Sick City Hall

The Natatorium all over again (June 19, 2018)
Regarding the article “Is Honolulu Hale Making City Staffers Sick?” I feel that we are once again living in Groundhog Day on this issue. Back in the time I worked at the City Council, this issue of whether Honolulu Hale needed to be gutted and fixed up came up a couple of times.
Every time, I would suggest that the City Council relocate its entire operation — council member offices and all — to Kapolei Hale. Even if you have to build out more space for all the council members offices, at least you would have a official “city hall” to work out of there.

I guess with money in back of it, there might be some real changes coming. But like with the Natatorium, you can put millions of dollars into an idea to renovate or rehabilitate the building, but that does not mean the work will ever be done.

And then we will be left with the legislative branch in one building, the formal council meetings in another building, and another call for millions of dollars to bring everyone back into at least one building. Ayah!

— Stan Fichtman, McCully

Kaplolei is just a train ride away (June 19, 2018)

It seems as our Council members always look for more ways to spend taxpayers money. I understand the original plan was to move City Hall to our “second City” in Kapolei where the city has a vacant building meant for the mayor and council. Have them move out there and help increase ridership on their train that is falling apart before a train runs on it (cracked plastic shims and rusting wires holding the structure together). Have these scoundrels set an example and not be like everyone else who hopes the other person will ride the train.

— Bobby Chang, Honolulu

Other people’s money (June 19, 2018)

So many things ran through my mind as I read the Honolulu Hale story:

  1.  Why did we build Kapolei Second City if the city is not going to take advantage of the site?  What makes it so essential to have an office in the middle of town?
  2.  Why does HART have to spend so much on rent?  They couldn’t find something cheaper so they could save some money? Like in Kapolei? Maybe if they had to go through traffic every day, they would have more sympathy for the businesses that they caused to close down and the inconvenience that they cause.
  3. I think Martin’s idea of having a museum there is a good one. But first, you need to make sure the building is safe.
  4. I think Martin’s idea of moving into Alii Place is another example of “easy to spend other people’s money.” Find some place cheaper and stop mooching off the people who are already struggling to survive in our home state.

— Diane Koki, Mililani

Hotel Economy

Spread the wealth to workers (June 18, 2018)

Yes Hawaii hotels should help their workers buy homes. (“Should Hawaii Hotels Help Their Workers Buy Homes?“) If you work full time you should be able to afford your own basic residence. Since wages don’t provide for that, then either the visitor industry needs to help with loans, etc., or residents will be taxed to provide low-income housing like we will be on Kauai from our property taxes.

Instead of subsidizing tourism workers we need a living wage for all. We are overrun with visitors, they pay substantially for lodging, food, etc., but it either is not enough to pay decent wages or it’s being distributed to the tourism industry management. I suspect the latter. The rich get richer while withholding proper compensation to their employees.

— Valerie Weiss, Kapaa, Kauai

The responsibility of hotels (June 18, 2018)

For several years the hotels and the Local 5 have accused short-term rentals of taking away homes for their employees to rent or buy.

Bottom line: The hotels need to step up and raise the salaries to meet the economy in Hawaii.

Many hotel workers are recruited from other countries. They too have the American dream. Only to find their salaries do not balance with the Hawaiian economy.

Hotels, need to step up! Take responsibility.

— Angie Larson, Oahu, board member, Hawaii Vacation Rental Owners Association