JOHN BARRETTO / 1933-2003

Kauai politician pushed
for lower property taxes

LIHUE >> Longtime political activist and former Kauai County Councilman John Barretto died Saturday. He was 69.

Barretto filled an unexpired term on the Council for 2 1/2 years in the early '80s. He was defeated in the following election, but won office in 1984. Two years later, he failed in an attempt to unseat Mayor Tony Kunimura.

"He was a very feisty advocate, especially for lower property taxes," said former Council Chairman Ron Kouchi, who served with Barretto. "He was like a bulldog; he'd grab you by the ankle and wouldn't let go."

Barretto remained active in politics until shortly before his death, often speaking at County Council meetings against government waste, high property taxes and uncontrolled development on Kauai. He last ran for the Council in 2002, despite having had a heart attack and fighting cancer.

"John was really a fighter for the little guy and very unafraid to speak up," said County Councilwoman and former mayor JoAnn Yukimura, who served with Barretto on the Council. "I'm going to miss him very much."

Barretto was born Dec. 15, 1933, in Kealia, Kauai. At various points in his career, Barretto owned a tow truck service, a scrap yard, a boat repair yard and a charter fishing company. He lived in Kapaa.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 4 at St. Catherine's Church in Kapaa.

Barretto is survived by wife Kathleen, sons Michael of Kapaa and Daniel of Florida, daughters Kristine of California and Penny of Washington, mother Ida Barretto of Omao, five sisters, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.


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