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Friday, May 06, 2005

How movement effects government.

I hate my county council. I despise my mayor. Around 1986 Kauai's rulers basically decided to stop building infrastructure so that Kauai would:
a)stay green
b)not turn all haole (haole here meaning white mainland style)
c)not change at all

So, since 1990, while the population has increased by about 2/3rds, the infrastructure has stayed about the same. The council tweaks this and that to let steam out of the pot when issues come to a boil, but that's about it.

So we have daily traffic jams. If there's an accident on certain roads traffic simply stops- STOPS- until it is cleared. People are living in groups of 8-10 in 3bdrm 2bath houses so the sewage pipes overflow whenever it rains before hightide- the pipe's can't hande the load so you get interesting smells at various spots along the highway.

We have a housing bubble that's insane. Average Kauai salary is 25k a year; (that's right, AVERAGE) a piece of junk house costs 500k. I'm talking about the cheapest houses on the island- 500k! Be fantasy-land generous, and say it costs $500.00 a month to pay every 100k of a 30 year loan. That's 30k a year. Two parents working 40 hours a week apiece (throw in another 5 hours a week for traffic jam travel time) bring home 50k a year, maybe 35k (again in fantasy land) after taxes, so they can live off the 5k if they want to own a shack of a house in an industrial area.
The council has responded by getting funding for "emergency trasitional housing," which means that when you're homeless 'cause you can't pay the $1500.00 a month median rent they'll put you up for a couple of months in some government built condo. In the meantime the measures that created the housing bubble- the measures that make it impossible for people to subdivide their land to sell it off in lots- the measures that make it impossible for developers to turn a proft unless they are selling multi-million dollar homes- remain in place. The council and mayor TRUMPET these measures- BRUISE themselves patting themselves on the back.

The council and mayor decided the way to treat crackheads is to have private homes in good (but not rich, of course) neighborhoods become amateur-hour drug clinics. That's right. If you get caught stealing a car to buy crack the judge gives you a choice... jail or live in a 'clinic' (which is just a house) in a neighborhood. Best of all, the amateurs who run the clinic can't force you to stay in the clinic, as that would violate your civil rights. So you get free run of the neighborhood.

The council and mayor decided the way to help "at risk" families is to pay their rents in nice (not rich) neighborhoods so their neighbors would influence them. So now neighborhoods where kids used to roam freely and safely, where people NEVER locked their doors, where there was a sense of community, are under what is basically a state of siege. And when long time residents call the people running the program to complain, the bureaucrats who answer the phones are sympathetic, genuinely sympathetic, but they can do nothing to help.

Why do people continue to vote for the same government (different faces, same ideas) year after year after year? It is simple. Those people who want to own their own homes, or not suffer through smelling feces while they're stuck in their car for the 45 minutes necessary to travel 3 miles, or who won't tolerate having their taxes pay for crackheads to move next door, have left.

It is brilliant, really. Dr. Evil would be proud.
"We will make the island so miserable for middle class working people that only the rich enviromentalist California retirees/2nd home summer folk, and the state employees, and the dirt-poor welfare folk, will be able to comfortably live here! The poor will vote for us for handouts, the rich will vote for us to keep the island uncrowded, the state workers will vote for us to get pay raises, and the rest of them will move away! WE CAN'T LOSE!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

I HATE the mayor and the council.

Anyway, click here to read this article from Radio Netherlands, which says that the same sort of thing is happeneing in the Netherlands, though for entirely different reasons. To an entire country!!! My reaction to this: KEEP THOSE PANTIES OUT OF THE U.S. We don't want nor need skilled people who don't have the balls to fight to fix their homeland. (I don't feel the same way about the people who have left Kauai, though. They are leaving pretty much right after they get the power to vote.)


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