LIHU’E — John Barretto Jr. wants to take up where he left off 15 years ago
when he was a Kaua’i County Council member: Fighting taxes.
In the 1980s,
when some residents risked losing their homes because they couldn’t pay their
property taxes due to high assessments, Barretto formed CART, a citizens’ group
of tax fighters.
Pressure from that group and others statewide led to tax
exemptions for homeowners, including the elderly and low-income, Barretto
If he wins back a council seat this fall, he would renew efforts to
fight increasing property tax rates, he vowed. At the same time, he would
challenge pay raise proposals for Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, her appointees and the
Raises shouldn’t be considered for elected or appointed officials
until the expirations of their terms, Barretto said.
And money for raises
should be used for programs that benefit the public at large, including the
expansion of bus service on the weekends, he added.
If elected, he said he
would work on:
* Better checks and balance between the council and the
* More accountability by the government. “I sincerely
believe that the government is ‘of, for, and by the people,'” Barretto said.
“If it is our government, then we should be told the truth about its
* Using the county’s powers of adverse possession to acquire
* A management plan for the disposal of garbage.
Control the use of variances by the county Planning Commission.
development by enforcing the general plan update.
Barretto said he isn’t
anti-development but would only support resort or commercial projects that will
help make Kaua’i a better place.
“We cannot continue to approve development
at any cost because they promise jobs,” he said.
No more visitor industry
developments or zoning changes should be allowed until hotel room occupancies
reach 90 percent and holds at that level for at least a year, Barretto
“Let’s send a message to the state of Hawai’i and the visitor
industry: No more until you give us what we need,” he said. That would include
better-paying jobs, road improvements, parks, restrooms and trails, he said.
More often than not, the Planning Commission grants variances that thwart
good planing for developments, Barretto said. He insisted all variances that
are submitted by developers should be approved by a two-thirds vote of the
Barretto, describing his leadership qualities, said, “When I
see a problem, I go to work. To be a leader, you need vision. You must always
plan for the very worst, so you can achieve the very best.”
held a council seat from 1983 to 1986, when he left public office after losing
a mayoral bid.
In addition to government service, he has 40 years of
business experience that he said could help guide the council. A retired
businessman, he once owned nine gasoline stations on O’ahu, a Snap-on Tools
dealership on O’ahu, Fishing for Fun Charters, Ahukini Marine Service and
At the age of 20, he opened his first business, a service
station in Honolulu.
From 1968, when he returned to Kaua’i, he operated
Auto Aid, an vehicle towing, used parts and metal salvage company. The
business, he said, was instrumental in keeping derelict autos off county
Barretto said he is self-made, a high school graduate who learned
bout life through the “college of hard knocks.”
A 67-year-old Kapa’a
resident, he is married and cares for his 92-year-old
Barretto said his role model was his father, the “wisest
person I ever met.” He taught Barretto to be kind and gentle and to live by the
“golden rule and the word of the Lord.”
Staff writer Lester Chang can
be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and firstname.lastname@example.org