Is Hawaii really like apartheid-era South Africa?
Kauai creeps ever closer to election day, and things are heating up. Lots of little birdies singing in my ear. Allegations of corruption, incompetence. Whispers of multiple cases of marital infidelity. Does that matter to the local electorate? I could care less, though poor decisions in pursuit of pussy are always amusing. Sex and the City style blog posts making the rounds. Smart men doing dumb things.
Transient vacation rentals are a hot topic. State legislature is looking to hand AirBnB a serious windfall, passing a bill that allows the vacation home middle man to collect taxes on behalf of the state but removing language that would have required the company to ensure its members were in compliance with local laws.
Too onerous a requirement, according to AirBnB heads. How can they tell who’s legal and who isn’t?
Just look at Manhattan Beach, that affluent honky enclave that specializes in NIMBY politics. City outlawed short term rentals in 2015. Quick search still turns up a lot of illegal units.
California rental law is relatively tenant friendly. Wonder how long it’ll be until gutter punks start realizing they can book a day and refuse to leave? I’d imagine that pursuing a civil suit to recoup money lost in the commission of a crime might be difficult.
It’d be more or less impossible on Kauai, now that the planning commission and county council are playing election year politics and holding off-island TVR violators’ feet firmly to the fire. Money may buy favor in off-years, but election time means playing to the local crowd. Not a lot of sympathy present for off-island property investors. Large fines are being levied. Speculators are facing the hard fact that they can’t afford their properties without a steady stream of illegal tourist income.
So racist, so unfair! What about the economy?
Rumor has it that the current plan is to pursue fines sufficiently severe that they remove all profitability from ignoring zoning laws. Force people to sell, depress the local market. Open up housing for local families.
Maybe just chase out the millionaires, bring in the billionaires, as in the current situation at the Big Island’s Haulali Four Seasons Resort.
Definitely doesn’t benefit local families in the slightest, but it does deliver comedy.
It was poolside that he particularly felt the caste system at work. “You’d go to a pool and order what you want,” he says. “And then, when you make the mistake of sitting in the wrong seat, a Hualalai brownshirt basically comes over and says, ‘You can’t sit there.’ And there was literally no one else near the pool because it was kind of drizzling. It was just bizarre.”
Firestein writes dialogue for a living. Standing by the empty chaises longues, he didn’t hold back. “I said to them, ‘You know, this is weirdly like Jim Crow. You’re telling us we can eat here and not here, and there’s no one else around?’ ”
He didn’t stay the full week. Another family the Firesteins had rendezvoused with there—visitors, he notes pointedly, from South Africa—also left early. “I don’t want to exaggerate,” Firestein says, “but it really is an apartheid experience.”