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Letters for Tuesday, June 3, 2008

• And the timeshares?

• Saving energy doesn’t save money?

• Don’t betray facts

• What a great run

And the timeshares?

Good for you, Mayor Bryan Baptiste. The front page of The Garden Island gave an outline of your efforts to modernize our tax code (“Property tax reform bill proposed,” A1, June 2).

It’s about time.

I know that the County Council may not embrace all your suggestions but at least there will be an opportunity to publicly review and discuss the various components.

There always has been one area of the tax code that appears to be sacred and I hope that it is not true this time.

Kaua‘i is the timeshare capital of the world and has demonstrated no desire to lose that title. While many would be willing to settle for second or third place for some reason we keep fighting for favorable benefits for timeshares so that we can retain that world title.

Recently, Maui threw in the towel when they revised the property tax on timeshares to $14 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. We no longer need worry about Maui taking away our title.

It is a fact that condominiums, hotels and timeshares take three times the money spent on government over that spent on homes for police, fire and other governmental services. I am willing to speculate that there will be no provisions in the mayor’s new tax code modifications that addresses the issue of timeshare taxation. The last time that was done was 15 years ago, and that turned out to be a gift for the timeshare industry.

It is said that the devil is in the details. I am willing to publicly ask forgiveness from the mayor if I am guilty of premature and baseless statements. However, when these recommendations become public, I am willing to venture that once again, timeshares will remain untouched, filling the coffers of greedy developers and sales persons among others, all working hard to keep Kaua‘i the No. 1 timeshare development area in the world.

Monroe Richman


Saving energy doesn’t save money?

A Sunday letter (“The math of costly energy,” Letters, June 1) drove me to scrutinize my KIUC bills.

I had been lulled by using autopay the past year and concerned myself only with checking that I didn’t bounce any accounts. Another lesson learned.

Thanks to B. Elmore’s math calculations, I too discovered that in one year, my energy adjustment charge jumped 100 percent. My first reaction was to question what’s the use of all the energy-saving stuff I’ve put in place all this time? My home has CFS lightbulbs, we live without a dishwasher, air conditioning, clothes dryer, electric water heater, plasma TV. We unplug or turn off lights and small appliances when not in use. Shouldn’t we be rewarded instead based on the kilowatt hours we consume? And what is this monthly “customer charge” of $9.72? Is this a membership fee that’s kind of like a regressive tax?

I am in “shock and awe” at the millions of dollars that our co-op collects per month just from the 22,000 residential customers. If one were to add the total monthly collection from all KIUC customers, how many millions are we talking about? The answer should be of great concern to all of us because: (1) Our bill is directly tied to global oil supply and price; (2) Is KIUC allocating enough money to fund projects in new sources of energy so we have alternative remedies to the skyrocketing costs of oil? KIUC’s goal of 50 percent renewable energy within 15 years from now is too little too late for many of us; for example retirees on fixed income and working-class families. (3) My small household with an average monthly consumption of 200 KW hours is eligible for a refund check under $35. That will go toward a quarter tank of gas for my compact car.

I have a humble suggestion: instead of KIUC rewarding the co-op’s biggest energy users with checks presented in person, shouldn’t the reward go to the biggest customers who demonstrated the biggest reduction in use for the year? Not to sound like “sour grapes” — just a thought.

Elli Ward


Don’t betray facts

In response to the June 2 letters “Hardly a bully” and “The real outrage”:

There have been a few opinions lately that in my mind betray the facts of U.S. interventions into other nations. For those who suggest that the U.S. has not provided the free world with the ideals of democracy, human rights and individual rights against despotic regimes I say, America has done more than most. To those who condemn dissenters for trying to keep America from falling into the abyss of fascism I say wake up, the U.S. isn’t immune from that either. As is clear today as it was in 2002, the justification used to invade and occupy Iraq was based on false pretense. The thousands of American soldiers’ lives lost, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent men, woman and children, the mountainous debt this administration has saddled on all of us demands dissent. We cannot afford to blindly follow such leaders and at the same time call ourselves patriotic.

Michael Smith


What a great run

This past Sunday we, the motorcycle, ATV and mountain bike riders of Kaua‘i were lucky enough to participate in the Coffee Field Poker Run put on by Kauai Off Road Riders. I want to take this time to personally thank KORR, A&B Properties and Kauai Coffee Company for all your hard work and generous donations. It had been three years since the last Coffee Field run so when I heard about this one I was really excited. And as always KORR sure knows how to put on a poker run.

From the check-in process, to all the volunteers out there with your green KORR shirts on who helped at the road crossings, gas check and specific directions on trails and to each and every one of them that helped a lot of us get out of Wahiawa Valley. I also want to say a special thank you to Kamuela Van Gieson who personally helped me with that last hill. Without your help I think I would still be there.

I know I’ve missed many of your names but please know that I’m most grateful to all of you. Thank you again for a great ride and so much fun.

Heather Barth



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