Letters for Sunday, February 3, 2019

We can, should limit tourism

What do the following tourist destinations all have in common:

Machu Picchu; Mallorca, Spain; and Skellig, Ireland?

They all limit the number of visitors allowed per day. A recent news article described the “Instagram Effect” on tourist spots that are being destroyed by too many tourists. Every single person that lives on Kauai knows that too much tourism is literally destroying our paradise. Why can’t we limit the number of daily tourists like Machu Picchu does? Why can’t we limit the number of flights coming here?

Kauai is at a critical moment, right now. Inaction will lead to the destruction of this place that we love. I will be putting this question to every single councilmember in writing, and I will publish their responses.

We all know the infrastructure is at its breaking point: roads, water, power, etc. So why is the Hawaii Tourism Authority continuing its mission of increasing tourism? Why are we paying millions in our tax dollars to promote tourism, when we already have more than we can handle? We are literally paying the government to destroy our island.

Let’s stop this now.

Let’s be like Machu Picchu, not Maui.

Jeff “Gordo” Gordon, Hanalei

The reality of homelessness is hard to take

So here I am, 58 and living out of my car, sleeping in a tent and using public bathrooms. A 45-day notice, a new owner and a housing shortage has left me on the beach. Myself, my boyfriend, my dog Mocha and my kitten Domino, all on the move together. Not how I thought things would be at this time in my life. But it is what it is and that’s how it is. Plain and simple.

Thank goodness it’s warm in Hawaii and at least I got a car. But when the north wind blows it’s kinda chilly. But we’re cozy in our makeshift home as long as we’re allowed to be here. No one has said anything yet. The beach is supposedly public between the high water mark and the low. Wait, does that mean we’re gonna wash away? No, I don’t think so.

So here we are amongst the invisible, the homeless, the poor. How’s that we were even counted by a census? Go figure and what did we get? Shampoo and conditioner, lotion and soap. Nice. What about towels, blankets, socks or munchies? No, we got toiletries. Guess we must be dirty. Despicable.

Homeless Americans are growing in numbers. All kinds of folks. The bush people and the car people and those like us with a tent. We have nowhere to go. Nowhere safe to set up a home. It is illegal to sleep in your car or at a bus stop. And at the campgrounds, well, you need current identification and they don’t allow animals.

So here we are in no-man’s land, on the edge of the golf course where the well-to-do play golf. And a million-dollar view from my tent door. Go figure. Who would have thought? Not me, but here we are. How’s that for a reality?

Janet Anne Powell, Houseless on Kauai, Lihue

  1. ruthann jones February 3, 2019 1:29 am Reply

    I don’t see mention of a ‘job’?

  2. ruthann jones February 3, 2019 5:20 am Reply

    so Jeff…were you once a ‘tourist’ on Kauai? You don’t sound like a real ‘local’.

    1. Jake February 5, 2019 3:08 am Reply

      Ok,…..ah, I’ll bite….

      What is a “real local” in 2019 on Kauai?

    2. Gordo April 23, 2019 1:14 am Reply

      Ruthann jones we are all visitors here, yourself included. I don’t care where you were “born”.

  3. Jake February 3, 2019 7:10 am Reply

    “We all know the infrastructure is at its breaking point: roads, water, power, etc.”

    The poor infrastructure on this island is due to mismanagement, elected officials, inability to plan for the future, and any overall inept County Government (better known as hiring “Born-and-Raised”, “Hire Locals”, “Don’t elect someone with a proven resume including credentials, past work experience, advanced degrees”). This is not due to tourists.

    “So why is the Hawaii Tourism Authority continuing its mission of increasing tourism?”

    Because Tourism is the ONLY industry driving the economy. The State went all in during the 1950s. There is no incentive, to any industry, to move to Hawaii.

    “Machu Picchu; Mallorca, Spain; and Skellig, Ireland. They all limit the number of visitors allowed per day.”

    Two of your three references are specific venues, much like limiting the number of people, per fire code, at a bar. Mallorca’s “limit” process includes a meaningless head tax per tourist.

    “Every single person that lives on Kauai knows that too much tourism is literally destroying our paradise.”

    Is it “literally” destroying our paradise, or just destroying our paradise???? So when the tourists go away, then what will the average Joe’s be doing to earn a living? You will have an island of well off retirees living here.

    How do you plan to limit tourism? How are you going to enforce it?? Complaining doesn’t do anything unless you offer some solutions……you know, the hard thing to do. Or is it really an issue of yearning for your youth, and remembering how great the island was, with less tourists, less construction, only one traffic light in Lihue.

    Tell you what,…. let’s ENFORCE illegal TVR’s and Airbnb’s……um, like really enforce. Let’s triple the County taxes on rental cars. Let’s triple the GET for tourists (or prove residency). Take every dime to increase infrastructure.

  4. james February 3, 2019 7:57 am Reply

    Why should you be given a towel and why are you complaining that you didn’t get one? They sell them at Walmart. What are you doing to get back into a home? What is the point of your letter? Are we supposed to empathize with you? Tell us why we should relate to you when we work our asses off to provide shelter for our families and we don’t expect anyone to give us towels.

  5. Kona February 3, 2019 9:50 am Reply

    Why do you expect anything from anyone? Go out and get a job and get it for yourself like most people.

    There are places to go if you are willing to look for them and abide by their rules. Oh, you don’t want rules, is that it?

    You are lucky you were offered anything at all. Go help yourself and don’t expect others to do it for you. You are old enough to understand that, or haven’t you learned that yet. I am sorry you are homeless, but from your letter I can see why; you haven’t grown up yet.

  6. Charlie Chimknee February 3, 2019 10:26 am Reply

    Aloha Jeff, if our Isa is up so much why can’t the county leaders make ends meet and not need to raise,property taxes so much ?

    Aloha Janet, there are many help wanted signs, you could each get 2 jobs (like so many of us) and afford a more expensive place to live. Even county workers get off early from day work by starting early so they can work their 2nd job…or go golfing, how about you and your boyfriend get 2 jobs each? Let’s hope you no need tax payer paid free stuff.

    Aloha Uncle Derek, you mentioned the ongoing progress with the traffic problem, please let us know what progress that might be ?

    Mahalo to all,


  7. numilalocal February 3, 2019 10:42 am Reply

    Both letters allude to a point I’ve been trying to make for years: tourism is the root of people visiting and then forgetting to go home. There’re just too many people moving here. Traffic and congestion result from visitors and residents. Supply and demand dictates housing costs. Overpopulation – on Kauai and all over the globe – is the root cause of most, if not all, problems we face.

  8. Michael February 3, 2019 11:34 am Reply

    Instead of limiting tourism – Lets eliminate property tax and let the county raise funds by sales tax only. That way, at least least the visitors here are paying for the services that they use, road maintenance, police, fire, parks, etc. At the same time we can appreciate the county not taking our property and renting it back to us.

  9. RG DeSoto February 3, 2019 11:51 am Reply

    Jeff…if what you want is a society that operates like a fascist or communist dictatorship, then I suggest you leave America and try living somewhere under those conditions before wishing it on the rest of us. Nothing is stopping you from moving to whatever country appears to suit your proclivity to the obliteration of individual liberty.
    RG DeSoto

    1. Gordo April 23, 2019 1:18 am Reply

      Rgdesoto so they have implemented my plan, limiting tourists to 900 per day. I get your point, but gfy.

    2. Kevin Wilson May 24, 2019 7:33 am Reply

      RG DESoto get a life you’re such a punk did you ever read a garden isle headline without giving 2 worthless sense you lied about me I ran to help the injured party and was in shock and you said you “heard” I was callused? Right

  10. Steve Martin February 3, 2019 7:42 pm Reply

    why can’t we limit tourism and tell people they can’t fly here either? of all the places you list none of them are in AMERICA. that’s why. why even bring it up.

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