Letter for Saturday, April 13, 2019

Keep people in their apartments

A fine headline story was written in TGI (April 4) “Must Move,” but what a sad article it was. Eighty-two people will have to move from their low-income housing at the Courtyards at Waipouli apartments.

The people living there (some for years) are paying $989 and $1,244 for rent, which isn’t exactly cheap unless you are comparing it to outside rentals, where even studio apartments are going for $1,500, barely big enough for one person and not a family.

As the article says, our past council and mayor dropped the reins and let this terrible situation happen. As our Rep. Jimmy Tokioka so wisely points out, he isn’t sure why the previous administration didn’t acquire the property in the past, but as far as he knew the legislature put aside money for affordable housing statewide to the tune of $500 million last season. “But what I do know is the county under the previous administration had the opportunity to buy back the units and for some reason they did not opt to purchase the property,” he said.

These 82 affordable housing units were not built for the sole purpose of having a place to stay for people who could not afford higher-priced residences. They were built as a requirement for the developer to build million-dollar homes overlooking Kalapaki Bay.

JoAnn Yukimura and other previous administrators worked hard to see to it that any affordable units stayed affordable in perpetuity if the county or a private party bought them back. Whomever built them would get to do so as a condition to build market-price units elsewhere, never forcing people to abandon their homes. Let’s take money out of the equation and make sure that nothing as deplorable as the coming evictions ever happens again. In fact, hopefully our new mayor and council can step up to the plate and find a way to let these people remain in their apartments.

Glenn Mickens, Kapaa

  1. Steven McMacken April 13, 2019 4:24 am Reply

    Thank you, Glenn. It should be a priority of Mayor Kawakami and the council to step up and do whatever they possibly can to keep these families from being evicted. And shame on the previous administration for sitting back and allowing this to happen.

  2. Jody Kono April 13, 2019 7:41 am Reply

    Mahalo for your letter! It truly is a sad state of affairs that 82 beautiful rentals are now being sold with the intention of becoming vacation rentals. This affordable availability would now be known to more people as it seemed to be a rather unknown jewel on the east side and honestly we DO NOT need more vacation rentals when the people of Kauai have nowhere to live. Several single mothers I know have been comfortably and safely raising their children here and have no plan B. The saddesy part about this entire ordeal is how our elected officials do not even respond to the real concerns and great potential to save it. Every excuse and every opportunity to blame past administrations is all we see. The county never even made the atyempt to do appraisals. The $37 million pricetag is what the owner put out there to make money. He built over 700 luxury condos for no one from Hawaii and is making a pretty penny. Wouldn’t he too want to do what’s right?! Our state continues to ne raped by money hungry people. It’s time to give back without asking for anything back. I would think their own karma would be in need.

    I still have hope that someone’s heart opens to help people and just do what is right. Pono is Pono.


  3. Rev Dr. Malama April 13, 2019 8:41 am Reply

    Thank you Glenn!
    Yes, I concur with all you’re saying and may I add that a survey by the Garden island asking what should be done about the housing shortages on Kauai for the last month the majority of contributors by a landslide are saying that NOTHING WILL EVER BE DONE.
    A SAD SITUATION IS RIGHT, because of the total incompetence of the elected officials in carrying out the Constitution and unable to follow through on the wishes of the majority of their constituents….. who pay the ultimate price of disillusion.
    Housing in Hawai’i is a spectator sport for visitors and a commodity for investors and still the County of Kauai can’t afford to invest in the land and people who are the backbone of Aloha and why visitors choose to repeatedly return to our islands.
    I support the Hawai’ian Kingdom Government and recognize that Hawai’i is illegally occupied by an American belligerent force.
    Returning the land to the Rightful owners is the only solution and a rally call around the world for indigenous people.
    Wake up people!!!

  4. Dt April 13, 2019 7:24 pm Reply

    Business has to run like a business. There are charities that help people with housing like habitat for humanity.

    The county will not pay 37M because there is no return on this investment. It may be right, but there are wrongs to be righted, not just on Kauai but the world. The world can not afford to fix every issue in the world. Just as locally Kauai can not afford to fix this small issue. Economically, this makes no sense. If the county bought this for 37M it would need to do the same thing 100x over to help the whole island. How would that ever happen? How would it be afforded?

    Island life is expensive. One day I will not be able to afford to live here. I have to accept that, and I think many others need to be mature enough to accept that there is a high cost to live here. Housing is a big part, but there are a lot of big parts like utilities, food and travel.

  5. ruthann jones April 14, 2019 6:15 am Reply

    consider a property tax penalty on homeowners who do not make Kauai primary residence. How about rent control measures?

    1. Jake April 15, 2019 2:22 pm Reply

      Nonresidents, with property, pay double the property taxes compared to the Homestead rate.

  6. james April 14, 2019 7:37 am Reply

    Again, as stated several times by different folks, why should all Kauai citizens tax dollars be used to benefit a select few? Shouldn’t those tax dollars be used for road repair, infrastructure, parks and things that benefit a larger percentage of citizens? Why are the renters at the Courtyards at Waipouli apartments so special that they deserve something the rest of us don’t?

    1. Jake April 16, 2019 3:37 am Reply

      It’s a Blue State, therefore playing the “victim card” is accepted. Accountability and responsibility are words not spoken on these islands.

  7. Jenifer Prince April 21, 2019 8:24 am Reply

    Carmel California has limited and prohibited short term vacation rentals. So KAUAI County can and MUST limit vacation rentals. I am lucky enough to own my house but I personally know families right now being evicted because he house is turning into a vacation rental.
    This has to be curtailed.

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