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LETTERS for the February 14 issue

By Staff | Feb 14, 2019

Help keep rents affordable at Front Street Apartments

The tenants of the Front Street Apartments complex (FSA) are encouraging you to support us in our efforts to keep the safety of our homes.

The owners of the FSA complex have elected to move from their former agreement to provide “affordable housing” for 50 years, cancel that agreement after 15 years, and they are now renting vacancies at “market rates.” This means that the rents are becoming $2,000 for a one-bedroom and $2,500 for a two-bedroom apartment).

The owners have chosen the date for the entire complex to be converted to the new “market rates” to be AUGUST 2019.

This change means that about 300 folks who now live at FSA and who are currently paying “affordable rents” will be required to pay the elevated rents, a difference of about $1,100 to $1,600.

The tenants are composed of families with school-age children, seniors, disabled and more, many of whom are now working two to three jobs to attempt to support their households and are now threatened with the prospect of being evicted to the streets of Lahaina.

Please, I beg of you, help us to remain in the safety of our homes.

CHI PILIALOHA GUYER, Senior Tenant, Front Street Apartments


Teachers enjoyed whale watch

Mahalo to Riley Coon, the Trilogy crew and Luis Fuentes, the chef and owner of Island Catering, for treating the teachers and staff of King Kamehameha III Elementary School to an amazing whale watch and great food!

It’s not often that we get time to just hang out and have fun together. You made this happen through your generosity and support.

(And the whales were pretty amazing, too!)



Five steps to help small town grocery stores

Grocery stores are a staple on rural main streets across the country. They provide fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, staple food items and even cleaning supplies, toiletries and over-the-counter medicine.

We’ve heard from a few communities who are seeking solutions on keeping their grocery stores vibrant. So, here are some steps to start the conversation.

1. Get folks together in a community meeting. Make sure everyone has a say and feels included. If people have invested time, money and energy into a project, they will want it to succeed.

2. Listen. What does your community need? What kinds of products do people want to buy? If necessary, are people willing to volunteer time or invest money to make it happen?

3. Stack enterprises. Could your grocery store have a coffee shop, cafe, bank, post office or pharmacy attached? More businesses using the same space and utilities equal lower costs.

4. Provide the best customer service. Have a prominent suggestion box and a bulletin board where people can see the questions and answers. If a product is requested, see if you can carry it. Make the store a source of community pride.

5. Consider all ownership options. A grocery store doesn’t have to be an independent retailer. It can be community-owned, a co-operative, or school-based. The Center for Rural Affairs has written a report on ownership models for grocery stores, which can be found at cfra.org/renewrural/grocery.

RHEA LANDHOLM, Center for Rural Affairs


Another billionaire presidential candidate who doesn’t get it

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced he may run for president as an independent centrist candidate in 2020.

I have some concerns about billionaires, however well-intentioned, running the country.

For one thing, people generally pay a lot of attention to those who have more than them, but they are less aware of those who have less. A billionaire with “just” a private jet will compare himself to an even richer billionaire with their own private island. They don’t have any idea what life is really like for a single parent raising two kids while working and attending night classes.

Social psychologists find that people usually believe they are responsible for their successes but blame their failures on external factors like bad luck or a sluggish economy. They also extend the same benefit of the doubt to people within their own group.

When looking at people in other groups, they are less generous. Then they tend to blame people for their own failures.

As a result, the rich generally believe that they worked hard for everything they have – but many think the poor are probably poor because they’re lazy. In reality, all people’s fates are due to both their own talents and efforts and their circumstances.

Think about Donald Trump. He was born to a wealthy and well-connected real estate mogul in New York. His father gave him millions, sent him to elite schools, trained him in the business and introduced him to the powerful people whose help he needed to succeed.

Would Donald Trump have gone anywhere in business if he were born to your parents? Very unlikely. But could you have done even better than Trump in business if you were born to his parents? It’s definitely possible.

Trump, no doubt, believes his success is solely due to his own work and “genius,” but it’s undeniable that the circumstances he was born into played a role.

The same is true of those with less extraordinary privilege.

We need a government that understands the lives and struggles of ordinary Americans and can craft policies to help them.

Billionaires generally won’t, regardless of their intentions, because it’s human nature to be generally clueless about those with less privilege than you.

JILL RICHARDSON, OtherWords, San Diego, California