Letters for Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Where does the responsibility lie?

The once sleepy, family neighborhood, tucked above the Wailua River has become a new notch on the list of concerns marking the rental crisis for homeowners islandwide.

It’s commonplace in today’s media to hear neighbors complaints and sighs of disturbances associated with Arbnb’s and VRBO’s but what happens when it’s a long-term renter causing distress to your right of everyday peace or normalcy. This is what multiple families in the Wailua Houselots are realizing is a new problem that isn’t going away.

Four family cats have gone missing in less than 30 days in a normally quiet and friendly neighborhood. We believe someone in the area is trapping and dumping the cats.

Although, they are permitted to trap animals on their property, according to KPD they must bring trapped animals into Kauai Humane Society for owners notification.

As homeowners for 16 years in this neighborhood not once has one of our pets gone missing. Our four children are completely devastated. These are older pets that our children have grown up with over the last 10 years. We fear someone has now taken two of our beloved pets and essentially left them to die somewhere away from their home. We are desperate to stop this inhumane act.

This instance brings up further concern of the compliance and responsibility of homeowners in our neighborhoods who choose to rent out their homes. Who is protecting our families from stress-inducing circumstances. If the homeowner isn’t responsible, who is?

Have we gone from the aloha of sharing avocados and lychee with our neighbors to stealing their family pets? We have come to a new fork in the road as our island continues to grow. Who is going to protect our families and our neighborhoods if the homeowners choose not too?

Dara Fugett, Wailua Houselots

Government regulations have benefits, too

A recurring theme from conservative letter writers is, “Government is not the solution; it is the problem.” Most recently this was stated as, “Government caused the housing problem.”

The shortage of affordable housing arises because the free enterprise system cannot build and rent or sell houses at a price which much of the public can afford. In short, the free enterprise system, seeing no profit, builds no inexpensive housing.

The conservative writers reject this economic viewpoint. With a quasi-religious belief in free enterprise, they reverently swear that free enterprise simply cannot be the cause of societal problems. They preach that if only the government didn’t impose so much unneeded regulation, entrepreneurs would build gobs of affordable housing.

History doesn’t favor this faith. From the start of modern capitalism in post-medieval England, far before significant government regulation, free enterprise has created pollution, disease, poverty, and for housing, squalid slums, and rarely cured (or cared about) those problems without massive government incentive or regulation. But facts rarely discourage devotees.

Consider the “unnecessary” regulations. Minimum lot sizes and set-backs: so windows of one house aren’t 4” from that of the next. Maximum lot density: so there might be space for a flower or tree. Parking spaces: so one could actually drive down the street. Building codes: so the plumbing actually works, using the microwave doesn’t turn off the lights, and there are sufficient outlets and separated circuits for a modern technological life, bedrooms and bathrooms are ventilated, the houses survive storms and don’t fall apart within 5 years, keiki and kapuna don’t fall down stairs, etc.; septic requirements: so our streams and beaches aren’t further polluted. Lots of regulations to require a minimum of functionality, comfort, and civil order.

All this for the working class and the poor? What a waste! Unburden free enterprise.

Without government regulation, free enterprise could build profitable slums which would proudly rival those of Dharavi, Neza, and historical London, right here on Kauai.

Don’t rely on free enterprise alone to cure the problems it creates.

Jed Somit, Kapaa

  1. james August 14, 2018 6:54 am Reply

    Jed, I totally agree. Only truly ignorant people believe all government regulations are bad or unnecessary. Without regulations, 8 year old children would be paid 12 cents an hour to work in coal mines. Corporations would dump raw toxic chemicals directly into rivers, oceans or let them seep into our groundwater and aquifers. Workers would get buried alive when digging unreinforced trenches. Do we need to go on and on? Anyone who thinks all regulations should be abolished is a complete idiot! In case no one has noticed, corporations cannot adequately police themselves. (Enron, BP, Dow, etc, etc) When profit vs. protecting workers, citizens and the environment is the choice, which do you think corporations choose? Wake up and protect your own children and grandchildren instead of spewing stupid rhetoric.

    1. RG DeSoto August 14, 2018 1:37 pm Reply

      Sorry, James…utter & unfounded nonsense.

  2. Just Cuz August 14, 2018 7:42 am Reply

    I for one don’t care for cats too much. Mostly due to their owners who think its okay to allow them to run wild and deposit their kills and/or take a crap by my front door. Regardless if somebody owns or rents a house, this is never an acceptable situation to come home to. If you truly love your pet, keep it in contained in your own yard.

  3. RG DeSoto August 14, 2018 8:48 am Reply

    Mr. Somit is simply wrong. For decades before there were restrictive zoning laws and other land-use regulations the market provided an ample supply of housing.
    Somit: “The shortage of affordable housing arises because the free enterprise system cannot build and rent or sell houses at a price which much of the public can afford.” This is correct; the reason is because all of the regulations and restrictions he seems to adore, drive up the cost of developing land & building housing. Moreover, the overly restrictive zoning laws and regulations reduce the supply of building lots and drive up the prices of the lots that are available because of vigorous demand.
    Mr. Somit is simply confused. He senses a problem, but is unable to get beyond his fondness for regulation and see the root cause of high housing costs. I repeat for him: land-use regulations (zoning, density etc. etc.) REDUCE the supply of building lots, excess demand drives the price of available lots up = less affordable housing. Restrictive permitting requirements, obstructive bureaucrats and politicians also restrict the supply of housing = increased cost of providing housing & drastically slow down the entire process.
    There are any number of studies done by economists that clearly support the fact that government interference in the housing market is a direct cause of the lack of affordable housing.
    Mr. Somit: the next time you drive over the Anahola river bridge, look at the two very modest houses right on the makai side of the bridge. Those buildings took two years for the owners to permit…multiply that by several factors island-wide and tell us how government is not a problem?
    RG DeSoto

    1. james August 15, 2018 7:32 am Reply

      Sorry RG….complete and utter nonsense. Simple supply and demand. People with money want to live on Kauai. Unless you allow unbridled development, supply, or lack thereof, dictates the price of real estate. Simple economics 101. Look at Oahu. Even with incredible over-development, prices are astronomical because of demand, not regulations. Good try but not even in the ballpark.

      1. RG DeSoto August 16, 2018 7:15 pm Reply

        You’ve forgotten the other side…supply. As I previously stated in the face of rising or vigorous demand, a restriction of supply causes and/or exacerbates rising prices. Oahu’s housing prices also have a regulatory component and you are correct demand coupled has resulted in staggering prices. There is still plenty of land for building on Oahu which is zoned agriculture; it faces the regulatory hurdles for re-zoning…basically an irrational fixation on agricultural zoning.
        On Kauai there are thousands of acres of land that could be used for building development. Much of this land has been permanently zoned and fixed as agriculture by the fascist IAL mandates (IAL = Important Agricultural Lands). Under this regime large landowners were literally forced to dedicate a large portion of their lands as IALs…if they refused the counties and state would simply lock up what they wanted–this was a huge taking for no good reason. It will also put upward pressure on housing for the foreseeable future.
        And, speaking of Econ 101 there are many studies conducted by PhD economists that clearly support my position (I happen to hold an MA in economics) that land use regulations from zoning to permitting are a direct and causal force on high residential housing costs.
        Finally, Jed’s statement below referring to slums is not even a viable argument and doesn’t even qualify for a response…it’s simply nonsense with no factual evidence.
        RG DeSoto

    2. Jed Somit August 15, 2018 2:06 pm Reply

      Of course regulations can add cost. But unless you want crowded together, shoddy housing (perhaps you do believe that the benefits of planned neighborhoods and housing built to code are wasted on the non-upper class), then regulation, and cost, is part of housing. Yes, if all regulations were removed, free enterprise would build “affordable” housing, i.e., what we call slums.

  4. Sue August 14, 2018 8:54 am Reply

    Jed: You write truth. So many people do not realize that without regulations we could be taken advantage of like in many other countries where you don’t have rights. Many of our laws and regulations protect the consumer from unscrupulous vendors. Thank you for writing.

    1. RG DeSoto August 14, 2018 1:44 pm Reply

      Sue…more nonsense. Regulations, especially over land-use, are an abrogation of fundamental rights–property rights.
      You are responsible for using what intelligence you may have to protect yourself from being duped. To rely on government for this so called protection is veritably foolish. Think for yourself….what would ever lead you to believe that some bureaucrat or power hungry politician really gives a rip about you or anyone other than themselves?
      RG DeSoto
      RG DeSoto

  5. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 9:37 am Reply

    38,000 to 65,000 people, since 1980. Over 100,000 on Maui and Big Island. Who is Joanne Yukimura? Only 4,000 votes. Ron Kouchi, Ross kagawa? Not smart.

  6. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 10:09 am Reply

    Can we count on these not smart candidates? Basically. They were lose in Kekaha, Hanapepe town. Who was Walter Souza? High school/baseball coach. Influential enough for two people. Not interested from me, not smart from them too.

  7. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 10:15 am Reply

    In 1980, Carl Furatani had a direct impact on some 7,000 known sports people on Kauai. Assistant coach UH baseball. Politics here is it spread like wildfire. Every KID wants to play sports first, then grow up popular, rich, or make a difference. Do we give heed to sports influence since ? 1980?

  8. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 10:29 am Reply

    Mr. Sina, Ms.Ho, Mrs. Haynes, Mrs. Pescaia, Mrs. Derby, Mr. Boyton, blame teachers then for lose in politics. WaimeaHS, 1980.

  9. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 10:42 am Reply

    My theory on politics Westside people 1980.

  10. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 10:56 am Reply

    Yeah I write here too. But I’m right on this sports theory. 1980 Politics. Carl furatani. UH baseball.

  11. PauloT August 14, 2018 11:51 am Reply

    First the missing cats of Wailua Houselots: That is a pathetic thing to do neighbors and their well loved pets. Now those with missing animals will have the worry of what their pets current existence is and if they will even survive. And missing them.

    Second the potential build out of affordable homes: Reducing regulations is not the answer nor is building out of our island. Take a look at California. Building all those housing units did not bring prices down. Unless we have some sort of adequate long term rental control on low income units they will sell for whatever a willing buyer will pay. And that includes a willing buyer from off island. So far we haven’t come up with a way to block real estate sales to those from out of state, or rentals either.

  12. I saw a Vampire once August 14, 2018 12:46 pm Reply

    How can they be Teddy Arroyo or David Rita or Bob saligumba? You represent only high school sports. Government issue. WaimeaHS. 1980s

  13. Houselots August 14, 2018 2:19 pm Reply

    Too bad TGI had to censor the original letter about cats being trapped and dumped. We know EXACTLY who has been taking the pets because they ADMITTED to a neighbor about doing so. They also laughed and “meowed” at neighborhood children that were searching for their missing pets. JOSEPH and ROBERTA APAISA should be ashamed of themselves. And their landlord KELLY should take some responsibility for her property and tenants.

  14. Sue August 15, 2018 7:46 am Reply

    Mr. DeSoto: I know I won’t convince you with facts, but the reason prices are high in Kauai, or any other place where everyone wants to live, is because of demand, not regulations. Why do you think it’s cheap to live in Detroit? No one wants to live there!

    I have lived in, and visited, many countries around the world. Many have much fewer regulations than the US. Those countries are rife with corruption and pollution. One of the reasons the US is such a wonderful place to live is because we look out for the individual more than other countries do. (not all, just most)

    All you have to do is look at what happened in the state of Texas, which has far fewer regulations, during the floods to see what happens when you are allowed to build without much oversight. They built in flood plains and naturally many people’s homes were ruined. Of course they didn’t tell the buyers theywere in a flood plain! In wasn’t a regulation!

    1. RG DeSoto August 17, 2018 7:56 am Reply

      You’re neglecting the other side of the equation–supply. Regulations restrict supply so exacerbate price spikes. That’s Kauai’s real problem–short supply.
      BTW: the article you linked points to the failure of a government supplied commodity-water. Government is generally incompetent as reflected by the facts presented in the article.
      RG DeSoto

  15. Sue August 16, 2018 9:41 am Reply

    Here you go, Mr. DeSoto, a link to an article about regulations that should have been more stringent: http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/38868614/white-house-called-toxins-contamination-pr-nightmare

  16. LMat August 16, 2018 12:12 pm Reply

    Uhhh, maybe keep your annoying cats out of your neighbor’s yards.
    I raise a handful of fancy and laying chickens in my Kekaha backyard. I witnessed somebody’s cat come into my yard and grab one of my young birds and drag it away. I’ve seen other neighborhood cats stalking and watching my birds. If a cat comes into my yard, I am absolutely taking action.
    WTH makes it ok for you to allow your cat to wander the neighborhood and mess with other people’s yards and animals…?! Seriously, dumbest letter ever. If you don’t want your animal tampered with, keep it contained on your property.

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