‘Immediately Caught On’: Hawaii State Rep Slams Developers For Sweeping In ‘Like Vultures’ To Buy Land
by Harold Hutchinson, Daily Caller, August 28, 2023
A Hawaii state representative slammed real estate developers Monday for moving in on Maui following a devastating wildfire that left hundreds dead or missing.
The deadly wildfire that destroyed many buildings in the town of Lahaina on Aug. 8, killed at least 114 people and left hundreds missing. Angry residents of Maui made obscene gestures at Biden’s motorcade during his trip to the island Aug. 21, complaining about a failure to send emergency aid.
“Just days after the fire burnt down the entire town of Lahaina, realtors and developers were calling residents who lost their homes and offering to buy their property,” Republican state Rep. Diamond Garcia of Hawaii said. “So, people immediately caught on to what was going on and it looks like right when this happened, the developers came down like vultures and tried to take their property.”
Democratic Gov. Josh Green of Hawaii declared a housing emergency July 17, seeking to address a reported housing shortage. The proclamation gave developers ways around regulations that have made housing in Hawaii the least affordable in the country, according to Reason.
“It’s been three weeks, Jesse, and there’s not been any clear answers,” Garcia said. “I mean, these people lost everything. Their homes, families, loved ones and their children and they are crying for answers, they need an answer, and unfortunately, the response from the federal state and county governments has been pretty quiet.”
“When asked what the death count was for children, the answer was, ‘I don’t know.’ When asking FEMA and calling FEMA for more resources, they get the voicemail, so people are frustrated here in Hawaii and it’s really sad to see this kind of federal response,” Garcia continued.
Representative Diamond Garcia Urges Caution: The Governor's Housing Proclamation Lacks Critical Safeguards and Fails to Address the Root Cause of Hawaii's Housing Crisis
News Release from Representative Diamond Garcia, Aug 4, 2023
Honolulu, HI - Representative Diamond Garcia, Minority Floor Leader of the Hawaii House of Representatives, released a statement outlining his concerns over Governor Josh Green's recent emergency proclamation on housing. While acknowledging the urgency of the housing crisis, Representative Garcia underscores the critical need for 'safeguarding mechanisms' in any housing initiative. Rep. Garcia also warns that any attempt to tackle Hawaii's housing crisis is destined to fail unless the root cause – the uncontrolled mainland and international demand – is addressed head-on. Unless we focus on curbing this relentless demand, efforts to achieve true affordability for our local families will fail.
"It's imperative that we address the housing crisis with foresight and precision. While the Governor's proclamation may seek to expedite housing construction, it lacks essential provisions to ensure the long-term benefits for our communities," warns Garcia.
Representative Garcia highlights the absence of language in the proclamation that obligates the developed housing to be affordable. He points out that without this condition, the benefits of certification may not directly translate into housing accessible to our local families. It doesn’t even 'define' affordable.
"We cannot afford to build homes that remain beyond the reach of our residents. Without explicit affordability provisions, the proclamation falls short of providing the relief our communities so desperately need," asserts Garcia.
Furthermore, Representative Garcia expresses concern over the lack of measures to prevent these new homes from being sold or rented to newcomers, potentially exacerbating the affordability crisis for our existing residents.
"Affordable housing must be prioritized for our local families. Without safeguards against non-resident buyers, we risk undermining the very goal we are striving to achieve," Representative Garcia emphasizes.
The absence of requirements for these homes to be sold to first-time homebuyers also raises a red flag. He believes that without such provisions, the benefits of housing development may not be reaching those who need it most.
In addition to these concerns, Garcia underscores the suspension of Chapter 92, the Hawaii Sunshine Law, as a worrying aspect of the proclamation.
"Transparency is crucial in the development process. Suspending the Sunshine Law raises valid concerns about public accountability and participation," Representative Garcia states.
In summary, Rep. Garcia states: "Let's be clear: building more homes is not a silver bullet. For decades, we have 'built' hundreds of thousands of homes, yet the housing crisis remains unabated. Why? Because the root cause lies not in the number of homes we construct, but in the unrestrained demand from external investors that distorts our real estate market."
"We can construct all the homes we want, but if they are primarily occupied by mainlanders and international investors, we are merely perpetuating the problem," asserts Garcia.
Representative Diamond Garcia stands firm in his commitment to championing affordable and responsible housing solutions for Hawaii. He believes that while the housing crisis demands urgent action, it must be approached with a comprehensive and cautious perspective, prioritizing the well-being of our local communities.
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