Housing, traffic, and increasing a living wage (to be able to afford a decent life on Kauai) was shared by every council member and mayor during our recent election.
There is no single solution to solve and the funds to achieve such a task likely are not attainable. Kauai is an ecosystem that requires balance and when that balance is disrupted everyone pays a price.
Kauai should not follow into the trap of the political and human disaster now taking place in California. Oftentimes national political figures from California become almost godly and their message is viewed by many as reasonable.
The fact is, in the last 20 years California has become a place where most “locals no longer recognize it.” It’s become a melting pot of drug addicts, homelessness, and a refuge for anyone that would like to come live there from around the world.
Wages continue to drop, housing continues to rise, and traffic has become the worst congestion of any state compared to other states as the free flow of cheap labor arrives daily.
Recently, the new governor of California has declared that free medical, housing and food are free to all illegal persons that may want to call California home. To pay for all of this, California has the highest tax on gasoline in the nation and taxes its working class nearly 14 percent on its wages to sustain this free flow of money to non U.S. citizens.
Housing for the next generation of Californians does not exist and policies enacted will insure California becomes an example of how to destroy an ecosystem that at one time did look to achieve balance for its communities.
The beaches, parks, have been overrun by meth addicts, heroin addicts leaving human waste and used needles that continues to spiral out of control, it’s no longer safe to walk on the beach for fear of needles by heroin addicts. It’s no longer safe to allow children to play in the public parks and the way of life has significantly changed to accommodate a political agenda for future voters not in the best interest of its citizens.
The policies the current political leaders of California share have polarized a nation into thinking that anyone who seeks enforcement of current laws passed nearly 30 years ago is some kind of racist.
Don’t allow Kauai to become California. Kauai has limited open land space, low-cost housing already does not exist, very few decent jobs are available and the traffic will only get worse before it gets better. It’s estimated that over 14 percent of the states illegal citizens reside on Kauai (about 6,000 people).
That could mean nearly 2,500 to 3,500 cars a day that would be off the road, 1,500 homes that could be used as low cost housing (that could become immediately available), the free market would then be in balance to raise the minimum wage to over $25 an hour as large business would be forced to pay local legal residents to run their operation.
Yes, that’s right. Costco workers would be making $35 to $40 per hour, large hotels would be forced to compete for labor and raise the minimum wage voluntary to run their business and the tourists would be forced to pay for services they use and pay market rates.
It’s far too easy to secure legal paperwork (Social Security card) in a foreign country, taking away jobs from the Kauai youth that many must have to secure a opportunity to go to a four-year college and be best prepared to help Kauai for the next generations to come.
The solution is simple. Enforce the current immigration laws, allow Kauai to absorb its increase in population in a balanced manner over the next 10 to 20 years and allow the very fragile ecosystem we call Kauai a chance to prepare for the future in a more controlled manner.
The last thing Kauai needs is to have a open-door policy that only encourages drifters, drug users to relocate to sunny Koloa and a population of uneducated future leaders. Don’t be mesmerized by the political agenda of California. Look for balance in Kauai that fits the size of the land mass and its population of legal residents.
Policy should be identified for legal solutions first before we look for crazy solutions that oftentimes brings legal challenges and ties up precious resources.
The leadership of Kauai may want to consider focusing on using current laws to immediately solve the housing, traffic and low wages that requires many families to work two to three jobs to afford the basics that every citizen of Kauai deserves to have.
Steve Sedgwick lives in Poipu.