SOURCE: Linda Pascatore

POSTED: 17 April 2005 - 6:000pm HST

Kudos to Kauai Mayor Baptiste!

Gated community or minimum security prison?

Mayor Baptiste's stand against gated communities

Mahalo to Mayor Baptiste for taking a stand against gated communities on Kauai. Gated communities are built out of fear and predjudice. They separate people into economic and social classes, and keep all of us from access to the aina.

I grew up on the mainland in a small town. I lived in a middle class neighborhood where we all played in everyone else’s backyards, biked up and down the best blacktopped driveway, and took shortcuts across everyone’s lawn. This behavior was expected and welcomed, even by childless older couples.

Although the houses on my block were all in the middle class range, I would pass a few rich mansions and some poor apartment houses on my short walk to school. Once at school, my class was a crosssection of all socio-economic groups. This is what America and democracy are all about.

Gated communities are a very controlled environment. There is usually a minimum house price allowed in the development, which guarantees rich residents, and keeps out the riff-raff. This creates homogenous communities with blatant class separation. Such a situation creates ignorance of other classes. It harbors resentment probably leads to increased crime, rather than the stated purpose of keeping crime away.

Here on Kauai you can bet that rich gated communities will be built in the most desirable locations. This usually means beach access, beautiful views, and maybe a fresh water stream meandering through the property.

The problem is that those things should be enjoyed by all Kauaiians, not just the rich. But when a gated community goes up in a desirable spot, public access is either completely denied or severly controlled and restricted.

Let's keep the Aloha Spirit alive on Kauai! Let's keep our streets as public spaces where everyone is welcome. Give your support to Baptiste on this issue, and contact your councilmembers to urge them to act on his proposal.

E-mail all Kauai County Council members at:

Contact the Mayor at:
Bryan J. Baptiste
4444 Rice St, Suite 235
Lihue, HI 96766
Phone: (808) 241-6300
Fax: 808-241-6877