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Letters for Wednesday, December 2, 2020

TVRs, short-term rentals pay taxes, too

Mr. Mayor, as a resident of Kaua‘i and a small-business owner I completely support the new quarantine that begins today — except for one thing.

I see an inconsistency and a possible prejudicial enactment. Having read your article in today’s The Garden Island my problem is with this idea: “Residents, as well as visitors, may spend their two weeks at private residences. However, in accordance with a past order, visitors may not stay in transient-vacation or short-term rentals, like those found on Airbnb or VRBO.”

I want to ask, why is one any better in stemming the spread of the virus than the other? Using the wrist-worn tracking devices, as used by hotels, visitors could have the same restrictions at a vacation rental as in a private residence. I have observed so many residents ignoring the mask mandate and watched the spread of the virus from family and church gatherings of locals.

Can we please move forward in a fair and equitable way, not punishing the small business owners of vacation rentals who are doing everything they can to stay afloat while following the up and down roller coaster of inconsistent COVID rules? This is clearly in favor of big hotels, and I, for one, find it offensive. After paying enormous TAT and GET taxes for over 20 years we expect a little more support from our local government.

Susan Hoerner, Kapaa

Accidents waiting to happen

Hurricane ‘Iniki left a lot of abandoned properties around Kaua‘i. These properties pose a hazard to vehicle drivers at intersections. It causes blind spots on the roadway. One intersection I’ve noticed is at Kekaha Road and Route 552 (Kokee Road), when traveling north on Route 552 where Kekaha Road intersects (west corner of Kekaha School). There is a property that has a lot of over growth with koa seeds bushes, some tall grass, a tree, and a metal object (trailer-like) at the edge of the roadway. Areas as such should be cleared by the property owner.

I know, “it’s hazardous to drivers to see for oncoming vehicles traveling from the east to the west on Kekaha Road.” I drive it four days a week, and at that intersection one has to pull out past the crosswalk to see for oncoming vehicles.

Also, who’s (county or state) in charge of cleaning the little triangle north of Kekaha Road at the same intersection? It (the triangle) has tall grass and weeds and shrubs that are causing a blind spot there, too.

Those two places mentioned above are accidents waiting to happen.

For all properties that are abandoned and cause blind spots at intersections here on Kaua‘i, it should be the responsibility of the property owner(s) to upkeep a clear view of the roadways.

Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

Transgender people face discrimination

I attended Transgender Day of Remembrance on Friday, Nov. 20, the annual day to memorialize those who have been murdered because of transphobia. There were so many names. Why were there so many names? I felt really angry at first, then a deep sorrow swept over me; a grief for all the lives that have been lost, the bodies that have been tortured, dismembered, stabbed, beaten, burned alive, run over, and for those who took their own lives. The list went on and on. There were so many names.

This year, 2020, there were 350 people who were killed because of hate for the way people express themselves. And the numbers are growing. It is our job to protect the lives of our brothers and sisters, and society has failed them. We have failed them. The terrifying thing is there are many murders and violent acts that go unreported or misreported. Transgender and gender-non-conforming people face discrimination, violence, police brutality and/or exploitation every day. The United States had the third-highest rate of murders of transgender and gender-diverse people. People of color made up 79% of the trans people murdered in the U.S. in 2020; 22% were murdered in their own homes.

Behind these numbers and statistics, they were our beloved community members. They are our children, partners, brothers, sisters, parents, cousins and friends. They are people who did not deserve this. Let’s do better.

In solidarity,

Anastasia Sanft, Haiku, Maui
Source: The Garden Island

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