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Wednesday, August 25, 2004




Bill 35 gives farmers immediate relief

Regarding your Aug. 6 editorial, "Farmers get fooled by Council's tax bill (Bill 35)."

The Hawaii Farm Bureau extensively reviewed and discussed the pros and cons of Bill 35. We did not give false hopes to anyone; instead, we gave the farmers the opportunity to appeal to the Council, administration and the public to demand fair and reasonable tax treatment. Farmers understand what this is all about, and we take full responsibility for our actions.

In fact, supporters of Bill 10 misled everyone to believe it would be revenue neutral, meaning that farmers would virtually see no major changes in their taxes. But the truth is that farms and ranches have been assessed at levels that go way beyond what they can produce from the land.

Bill 35 is the only bill brought forward that will overcome the immediate negative impacts of Bill 10 for just one tax year. We had no other written guarantee that every farmer affected by Bill 10 was going to be taken care of.

The administration's tremendous power to make compromises for each and every farmer on a case-by-case basis is slow and arduous as well. There are still outstanding cases that need to be rectified. We are concerned that someone is bound to fall through the cracks and we cannot afford to lose one farmer or agribusiness due to a bad law.

Our attention should now focus on how to correct the many flaws of Bill 10. We applaud the Council for putting together a task force to look into a fair tax system that will truly support and encourage the agricultural industry. This is what we were seeking all along. Bill 10 is broken and it must be fixed now.

Alan Takemoto
Executive Director
Hawaii Farm Bureau

Columnist reveals the real John Kerry

The column by George F. Will titled, "Kerry, Kerry, quite contrary," was one of the few brilliant articles I have read in your paper (Insight, Aug. 8). This is the real John Kerry, full of inconsistencies and outright lies -- unfit to command. I am an American who would be embarrassed and terrified to have John Kerry as our president. I can't think of one reason to vote for him.

Carol Lum
Honolulu

Attacks against Kerry are deplorable

As a veteran of World War II and a voter who cares about America, I deplore the allegations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to diminish the combat decorations earned by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry while in line of fire in Vietnam.

Two major newspapers, the Washington Post and The New York Times, have exposed "The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" for "The Swift Boat Veterans for Bush." Another article in the Times, "Friendly Fire: The Birth of an Anti-Kerry Ad," revealed the real relationship between the Swift Boat Veterans and President Bush.

The negative and false ad is contrary to the fundamental principle of fairness. Voters should be allowed to make their choice for the better leader, the one who will keep America safe and respected by the rest of the world, without any false campaign allegations.

For the good of our nation, I hope President Bush will realize that as our current leader he cannot continue telling the American public that he respects Kerry's service in Vietnam while his supporters continue dishonest attacks against Kerry. Our leader should make sure that American voters are given a fair voting choice.

David Shimomura
Kailua-Kona

Officer Veal treated victims with care

I am so sorry to hear about Officer Issac "Ike" Veal's death (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 18).

I met him when he responded to a 911 call I made. Veal was caring, patient and stayed until things were OK. He presented himself as a very humble professional. Once the problem was resolved, he offered his card and told me to call him if I needed him again. I considered that to be exceptional.

The department has lost a one of it's finest officers. My prayers are with his family.

D. Scott
Waianae

Ratty cabs, surly drivers combine to make airport taxi service a bad trip

For the past year or so, I have complained to the governor's office and airport officials about the difficulty I have getting home from Honolulu International Airport. At Christmas time, I waited for more than an hour while cabs passed me by because the dilapidated cars would not make it up St. Louis Heights. When I did get cabs, the drivers moaned and groaned about having to accommodate me in spite of my generous tips.

I take cabs all the time in Honolulu and have never experienced this problem when I call one of the name brand companies. They are happy for my business.

This past week, I arrived at the airport sans baggage from Canada and was the first out to the taxi line up. The plane had been full, and there was a long line of excited but travel-weary visitors behind me. I waited 30 minutes before the first cab arrived. The ground transit people were sympathetic, and said this is an ongoing problem, as did my eventual driver. They complained about the company operating this "service."

What is this? Another screwy taxi-service contract that was not properly thought out? I encouraged some of the people in line to take the shuttle into Waikiki.

This situation is ridiculous. We want the tourists' business, but they arrive to a disgusting mess of an airport constantly under construction, long lines and nasty uninformed workers, who obviously hate their jobs.

There was no hint of our lovely aromatic plumeria. We had to walk through the steamy, designated smoking area upon disembarking. What a first impression! I am personally embarrassed by our Third World presentation, which just seems to worsen.

Margaret E. Murchie
Honolulu

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