Letters To The Editor

Don Chapman
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December 19, 2007 - MidWeek
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Road warriors

Mayor Hannemann has declared a war on potholes, and despite Rick Hamada’s complaints to the contrary, the war is being won. The Hannemann administration has been very proactive in fixing our city roadways. The city not only patches potholes (more than 140,000 since we took office in January 2005), but also provides new road surfaces. The latter can range from a temporary “skin coat” of asphalt to complete rehabilitation of the road, as we’ve done on Piikoi Street, Waimano Home Road, Hind Drive, Hamakua Drive, Makakilo Drive, Tantalus Drive and streets in Mililani, to name a few.

The Department of Facility Maintenance has $3.4 million in its current fiscal year budget for skin coat resurfacing.

And there’s more. The Department of Design and Construction has $49.75 million in this year’s budget on top of $44 million last year. We’ve already started or completed work on Harding Avenue, Ala Wai Boulevard, Keeaumoku, Sheridan and South streets, University Avenue and Beretania Street. We’ve also started or are near completion of local streets in Waipio, Crestview, Seaview and the Pearl City areas.

Projects soon to start are Kilaueau Avenue, Alewa Drive and various streets in Manoa including Lowrey Avenue. Projects recently bid out are Kailua Road, Kuulei Road and Lusitana Street.

The bottom line is that we’re doing a lot more to keep the roads smooth, thanks to our hard-working city employees.

Laverne Higa, Director City Department of Facility

Maintenance

Illegal rentals

Obviously, Bob Jones does not live in a neighborhood peppered with vacation rentals. In a perfect world people running B&B’s would be owner occupants like Ma Plunkett, but in reality it does not always work that way. Investors from offshore or even from other Oahu areas buy a home, make modifications and turn it into a short term vacation rental using a property manager specializing in tourist accommodations. It is easy to disguise an operation as “owner occupied.” The neighbors know, but try to get the city inspectors out at a time when they can catch the violators. Doesn’t happen.

In Lanikai, 10 percent of all properties are used as illegal vacation rentals - and that does not include those that are legal. Imagine how this affects the community. It’s not noise and parking that are the problems. It is the loss of neighbors who contribute time and energy to a community. It is loss of homes, cottages and apartments for residents. The fat checks go to the Mainland owners. We residents are left to deal with a hoard of tourists coming and going. Some of them are pleasant, but some aren’t, and none of them adds to our sense of community.

If the city opens the doors for more vacation accommodations in residential neighborhoods, soon we won’t be residential at all. In effect, we will have been rezoned resort without going through the process.

Mollie Foti

Kailua

Spying neighbors

Bob Jones’comments on vacation rentals reminded me of how distasteful things have gotten in some of our communities. I remember when anonymous folks put letters in people’s mailboxes in Lanikai saying they’re watching houses for illegal vacationers. People who never rented their home either long term or short term were furious when these appeared in their mailboxes. Now “sneaking around ...” to take photographs of people leaving, as Mr. Jones writes; teams walking the beach asking “and where are you staying?” or taking license plate numbers of cars in a driveway because they have rental car plates is really over the top. When my car goes into the shop for a major overhaul I rent a car and park it in my driveway. Does some anonymous group have a picture of my home and driveway? In some communities its like living in another country and another time - anonymous intimidation, neighbor spying on neighbor - it’s more than distasteful, there’s something really wrong about it.

E.M. Litts

Kailua

Say ‘Christmas’

Congratulations to Rick Hamada for saying, “Merry Christmas.” We are a Christian nation, and have always been a Christian nation. This is the joyous time to celebrate the birth of Christ. Merry Christmas everyone and may God bless America.

Dorothy Farmer

Waikiki

Send your letters to MidWeek Letters, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI. 96813; by fax to 585-6324, or by email to dchapman@midweek.com. Please include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers. We print only the letters that include this information, but only your name and area of residence will appear in print. Letters may be edited for clarity and space.
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