Don’t let Kauai become California

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.

  1. Uncleaina January 22, 2019 6:06 am Reply

    Whoa! Fear mongering much? Guy, there’s not lots of illegal immigrants living on Kauai. I’ve never met even a single one. Also people CAN go to the beaches there without stepping on needles. There’s no “open door policy for drug dealers” – however as Americans we’re allowed to travel freely within our country, ya? Honestly guy you sound like someone from ….wait for it…California.

    1. Jeff January 23, 2019 5:56 am Reply

      For those of you who have never lived in California, experienced the trash needles and homeless populations that are driving wealth and talent out of the state… I would suggest a weekend in Laguna or any other Beach enclave in California to see for yourself what Steve is talking about. Seeing is believing and California is slowly imploding. The inmates are taking over the asylum, don’t let it happen to Kauai!

      1. Pete Antonson January 23, 2019 6:31 pm Reply

        Laguna is my home town. I’m a frequent visitor. You are out of your mind!

  2. harry oyama January 22, 2019 6:41 am Reply

    California is a disaster mismanaged by delusional liberals who turned that State into a santuary for illegals who siphoned off the social support system paid for by legal residents not them who never contributed a single penny in the system.

    There are quite a few State of Hawaii legislatures who advocate the same movement as California. We should take care of Americans first and if there are money left, then maybe assist the plight of illegals, mean while those who violate the laws should be deported immediately

    1. Pete Antonson January 22, 2019 2:23 pm Reply

      One of the best things about Kauai is you knowing that every time you leave your house and mingle with the general population, 7 of the 9 people you see are completely opposed to the Nazi like America First nonsense!

  3. james January 22, 2019 7:08 am Reply

    California just moved up to become the 5th largest economy in the world. That’s world, Steve, not just the USA. You sound like you are regurgitating Fox News soundbites without providing any facts or evidence. Trump and the far right have divided the Nation, not California. The opiod crisis exists and is more problematic in most red States than in California. Check the drug overdose deaths by state vs population and you’ll find you are wrong. ( Yes, no one wants Kauai to become more crowded. Most of us don’t want homeless people living on our Island. Most of us want slow growth or no growth. But what does that have to do with your imaginary so called “political and human disaster” alleged to exist in California? Your letter is just an excuse to spew Ann Coulter nonsense. Do you really believe the crap you are putting forth?

    1. billyjoebob January 22, 2019 1:39 pm Reply

      james, what does opioid overdose death by state data have to do with meth and heroin addicts discarding used needles in California?

  4. Nate January 22, 2019 7:59 am Reply

    OR maybe we should just get rid of the part time residents like Mr. Sedgwick that don’t have productive jobs.

    Also, the addiction issues seem totally unrelated to your other arguments about immigration. Are you saying that all addicts are illegal immegrants? We solve that by kicking out gainfully employed immigrants?
    Addicts magically fill jobs of immigrants when we expel them all?

  5. Charlie Chimknee January 22, 2019 8:47 am Reply

    Aloha Steve, an important point you are missing is that many business owners are working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week to keep their business open and put food on the table and keep their business car or truck on the road, and pay the wages that they are already paying; and you are asking for $40 an hour wages to work at Costco where a high school education might be needed and whose ranks may soon be filled with illegal foreign residents.

    Maybe you should tell us about your income and job or retirement and how you support yourself so others may emulate or copy you in order to survive.

    Mahalo, we’re waiting…


  6. gordon oswald January 22, 2019 9:54 am Reply


    1. Steven McMacken January 22, 2019 1:40 pm Reply

      Such wise advice. Thank you, Gordon, for one of the best comments I have read in a long, long time. Kauai is fortunate to have you.

  7. John Zwiebel January 22, 2019 10:48 am Reply

    There are too many people in the world. Until some plan is put into place to reduce the world’s population, none of the wishes listed here are going to be achieved.

    Not to worry though, Global Warming is about to really kick in, reducing the population dramatically.

  8. John January 22, 2019 10:51 am Reply

    Clearly found the Republican.

    I live in CA and dodge meth needles everywhere I go (whoops that was lydgate this week where kids play) as we basque in the torture of what we forced upon the world in Tesla, Apple, Disney, Facebook, craft beer, wine, fashion, etc… etc… if everyone can stop using these products so we can live in a utopia like West a Virginia or Kansas we would al greatly appreciate it.

    Meanwhile some nut job Xenophobe in kauai wants to bash our state. Traffic? It’s already here!!! It takes 45 minute to get across Kapaa only to look at the Coco Palms that has been shuttered due to political wormholes. Not shockingly all the Hawaiians that hate any method of progress in upcycling a property or fixing traffic are all to happy to bulldoze a field for a Safeway (a CA company I might ad) or close a Longs only to build one in what used to be a field a across the street for the sake of building a new building. As long as the millionaire residents in Hanalei can keep roads close to everyone but themselves for over a year who cares about and progress on construction?

    Bulldozing history and keeping millionaires happy. Sounds to me like Hawai’i is happy to be the OC LA of the pacific.

  9. Amused January 22, 2019 10:52 am Reply

    This commentary is filled with so much misinformation and do many sweeping generalities it’s impossible to correct it all. Readers beware! This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about!

  10. Kauaidoug January 22, 2019 10:55 am Reply

    Gross Generalizations about our beaches and Parks do not make a convincing argument about anything

  11. Barry Kinman January 22, 2019 11:02 am Reply

    I am a native Californian and a frequent visitor to Kauai. Kauai has its issues, as does California. Solving Kauai’s problems and managing the environment has nothing to do with California and speaking ill of California demonstrates an absence of Aloha. I live in the last of the old Central Coast. Our traffic is much less than Kapaa’s but so what? Our ocean is clean and our sea life is amazing, but the water is cold. From my hill top I see 100 miles of clean air every day. Still I love to visit Kauai and always will. Spread aloha, there is enough anti-California propaganda in Washington and Idaho, you don’t need it in Kauai.

  12. Kimo Kane January 22, 2019 12:04 pm Reply

    Introducing Kauai’s very own Mini-Trump…

    And vote Republican every time guy, in the last 100 years California has had 11 Republican Governors and 6 Democratic.. So I would say Republicans are just as to blame for making California what it is. If you’re a Capitalist like our President you should be proud of California, it accounts for 14% of the US GDP, 13% of the total US economy. That means, along with New York and Texas it makes the money to float all those little states. How many aircraft carriers could Alabama make?

  13. Wayne Larson January 22, 2019 12:43 pm Reply

    My family and I visited Poipu from California earlier this month, and I can completely understand Mr. Sedgwick’s desire to preserve its wonderful character while providing for its residents. Speaking as a tourist, I would continue to pay to do my part, whether I be forced to by market rates or of my own free will knowing that I was doing right by others.

    I would ask if Mr. Sedgwick has observed firsthand the conditions he describes as widespread in California’s parks and on our beaches. I regularly visit them statewide with my children and we have not seen such things.

    Governor Newsom has not declared that housing, heath care and food are now free in California. It is not within his power to rule by declaration, and he has not submitted any of the legislation that would to need to be passed by the state legislature to make them so.

    In 2017, before Newsom became governor, a majority vote by the people of California raised gas taxes that had not been increased since 1993, losing 60 percent of their value to inflation the over 25 years they went unchanged. Gas tax money in California can only be used for transportation-related purposes such as infrastructure repair and funding projects aimed at reducing traffic congestion, not for free housing, etc.

    Before our visit, we heard from everyone who’s been to Hawaii that it’s a magical place. We believe.
    The complex solutions that will keep Hawaii that way will require decisions based on facts, and mischaracterizing California may lead to dismissing realistic measures that could be useful to Kauai without turning it into California.

  14. Steven McMacken January 22, 2019 1:34 pm Reply

    Oh, the horror . . . Callifornia has become ” . . . a refuge for anyone that would like to come live there from around the world.” “Most locals don’t even recognize it!” Wait, if that’s true, it means people with a skin color other than WHITE are being ALLOWED to reside there? Can they buy homes, too? Is that even LEGAL? Is NOTHING sacred anymore? Quick, set up barricades! Erect barbed wire fencing!! We’re being overrun by . . . shudder . . . UNDESIRABLES!!

  15. Manawai January 22, 2019 2:15 pm Reply

    It’s so funny that the left blames division on Trump. Real dIvision in this country began with Obama’s leftist presidency which was entirely responsible for the election of Donald Trump. Talk about lack of responsibility for actions!

  16. behappy January 22, 2019 2:40 pm Reply

    Like it or not California is losing it’s appeal. I have personally seen the homeless population that’s out of control. It’s not hiding, it’s right there for all to see. It’s not normal to have to walk in traffic to avoid the mess on the sidewalks. Someone needs to own this problem. Cleaning trucks are now coming through in the mornings to hose down some areas. Who wants to visit SF or LA until they clean up their cities? Leadership is lost and no one seems to care. What has happened to common sense? And NO we do not want that situation here.

    1. Ginger Doll January 23, 2019 8:49 am Reply

      Imagine yourself homeless today in the Midwest U.S. Maybe you’re lucky to be offered shelter in a church or some other charity so you don’t freeze to death. But if you can make your way to California, problem solved.
      Even bettter, if you can panhandle enough change to buy a plane ticket, you can enjoy the carefree island life.
      The land of dreams. Make America Great Again.

  17. Gabriella smith January 22, 2019 3:23 pm Reply

    Hey Steve,
    Here’s an idea…
    Rent that multi million dollar beach front property you have in Poipu, to a “low income legal Kauai” family.
    Instead of for $900 a night to the Californians you so obviously abhor!

  18. Oingo boingo January 22, 2019 3:59 pm Reply

    Visited the North shore yesterday and it was insane how much tourist were all over the place…Hanalei bay looked like waikiki…not a single parking available…

  19. lapsteel January 22, 2019 5:50 pm Reply

    And this is better for Kauai than…?

  20. PuhiToKilauea January 22, 2019 6:12 pm Reply

    Has nothing but drug/mules dealing meth/heroin/pills for the cartels that are protected by greasing the palms of judicial employees.

    You might not see them but they are here and the former chief of police Perry anonymously posted that there is cartel members on Kauai pushing drugs.

    You people are so delusional and think Kauai is too small and so for drug profits.


  21. numilalocal January 22, 2019 7:02 pm Reply

    And how many people have moved here from California? Isn’t that a factor in terms of Kauai’s population growth and all the changes happening here (not the least of which is crowding)?

  22. Steve McQ January 22, 2019 7:36 pm Reply

    This guy speaks with a voice of reason (rare on Kauai). My last visit to SF six months ago was repulsive. Feces on the street everywhere, the smell of urine in the air, needles galore, people screaming so loud at night, I was awakened on the 17th hotel floor. SF has become a screwed up madhouse because of lunatic leaders like Nancy Pelosi bent on destroying the country. Look at all the street people that have set up shop in Honolulu. They’re coming here next and several even wrote replies to this editorial!

  23. Objectivity January 22, 2019 7:36 pm Reply

    Dude, you lost me at “illegal citizens.” Kick them all out and housing magically becomes affordable and I can afford to pay my employees twice as much as I do now? I am guessing you wrote this while under the influence of something.

  24. Mark & Annette Jamieson January 22, 2019 8:08 pm Reply

    My wife and I are both native Californian’s. Wow what a great article and so true. This great beautiful state we grew up in now has turned into a piece of crap! We hope this does not happen to Kauai.

    1. Ginger Doll January 23, 2019 8:52 am Reply

      So where next? Australia?

  25. Dee Lowery January 23, 2019 4:43 am Reply

    Steve Sedgwick, looks like you are probably not a full time “resident” of Poipu. It appears that you own a very expensive home there and rent it out as a vacation rental for almost $1,000 a night. I sincerely doubt you’re living in your car on the beach during the time the wealthy mainlanders are renting out your Oceanfront house .

    These vacation rentals are one of the big reasons that Hawaii doesn’t have affordable housing for the local population. IMHO this is one of the biggest factors that is contributing to the decline of the standard of living for the working class in Hawaii.

    I lived in Hawaii 20 years ago and now am planning to come back to retire. I was flabbergasted when I discovered how high the long term rental prices are now. I attribute much of this to homeowners that see a greater profit in renting out their condos by the night as opposed to by the month.

  26. trader jack January 23, 2019 10:32 am Reply

    Hey, folks, I am in Northern California, and have relatives in Kauai. The thing that no one wants to understand is that this societal ruination creeps up on the country. It is a little cancer that no one wants to cure as to cure it means that people will be hurt, children will be hurt, lives will be lost, so it is easier for government to try to buy a solution by providing more free stuff to enable people to live. One little hit a bong is no problem to people and then it becomes free for all one illlegal citizen is no problem, so one more won’t affect anything,and it goes into an upward spiral.

    Have fun, keep safe , and don’t trust politicians to tell the truth. LOL

  27. Steve January 23, 2019 12:18 pm Reply

    Now that we have a little discussion let’s get real. My point was not if nonresidents are bringing drugs here to Kauai but don’t let Kauai become California where the focus on issues is so polarized we can no longer have a discussion of balance. The traffic problems, inability to afford safe housing and inability for the next generation to make a decent living is almost obsolete. Many of the same problems California is having Kauai is experiencing on a much smaller scale. For those curious about my family ties to Kauai they are rooted in over a century on both the west side and north side of Kauai and currently live in Koloa and have called Kauai home and lived full time for years.

    Yes I married the daughter of Japanese immigrants that worked for a better life that started in the sugar cane fields in the late 1800’s. The early folks paid a huge price for freedom as working in the fields 12-14 hours a day was work that was close to being forced labor for food and shelter. The thought of having a better life for their keiki seemed like a very remote concept as life back in the early days was confined to the plantation.

    Recently over the holidays I had a opportunity to visit family, friends and the beaches in Southern California, beaches many of you may never heard of including Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan. In speaking with the lifeguards who are tasked with monitoring the beach, drug use is not confined to a single nationalities however has ruined the safety of walking on the beach as they must sweep the beach nightly for needles and other harmful substances.

    As this relates to Kauai its evident Kauai has become polarized on issues and balance no longer exist, this is a recipe for a dysfunctional society and demise. As noted by a few super readers my families business is providing accommodations to tourist that prefer alternate accommodations and have done so for over 25 years. Just like anyone else hard work, being smart with money and making good investments are the key to moving ahead. Whining about investments I could of or should of made never enters my vocabulary. As far a vacation rentals there are approx. 425 on Kauai. Many of these homes are on the beach and if in a long term rental pool would sit empty has the property taxes, flood insurance, Hurricane insurance would be cost prohibitive for 99% of the population. A good target may be the illegal rentals which I would guess are higher than the legal ones as Air BNB entered the market after the 2008 ordinance on limiting vacation rentals in non VDA areas and has likely expanded the amount of illegal rentals

    Lets talk facts, there are more houses that are being rented to foreign nationals that have extended their Visa then there are vacation rentals on Kauai. Vacation rental pay 3-4 times the property taxes as other property classifications. Funds generated from these high taxes help fund Disaster relief efforts and placed into a special category outside the general fund. Recently when the April flood disaster happened the County had in its reserve millions of dollars. The County was quickly able to access these funds to provide the first emergency relief that included food, water, and other emergency needs of the community. Many of these properties also are required to have flood insurance, ironically many of the folks who where most impacted by the April floods had no flood insurance yet FEMA was able to help those most in need. You guessed it because the FEME Flood fund had a high percentage of those paying for those less fortunate.

    Currently the County is supporting SB 163 a new proposed law that will phase out vacation rentals. The question is where is this 20m property tax shortfall going to come from? You guessed it by raising property taxes on every day folks that can barely support their families. Most municipalities get addicted to cash flow and fund services with its property taxes. The County recently had a hard time finding in its budge funds for a lifeguard? The solutions to problems come via balance, knee jerk thinking is problematic when consequences can affect the majority. The new council will help create balance and several are currently leading the charge to look at problems in a more business-like manner vs knee jerk reaction. The problems on Kauai are not one dimensional but constructive thinking, not getting lulled into the California political machine and think of reasonable solution that can be achieved now vs waiting another 20 years for money to arrive from Washington.

  28. Lynn Lee February 4, 2019 2:14 pm Reply

    I live on a beach in CA by the airport. I have never needed to avoid meth needles or human waste on the beach.

  29. Jerri Potras February 17, 2019 7:04 am Reply

    I was born in CA and still live here. I found this description of my state incredibly, and sadly, too accurate. Yes, there are some areas of the state that may not experience the drug needles, the drugs, the crime, the feces in parks, etc. but the problem is spreading. It’s a growing issue in the suburbs, in my city, in friends cities. The middle-class are leaving, the suburbans are being urbanized and bringing with them the issues associated with dense living. And, yes, as one of the readers to this article mentioned, we are so polarized we can’ have rationale discussions on virtually anything anymore. It’s a tragic situation I do not want to see replicated in any other state.

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