Why aren't you exposing the “real” culprits, the illegal TVRs that fly under the radar, the folks who didn't even bother to apply for one of the county's now discredited permits?
Weary, I urged a persistent commenter to begin his/her own documentation. The response was a snarl: “So you want everyone else to do the work that you should be doing yourself.”
Really. What was I thinking?
Though I understand the county has to prove an illegal use through a little sting operation, it's easy enough to red flag some renegades. All ya gotta do is surf airbnb.com. Heck, TVR inspector Bambi Emayo could even do it on his smart phone while he's checking out the waves.
Right off the bat I found this gem, which I'm pretty sure not even Imai Aiu would have approved with one of his undated, unsigned form letters that gave people a lifetime TVR, no questions asked.
Billed as a Japanese teahouse, it has no walls — and yikes, no bathroom, either. A *note* warns on the website:
Guest will not have any access to home or any other homes on property. THIS MEANS NO RESTROOM ON PROPERTY BESIDES USING THE YARD!!! Guest [sic] are encouraged to use ocean or YMCA camp restrooms located down street.
Fortunately, they won't have to hold it long, as they're assured “Guest will also have total beach access within 100 yars [sic] of hale” — which conveniently takes them right to the swath of sand privatized by the exclusive “Banana Beach House" TVR (Abuse Chronicles #12).
Though the ad says the platform accommodates three — at $100/per — its description hints that many more could crash there, which is not far-fetched, considering the place caters to Kalalau Trail hikers:
Within the "teahouse" there is a Californian king size bed, two swinging hammocks, single sleeper couch and outdoor style table/chairs. Guest have access to "teahouse" area, lawn.
The ad promises that a 5 a.m. hot breakfast and trailhead drop off is included. Rides to the airport are offered for an additional fee. Hmmm. I wonder if they have a taxicab driver's certificate, issued by the county via lottery. But then again, why bother?
The sad demise of Wainiha-Haena as a residential community is reflected in this verbiage from the ad:
Our Neighborhood is made up of most vaction [sic] style rental homes and scattered within that is small Hawaiin [sic] style bungalow homes as the one we live in.
So who da guy? The ad identifies “James,” and includes this profile:
School: Cadillac High School, go fuck yourself university Work: Kayak Kauai About: Chill family full of Aloha spirit.
Yes, take heart, the aloha spirit does live on, as reflected in the "house rules," if not a willingness to share toilets:
Live Aloha. This means live true agape or basically love. We feel we are though we are giving up our space in order to have travelers of all types come, be blessed and move on towards their hiking adventure. Please be respectful of us and our family. This is our home and it is very apart of us and who we are as a family. We invite you and others to be apart of our kinship, have a sat, talk story and be blessed. Aloha.
Aw. You know it's true aloha when there's no extra charge for talk story. Still, that respect bit kinda rings hollow.
It's gotta be a parody, I tell a friend. No way that funky setup can be for real, even on Kauai.
Surfing, surfing — wow, 394 listings. That's kinda plenty.
Hey, I know that beach. It featured prominently in the Abuse Chronicles. It used to be so fabulous — before the vacation rentals took it over.
Odd, it's being used to advertise a “beachfront studio in Haena.” Wait, that's Leila's place. You know, Leila, the woman who lives next door to Kaulana Haena — Abuse Chronicles #18 — and manages it, but is always late with the renewals. Hope she got it in on time this year, or #18 is gonna be tagged as “low-hanging fruit” under the county's radical new enforcement plan.
Gee, it looks like she's enclosed her own downstairs and turned it into a little rental studio, right there in the flood zone. Wonder where she came up with that idea?
Well, I know for sure that place doesn't have a TVR permit.
But at least it has a bathroom. And I hear Leila works very hard to keep it nice and clean.
One guest review detailed the accommodations, which luckily for Leila do not include a rice cooker, or the county would really clamp down hard:
Leila is a very thoughtful host, she sent us detailed driving directions and prepared the room with lovely ocean theme decor, beach and bath towels, coffee maker/small fridge, and many other charming details.
A few other things I really like about the place -- - Privacy - there is plenty of privacy, the room is downstair (host's family living upstairs ), with it's own bathroom/outdoor shower. - Hammock - as shown in leila's pictures. I like chilling there
Oh, yes, the hammock. The one that's permanently strung on the public beach. Does that mean we can lie in it, too?
Based on the reviews, the other guests seem happy, if deluded:
Leila's guest house is just lovely and she is an excellent host. The property is truly magnificent, private oceanfront, magical part of the island just down from tunnels beach. If u want to stay away from tourists and pricey resorts, this is a welcome oceanfront hideaway.
Except, of course, the tourists actually are right there, in the other vacation rentals — “legal” and otherwise — that line that entire stretch of coastline, which was never supposed to be a resort. The TVRs have literally consumed the public beach with their vegetation and lawn furniture:
We put our bags down, grabbed the bottle of wine we bought on the way to the place and enjoyed the moonlit beach on the hammock just steps from the waves.
Gushed Leila in reply:
I love where I live and I am so stoked to be able to share it with fabulous people like you!!!! Please come back soon!!!!!
But if you can't make it right away, no worries. It took the county five years and the threat of a special Council investigation to organize a TVR enforcement action that plucks the “low-hanging fruit” of late renewals.
It could be decades before it stumbles upon the fruit that has already fallen in its long-neglected and overgrown orchard.