Infrastructure before housing
This letter is being written out of frustration from sitting in traffic.
Hello, elected officials, “Hold your horses” when it comes to putting hundreds of more houses of any new building projects in motion, be they affordable or conventional. Speaking of horses, here we go again, putting the cart before the horse.
We must improve our infrastructure first! We need more lanes and roads.
Have you tried leaving Kapa‘a to Lihu‘e, or Lihu‘e to the south and west sides? It’s a nightmare right now.
Let’s be smart about this. Why would we put hundreds more cars on our roads when we can’t handle what we have now. We need our leaders to think about the future of our island, and the answer is not more housing until we are prepared for it. End of story.
Linda Bothe, Kalaheo
Pay people a livable wage
There is no question that we need affordable housing on Kaua‘i.
But when we provide subsidized housing, using tax dollars, we are subsidizing the low wages being paid by businesses.
It’s not just a Kaua‘i County issue, of course. It’s a state and federal problem.
Minimum wage is kept ridiculously low and is not livable, and yet we expect people to work for that. Plenty of workers, especially at or just above minimum wage, are quitting for a variety of reasons. That could be substantially less if they were paid enough to live on.
In the unusual event of the minimum wage being raised substantially, it would be much harder on small businesses, and so would need to be taken into consideration. Corporate-owned companies and resorts seem to be charging enough to pay higher wages but don’t, though some have increased their pay.
Let’s get the minimum up enough to increase earnings for those earning above it as well. When someone goes to work every day they should earn enough to live.
If you look up other countries’ minimums it will show as converted to the U.S. dollar, but their countries have a different price scale for things like health care, education, medications, etc. One example is Australia’s minimum wage of $20.33 AUD, which when converted to USD is $12.14. But it isn’t used to pay rent here. It does pay the rent and more in Australia.
From TGI 10/20/21: “Massachusetts Institute of Technology puts the living wage in Kaua‘i County at $18.79 per hour for a single adult with no children, while the state’s 2019 Housing Planning Study put the wage necessary to afford a two-bedroom rental at a fair market rate at $29.06 per hour.”
Full-time minimum-wage earners cannot afford rent anywhere in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. does not even appear on the list of the top 10 countries paying the highest minimum wage. For the good of our country that needs to change.
Paulo Tambolo, Wailua Homesteads