to the Editor

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Saturday, June 26, 1999

Democratic Party is losing support

For 25 years I have voted for Democrats but I have abandoned the Democratic Party. I will now support the Republican Party of Hawaii.

The Democrats have disillusioned me with their long line of broken promises. They made sweetheart deals with their friends and shafted the hard-working taxpayers of Hawaii. For 30 years, the Democratic-controlled Legislature plundered the state treasury. We are in our current economic mess because of these ill-conceived policies.

Former Bishop Estate trustees Henry Peters and Richard Wong were good ol' boys as well as Democrats, who took care of their friends and crushed all opposition. Using disinformation or spin to confuse the electorate is the Democratic way of hanging onto power.

Here's my message to the Democrats: The people of Hawaii will not tolerate your party any more. We will vote in every race to oust Democratic legislators. The people will dump terrible politicians like Sen. Marshall Ige and the other senators who voted down the best attorney general this state has ever had.

Nathan Kilbey
Class of 1968, Kamehameha Schools

Hawaii is overtaxing property owners

We are both in our 70s. In June 1998, we bought a condominium at 2161 Kalia Road in Waikiki. We rented it out for three months, but now no longer rent it out.

Within a year, our Hawaii property taxes have jumped from $462 a year to $863 annually -- almost double. We pay state tax, excise tax, transient accommodation tax (hotel room tax) and property tax.

The main reason tourism is down in Hawaii is because the government is taxing people to death! There is something definitely wrong with your tax system.

Solomon and Helga Berge
San Francisco

Most condo owners won't pay more taxes

Recent letters may give readers the erroneous impression that the city is balancing its budget on the backs of condominium owners. Next year's city budget calls for $393 million to be raised in real property taxes, the same amount budgeted for the current year.

This is notable because, last year, state lawmakers reduced the counties' share of the hotel room tax. This means a whopping $13 million less for Honolulu.

Nonetheless, through expenditure cuts, the budget has been balanced without a tax increase:

Bullet Fifty percent of the $393 million will come from "non-residential" properties. These include hotels, commercial, industrial, agricultural and conservation land.
Bullet The remaining 50 percent will come from residential property owners. Of this piece, two-thirds will be paid by "single-family" home owners and the remaining one-third will be paid by "condominium and townhouse" type property owners. This one-third share of $65 million, or 16.5 percent of all real property tax collections, is the exact amount of the current year -- no more, no less.

The good news for condominium and townhouse owners is that 1,244 more units have been built and added to the tax rolls within the last year. That means that the $65 million will be spread over a larger base, resulting in many owners actually paying less taxes.

Yes, there will also be owners who see increases, since real property values are quite dynamic and change from year to year. But this happens every assessment period, not just now.

Roy K. Amemiya Jr.
Director, Department of Budget and Fiscal Services
City and County of Honolulu
Via the Internet



"We started with crack seed, shave ice, soda and popcorn. Honestly, I thought people would just come in and I was shocked they didn't. Then one day, my wife brought home ice cakes. Ice cakes turned this thing around."

Glenn Yamamoto
President of Samurai Inc.
On how the selling of flavored ice cakes saved his Aiea store, Samurai Shave Ice

"They got their butts kicked. But they also got a lot of accolades."

Brig. Gen. Edward "Butch" Correa
Commander of the Hawaii Army National Guard
After more than 2,000 Army guardsmen and reservists from Hawaii survived three weeks of intense combat training in Louisiana

Restaurant reviewer has prejudiced palate

I have had the pleasure of managing Angelo Pietro's Kapahulu restaurant since November 1998. I read Nadine Kam's critique of the restaurant last August and it wasn't a good one. Since that time, I believe that the restaurant has matured and improved its food and service, but our records show that business declined by 25 percent since the appearance of Kam's article.

As a veteran of 25 years in the local restaurant business, I never patronize a new restaurant until it has been open at least two months. I do this so problems can be worked out. Your food critic should follow the same example.

Now comes Kam's June 17 review about Bobby's Bistro, and again it was not a good one. I was shocked to see my restaurant mentioned in this negative article with respect to our style of cuisine, which is a fusion of Japanese and Italian food.

Kam's article is irresponsible. It appears that she harbors a prejudice against a particular cuisine.

It's hard enough making a business survive, day by day, without the "help" of people who never feel the effect of their actions.

Steve Holmes
Via the Internet

Gay pride parade deserved news ink

Thanks for your extensive coverage of the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade and Festival that occurred on June 19 in Waikiki. Such a newsworthy event in Honolulu's most competent newspaper was such a joy to read...

Oh, wait. There was no story written about that heartful occasion, which united the community in aloha spirit, pride and love. Could it be that the thousands of onlookers witnessed something that the Star-Bulletin missed?

Well, maybe next year. If you need a writer, I volunteer.

Braddoc DeCaires
Via the Internet

Hate crimes warrant special punishment

In her June 21 letter, Janice Judd confuses her right to hate with those rights afforded to her under the First Amendment. Judd is, of course, free to continue to hate all she wants, but there are limitations.

Generally speaking, one's "rights" are limited when they infringe upon the rights of others. Thus, protection from hate crimes can hardly be considered a restriction on Judd's right to hate.

Frances Simons
Koloa, Kauai
Via the Internet

Natatorium disintegrated over the decades

In the 1930s, up until the late '40s, the Waikiki Natatorium was a favorite and exciting swimming hole. There was a water slide, which took me years before I got the guts to try. There were so many diving platforms, my child's ego was not busted for avoiding THE TOP. We were able to swim distances without bumping into others, which happened a lot at the "Y."

Later, there seemed to be so many servicemen swimming there. I wonder if others felt as I did that, maybe, it would be better swimming somewhere else.

By the time the 1950s came, we stopped going there at all. It wasn't clean, wasn't being watched over and repairs weren't being made.

The place really got run down. Whose fault is that?

C.K. Thresher
Via the Internet

Complete restoration should not proceed

Judge Gail Nakatani's recent ruling, state Health Director Bruce Anderson's statement that rules promulgation will take up to a year, admissions that certain segments of our population would likely be denied access to the pool for health and safety reasons (which leaves the city open to costly litigation) and ongoing uncertainties over pool maintenance costs have led me back to my original conclusion: The Waikiki War Memorial and Natatorium restoration should be restricted to the memorial arch.

The permit that the City Council approved can and should be modified for that specific purpose.

Mufi Hannemann
Member Honolulu City Council

Animal lovers, leave meat eaters alone

R. Elton Johnson III asked, in his June 23 letter, why his tax money is going to support a new slaughterhouse in Campbell Industrial Park. Why do residents without children pay taxes to support public schools?

Why do condominium residents with private trash collection pay taxes, which in turn pay city trash collection workers?

Why do animal-rights fanatics feel that they have to convert the world of meat eaters?

I've been in slaughterhouses and the process is very humane and clean, despite what one might imagine. There is a federal inspector on duty at all times to assure that the U.S. has the world's safest food supply and that the process is not inhumane.

Let the animal-rights fanatics enjoy their veggies, and let me enjoy my steaks and burgers. I promise not to stop others from plucking vegetables from the ground and heartlessly chopping and boiling them alive.

Alan Gottlieb
Via the Internet

Citizens must be involved in street renaming

As a charter member of the Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission, I believe that renaming the streets on Barbers Point with Hawaiian names after July 1 would not only culminate our work over the past six years in converting the air station to public use but also address the Hawaiian culture and a city ordinance.

A committee is to be given the task of addressing the 1979 ordinance requiring Hawaiian names for new streets. This committee should consist of at least one member each from the city, the commission, the community, Hawaiian civic clubs and kupuna.

The renaming of roads in Hawaiian will remind us of the early history and culture of the area. Including the community in this process will inspire pride and ownership.

Maeda Timson

Small Pali bus would help pedestrians

Here's an idea for the traffic/pedestrian problems on Pali Highway: Dedicate a small bus to traverse the "loop" between Wyllie Avenue and Waokanaka or some other turn-around point on Old Pali Road.

The bus would accept cash fare, bus passes, transfers and issue transfers.

Pedestrians on the Diamond Head side of Pali Highway who want to cross it -- to get to a town-bound bus or to get to their destination on the Ewa side of the highway after getting off a north-bound bus -- could catch the loop bus.

They could ride it completely around until it makes a stop on the town-bound side of the highway. Vice versa for those on the Ewa side of the highway.

It would take a few minutes longer, but would be safer and would not cost more than the bus fare. Hours of operation could be limited to "peak hours," to be determined by study or by a survey of potential riders.

Drusilla Tanaka
Via the Internet


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