On Politics: Unlawful trip leases thrive because the Honolulu Licensing Authority handles state investigations and fees
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Today the great concern is finding a way to circumvent the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Infection rates are in an unprecedented upward spiral, largely caused by unvaccinated Hawaiian residents ignoring the dangers of the virus.
Whether the residents of the state are doing the right thing and getting a vaccination is still open. It’s a question that will be answered one way or another.
Maybe still unsolvable, but every now and then Hawaiis have a love affair with tourism that causes excitement. Hawaii is attacking the state’s No. 1 private sector today for bringing too many people here.
In large part, Hawaii’s county, state, and federal governments will do what they will. But tourists either come or they don’t. And it is possible to scare them away.
Today we are at a time when visitors simply cannot get enough of us. And while the money is nice, 30,000 house guests every night is a bit much.
So what to do Critics are immediately calling for ways to reduce Hawaii’s tourist burden. So far the reaction has been a shrug and a muttered “I don’t know”.
Of course there is a way without being inhospitable. Just tear up the beds.
Closing hotels is not a good idea as hotels are major employment centers. We always need jobs. These might not be shiny six-figure high-tech positions, but Hawaii doesn’t. So we should look at where many tourists sleep.
Yes, in illegal vacation homes. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino recently said, “Maui’s surge in new vacation rentals in recent years has come mostly from vacation rentals, not resort hotels.”
The rules state that Oahu will allow 1,700 new bed and breakfasts with approval from the Department of Planning and Licensing (DPP) through a lottery system.
Of course, DPP just isn’t ready. The last we heard from the city government was in March when six current and former DPP employees were accused of accepting bribes in exchange for official acts at DPP, according to the US Department of Justice.
The city announced that a special master and an investigator have been appointed to oversee the city administration.
“Areas that require changes, which are identified by the special master and the independent investigator, are carried out immediately,” said a statement from the department.
So what about DPP’s former hot button problem: cracking down on illegal vacation rentals?
Well, the formal statement reads: “The public hearing on the draft administrative regulations on April 6, 2021 identified potential problems with the registration components of Regulation 19-18. Therefore, the adoption of the administrative regulations and the start of the registration process on April 22nd, 2021 have been put on hold, while DPP is rethinking the registration process. “
A quick online check shows that the Oahu vacation business is thriving when and where it wants, with or without a city permit.
Nothing beats an FBI investigation and a swarm of federal charges to slow down the city’s plan to “run the city like a business.”
No wonder there are so many tourists. You can stay anywhere with no questions asked.
Richard Borreca writes about politics on Sundays. Reach him at [email protected]