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Tuesday, March 3, 1998

Trustees should be willing to serve for less money

Why is it so hard to set Bishop Estate trustees' salary caps? Passing the buck doesn't help things. The Judiciary Committee doesn't need another task force to study the issue.

There are many good people out there who are willing to serve as trustees, I'm sure, with a set salary of $100,000 annually. The trustees, who could be selected by Na Pua a Ke Ali'i Pauahi, must be of high moral character with good educational and business backgrounds, and should be willing to serve with their hearts and souls to bring forth easier access to Kamehameha Schools.

I hope all Hawaiian groups oppose the retaining of the current trustees and fight their huge salaries.

Bertha K.Y. Char

Hiring Tom as its attorney paid off for Bishop Estate

My Dad says the proof is in the pudding or "da poi." For that reason, I have come to believe that the Bishop Estate trustees' $48,000 "investment" in state Rep. Terrance Tom paid great dividends.

For that measly sum, they got Tom to pretend that he was ducking the issue of reducing the trustees' $850,000 annual salaries. And they got the entire House Judiciary Committee to publicly state that they do not have enough brains to resolve this problem.

Paying one legislator with $48,000 to save one's personal salary of $850,000 is a good deal. Too bad those little Hawaiian kids didn't get anything from the deal, too. But what's new about that? Nothing.

Joseph F. Zuiker

Bishop Estate Archive

Charging hotel room to OHA was unwarranted

I am dismayed by the lack of full reporting in your Feb. 21 article, "Trustee's 'ridiculous charges' leave Sen. Inouye 'insulted'"; no one from your newspaper contacted me regarding Senator Inouye's letter.

My intent was not to infer any wrongdoing by the senator. I wanted to point out, to Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Frenchy DeSoto, my concern over a purchase order -- one for OHA to pay for her hotel room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Feb. 19. Listed on the purchase order was a meeting with Senator Inouye as justification.

Evidently, there was no meeting, but there was a political fund-raiser being held at the hotel for the senator. Coincidence? The last time I checked, using beneficiary dollars to attend a political fund-raiser was inappropriate.

Because of the way this story was approached, I perceive this to be a political move initiated by factions who would not like to see me get re-elected.

Rowena M.N. Akana
OHA Trustee-At-Large

Tax season reminds us how little we really get

Tax season is upon us, as a wolf upon a lamb. Add up your state, federal and Social Security taxes, and see how much you pay. Add the excise tax and all the taxes hidden in the price of things you buy. As one of the owners of the country, are you getting good value for the taxes you pay? I doubt it.

Giving money to the government is like giving a drink to an alcoholic. Or cocaine to an addict. It does them no good, and they may want more!

You have a vote and a voice. Stop government from taxing you more, and more, and more.

Mark Terry

If government payrolls aren't cut, we're doomed

The governor and Legislature must stop playing games and face the facts: The enormous cost of government cannot be supported by the state's revenues and must be drastically reduced.

In plain English, this means a reduction of 5-10 percent of government employees for the next several years, until the payroll is down to a level that is actually required for vital services.

This issue and the one involving payments for ceded lands should have been included in the Economic Revitalization Task Force's recommendations, but they were not. To not address these issues leaves their recommendations incomplete.

Since 1998 is an election year, we will continue to see every nonsensical idea advanced -- from the exporting of fighting cocks to the imposition of the general excise tax on life insurance proceeds and inheritance as a means of generating additional revenues -- to avoid reducing the state payroll.

If this scenario proves correct, the economy will only worsen. We will all be watching to see what happens during the current legislative session and we will know at its end who deserves our votes.

Robert M. Chapman

Don't tax the investors of time-share units

I own a time-share property on the Big Island. While I visit my property just one week a year, I pay my taxes and patronize local vendors.

Each year at this time, I read about a Transient Occupancy Tax being proposed at the Legislature. I find this very discriminatory. I am not a transient: I am a condominium owner and I do my share for the economy, including paying county real property taxes.

If you continue to single out the visitor industry to contribute even more with this discriminatory tax, owners like myself will stop investing in Hawaii.

Linda S. Inamine

If bus, lunch prices go up, needy students will suffer

In response to state government raising the price of public-school lunches: What if some students who are less fortunate can't pay that extra quarter? What will they eat?

Or what if the bus prices go up and they don't have the money? How will they get home?

The answer to this is maybe the governor can give us something in return. Maybe he can give us an extra day off or make the bus price free.

It isn't really fair because the people who price hikes hurt the most are students who don't really have a say in all of this. That's why I'm writing.

Erik Tomita
Ninth Grade, Leilehua High School

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