Letters | 7-8-13


Kona: An impossible place to make a living

After living here for 11 years it’s hard to leave. Growing up on Oahu and after 18 years in California I thought I would return to paradise and it was at one time.

Now Kailua-Kona is an impossible place to make a living. I was fortunate to acquire food and beverage management positions while I was here. As a manager, I was also able to see the cost of running a business in Kona. The average electric cost for a restaurant with no air conditioning and seating an average of 120 is $6,400 a month. That’s $74,000 a year. That’s the highest in the world, not the country. Add in mandatory health insurance for employees working over 20 hours a week that’s $250 on average per employee per month.

I was so saddened to see Kona Country Club closed after I passed the also-closed Keauhou Beach Hotel. That’s over 200 people out of work between the two. Look at all the closures recently. Tante’s, Falafels in Paradise, Boston Basil’s, Drysdale’s, Mahi’s Fish’n Chips, and Kokonutz Bar and Grill.

We are also No. 1 in drunken driving-related deaths per capita in the nation. Ranked 48th in the country academically, just behind Mississippi and Alabama. We also have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the country. As a two time Hawaii Ironman finisher I thank you for your support but I would never recommend Kona as a vacation option. Wake up and smell the Kona coffee before it’s too late.

Greg Horne

Kailua-Kona Marshallese community expresses thanks

The Marshallese community in West Hawaii recently held its first Constitution Day celebration in Kona. The three-day event was held at Kealakehe High School from May 30 to June 1 and drew more than 500 participants, many of whom attended the opening day ceremonies.

We would like to thank Barbara Dalton, the governor’s West Hawaii representative, and Bobby Command, the mayor’s representative, for speaking at the ceremony and presenting proclamations. Also we would like to thank West Hawaii Today for sending photographer Chelsea Jensen, whose photographs were printed on the front page of the paper on May 31.

The Hawaii Department of Education and Kealakehe High School were helpful in providing a site for the event and waiving some of the associated fees. Sports Authority helped to provide sports equipment. The Attorney General’s office, the Department of Human Services, and Family Support Hawaii provided assistance with the planning process. Finally, there were many service providers who set up information tables at the opening ceremonies and we thank them for their interest and participation.

We look forward to an equally successful event next year.

Embi Jude

Kona Marshallese Constitution Day Committee president