Letters for Saturday, September 6, 2008

• Bridge crossing smoother, thanks

• Candidate questions soft

• I just don’t understand


Bridge crossing smoother, thanks

Let’s all thank the guys on the highway road crew for a really great job repaving the road on both sides of the Kalihiwai River bridge. It’s smooth and slick where it meets the concrete bridge. It is also well marked out with easy to see guidelines. I’ve lived here almost 20 years and this road has never been this smooth.

Thanks guys.

Tom Welsh

Kilauea


Candidate questions soft

It is with much amusement that I read The Garden Island’s questions for the candidates.

The candidates are urged to give specific answers to the most non-specific and generic of questions.

A real question that gives us some real insight might be, “Should illegal vacation rental unit owners and operators be granted a blanket amnesty by the county, and be allowed to keep all the income and equity increases they enjoyed by violating ordinance and law at the honest taxpayers expense? Is such a blanket amnesty constitutionally legal, and is it in the best interest of the county to do so?

A brilliant example of a meaningless question is: “Define what future development on Kaua‘i means to you?”

Your question fails to ask the candidate to distinguish between pie-in-the-sky rhetoric and facts about what will actually occur.

A correct answer is more people building more buildings, more people and more cars, more trash, ever increasing cost of ag land, more misuse of zoning, and especially more avoidance by any County Council member to make public any specific public plan to deal with any specific issue.

A question of value to we the voters would be a question asking specific details of the candidates solution.

For example: What actual changes in the current road and highway system will be accomplished by you in the next four years regarding the increasing traffic congestion in Kapa‘a and the Lihu‘e to Po‘ipu corridor? Not what plans will you make. These issues have consumed hundreds-of-thousands of our county tax dollars for consultant studies in the last 15-plus years. But what new roads, or highways, or other relief from the wasted time and money spent stuck in traffic will actually be created for us to use?

“What is your vision for Kaua‘i in 10 years?” Another meaningless generic softball of a question.

Why not ask something that is actually important to we the voters?

Like, what will be the median home cost in four years? Why?

What percentage of college graduates born on Kaua‘i will earn enough living on Kaua‘i to purchase a home?

How will the rate of admission to college change for graduating seniors over the next four years and why?

What will be the percentage of high school graduates in four years be versus today?

What will the teenage pregnancy rate be in four years?

How many units of affordable housing will actually be built and occupied in the next four years?

What will the rate of burglary be in four years compared to today?

Dear editor: We want specific answers to specific questions. We do not need to read about wishful thinking or good intentions about “visions,” but we want specific solutions to specific problems so that we can hold the candidates to their word in the future.

Lonnie Sykos

Wailua


I just don’t understand

I just don’t understand why our County Council is spending so much time and money deliberating over the proposed Property Tax Bill (bill 2274) when the existing law has produced a surplus of over 48,000,000 over the past four years. This new bill proposes to reshuffle the tax burden in a way that could add more uncertainty to an already uncertain future for the businesses and residences of Kaua‘i.

In the meantime we have just received news that we have the highest electricity rates in the state and the outlook for our economy as seen through the eyes of our local business owners is the lowest it has been in 10 years. If that isn’t enough, we have a landfill that is only months away from overflowing, traffic that continues to worsen and food prices that seem to be pegged to the price of oil.

Keep in mind that this proposed Property Tax Bill is “revenue neutral.” Meaning that it will not result in more or less property tax being collected. It is being presented as a “simplification” of the existing system that will redistribute the tax burden away from small homeowners and over to businesses, hotels and other employers.

Can we afford to tinker with our existing system at this time? Do we really want to increase the tax burden on businesses when so many are barely making it? Even large employers are feeling the effects of increasing costs and decreasing revenues. Many are forced to consider cutting jobs. Is it good policy to give a $300 property tax break to a local family that may lead to the loss of their $40,000 per year job?

We have more urgent matters to tend to. Let’s leave the property tax alone for now and focus on energy costs, solid waste, and jobs.

Scott Mijares

Kilauea

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