Mr. Kawamoto, Kokua Hawaii

Larry Price
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Wednesday - January 04, 2012
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I was amused by the state’s announcement that it is cracking down on property owners whose landscapes encroach on public rights of way. The opposite is usually the case, isn’t it? The public encroaches on the property owners.

Nine Kahala beachfront property owners got notices asking them to cut their vegetation within a week or face a fine of $1,000. These are very expensive homes between Kahala Beach Park and the Hunakai Street public beach access. The homeowners could have to pay $2,000 if they receive a second notice.

What makes this even more comical is that, of the nine properties issued notices in Kahala, six are owned by billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto! I can’t remember how many times over the past years he has been warned by the state of Hawaii to landscape or repair his properties in the Kahala area, but to date I have not heard that he complied with any of the warnings.

I just happened to be driving down Iwilei Road on Christmas day and noticed all the homeless camps along the fence separating an industrial parking lot from the street. There is no sidewalk, no lights, no sprinklers an absolute “no-man’s land.” They did have something eye-catching: two Christmas trees. No lights, but they were decorated quite nicely.

I thought, how neat. As down and out as some of them are, they put up a Christmas tree. That’s more than you can say about billionaire Kawamoto, who is not willing to have someone mow his grass so the public can find the beachfront.

People have a tendency to expect homeowners in the Kahala area to endure all kinds of hardships because they live in an upscale district. The obvious question is, how much in taxes does a homeowner in Kahala have to pay to get a little respect? They have to endure Honolulu Marathons, the Sony Open and a number of bike races during the year with a smile, and then put up with Kawamoto’s immunity to the laws everyone else obeys in the neighborhood.

If we can Kokua Japan, he can Kokua Hawaii.

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