Letters: Housing policies to match our incomes; Facilities in jeopardy; Prioritize programs
On Oahu, the city’s longstanding failure to regulate illegal vacation rentals has dried up the pool of rental housing, and the resulting increase in rents has inflated the cost of every other product and enterprise.
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Adopt housing policies that match local incomes
Mahalo to Lee Cataluna for confronting tourism (“State tourism has spun out of control,” Star-Advertiser, Feb. 2).
On Oahu, the city’s longstanding failure to regulate illegal vacation rentals has dried up the pool of rental housing, and the resulting increase in rents has inflated the cost of every other product and enterprise. When salaried knowledge workers, such as teachers, doctors, nurses and police officers, cannot afford housing, they “vote with their feet” by leaving, and society falls apart.
In addition to controlling illegal vacation rentals, a vacancy-speculation tax would help, as would an increase in property taxes simultaneous with an increase in the homeowner’s exemption.
Every new residential building or development should be required to have a mix of units consistent with the distribution of incomes in Hawaii. In other words, some big units for the rich and some smaller units for the rest of us. If the rich don’t like it, there are other states in which they are welcome to live.
City’s ability to maintain facilities in jeopardy
Absolutely no one should be surprised that the mayor is finally admitting that the city lacks money because of the rail project (“Blaisdell restoration halted due to cost of rail,” Star-Advertiser, Feb. 4).
The mayor knew that the city could not afford rail construction as well as the estimated $773 million to overhaul the perfectly fine Blaisdell Center, which can continue to serve for many more years.
The mayor cited the final construction costs for the last 4.16 miles of rail and the more than $125 million in annual operation and maintenance costs as reasons the city just cannot afford any more projects.
What is truly disappointing is that the ability of the city to even maintain city facilities, let alone make improvements, is seriously in jeopardy.
What does this mean for the future of the City and County of Honolulu?
Prioritize programs, eliminate redundancies
An attitude of complacency and business-as-usual exists within Hawaii’s political elite. Gov. David Ige’s plan to increase wages in order to provide our state’s working class with more discretionary spending options is a continuation of six decades of party dominance.
It is time for our career politicians to put some skin in the game and an end to feckless leadership and wasteful government spending. The trickle-down economic effects of incessant tax-and-spend politics increases taxpayers’ non-discretionary bills, while removing our freedom to enhance family quality of life.
Politicians need to prioritize all public programs and projects and create programs that add value and quality to our lives like TheBus, satellite city halls and HPOWER.
Consideration also should be given to eliminating redundancies at the federal, state and local levels, and wasteful and inefficient processes.
Greatness is achieved through visionaries and people of action.
Chris K. Neff