De Costa seeks council seat

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Billy De Costa

LIHUE — A vision for Kauai’s children to accomplish their dreams on Kauai is why Billy De Costa is running for the Kauai County Council.

This is the third time the environmental resource teacher with the state of Hawaii has run, but despite losing his first two races, he said he can’t give up the fight.

In his position, De Costa said he meets every fourth and fifth grader on Kauai, with some traveling to participate in his program from other islands. They all ask him if it’s possible for them to live and work on the island they came from like their parents.

“It hurts me when I tell them the truth that maybe one day they’re going to have to live in Vegas or Oregon or someplace cheaper. I didn’t raise my three sons with my wife on this island to have them move away where I get to see them once a year because they can’t afford to buy a home,” the 53-year-old said.

In 2000, De Costa and his wife bought 10 acres of land in Omao that contained two homes. They rent out the homes to local families and own a third home he built, where they live with their three boys.

“We made a small dream come true when not too many people can say that they were able to do their accomplishment and it’s kind of sad because I’d like to see everybody be able to live on a piece of property that they worked hard for and purchased,” he said.

The lack of truly affordable housing is one of Kauai’s biggest issues, he said.

“I really respect the Habitat for Humanity and the process and the amount of mortgage around $200,000 that our local families can afford. That’s affordable housing,” he said.

As a councilmember, he said he’d work with the island’s largest developers to have land set aside for affordable housing.

“I think we need to do a greater job as far as negotiating with large developers in what they give back to the community,” he said.

Other issues he’s concerned about are the island’s infrastructure, roads and traffic.

“Quality of life here on Kauai diminishes every day with the large amounts of tourists that are just trampling our ecosystem. We are a tourist-based industry, sad to say after the agricultural industry, but our holding capacity on the island has been maxed out and our ecosystem can only take so much traffic, so we need to be very sensitive to our environment” he said.

Kauai needs alternative routes, De Costa said.

Kauai residents are a special group of people with a special culture, he said.

“We are a melting pot of many different backgrounds, so we are a diverse culture and it’s evaporating when we allow others to come with the mindset that’s not like we were raised and it changes who we are, it changes what we do, it changes our traditions and what we’re allowed to do and I would like to see our quality of life continue to improve, not diminish,” he said.

Ultimately, De Costa said his dream is for the children of Kauai to have a good quality of life, where they can be proud and call it their home, where they can live and work and appreciate the traditions of culture that their family members have passed down to them.

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Bethany Freudenthal, courts, crime and county reporter, can be reached to 652-7891 or bfreudenthal@thegardenisland.com.

1 Comments
  1. Charlie Chimknee July 13, 2018 8:05 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou, and Mr. De Costa,

    As to large large land developers, it would seem in these desperate housing times that a good start would be that at least 50% of the developers’ lots (maybe smaller lots) be set aside at affordable values for at least those conceived and / or born and raised here on Kaua’i, making sure there has been a vested interest in Kauai by the up and coming new land/home owners by having lived here from the very start of their lives; and that having to move away would be a hardship akin to being a castaway or driven away or “condemned” away by unique economic circumstances beyond their control. Those circumstances being Rich Folk coming in and on “Day 1” of being on island buying up what is unaffordable for locals.

    As well, young people and their parents knowing it’s the Kaua’i way or the HIGHWAY AWAY OFF OF KAUAI, will further instill the hard work effort and ethic in their children to be able to afford a place to live by saving and then affording a mortgage or a rental and remaining at home with their families affording the same for their own children as a continuum.

    We just had a contingent of people from Kaua’i protesting at the airport to protect foreign children from separation from their parents; what about young Kaua’i whole families separated from their Tutu and grandparents and the breakdown of the Kaua’i family structure due to non-Kauaians coming in and “jacking up” the land and home prices here that they only can afford.

    It’s clear that measures must be taken now to protect our Keiki. In many countries in the world, foreigners like us, cannot buy land or a home…period…you must be a citizen of their country to buy and own a place to live; thus protecting their citizens’ rights to own property in their own country. But here in America anybody in the world can come ashore and buy up all the land and homes they want, displacing and breaking up our families’ rights to future ownership, and the ability for Families to stay together and to live on Kaua’i.

    Perhaps granting “first rights” to local people to affordable future WATER METER ownership, wherein only so many water meters are allotted every year and so many must go to those born and raised on Kauai first, ensuring the Native Kauaians the basic need of living…Water; and however that can manifest into land and/ or home ownership.

    Issues like AFFORDABLE HOUSING, and TRAFFIC, AND DRUGS, and TOURISM “Loving Kaua’i to Death” (mahalo Chipper), because none of the elected or soon to be elected, have any solid ideas as to solutions and only provide politician promises and hopes and wishes…and “I’m For This or That” which don’t amount to anything…how about an ongoing column or article in the Garden Island that every day people of Kaua’i or anywhere, maybe the visitors themselves, can contribute, like ongoing accumulating comments of possible, potential, or probable solutions to our ongoing worsening problems unique to island communities around the world.

    Kaua’i is not the only island in the world undergoing population growing pains. Indonesia’s BALI, Thailand’s Phuket, Philippine’s Boracay (Boracay recently shut down to tourism to allow the island to heal from tourism amd pollution); islands worldwide of warmth and tropical beauty are being inundated with out of control growth to the point of intolerable pollution and over crowding and destruction to the environment and ecology.

    We see our County Council and Mayor working very hard but it seems to be mostly Reactive measures and not so Proactive measures to be ahead of the problem. There are solutions to the traffic, affordable and do able but not being done.

    Let’s humbly ask by this comment letter that the Garden Island let the people comment in an ongoing, day after day being added to, accumulative ideas column or blog as to suggestions and ideas as to the problems and solutions facing our fragile island home. One idea after another leading to solutions contributed to by many minds joined by all for loving Kaua’i.

    Mahalo,

    Charles


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