Property tax relief should be left to voters
I was disappointed that the Honolulu Charter Commission recently rejected a proposal that would have given voters the power to make property tax relief a reality. Property owners on Oahu missed a perfect opportunity to set a cap of assessed property values at 2004 levels. I have no doubt that the amendment to the City Charter would have passed had it been added to the November ballot.
This was probably our only chance to reduce our ridiculously inflated city property tax assessments. There is still time before the November election. Let's give residents suffering under double-digit property tax increases the chance to be heard.
Mufi stuck with fixing Harris' damage
Chalk up another one for former Mayor Jeremy Harris. He should have kept up with road and sewer maintenance, but he didn't. He could have filled vacant jobs in road maintenance and other critical departments, but he didn't. We didn't need lavish frills like the Nuuanu signs, but he spent our money on them anyway.
Now Mayor Hannemann has to catch up to the financial realities amid a chorus of whining from taxpayers who don't want to pay the long-overdue costs of providing city services, but want those services expanded and improved anyway.
At least Mufi's cutting some of the tax increase. He could go even further if Jeremy coughs up the $100,000 of city money he spent on that book in his final week in office.
'We the people' must be their only concern
What if our elected officials were like Nascar drivers and had to wear logos of their corporate sponsors? We would see aloha shirts with oil, drug, real estate, chemical and biotech logos on them.
Our legislators need to support the "Voter-Owned Hawaii" public funding bill this legislative session. Instead of corporate logos, our legislators would have a choice to wear something different on their aloha shirts: "of, by, and for the people."
Bush should follow wiretapping rules
Wiretapping us violates the Constitution, and the president has admitted to doing just that. He should be stopped and held accountable. This is not about tracking terrorists, because there is a procedure in place, which utilizes the judiciary, to get a warrant to wiretap. I understand that it takes less than a day, and is aimed at protecting our civil liberties.
What the president is doing is spying on citizens and creating a chilling effect on our freedom of speech. When I make a call to Asia, I now think twice before talking about politics or criticizing the current regime for fear of being targeted by the secret government organizations and being put in jail like the other innocent Americans who have fallen into their overly broad net.
Congress did not give permission to spy on individuals without first obtaining a warrant. You might be too young to remember World War II's Hitler and Stalin, but this is how it starts.
Ewa university would solve many problems
Think out of the box. Forget rail transit -- instead, build a completely new University of Hawaii in Ewa from the ground up, and also provide space and facilities to move the bulk of the city and state government functions to Ewa. This should cut at least 25-40 percent of the town-bound traffic.
Turn the current UH-Manoa into a government/private partnership (we already own the land) to build and manage smoke-, alcohol- and drug-free dorm-type structures for the single and homeless, also low- and middle-income (translation affordable) rentals. This would also provide access to jobs, medical care, etc., by bus instead of the current parking/traffic gridlock in the Manoa area. All the existing sports venues could be utilized by the whole neighborhood and the new public/private partnership so waste is kept at a minimum.
This will provide some spark of hope to our children and grandchildren and their families, a way to stay here and keep the families strong and supportive of each other.
I think this will be the best use for the .5 percent general excise tax increase. This would help everyone, no matter where they live on Oahu.