Letters to the Editor

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Monday, August 29, 2005

New laws benefit condo dwellers

For more than 20 years, condominium owners have been asking the Legislature for laws that would bring fairness and equality to the relationship between them and management.

» Act 89 requires an association board to make the association's business and financial records available for review by owners for as long as the records are stored and maintained by the association.

» Act 90 requires a condominium association board to avail its meeting minutes to the membership for the current and prior year either on the premises, or by mail, email, or fax within 15 days of the request. This law will assist members so that they can monitor directly the actions of board members and how maintenance fees are being spent.

» Finally, Act 92 -- which amends the two-year Condominium Dispute Resolution Pilot Program, has expanded to allow members to bring up disputes that involve their association's governing documents.

If you are an owner within a complex that has six or more units, then you are contributing $2 per year into the Condominium Education Fund. Part of that fund is to finance dispute resolution programs as per HRS 514A-131. As of May 31, a total of $621,538 was in the account.

CDR provides for a quicker, more inexpensive method of resolving disputes for both management and the individual owner as opposed to litigation. A hearings officer with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will determine who is in noncompliance with the rules and thereby be able to quickly adjudicate the matter.

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs has a Web site that provides information to consumers about property management companies that have been fined, warned, or reprimanded regarding their conduct.

The Web site address is www.hawaii.gov/dcca/areas/rico/business_online

Living in a condo is like living in a separate city with its own ordinances, police force, rule makers, judge and jury. Therefore, having equal access to information and the ability to bring resolve quickly to disputes is paramount within this living arrangement.

Rep. Rida Cabanilla
D, Waipahu-Ewa

Greed motivates foes of Kamehameha

When I look at the faces of Kamehameha Schools' students, I see the beauty and blends of different nationalities. I see diversity. There are Chinese, Japanese, Samoan, African American, Hispanic, Korean, Caucasian and, yes, Hawaiian.

The majority of Kamehameha students are not full-blooded Hawaiian. How then, can they be labeled as participating in racial discrimination?

One of my great-grandparents originated from Canton, China, another from Portugal.

Am I glad to have had the opportunity to attend Kamehameha Schools? Absolutely! It was my Hawaiian grandparent who made it possible.

The court ruling striking down the Hawaiian-preference admission policy is a blatant violation of the last wishes of Princess Pauahi. Seeing this kind of judicial tampering makes me uneasy about how my own last will and testament could be handled. The issue isn't discrimination. For those challenging this policy, I think the issue is greed.

Taryn Aina
Wailuku, Maui

'Fair' pricing isn't fair to everybody

Rep. Marcus Oshiro is backsliding on his position that gas caps would lower gasoline prices for Hawaii consumers. He and his majority party colleagues previously told us that the gas cap law was a way to reduce high prices.

But his op-ed piece "Give the Fair Gas Price law a chance to work" (Star-Bulletin, Aug. 25) sounds more like an apology than a justification.

Oshiro now states the gas cap law was passed for reasons of "fairness." He says, "Of course, everyone wants lower gas prices, but the real issue here is fairness. That's why we sought to protect the consumer from price gouging, and why we passed what we are now calling the 'Fair Gas Price' law."

I find this economic concept frightening in both its honesty and its implications for Hawaii. No longer do we see competition as the road to value pricing. Now, it's all about "fairness." Let's face it -- "fair" pricing means government-fixed pricing for the benefit of some, but at the expense of the consumer looking for low prices.

It's ironic that Democrats give us "fair" pricing at the very time Costco is exploiting a ready market with its cheap gasoline, and just as Safeway plans to do the same.

We are in America, and we should let the marketplace work its magic. Didn't government price fixing go out with long lines in the U.S.S.R. and the limited, shoddy product selection of Mao's China? Welcome to the People's Republic of Hawaii.

Rep. Galen Fox
R, Waikiki-Ala Moana

Explore different ways to commute to work

With gasoline approaching $3 a gallon while our roads becoming gridlocked, we all need to rethink how we commute. If the distance is short, consider walking. For moderate distances, consider biking. For longer distances, consider public transportation. If you are a federal worker you are eligible for a 100 percent reimbursement for bus passes and for van pool expenses.

For more details, go to www.asafm.army.mil/rabp/masstrans/masstrans.asp.

Many companies and government agencies provide non-taxable subsidies to employees while providing tax savings to employers. For more info go to www.thebus.org/Info/thebustaxsavings.asp.

Or form a vanpool or carpool. For help with this, call 596-VANS. Or see www.vanpoolhawaii.com

Or see www.state.hi.us/dot/publicaffairs/rideshare/match.htm. Ridesharing will allow you to use the HOV lanes.

Reducing traffic congestion will improve the fuel efficiency of everyone on the roads. If we use less oil, the price might even start to come down.

Wayne Levy

What's the breaking point for gas prices?

How high will gas prices have to go on Oahu before the first Democratic legislator breaks ranks and denounces the party's gas cap law? $3 a gallon? $3.20?

Jim Henshaw

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