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Letters for Monday — April 10, 2006

• No increase needed if less is spent

• Coffers overflowing but problems untouched

• No ethics on Kaua’i

• A big mahalo to Maui

• Is the aloha spirit alive?

• Don’t forget proper postage

No increase needed if less is spent

Spring is in the air and has brought forth an overabundance of rain with its many problems. This is also the season during which we are blessed (??) with the annual “Notice of Property Assessment” for the 2006-07 year. As a result, this brings up the following comments and observations.

Obviously, assessed valuations have risen considerably during recent years. For most families, their home is probably the largest investment they will ever make and, like any investment, one does not like to see their investment decrease in value.

However, without being overly simplistic, the number of dollars taken from one’s pocket (the tax bill) is only indirectly affected by the assessed valuation of the property. The tax bill is directly tied in to what the government “wants or needs to spend” — the so-called budget.

Thus if our government holds its spending for the coming year, to that of the previous year, an increase in the tax bill would be needed as the tax rate can then be reduced to offset any increase in the assessed valuations!

All in favor, say “aye!”

  • Joe Stoddard

Coffers overflowing but problems untouched

With rising property values the county coffers are now overflowing with cash. Have many (any) of the problems that need attention been addressed since all this money is available? I haven’t seen much change, have you? What will happen when tax income decreases when property values level off or decrease? If the job can’t get done with the dollars available now, how will things get done if income is reduced?

I suppose higher tax rates will be necessary.

As my brother-in-law says: Incompetence and inefficiency is another way of saying government officials.

  • Ron Koczaja

No ethics on Kaua’i

The Kaua’i Board of Ethics is a joke. There are no ethics on Kaua’i. Mayor Baptiste and councilmembers Kaipo Asing JoAnn Yukimura, James Tokioka, Jay Furfaro, Mel Rapozo, Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and Daryl Kaneshiro wouldn’t know ethics if it hit them in the face.

Our Kauai politicians voted to rezone thousands and thousands of acres of former agricultural lands as favors for big developers like A & B, Grove Farm, the Moody family (Kealia), the Robinson family (Pakala) and the Fayé family (Waimea) to build hotels, condos, timeshare apartments, shops, offices and thousands of expensive homes.

At the state level, Mina Morita, Bertha Kawakami, Ezra Kanoho and Gary Hooser voted to spend $24,000,000 to build cruise ship facilities at the Kekaha small boat harbor. This will benefit big businesses like the Fayé family which owns all of the land next to the harbor.

What did our Kaua’i politicians receive in return for doing these favors for big developers? Money? Expensive gifts? Free trips to Las Vegas? You know, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch your back. Ethics! Who gives a heck about ethics?

Throw the bums out!

  • Jerry J. Sokugawa

A big mahalo to Maui

I’d like to thank the volunteers from the Maui American County Red Cross Disaster Assistance Team who put their lives on hold to come help their neighbors in need.

Since Kaua’i had no Disaster Assistance Team of its own to respond to the results of the dam break and the flooding, Red Cross Chapter head-quarters sent us help to aid folks here who might need shelter or have water damage to their homes. The experienced Maui team worked tirelessly to assess damage to homes around the island and help those who lost bedding, food and clothes.

Volunteer Steve Kahakua from Wailuku has been teaching Red Cross courses in an effort to qualify enough Kaua’i volunteers to make up a Disaster Assistance Response team of our own. We now have trained response volunteers in most areas except the North Shore. Red Cross volunteers are still needed from that side.

The next Kaua’i disaster may be of an even bigger scale and I hope we will be better prepared to respond quickly to our own county’s needs. We have been made aware of the need for improved cooperation, communication and collaboration among our non-profit organizations for more efficient disaster response services.

To accomplish this, Kaua’i would benefit from establishing a VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters).

Other Hawai’i counties currently have VOADs working with representatives from state and county disaster preparedness organizations. Each member has a clear picture of their roll in the plan and they know who to call on for additional help. They are personally familiar with the people they will be working with in times of disaster. Perhaps the Aloha United Way could make this happen.

Mahalo to Steve and the Maui DAT Team!

  • Sue Scott

Is the aloha spirit alive?

On Friday, April 7, at about 3:30 p.m. en route to Lihu’e Airport from Waimea, my sister accidentally lost her luggage.

We suspect this happened in Lawa’i near the Garden Island Mortuary.

Despite returning to the area for a search, we could not find the suitcase.

As a returning resident (born and raised here), I am truly disappointed.

Kaua’i has changed, but the people have changed more.

What is truly sad is the only item of importance to my sister is her personal address book that contained local names and phone numbers, and if anyone called one of those numbers anonymously, my sister would be notified.

She lives on the Mainland.

Fellow Kauaians, we should be ashamed.

  • Jean Talaro

Don’t forget proper postage

This is a heads-up for all tax payers.

I had my taxes done and promptly sent them in, only to receive them back the next day for lack of sufficient stamps.

Make sure you have enough postage to send them on their way!

  • S.C. Aquino

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