State should let city have ticket revenue
I read yesterday's editorial, "Speeding, reckless driving laws need stronger enforcement," (Star-Bulletin Letters, Dec. 27
) and I agree with it wholeheartedly. But I believe we're all victims of a political tug-o-war between the state and city governments. The city runs the Honolulu Police Department, but traffic fines and the revenue they generate all goes to state coffers. The mayor has publicly expressed his annoyance about this and wants this changed, but the state will fight tooth and nail before it lets go the ticket revenues.
In the meantime, one can argue that public safety is compromised for various reasons, one which the city will contend includes not enough officers, therefore the justification for more revenue, and their rightful claim to the ticket revenue. I believe the governor is sincere about her efforts to make our roads safer, so she should seriously consider throwing a bone to her city counterpart in this regard. It makes good political sense.
Hawaiians should unite on problems
I am deeply saddened by the recent events of the 83 Hawaiian artifacts and dispute that revolves around Hui Malama and various Hawaiian groups and organizations (Star-Bulletin, Dec. 28
). I am but one of thousands of po`e Hawaiians who are caught up in the middle of all this. And like all the different Hawaiian groups and organizations, we all have our own opinions.
Why couldn't we as Hawaiians discuss this all together instead of going into the federal court and putting on a public display of Hawaiians vs. Hawaiians? There is so much passion expressed toward the artifacts in dispute, yet every day there are Hawaiian casualties in education, incarceration, health care, homelessness and substance abuse.
Many Hawaiians are in dire need of social and mental health services. I work with foster youth on the Big Island and an alarming majority of the youth I serve are from Hawaiian families. I see every day how the Hawaiian ohana values are threatened. If these Hawaiian groups and organizations cannot come together in making pono toward the artifacts in dispute, it will be hard for me to believe that they will be able to extend equal amounts of passion and energy toward the Hawaiian casualties we know exist.
Ward-area housing won't be 'affordable'
Our city planners and officials are allowing more "live-work" condos to be constructed in the relatively small area around Kapiolani Boulevard/Ward Avenue. I say "live-work" tongue in cheek. Looking at the current sales prices of the condos being built, and the employment opportunities and wage rates within the area, one would realize that this is a marketing ploy in action. Help me understand how this equation will be a true "live-work" situation. This is a hypothetical scenario for 96813. Do some research and I'm sure you'll concur. A two-bedroom/two-bath unit in this prime location will probably sell for $700,000. At 6 percent and a measly $140,000 down, that would be a $3,357/month payment; with fees, taxes and insurance, etc., the grand total will approach $4,000/month. Is this affordable for people who work in this area?
Second, have they addressed the lack of adequate transportation to/from the epicenter of Kapiolani/Ward, which is already a virtual parking lot? Don't tell me they forgot to include the cars that each one of the condo buyers will bring to the area!
That must be one heckuva hamburger
Martin Rayner says in his Dec. 28 letter
that a $300 million tax rebate to all residents of Hawaii would be "less than the price of a hamburger." Hawaii has approximately 1 million residents, so $300 million would be about $300 each.
Will Mr. Rayner please tell me where he buys his hamburgers so I can see what makes the hamburgers worth $300 each?
Excise-tax reduction makes more sense
A recent writer
who suggests that refunding $300 million in taxes would only amount to "the price of a hamburger" might not be aware of some arithmetic. There are only about 600,000 individual Hawaii tax returns filed, so the average surplus per return is $500. Even that amount would help offset some of the property tax increase. Since half of the surplus can be attributed to the excise (sales) tax receipts, maybe a reduction of the excise tax rate would be more appropriate since this tax is so regressive.
Farmers need help protecting species
Congressman Abercrombie's vote in favor of the Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act, H.R. 3824, is a vote to turn the unintended conflicts with landowners and communities fostered by the original Endangered Species Act into cooperation and collaboration.
With 378 listed threatened and endangered species, 127 proposed and candidate species and 1,085 species of concern in Hawaii, we cannot afford to risk any more time before we update and modernize the ESA. Because many of these species are found on private lands, it is essential that private landowners cooperate and assist so we can improve the abysmal ESA success rate and ensure species' recovery.
Farmers are more than willing to help save endangered species, but they should not have to do it alone. All they ask is for some help from the public for providing the public benefit of food and habitat for species conservation. H.R. 3824 takes a giant leap forward in providing opportunities for cooperative conservation by farmers and ranchers. As a result, we will be able to protect both farmers' economic viability and endangered species.
Alan T. Takemoto
Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation