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Letters for Thursday, September 4, 2014

• Elected officials are behind the taxing mess • More discussion on services would be nice • Mason Chock is full of experience • The real math behind the dairy

Elected officials are behind the taxing mess

 If one cares to remember the permanent home deduction was enacted (to appease the public?) after the county sued itself to prevent implementing the will of the voters. The voters had said a resounding yes to a Prop 13 like charter amendment that limited property tax increases to a small percentage annually or the CPI annual increase. 

How dare those taxpaying citizens try to take control of how much taxes they pay, said the county, the state, public employees unions, and the judges, all of whom get their paycheck from the same place (us). After all, we need new computers, new cars, new employees, new services, new everything and somebody’s got to pay for it. Oh, and we need a raise, too. The court ruled that in fiscal matters the only say the voters have is through their elected representatives, i.e. the council, so the council created the permanent home deduction. The hand that giveth also may taketh away! Hence, we find ourselves in this taxing situation.

However, there may be a solution to our ever increasing taxes. Simply refuse to vote for any of the councilmembers who voted to pass the budget and to revamp our property tax system.

Michael Wells, Moloaa

More discussion on services would be nice

Aloha Kakou,

Could councilmembers please explain what specifically “cut services” means?

Also, on the risk of sounding uninformed, are “services” one broad budget line item or is there a line by line item budget for each “service?”

This information would be helpful to start a dialogue other than of raising “revenue.”

Doug Pickels, Hanalei

Mason Chock is full of experience

This is a letter in support of Mason Chock for County Council. 

Voters have many excellent choices in both incumbents and new faces, but it is hard to match the service resume of Mason Chock. Mason was a Rescue Specialist in the County Fire Department. An alumnus of Kamehameha Schools, Mason has honored the tenets of his education by working closely with the Hawaiian community as the executive director of The Native Hawaiian Education Association. 

As the force behind Kupu A’e, Mason’s vision of a better future for our youth will continue to be felt for many generations on Kauai as these life lessons are passed down. 

His list of community service is stellar by any definition: County of Kauai, Drug Prevention Coalition, chair The Kamehameha Schools Association of Kauai, director The Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association of Kauai, vice president The Kauai Planning and Action Alliance, director Kauai Workforce Investment Board, Youth Council, member Filipino Chamber of Commerce, member Kauai Chamber of Commerce, member Association of Experiential Education, member Leadership Kauai, vice president Hoouluwehi Sustainability Advisory Council, KCC, member American Heart Association, first  aid /CPR instructor Kauai Fire Department Relief Fund, board director Kanu I Ka Pono Charter School, board director, founding board member Fatherhood Coalition, founding member Keiki To Career Kauai, Leadership Council Anaina Hou, cultural advisor Certified Master Facilitators of The Leadership Challenge Association of Challenge Course Technology, member Malama Huleia, Steering Committee member.

Read more about Mason at www.Mason4Kauai.org. Vote for Mason Chock for Kauai County Council.

Louisa Wooton, Kilauea

The real math behind the dairy

My husband and I live with our young children, two boys and a girl, in Poipu. We are a young family and very concerned about the health risks, “Nitrate in drinking water causes ‘blue baby syndrome,’ leading to low blood oxygen and possible suffocation,” reported.

The scientists who prepared this publication focus on what nitrogen from dairy manure and urine can do to ground and drinking water in a report for the California State Water Resources Control Board for their full report to the California Legislature. Carlos White, an entomologist from Princeville, wrote about the flies that are certain to come with the proposed dairy in Maha’ulepu. We also worry about the terrible odor that we experienced in the past living near a dairy farm. We know firsthand how bad it can be.

I totally agree with Tom Rice, a recent contributor to The Garden Island, that we all need to do our part to inform others. When we read the current plan unveiled by Hawaii Dairy Farms on July 23, we were amazed to learn that HDF has finally admitted that their herd of 699 cows will produce 143 pounds of manure per cow per day. We found this information on page 42 of HDF’s current plan posted onfriendsofmahaulepu.org. 

HDF also states they will graze the herd in mobs of 105-115 per paddock per day (each paddock being approximately three to four acres). For a herd of 699, HDF plans to use six paddocks per day or 24-plus acres per day constitutes an actual grazing density of 29.1 cows per acre, not the 1.5 cows per acre HDF claimed in their July press release. 

That press release, claiming just 1.5 cows per acre, was based on dividing their entire cow herd, 699 cows, by the farm’s total grazing acres, 699 divided by 470 acres, which equals 1.5 cow per acre. Their plan, however, specifies that the herd will not graze on the entire farm at one time. Rather, their plan describes a rotational plan, grazing of 115 cows per paddock per day on just 24 acres. So, 699 cows divided by 24 acres equals 29.1 cows per acre per day, a very different cow per acre density than what their press release claims. 

HDF anticipates each cows will produce 143 pounds of manure per day, “A mature kiwi-cross cow’s weight is about 1,210 pounds and it produces an average of 143 pounds of manure per day.” 

That amount of waste per day for 699 cows equals a total of 99,957 pounds of manure per day on the 24 acres grazed. That does not take into account urine with its additional nitrogen and other pollutants. In one month the farm site will be covered by 2,998,710 pounds, nearly 150,000 tons of manure alone per month. Their plan also reveals that there are nearby sources of county drinking water wells. Should the state and county really allow that much animal waste to be deposited so close to our sources of drinking water? 

Kat and Michael Clark, Poipu

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