Letters for Wednesday — Nevember 02, 2005

• More reform warranted

• Centennial Fair was a success

• Truth or reality?

• Common sense, not closing, needed at Queen’s Bath


More reform warranted

Our real property taxes have had startling impact on many citizens in recent years. This year my assessments rose sharply for both our home’s land and its improvements. I decided to appeal. The assessment of our land was not undue, so I limited our appeal to the increase in the assessed value of the improvements. It was an eye-opening experience.

All owners of residential property should know that this year the Tax Assessor elected to increase the assessment of the improvements by 25-percent. Whether your buildings were worth $100,000 or $1,000,000 the assessment rose by 25-percent.

The property tax law provides that all properties are to be assessed at 100-percent of their market value and buildings are to be assessed using systematic methods.

Last week my hearing at the Tax Review Board occurred. I offered my contentions that using the replacement cost less depreciation method (which has been the practice of the tax department) increases in value of our improvements averaging about 5-percent in recent years in keeping with area inflation data could not reasonably have risen 25-percent and that the assessment was not in accordance with law which mandated valuation using systematic methods.

Although the County Tax Code provides that the Tax Review Board shall decide both issues of fact and of law, the panel advised that they had been instructed by the County Attorney that they should only determine valuation issues. The Chief Appraiser acting for the County apparently stung by the fact his assessments were being challenged stated that no one — not Mr. Baptiste nor Mr. Tresler nor anyone else — was going to tell him how to do his job. He stated that the method being used was resulting in lower building assessments than he felt were appropriate, and that he had a duty to “catch up.” Catch up is not a systematic method.

The result was that although the assessment approved failed to be at 100-percent of market and failed to be made by systematic methods, the panel routinely approved it.

Taxpayers already distressed by our property tax laws and their administration should recognize that the tribunal established to provide equity on tax issues is but another instance where our citizens need real reform.

  • Walter Lewis
    Princeville

Centennial Fair was a success

The Mokihana Club members wish to thank everyone who participated in its Centennial Birthday FAIR celebration at Smith’s Tropical Paradise Sunday, Oct. 9, 2005; those who attended and those who worked to make it successful.

A special mahalo to all the family members, friends, neighbors and outside organizations who helped set up on the Saturday before, and those who worked through the event on Sunday and the tear down Sunday night and Monday. They made this monumental occasion possible.

This successful event won’t be duplicated again for 100 years.

  • Lenore Klass
    Koloa

Truth or reality?

Mr. Gibboney’s examples of “scientific truths” in the Bible (GI, 27 Oct 05) is more an example of selective thinking than of scientific truth. Here is the reality of his four examples:

1. Atoms are not invisible. They are just extremely small and have no color. The can be seen with electron microscopes. Color is added to make the atoms visible.

2. Circumcision on the 8th day is done for religious, not medical, reasons. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said that there is no medical benefit to circumcision. Today, Vitamin K injections are routinely given to newborns to speed up blood-clotting. Circumcision may safely be performed from the first 48 hours of life until well into old age.

3. Mr. Gibboney quotes Job 26:7 which says, “He…hangs the earth upon nothing” but conveniently ignores Job 9:6 which says that the earth rests upon pillars and doesn’t move unless God gets angry.

4. Mr. Gibboney’s claim that the “circle” referred to in Isaiah 40:22 was a sphere instead of a two-dimensional discoid is nothing more than wishful thinking and is not supported by the facts. Besides, ancient Greeks and Egyptians knew the Earth to be a sphere as early as the 25th Century BCE…more than a thousand years before the alleged time of Moses. Mr. Gibboney also conveniently forgets Daniel 4:10-11 which talks of a tall tree from which one could see “to the end of all the earth.” Then there is Matthew 4:8 which talks of an “exceeding high mountain” from which one could see “all the kingdoms of the world.” Obviously the author of those two passages did not believe the Earth to be a sphere.

By the way, Columbus actually used the measurements of Greek geographer Posidonius to convince his supporters that he could reach Asia by sailing west. At that time, most scholars accepted the measurements of the circumference of Earth made by Eratosthenes in the 2nd Century BCE. His numbers were a little bit high but were still very accurate. Posidonius estimated the circumference to be about 7000 miles shorter than it really is. Naturally, the much shorter distance was more agreeable to Columbus’ backers.

  • Brian Christensen
    Lihu’e

Common sense, not closing, needed at Queen’s Bath

I agree in part with Joe Marvin’s recent missive regarding Queen’s Bath.

Perhaps we should also close Ke’e and Po’ipu beaches because of the recent drownings.

A few years ago I wrote the following:

For many years I look forward to the large winter north shore surf crashing into Queen’s Bath. One of the most beautiful, breathtaking and thrilling of nature’s many displays. When twenty to thirty-foot surf crashes in, shooting hundreds of feet in the air, the common sense approach (obviously? HELLO!) would be to stay above the rock out-cropping in the tree line. Because one would have to have a death wish to ven-ture anywhere near the Tiger’s Eye.

Common sense cannot be legislated. No one can protect me from myself. Every winter I am amazed at the number of tourists who venture close to the Tiger, perhaps to get a better picture. Closing the bath, punishing me for someone else’s arrogance and stupidity, is unacceptable! We all have free will and choice, even to the point of suicide. The signs at the trail head are very clear as to the danger.

I have always avoided standing in front of speeding freight trains, but if someone else wishes to, Hasta la Vista, baby and Vaya Con Dios! There is no way I can prevent anyone else from doing so.

Come check out one of God’s more beautiful creations at the bath, bring common sense.

Perhaps those of you who direct tourists to the bath could make copies of this letter and hand them to the tourists you direct there. Take some responsibility.

And a county sign signifying how many people have drowned might be appropriate.

  • Billy Whelan
    Kapa’a
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