May you live in interesting times; well, maybe not this interesting

That headline is an ancient Asian proverb. I have always thought that it was intriguing, and have used it often. But I’ll have to admit … These times are getting just a little bit toooo freaking interesting. I have been writing columns for The Garden Island newspaper since 1990. Nowadays, they get more and more challenging and concerning.

Again, if SOMEone, preferably the federal government, or at the least our beleaguered state government, doesn’t work a complete miracle … we — as a nation, as a state, as an island — may find ourselves in deeper kim chee than we have ever known. In this column, and on our PAL (Permanently Affordable Living) Kaua‘i KKCR radio show, we always try to identify the tough issues and then do our best to offer solutions, or at least hope. But now?

Let’s set the stage:

It is projected that up to 40% of our small businesses will be permanently lost.

Many thousands of people have lost their jobs — perhaps permanently

NO (more) help can be expected from the federal government (until maybe February?).

The state MUST spend all of the CARES Act money by Dec. 31.

Many of the people who have received forbearance for their rent from their landlords did not understand that they will soon owe ALL of their back rent. (We’ve heard stories of those who owe up to $10,000)

People received unemployment assistance but, for some, it just wasn’t enough.

Those of us who are trying to help, go to on-line meetings — only to learn that, even though millions of dollars are being given out by the state to help tenants pay their rent, many of the landlords are refusing to receive the rent.

Although it looks like there will be a vaccine, how long will it take to get to you and will you take it?

There seems to be serious safety issues with our travel-protection protocols.

We are watching huge, dark clouds blow in off the ocean — a PERFECT STORM is gathering.

LANDLORDS: We know that some of you have not taken the assistance rent because:

1. You have a non-conforming (a polite word for “illegal”) rental unit, or

2. You haven’t been claiming the rental income on your taxes, or

3. You don’t believe in renting to tenants who have HUD or some assistance.


1. There are changes to the laws which may allow your non-conforming use to be permitted. Call the Planning and/or Housing Department for help.

2. You must make your own decision about what is right for you, but is it likely — during a statewide crisis — that anyone will come after you for back taxes?

3. Landlords who have accepted ANY tenant-based rental assistance are in GREAT SHAPE now. Much of their rental income is secured by the Hawai‘i Housing Authority! Maybe you’d like to have that insurance? Help yourself, help your tenant, and the county. We all help each other.

So, just what is going to happen? If you KNOW, please tell us all. Hopefully, Congress or this new administration will be able to figure out how to get us back on track. The last thing that I want to do is be a profit of doom, but you must prepare yourself for anything. I am so concerned about the eminent tsunami of evictions, foreclosures, hunger, fear and frustration. I speak hard, cold truth in the hope that you will prepare, steel yourself and your family, help those around you and reach out to your representatives at all levels of government and let them know that you know. And if something is not done, they (all of us) will face a future farrrr worse than their losing an election.

So, folks, it is crystal clear that, if something isn’t done, we will be in very-deep kim chee.

Meanwhile, what can you do? If you have any constructive suggestions, please email them to me or call into our radio show Monday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. and we will be more than happy to share them. We are very excited about this show because we will have Mel Rapozo and Charlie Iona, who are doing such great work on their live Facebook show. Maybe they can bring a little hope for the people of Kaua‘i.

There MAY be a vaccine for you, someday, but for now …

• Get the Covid TEST. It is currently FREE on Sundays. Ask your relatives and employees to get it.

• Wear a MASK. Like it or not! It will protect you, and — more importantly — it will protect OTHERS.

• SOCIAL DISTANCE — care for those around you. It’s called “aloha.”

• THANKSGIVING — keep the gathering small and be careful!

• Expect the unexpected — which is now the norm.

• Like you would for any storm or tsunami, start preparing for yourself and your family now.

• Analyze your financial future. Work together.

How long can you last? Tighten down. Don’t spend anything that you don’t need to spend.

Is there anyone who can and will help? Do you have valuables you can sell? Any part of your home you can rent? If so, be fair to your tenants. We are all in this together.

• Stick together and help each other.

• Plant a garden. If you haven’t done it before, Google it. It’s really hard work and takes time.

• Contact us to install solar and lower your power bill.

• Don’t freak out — although, if you do, don’t get down on yourself. It is to be expected in these times.

• It’s OK to be concerned, but worry makes it harder to solve your issues. Hang in there.

• Stay healthy, meditate and take time for joy and entertainment.

• Stay involved … get to know your councilmembers and state representatives. Bend their ears!

• Think about how we can build a better future, and don’t be shy about telling everybody.



Jim Edmonds is president of PAL Kaua‘i, the nonprofit Permanently Affordable Living, and can be reached at

  1. Imua44 November 22, 2020 6:32 am Reply

    Most of the projections are accurate in this opinion piece.
    2 that are not are 1. The County has strict compliance on any ” non conforming ” structure. Once the county is in your house, you may be surprised at how many violations you have that were neve issues before. Never, never, never let the county into your house unless you are prepared for a long and expensive relationship with uncertain results and potential fines. The county is not your friend. The planning department is like a police investigation and will get you. Their job is to get you, not help you.
    2. the state and feds have not I indicated they will slow down any audits. Historically, Hawaii state audits increase when the people are most vulnerable. The masterminds in DC predict that as states and Feds lose tax dollars from the virus. that audits will increase.
    Anything to get dollars .
    We can see that money given for the virus hasn’t gotten to the citizens. It stays in government projects, overtime and pet projects.

  2. Barney November 22, 2020 7:58 am Reply

    I had to sell my unicorn to pay my rent.

  3. nobody November 23, 2020 6:26 am Reply

    No job? Start a non profit. The Non Profit Industry is booming on Kauai. Set your own salary. These usually start at about $60,000 a year, or whatever you want it to be. Unlike a normal business you don’t even have to have any real results. For instance, you can just pay others to due “studies”. Simple. Hire someone on social media to create followers. Fake news works! The local governments have so much money handed down from the feds these days they literally don’t have any idea how to properly spend it. They NEED you. They will just give money to you like a hot potato. (Most government officials have never run a business before. What would you expect!) You can have your non profit rent you a nice office, maybe get that new truck you always wanted. And if you have any political connections, BINGO!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.