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Friday, December 18, 1998


Property assessments are done unfairly

The current political policy is to overtax the "little guys" with higher fees and regressive taxes while sparing the "big guys." The latest example of this is the proposal to raise property taxes, bus passes, and golf, vehicle registration and fuel fees again.

This, of course, will leave us with less money to spend at small, local businesses, decreased GET revenues and increased pain for ordinary taxpayers. All the while, the "can't raise taxes" mantra hides sources of revenue that are never mentioned.

The present property taxes are an average of those in an area. Therefore, the small homeowner is lumped together with big properties, and an average of their values is paid by both.

Why isn't property tax assessed according to the real value of each lot instead, rather than an average?

Under the present system the small homeowner must pay more, while the large property owner pays less -- since an average is less than the real value of high-end properties. Since this is the case, why don't we tax only high-end properties at a higher rate and leave small-homeowners alone?

Renee Ing

Democrats in state, city take turns raising taxes

Smoke and mirrors! Here's one: The governor and Legislature can't take the political heat for raising taxes, so they punt the ball to the counties by eliminating their share of the hotel room tax by about $20 million.

Hey, that's about the same amount that the City and County of Honolulu is short in its budget.

You mean it's easier for the city to weather the political heat of increasing property taxes when it's not an election year? Yes, but the state will reciprocate when it's an election year for the mayor and Council.

This is the problem when one political party dominates Hawaii government. The Democrats believe that raising taxes is always the answer, so we get our pockets picked left and right every other year at state and county levels.

Bruce Wong

City should charge by-the-bag trash fee

I recognize that a healthy environment depends on a healthy economy. It is ironic, then, that our sagging economy presents us with an opportunity to reduce our garbage.

Mayor Harris has proposed to bolster the city's coffers by imposing a $1-per-pickup garbage collection fee, which is common in mainland cities.

Instead, why not charge "by the bag," which would encourage source reduction and cycling? My reading suggests, for example, that communities which charge fees by the bag have reduced waste going to landfills by up to 45 percent. I understand this represents as much or more waste reduction as is achieved by community recycling programs.

Besides rewarding waste reduction, such a scheme would reward people who already separate out such recyclables as green waste, paper, plastics and metals. It would create an incentive for others to begin doing the same.

A flat fee generates revenues for the city. A by-the-bag garbage fee would do the same and promote waste reduction and recycling.

Rick Klemm

June Jones should enjoy adulation while it lasts

See the jolly smiles by Mortimer and Cayetano? All the adoring sportswriters? The visions of new facilities and practice fields and winning seasons?

Gee, all this seems familiar. Oh, I remember. The same ritual occurred when vonAppen stepped up to save UH football. And a few years earlier, when Wagner came to town.

June Jones should enjoy the aloha, but he shouldn't be fooled by the ceremony. This crowd chews through coaches like a dog with a bone.

R.C. Johnson

Yoshida should be held responsible for failure

I have watched and read with amazement all the stories about the UH Rainbow football team's failed season. I have always wondered why so much emphasis is placed on sports by the school and our news media. The goal of any university should be to provide outstanding education for its students.

However, if we are going place such emphasis on sports, the atheletic director should bear a substantial amount the responsibility for the failed season as well. If Fred vonAppen goes, so should Hugh Yoshida.

David Kluempers
(Via the Internet)

More can be done to stop drunk driving in Hawaii

Thank you for the praise you gave MADD-Hawaii in your Nov. 23 editorial, and for your ongoing commitment to reporting on the problem of drunk driving in Hawaii.

Although the statistics are still preliminary, it appears that, as of Nov. 30, 41 people were killed in Hawaii in 1998 by drunk drivers. Although lower than last year, this number still represents far too many lives being lost and families torn apart by this tragic and completely preventable violent crime.

Let's make 1999 the year that Hawaii gets tough on drunk driving:

Bullet Encourage elected officials to work toward tougher laws, including those that will help protect our youth. These include "graduated licensing" and "use and lose," the suspension of a young person's license as the penalty for alcohol-related offenses.

Bullet Insist that friends get a ride home with a non-drinking "designated" driver or in a taxi.

Bullet Talk to a teen about why it's definitely "not cool" to drink.

Bullet Tie a red ribbon on your vehicle to remind yourself and others not to drink and drive.

Bullet Get involved with MADD's youth outreach programs or with our assistance program for drunk driving victims and other families.

For more ideas, visit our website at www.MADD.org. We can make Hawaii's roads safer in the near year, but only if we work together.

Theresa Paulette
President, Board of Directors

Akana doesn't understand Bishop Estate investigation

Rowena Akana's claim of promoting harmony and consensus at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is questionable. Her naive and uneducated statement concerning the investigation of the Bishop Estate by Attorney General Margery Bronster portends behavior that is not intellectually honest.

Akana fails to understand that the primary requisite for consensus is accountability to the very group that one is attempting to achieve consensus with. Certainly alumni, parents, teachers and students of Kamehameha Schools are part of that group.

Akana's failure to define or have defined for her the terms "parens patriae" and "charitable trust" further exacerbates the suspicion that she is uninformed and irresponsible. And her comparison of the investigation of the Bishop Estate to that of Kenneth Starr's investigation of Bill Clinton is ludicrous, to say the least.

Hawaiians forced this investigation, Mrs. Akana, or haven't you noticed?

Unprincipled posturing is not what we need at OHA for the next four years. Bishop Estate trustee Lokelani Lindsey tried that, and look where she's at!

Rod Ferreira
Kamehameha Schools, Class of 1952
Kamuela, Hawaii

Big Island residents show NIMBY attitude

Here we go again. Big Island residents oppose the building of a new prison. Having lived in Kona and now a resident of Oahu, I recall my foolish Big Island friends lamenting the pollution and sulfur smell from the geothermal plant in Puna. Now it's the new prison.

Whether we like it or not, our prison population will be housed in Hawaii. There is no better place to build a prison -- plenty of fresh air, lots of room, a good view and time enough to contemplate why they were sent there.

We are all islands of one state. If the folks on the Big Isle want lower utility bills, they should build a decent power plant at Kawaihae. They already have the worst air quality in the Pacific due to Pele. A power plant will eliminate brown-outs and not add to their vog.

I left Kona because of this community's ignorance. Helco is not the cause of the people's problems there, and Governor Cayetano is going to build a medium-security prison at Kulani.

Those of you on the Big Island who want all the benefits of the state, but cannot accept any of the problems, auwe!

Michael Powers

Wilson should be retained as head of state DLNR

Mike Wilson should be reappointed head of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. If it weren't for him, the Ka Iwi coastline would just be more concrete, housing and golf courses.

It started as the voice of a few saying, "Save Sandy Beach," calling for the preservation of this pristine area. It was the signatures of thousands who signed the Sandy Beach initiative petition that stopped the housing. It was the hard work of many volunteers who educated community groups and neighborhood boards about what the city and Kaiser were planning to do to Queen's Beach. They wanted to take away the last undeveloped shoreline on Oahu, aside from Kaena Point.

It was Wilson who counseled his boss, Governor Cayetano, to see the vision of preserving the coastline at Ka Iwi. Cayetano wisely put the public's money into purchasing the land for all generations to come. This beautiful stretch of coast will always be for all people, because of the foresight of Wilson, who saw it as a priority of his department.

Lisa Keala Carter
(Via the Internet)

CSEA ignores its clients on the mainland, too

Your two-part series on the chaos at the Child Support Enforcement Agency explains why I am having so much trouble with it on a personal basis. I am supposed to receive child support checks from CSEA and have also not received a payment.

In addition, I have tried for more than two years to have CSEA change my name on the checks issued to me. While my bank has not given me any problems cashing it under my former name, thankfully, I will keep writing letters to CSEA. Someday, I hope to get this resolved.

Joy Nakama
Spokane, Wash.
(Via the Internet)

Natatorium deserves better treatment

I am a veteran who was born and raised on Oahu. I used to swim in the Natatorium. In 1988, while visiting my mother, I took my wife to visit Waikiki and was surprised to see the condition of this great memorial, dedicated to the people who fought in World War I.

I wrote a letter to Mayor Fasi and expressed what this grand symbol meant, not only to me but to the thousands of youngsters who used to spend their summer vacations swimming there. Also, by not upkeeping this symbol, we are no longer honoring those brave veterans.

Keep up the good work and let's not forget that the military did serve, is serving and will continue to serve this great nation. Thanks to all who voted to preserve this great memorial.

Antonio Fernandez
Tacoma, Wash.
(Via the Internet)

Judges are underpaid? Oh, give us a break!

It humors me to see the advertisement in the newspaper for the job of "Judge, Circuit Court of the Second Circuit." With the pay being so low ("only" $87,000 a year), I am sure there will be no takers.

I recently returned to a teaching position with the Department of Education after having had a business career. Although I have graduate credits beyond those required to be an attorney (who are the only ones who can apply for a judgeship), my pay from the state is 42 percent that of a judge's current pay.

So who is underpaid in this state?

Sanford W. Friedman
(Via the Internet)

Government should stop being morality police

I agree with David Eyre's tongue-in-cheek Dec. 12 View Point regarding the return of a red-light district in downtown Honolulu. While he may have been a little mocking in his advocacy, the bottom line is that people will do what they want, illegal or not, and that the government should get out of the business of regulating activities between consenting adults.

What is the crime being committed here? Are someone's feelings being hurt?

That philosophy goes hand-in-hand with Rep. Nestor Garcia's Other Views column in the same issue. Government will never rid society of crime and, since the police can't be everywhere, why not decriminalize the so-called crimes that do not harm others and/or their property? Let the cops and the courts focus on real crimes; then maybe we won't need so many jail cells.

Sure, the moral guardians will cry out about the decline of society, and that's just the problem. These self-righteous moralistic types deem themselves holier than thou, telling the rest of us what to do and how to do it.

James Ko
(Via the Internet)

A foster child's wish is usually for a family

Last night I asked my children (a mixture of foster, adopted and birth kids) for their letters to Santa. The following is one written by my newest foster child of three weeks.

I hope it will remind everyone of how precious and valuable a family is and not to take it for granted. Thank you to the foster parents who "hang in there" during all the trying times.

Sherri Giron

Dear Santa:

Hello, it's just me. Well, I've been a good girl this year. I messed up at least three times but not as bad as before.

Well, I thought long and hard about what I really wanted. I want a CD player so I can play my CDs, a silver Hawaiian bracelet with my Hawaiian name "Kina" engraved on it, and a camera so I can take some nice pictures so I can send some to my real dad on the mainland.

I also want a family I can kind of call my own, but I'm already 18. I know I'm an adult, but I still need to feel love by a family that I don't even have. Being an orphan and ward of the state really stinks.


Krestina Buist
(better known as Tina)

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