January 1, 2008

The Solution for the New Year: Vote Right

Justin Katz

Of course, I've got to highlight the good sense of my townsman Stephen Miller (whom I don't believe I know, by the way):

The many issues facing Rhode Island today are not problems, they are symptoms of the real problem — us! Our extremely liberal, entitlement-based attitude permeates everything we do in Rhode Island.

The result of this approach to life is bloated government, union problems, widespread welfare, political scandal and the like.

The solution is likewise embodied in our own lives: We must pressure our legislators to move toward policies that give greater consideration to the bulk of the citizenry, as opposed to the demands of special interests.

One positive step in this direction is the election of a greater number of Republicans! We need a better balance between our spending habits (and abuses) and our ability to pay.

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Is the state-wide discord due to the Republican Party, Democrat Party or just unique to Rhode Island culture?

How many other states have a Republican Governor and a Democratic General Assembly?

How many other states with the same makeup as RI do not have a deficit and are doing just great and most everyone is happy, making a living and moving up the ladder?

As you know, I moved from RI to Hawaii this past year because if I have to spend my money to support government, least I’m getting something back from state government in return (basic: all beaches with lifeguards, beach parking, bathhouses, parks, BBQs, picnic tables are free in HI). But in order to survive in HI one must learn to live “aloha”.

Hawaii has a Republican Governor (female) and a Democratic General Assembly. They work together because you can’t just walk into the next state. Hawaii has had a budget surplus so $50 million was returned to the tax payers last year and this year there will be a surplus so another $50 million will be returned and next year a surplus is also projected. There is “NO GAMBLING” in HI (Las Vegas is known as the ninth HI island). The state is studying and planning self sustainability out to year 2050. In response to slow down in national economy a 12 cents per gallon gasoline tax was cut to help taxpayers and this year unemployment compensation tax was lowered up to 61% in some cases. The subprime loan mess has not affected HI housing (Avg. $665K single family; $400K condominium).

Next to my new neighborhood (a little more than a country mile) a new 34 city block full business city (with high-rise towers) is being built which will create over 40 thousand new jobs by 2010 (27,000 jobs already created), with over 20 thousand plus new single family houses, a full new University campus, public transit center, second largest mall with two attached hotels, two movie theaters complexes with total 32 screens; 6,000 seats and adjacent a tourist resort area with ten hotels on the beach being anchored by a Walt Disney 800 room standalone resort and a Los Angeles built 22 acre movie/TV sound stage, public parks, schools, police/fire stations, new highway access, walking trails, bike trails, and multiple golf courses.

Hawaii State has gained over 5% in population this past year. HI is the most expensive state to vacation in of the 50 states according to AAA with RI taking third place.

The island I am on is three quarters the size of RI and HI has had National Weather Service blizzard warnings twice and heavy snow warnings on the mountain tops this winter (82 degrees days and 60 nights). Yes there is snow November to March for snowboarding, downhill skiing or kite skiing in HI along with all beach and water activities in 70 degree water.

From my house between two 18-hole championship golf courses I look out over the Pacific Ocean, international surfing beach and sunsets almost like my wife’s family in Newport but I have now have natural 100 ft plus waterfalls cascading off the mountains behind my house in a gated/guarded community. My property taxes have gone from $2.7K RI to $325 HI per year for same assessed real property value. I have two marinas and yacht clubs a short distance from my house.

Is the discord due to the Republican Party, Democrat Party or just politically unique to Rhode Island culture that is driving RI down the tubes because no one is willing to work together and causing people to leave the state?

In HI there seems to be an unbalance to the Democratic Party side but everything is working for the betterment of the whole state.

Posted by: Ken at January 2, 2008 2:19 AM

Yes, I think if there were more Republicans in RI, there would be more natural cascading waterfalls.

Look, the main reason I think people need to vote more Republicans into office in RI isn't necessarily that I think Republicans are inherently better (in fact, I've expressed concern before that the state GOP mightn't be up to the task at hand). But shaking up the entrenched powers at the state level has got to be the first step to positive change.

"Working together" isn't on the table, for the time being, because the entrenched side has no interest in relenting in its stranglehold.

Posted by: Justin Katz at January 2, 2008 6:01 AM

I have never been to your admittedly beautifull state. However, I have met a whole bunch of ex-Hawaiians in Las Vegas who say they moved because the place was "unlivable", other than for millionaire's, due to high cost of living and lack of jobs to support themselves.

Posted by: Mike at January 2, 2008 8:51 AM

A big part of the problem has to be laid at our very own doorsteps. We all moan about how corrupt our government is, but then say, "But not my guy (or girl)." Face it, people, your guy (particularly if you live in North Providence or West Warwick) is likely a big part of the problem, even if he delivers new uniforms for your kid's soccer league or a nice check to your local K of C or VFW for its annual carnival. You don't care that the state's footing the bill, do you?
Before you vote this year, take a look at your guy's role in the big picture.
BTW, a couple of friends moved to Hawaii awhile back (retired firefighter and a nurse, a job that travels as well as any). Beach bums, no kids, pretty well off. They lasted about a year. Nice place to visit, but living there is different.

Posted by: rhody at January 2, 2008 12:11 PM


If more balance is needed, then the Republican Party needs to get more members elected.

When I listen or read statements from the current Smith Hill gang, it’s all about what the person has done and what will happen in the immediate future (it’s me, me, me, I, I, I syndrome).

There appears to be no long range planning. The 17yr olds being sent to the ACI fiasco was supposed to save money but instead ended costing taxpayers twice the amount it was suppose to save. Nobody asked all of the questions. Nobody even asked the ACI Director if it was feasible! Lack of communication just like during the 6 inch snow storm. Adults acting like kids playing in a sandbox.

And yes there are some problems with some politicians here in Hawaii both Democratic and Republican (life is not perfect). Hawaii has very, very strong ethics laws. Governor and politicians hold town meeting to hear the people’s ideas and suggestions.


Hawaii has the second lowest unemployment in the nation. Employers can not fill all of the current open jobs advertised and on Island of Oahu 40,000 new jobs are being created in one area not including hotel jobs. Average household income is $61K. The cost of living here is one of the highest depending on where you live (which island and community), how you shop and size of house. Las Vegas is known as the ninth island because so many people from Hawaii have moved there and the main reason is they can get more house (sq ft and larger yards) for the dollar than in Hawaii. Average current price of a house on the island of Oahu is $665K and Condominium $400K. Hawaii is ranked #1 in the nation for having the most people per population with access to disposable fluid million dollars cash assets.


A person must consider a few things when moving to Hawaii such as learning to live aloha (most important) and secondly, downsizing and more downsizing. Cost of living is dictated by the location, community and lifestyle. Everyone in Hawaii is a minority except the true Hawaiians (there is only 3% left of 100% Hawaiian blood). There are no ethnic neighborhoods because everyone is intermixed. Hawaii is a true melting pot of the races. You can live in the city and pay tourist prices or live in the country and pay local prices. If you can’t adjust your lifestyle (learn aloha) and the island culture, then you will pay top dollar and not last long here.

I’ve been visiting Hawaii since late 1960s when I first landed in the islands while in military service. My wife and I used to visit the islands at least once or twice a year till we finally decided to retire and move here because of the financial return. Before we moved here we studied all of the islands (each island is totally different), customs, housing, transportation, hospitals and government for two years.

Posted by: Ken at January 2, 2008 4:01 PM
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