauai.

    We believed in his platform but his decisions are quite contradicting. Very suspicious.

    Voters should be conscious. If not, this island can BE SOLD.

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