Letters for Wednesday, December 2, 2020

TVRs, short-term rentals pay taxes, too

Mr. Mayor, as a resident of Kaua‘i and a small-business owner I completely support the new quarantine that begins today — except for one thing.

I see an inconsistency and a possible prejudicial enactment. Having read your article in today’s The Garden Island my problem is with this idea: “Residents, as well as visitors, may spend their two weeks at private residences. However, in accordance with a past order, visitors may not stay in transient-vacation or short-term rentals, like those found on Airbnb or VRBO.”

I want to ask, why is one any better in stemming the spread of the virus than the other? Using the wrist-worn tracking devices, as used by hotels, visitors could have the same restrictions at a vacation rental as in a private residence. I have observed so many residents ignoring the mask mandate and watched the spread of the virus from family and church gatherings of locals.

Can we please move forward in a fair and equitable way, not punishing the small business owners of vacation rentals who are doing everything they can to stay afloat while following the up and down roller coaster of inconsistent COVID rules? This is clearly in favor of big hotels, and I, for one, find it offensive. After paying enormous TAT and GET taxes for over 20 years we expect a little more support from our local government.

Susan Hoerner, Kapaa

Accidents waiting to happen

Hurricane ‘Iniki left a lot of abandoned properties around Kaua‘i. These properties pose a hazard to vehicle drivers at intersections. It causes blind spots on the roadway. One intersection I’ve noticed is at Kekaha Road and Route 552 (Kokee Road), when traveling north on Route 552 where Kekaha Road intersects (west corner of Kekaha School). There is a property that has a lot of over growth with koa seeds bushes, some tall grass, a tree, and a metal object (trailer-like) at the edge of the roadway. Areas as such should be cleared by the property owner.

I know, “it’s hazardous to drivers to see for oncoming vehicles traveling from the east to the west on Kekaha Road.” I drive it four days a week, and at that intersection one has to pull out past the crosswalk to see for oncoming vehicles.

Also, who’s (county or state) in charge of cleaning the little triangle north of Kekaha Road at the same intersection? It (the triangle) has tall grass and weeds and shrubs that are causing a blind spot there, too.

Those two places mentioned above are accidents waiting to happen.

For all properties that are abandoned and cause blind spots at intersections here on Kaua‘i, it should be the responsibility of the property owner(s) to upkeep a clear view of the roadways.

Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

Transgender people face discrimination

I attended Transgender Day of Remembrance on Friday, Nov. 20, the annual day to memorialize those who have been murdered because of transphobia. There were so many names. Why were there so many names? I felt really angry at first, then a deep sorrow swept over me; a grief for all the lives that have been lost, the bodies that have been tortured, dismembered, stabbed, beaten, burned alive, run over, and for those who took their own lives. The list went on and on. There were so many names.

This year, 2020, there were 350 people who were killed because of hate for the way people express themselves. And the numbers are growing. It is our job to protect the lives of our brothers and sisters, and society has failed them. We have failed them. The terrifying thing is there are many murders and violent acts that go unreported or misreported. Transgender and gender-non-conforming people face discrimination, violence, police brutality and/or exploitation every day. The United States had the third-highest rate of murders of transgender and gender-diverse people. People of color made up 79% of the trans people murdered in the U.S. in 2020; 22% were murdered in their own homes.

Behind these numbers and statistics, they were our beloved community members. They are our children, partners, brothers, sisters, parents, cousins and friends. They are people who did not deserve this. Let’s do better.

In solidarity,

Anastasia Sanft, Haiku, Maui

  1. I saw a Vampire once December 2, 2020 1:48 am Reply

    Why don’t you ask your local politicians like Bernard P. Carvalho jr. what they intend to do about the situation? You are getting by on this TAT and GET. Why Bernard P. Carvalho jr. is making $115,000 dollars off his last term in office as mayor. Go ask him for the bright ideas on how you can get more out of this TAT. Make him earn his money. He is now a county Council. Tell it to the county council and make them find a solution to your problems. See if they can earn their pay.

  2. Pam Schultz December 2, 2020 4:46 am Reply

    As a former TVR owner, I totally agree with Susan Hoerner. The taxes we paid were enormous. My husband and I were recently planning to spend 4 months on Kauai at a TVR beginning in August. Then we pushed it back to September. After making arrangements for transportation from the airport and for food and grocery delivery by locals, we found out we couldn’t do our 14-day quarantine at the TVR we had rented, so we cancelled the trip. We weren’t will to pay for 14 nights at an expensive hotel while being held hostage in a single room. I’m sorry for Kauai and the TVR owner.

    1. Doug December 3, 2020 9:49 am Reply

      Actually, if you stay in a bubble resort you are not held hostage in a single room, you are free to roam the resort property and and use all it’s amenities. There you are free to infect your fellow travelers as much as you want!

  3. James I. Kuroiwa, Jr. December 2, 2020 4:59 am Reply

    Anastasia Sanft, for the record, the Human Rights Campaign identified 26 Transgendered killed by July of 2020, and Forbes reported that as of November there were 37. The facts and truth is best and not percent. One American citizen killed is one too many. Do you know who committed the crimes and what was the Courts decisions?

  4. Ken in Princeville December 2, 2020 5:41 am Reply

    Susan, I couldn’t agree more.

    The Mayors actions are essentially choosing specific winners and losers in the local accommodations business sector and simultaneously pandering to voters by excluding them from the onerous chosen resort bubble plan. This is wholly inappropriate, unfair, and smacks of bad politics at best, and at worst sets the county up for expensive lawsuits due to potential for governmental corruption.

    Remember the visitors have all pre tested negative now before even boarding an airplane, every one of them, which is much more than can be said for almost all locals. Further, the locals can much more easily ignore the quarantine restrictions than can visitors staying in rental properties, any rental property. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, focus on the community if you want to prevent community spread.

    Lost in all this is the persistent misinformation around “risk of infection while flying over to Hawaii”. This simply isn’t true. Data shows that with the protections in place now in the airlines the risk of infection during flight is very low. The incidence of infection among flight attendants is markedly lower than that of the general population, and that is based on flying with untested travelers! If flying were so risky those who do it the most, and making contact with almost everyone on board, would be dropping like flies after a hard freeze. Again, their infection rate among flight attendants during this surge is lower than the general population.

    Latest case in point, in today’s TGI, we learn we have a meth pedaling chronic criminal local resident suspected to have COVID, whose too dangerous to appear in court, yet free to wander the community on bail and to both spread disease and likely to commit more crimes.

    Makes me scratch my head wondering why the mayor keeps scapegoating the visitors that keep the economy afloat instead of handling the community risk.

  5. Rev Dr Malama December 2, 2020 8:14 am Reply

    Dear Kauai Residents and friends…. I feel your pain on so many levels and over so many issues in this trying time!!!!
    Perhaps the apparent waffling and seemingly discriminatory actions and rhetoric from the Kauai Mayor’s office is due to a medical condition known as Stockholm syndrome? This is when the abused individuals ignore the fact that the perpetrators are ones we work for or allow them to rule us with “RIGHT OF MIGHT” AUTHORITY.
    Please have mercy on your neighbors and show kindness to each other while healing from the news that this is not America but is actually a high bred society known as The Hawai’ian Kingdom.
    Let’s all work together to get our Independence back and put things right again in our Islands and then world.
    Please read and educate everyone on this important topic.
    Mahalo KE AKUA

  6. Kauaidoug December 2, 2020 8:50 am Reply

    Please clean up Kuamoo rd hill and our waterfall locations! Just because the tourist aren’t here doesn’t mean you can let trees and grass grow to block the view of the waterfalls. It is unsafe for anyone to bicycle down the hill on Kuamoo rd.

  7. Makani B. Howard December 2, 2020 10:23 am Reply

    Susan: Who would even want to stay for 14 days in a TVR anyway? Locked down in a tvr on Kauai is no different than being locked down at home. May as well stay home!

    The “roller coaster” of the rules, as you say, is just the government dealing with how the virus is coming into the state. The officials aren’t sitting around a table, wringing their hands, and discussing ways they can come up with to make it harder on the good people of Kauai! They come up with rules as the numbers come in and deal with it accordingly. They aren’t trying to punish you! LOL! There is no reason for them to do that.

  8. JS December 2, 2020 9:56 pm Reply

    Susan and everyone else pandering to her comment, Your defence of Equitable does not pan out for equality. You are coming from a place of, most likely, an Investment Property. Your main residence is elsewhere. If you are not happy about the “cost of living” in Hawaii, then delete yourself from here. As Dr. Malama has alluded to and even President Clinton had acknowleged…Hawaii is illegally militararily occupied! Any “land” that you think you Own is not yours and it is only the occupied forces that are making you pay such exhorbiant taxes! We, the people of Hawai’i, would gladly excuse you of such taxes when you come to terms that you really don’t “own” any land here anyhow! So take that for what it is worth to you, if you have ears to hear. Perhaps COVID is a means of a great fleecing. Just a thought.

  9. therealhawaiian December 3, 2020 9:24 am Reply

    Isn’t the definition of “Transgender” person “one who is discriminating against themself”?

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