Viable ways to make Hawaii affordable? (Honolulu: rent, appliances, how much)
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BTW a Prius isn't affordable. They hardly depreciate at all. Even regular small cars like Toyota Yaris etc are overvalued in Hawaii... You could buy a 20 year old one for $4000, and then have $3000 in repair bills in one year once things start breaking. There is no way for driving to be affordable in Hawaii.
A scooter isn't viable except on back streets. You can't go fast enough on the highway, and in the city it's too dangerous.
The other schemes like buying property and renting out require a lot of money. The average household income in Hawaii can't afford a house, much less one with an ohana to rent out. If you're too poor to even afford internet access and sugar, you can't afford a house.
I'm a retired librarian so I'll tune in here. Disclaimer: I know nothing about libraries in HI, but I know a heck of a lot about them in S. Florida. I suspect there is a lot of similarity. So here goes.
A few libraries in SoFla sell coffee, Friends of the Library sell it, they are all volunteers because the income from it is not enough to support paying staff. The amount of income is negligible, not enough to make a dent in library services. Another issue is budget lines, at least in the county I retired from, money coming into the libraries went to the general county fund, not back to the library budget. The thing about Friends of the Library selling the goodies is that they can contribute directly to library services. They can pay for entertainers for children's programs, for art programs, music programs, furniture, etc.
But again, it's volunteers...you need to find a core group of people who will commit to it to make it work.
Then, you have the problem of spillage, and crumbs which can bring in vermin. As a result, libraries only sell the stuff in the lobby and you have to consume it in the lobby. Yes, I know you're going to say that bookstores let you wander around and read with your goodies, but bookstore inventories move in and out, while library inventories can be there for years and the vermin problem is a real one.
Licensing a business to come in is also more complicated. They will probably do a study and find that library patrons won't spend the money and won't even move forward. Generally it is your poor people of any population who are really using the library. I'm not saying middle classed to wealthy ones won't, just that the majority of people coming in can't afford to buy a book or rent a movie so they aren't going to spend a few bucks for Starbucks. Then there is the retrofitting of the lobby to accommodate the equipment...if there is even room...the permitting, the bids, etc.
A large library that I managed had a restaurant inside the building but outside the library entrance that paid rent to the county; because it was in city center, local business people ate lunch there frequently but library patrons could not afford it. That restaurant is now out of business after 20 successful years because they couldn't make enough money to keep the doors open. Business really dropped off.
I'm also going to add that using library internet may not be as easy as it sounds. 2-3 hour waits for a terminal were not unheard of in the library I ran. There's the lack of privacy, and the general oookiness of using a keyboard that ten homeless people used before you did.
Now...on yet another hand...the library system where I worked installed free wireless a couple of years back and if you had your own laptop, you could connect 24/7 if you were in range. I used to drive by at night on the way to meet friends and see people sitting on the library lawn using their laptops. If HI libraries have free wireless that extends outdoors, there's your solution. Cheap laptops are cheap enough.
For us (again, not in HI but in a similar situation) we have a pretty inexpensive lifestyle in many ways. We think that TV is a waste of time and a waste of money, but we do enjoy our internet, so we do have that $40 bill each month but that is an inexpensive bill. We buy and eat local produce from the market up the street, we entertain ourselves very cheaply (beach diving, kayaking, fishing, walking, visiting friends, street festivals, just driving around our beautiful island to enjoy it) and we have no interest in fancy clothing or furniture or expensive cars. For entertainment we visit friends or have them over, play musical instruments, and simply enjoy one another's company (it helps to have a great relationship with someone of course!)
I guess it's a regional thing -- the libraries in my current area are very nice, with tons of middle-class people, and wi-fi. I assume there's great variation in hawaii as well, depending on neighborhood.
I agree that the food/drink would probably be restricted to a certain area, but I doubt most people would mind. And I have to assume that in a library of any quality, that attracts any kind of clientele, most coffee chains would be interested in a rent-free situation where they simply split profits with the library -- especially given the cost of land in Hawaii.
I know it wouldn't work everywhere, but it would definitely work in my town, if the government would simply become more open to partnerships with private enterprise. And budget tightening is exactly why such revenue enhancement ideas are necessary.
Lots of people live off grid in Puna and do with very little. Chickens feed themselves off the land (you can give them your leftovers too) and give you free eggs. Of course you have to protect them from dogs and other animals.
Farming is going to depend on finding the right lot and right location. Many areas don't have enough soil to grow much of anything. Others might be too wet. Or too dry. I just bought 6 papayas and 38 key limes from the local farmers market for $2.00 and it would have probably took me more than $2.00 worth of effort to grow/harvest my own. We've looked at a lot of properties with fruit trees that looked pretty sad and it was because they needed maintenance. Pruning, fertilizing, and insect control. And the grass around them was waist high (which contributed to the insect problems). It's definitely a lot of work. But many people like that sort of thing. I have no idea how people make money selling stuff so cheap. You'd have to grow, harvest, and sell 240 papayas to pay a $40 internet bill. Coffee is probably the best legal cash crop because it has a long shelf life and has buyers all over the world.
We got rid of TV over a year ago and haven't missed it. Cross that expense off the list. We do have the $8.00 netflix streaming and really enjoy it. Can't imagine doing without the internet nowadays.
Sadly, I do believe that books are going the way of VHS tapes. They will still be around but nobody will know what to do with them. Considering that you can now fit an entire building's worth of books onto a memory stick it soon won't make any economic or ecological sense to use ink and paper. The library of the future will be a room full of computers and budget cuts will probably force them out too. They already have ad-supported kindles available for reduced purchase. Its just a matter of time before something like that is free and when budgets are tight they don't cut funding to maintaining sewer lines they go after libraries.
Good call on the chickens -- my brother actually has a few of those in Seattle.
Good point on lot/location too. Although I know a lot of people locally who can grow tons of tomatoes, squash, etc. with a small residential plot, and again, my Mexican cousins don't maintain their lime/lemon trees at all. With Hawaii getting a lot of sun, warmth, and rain generally, it would certainly seem feasible in the right place. (Soil can generally be purchased/added.) But I understand some specific spots won't be good for whatever reason.
I'm really talking just supplemental farming, of course, not intended to feed you entirely. Just seems that if this is done frequently on the mainland, even in places with much shorter growing seasons, and less sunlight overall, it could also be done in Hawaii.
In terms of budget cuts -- there's a lot of areas in public pensions, etc., before they actually start closing down libraries entirely. They're one of the few things most voters agree are desirable government functions. The books have already been bought, and desktop computers are cheap. You don't even really need much staff for a basic library. I don't see them disappearing.
I DO see government-sponsored wireless expanding, at least in downtown areas, as it is fairly cheap, and can be easily shared.
This has been going on for some time. One of the reasons non-poor people don't go to libraries any more is that they own e-readers. They aren't even going in for the free DVD movies anymore because they have NetFlix which is less expensive than overdue fines, not to mention time and gas to go to the library and stand in line. Libraries all over the US are closing or reducing services. The enormous library system I used to be a manager with is at half the staff they had five years ago.
I got a library card when I moved to this island, but the place is a joke. Talk about victim of budget cuts. Their newest books must be 8 years old, and it's service with a snarl...unusual because most people on our island are extremely friendly.
So how are Hawai'i's libraries, anyway, worth the effort to get a card?
I'm guessing it varies county to county and even city to city.
See above -- libraries are great where I live, no real cuts, full of middle-class people. This is in a struggling state, but a nice area. Would also be curious about Hawaii's libraries, though.
It always amazes me how little people understand agriculture. You can't grow any significant amount of food on the typical residential parcel. You need several acres.
See above. I know people who grow significant supplementary food in small gardens, on small residential lots, in areas where the growing season is only a few months. Presumably, with no real winters in Hawaii, the growing season must be longer, and more productive.
Keep in mind we're not seeking to feed the neighborhood here -- simply supplement a personal diet. A few citrus trees and maybe some melons would presumably be doable, along with maybe a few veggies. My cousin's trees don't take up much space at all, and they never have to buy limes/lemons.
In residential areas yes, a separate entrance to a rental unit is usually illegal, and can easily become a problem if a neighbor complains.
Coconut water from fresh coconuts is a refreshing beverage. Coconut milk or cream is made from dried coconut, and while tasty, is not something I'd recommend drinking a lot of due to the high fat content. Besides, it winds up being almost as expensive as moo juice. You really don't need dairy. You can get all the calcium you need from leafy greens, like kale and spinach.
Beans and rice are a classic dietary combination around the world as an inexpensive protein source. The latest research has shown that you don't have to eat them together to get the protein benefit, as long as they're eaten within a day or two. It's the way the amino acids combine in the body that counts, not whether they're mixed on the plate.
You can get a little sweetness that way, and some bars use slivers of cane as a stir-stick garnish for that reason. And kids in sugar cane growing areas everywhere chew on sugar cane for the sugar taste. But you need to mechanically squeeze or pound sugar cane to get much juice out of it.
To repeat, it all depends on the specific location.
In general, limes seem to do much better than lemons. My favorites are the Thai limes that are small, and orange in color. Mangoes seem to grow everywhere, but to get a good fruit harvest, you need to choose the right variety for the location. Ditto avocadoes. Pineapples require a lot of land. Like I said before, check out the CTAHR site.
Mopeds are fairly popular around town. Not the old pedal type, but the newer ones that are styled like a scooter. They're legally capped at 50cc, so they top out at maybe 35mph (some people who are bad to the bone hotrod theirs with illegal 65cc kits ). One advantage to a moped is that it does not require a drivers license to operate.
No, but it has become so essential to everyday life today that I've volunteered on projects in several cities to provide homeless people with email accounts and teach them internet skills so they could use the library. It's a good way for someone with no permanent residence to be able to keep in touch with the world.
Thanks again for the info, I didn't see the CTAHR site reference before. Sounds like sugar cane can be used for drink sweeteners, that thail limes at least are feasible, and that mangos/avacados are possible with the right variety. (I would personally want some sort of the Dairy for my smoothies, and for Vitamin D, etc., but powdered would be fine.)
I understand that many people are addicted to the internet these days (especially depending on your job), and that it may in fact be helpful for those looking for work, like the homeless. But I don't agree it's truly essential to everyday life, especially to someone who enjoys outdoor activities, has an actual social life, and doesn't need it for work. It can definitely be a good source of information and communication, but once/twice a week would be more than enough for most people.
I recently went on vacation, and was fine only checking in that often, even though I was keeping an eye on professional projects. It was actually a very nice change not being online so much, and actually enjoying the real world. I would think this would be especially true in a place as nice as Hawaii, with generally good weather, and tons of outdoor activities.
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