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“Fatal Promises,” October 2011
In his Editor’s Page, A. Kam Napier took the Democratic Party to task for the long-standing poor condition of Hawaii’s public housing.
If there is one thing your editorial proved but did not mention, it is that state- and city-run public housing does not work. I witnessed this in New York City many years ago. There is no pride and no accountability in these projects. It is like the old Soviet communist system, which, as we all know, did not work. Blaming the Democrats is useless in spite of whatever their good intentions may have been. Public housing is segregation in one of its worst forms. The young living there have almost no example of what we might consider a normal neighborhood and we wonder why they get involved in criminal activity. Public housing run by any sort of government should be banned. If taxpayer dollars need to be used to subsidize housing for the poor it should only be done where the tenants have some skin in the game and can lose their home if they do not contribute their labor to its upkeep. I do not want this taken as an indictment of anybody, but if you want to blame somebody then blame the system and suggest a solution. Mayor Wright Homes may have gotten a quick fix but the same problems will come again. Tell me, what did your editorial accomplish?
—PAUL TYKSINSKI; KAILUA, HI
Elected officials make decisions on programs for the poor on behalf of the tax-paying public, but do a much poorer job at administering those programs than do most charity organizations. Not maintaining such programs, once established, ends up costing the government more in the long run.
—DIANE VANDER ZANDEN; HAWAII KAI, HI
“The Bed and Breakfast Battle,” September 2011
Associate editor Tiffany Hill took a look at the issue of illegal vacation rentals, and the city’s inability to enforce the current regulations.
It should not come as a complete surprise that there is another side to the vacation-rental controversy. That did not seem very apparent in your article, which was a mostly one-sided bashing of people like me who rent their homes to visitors, without permission of the government.
Personally, I facilitate about 220 visitors per year, contributing $300,000 to the local economy and supporting our housekeeper, who is paying for her UH tuition and other fees with the cleaning money she receives. And that somehow makes me the bad guy?
Yes, it is true that we are breaking the law. But is it not odd that you are a lawbreaker when renting to a family for 29 days, but not when renting for 30 days? What has changed in the activity of the tenants that make one group OK and the other not? This is just an absurd attempt by local government to interfere with the rental rights of property owners. This controversy only exists because the powerful hotel, labor and developer forces on Oahu are all lined up against us as they see us as competition. Our City Council’s 22-year failure to implement a reasonable permitting system amounts to gross negligence. The idea of tossing out a $200-million cottage industry without having done any economic-impact study, as the Council is about to do, is nothing short of reckless.
—KEN JOHNSON; SUNNYVALE, CALIF.
Ahana koko lele
In the November feature “The Last Days of Club Hubba Hubba,” the photo of the Hubba Hubba sign was taken by Kristina Larssen.