As a resident of Banyan Drive for many years, and via my community development and citizenship empowerment work here, I think it is important for the public and the Committee on Water and Land to understand a few facts about Banyan Drive’s problems while deciding whether to support Act 1249.
1. Banyan Drive is currently encumbered by “slum lords,” leaseholders with no interest in the properties aside from their own selfish profit, who have dominated several of the properties here for over 25 years. The scandals associated with some of their actions were well documented in several front-page newspaper articles in Hawaii back in August of 1990, and a key figure in these crimes lost his position on the Land Board and as regional VP of a local bank where he had worked for 23 years as a result — but no prison time. A shame, because this light treatment emboldened him to continue his illegal activities.
2. Banyan Drive is not undersupplied with hotel rooms, but oversupplied, as several non-hotel properties are allowed by the district zoning to compete with the real hotels. This hurts everyone in the hotel business.
A good tax
I’d like to respond to Mr. John Gallipeau of Honolulu, who wrote protesting a proposed law taxing sugary and corn-syrupy drinks at a penny an ounce. Please note that you’d be free to buy and consume all the sugary drinks you’d like; no one is taking your Mountain Dew from you.
I believe this is a tax akin to the one we have on cigarettes. It taxes a substance which, if used continually, causes major health problems costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
Mr. Gallipeau’s argument that “in Samoa, bigger is better” is a non sequitur.
Check the statistics on type II diabetes in Hawaii, particularly among Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. They are beyond alarming. They are downright terrifying.
Just as with cigarettes, if the people will not act in a responsible way to preserve their God-given health, they should pay a little more to cover the fiscal burden they pass on to the rest of us.
I support and applaud this sensible bill proposed by Sens. Josh Green and Russel Ruderman. Here’s hoping my friends and neighbors and others in the state will support it too.