Concrete overwhelms Waikiki's charm
In countless cities around the world there are immense buildings that have stood for centuries untouched, as beautiful examples of architecture from bygone eras. Be it cathedrals, grand hotels, libraries, banks, opera houses, homes, even shopping arcades, that blend well with the tall, high-tech structures of present day, allowing for lush parks and sensible planning.
Except for the Royal Palace in downtown Honolulu, we continue to demolish, rebuild, refurbish, renew, in an attempt to improve almost constantly. But instead, much like any celebrity having a facelift, after the facelift, things become garish and unrecognizable.
Waikiki in general today is a plethora of concrete gone mad, and no matter how many times we try to fix it, the ambiance of a tropical resort has long gone.
John L Werrill
System is set up to handle tax appeals
The Real Property Assessment Division annually receives many thousands of inquiries from the public regarding property assessments. It has been my experience, through many letters written by the public commending the division for excellent customer service, that Phillip Rosser's experience is unusual ("Tax office exemplifies terrible service," Letters, July 25
). However, I do regret the experience he received when inquiring about his property assessment.
Assessment notices are mailed by Dec. 15 of each year to property owners, who may contact the Property Assessment Division and discuss any concerns they might have. If they are not satisfied, they have until Jan. 15 to file a tax appeal.
Unfortunately, in Rosser's case, he was not the owner of record at the time of the property assessment notice mailing in December. The owner who received the assessment notice did not file an appeal to dispute the assessment. However, Rosser's concerns will be considered in the analysis for the 2008 assessments.
We are always willing to listen to property owners' concerns, but must ensure that while addressing their concerns, we also comply with the law.
Mary Patricia Waterhouse
Department of Budget and Fiscal Services
City and County of Honolulu
It's easy for doctors to miss MS symptoms
Every hour someone is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Despite decades of study, the causes of this disease are still unclear and there is no cure.
I was diagnosed with MS more than three years ago. Unfortunately, it took more than 25 years, which is half of my lifetime, for numerous physicians to finally connect the symptoms. A former doctor told me that it was just "old age." That was when I was 44.
I then joined a fibromyalgia support group and was referred to a doctor who was willing to help me. It took another year and a half to correctly diagnose me with the help of an MRI, which was the test I had needed all along. I can't help but wonder if I had begun treatment sooner, would my symptoms be less severe? I have muscle aches, imbalance and leg weakness. My right side is worse because of what is called foot drop.
More funding is necessary to explore the possibility that something in the environment could trigger this disease among veterans and other Americans. I'm urging our federal legislators to support the $15 million defense appropriation for MS research funding through the congressionally directed medical research programs.
Grace Guevara Dunn
Don't bother labeling beer and wine
The Bush administration is pushing for nutrition labels on beer and wine. I drink beer, and I know before I take that first sip that what is about to ensue is not nutritiously good for me. Do I really care? Not! Besides, after a couple of beers I can't read the labels anyway.
Make big changes with a state ConCon
I totally agree with Star-Bulletin columnist Richard Borreca ("On Politics," July 29
) on the need for a Constitutional Convention. We cannot and must not trust our legislators to reform and clean up our state. They talked big at the opening and closed without any meaningful ethics reform for themselves. They never will.
ConCon could give concerned citizens an opportunity to make our Constitution "of the people, by the people and for the people." Current legislators must not be allowed to run for ConCon delegates. The people will have to carefully select delegates to avoid special interests from controlling it.
The Star-Bulletin can help stir up interest by giving its readers an opportunity to suggest items they would like to see changed. The one I would like to offer is a full-time, year-round unicameral Legislature. Forbid any member from having other employment and make all of the fewer seats open to all voters. This will prevent some candidates from running in "safe" seats. With only one house, bills are kept in the open. They are totally responsible for the results. They could no longer blame the other guys.
Let's shake 'em up!