Letters for Wednesday, August 17, 2011

• Tic tac TAU rebuttal • Fair

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Tic tac TAU rebuttal

To be honest with the readers, I’m a bit frustrated at our elected officials and their constant inability to complete an task; such as the Transient Accommodation Units issue as reported in Sunday’s paper; landfill issues (we need a solution to our solid waste/garbage issues); lower electric bills; our closed doors co-op; abhorrent education standings in the nation; charter amendment issues; open government issues; ethics issues; and the list goes on and on and on and on.

On this TAU issue, for the sake of me, I cannot see government officials restricting TAU privileges to any home owners wherever on this island, which in its whole is a VDA (Visitor Destination Area), that wish to engage in renting out portions of their homes to vacationers.

Many vacationers wish to experience the “mystic of Hawai‘i and its aloha” in a family setting over renting a room in one of Hawai‘i’s fantastic beach resorts. There is no arguing that Hawai‘i has many beautiful and fantastic beach resort accommodations but some vacationers prefer to experience a unique sense of the true aloha. What better place than in one’s home?

Personally, I cannot condemn TAUs when elected officials award wealthy International Billionaire Investment Groups (I-BIG) special preference over small homeowners. Example: Blatantly giving away, squandering, valuable amended zoning upgrades (Open & Ag zoning to Resort 10 and 20) to I-BIGs valued in the neighborhood of $2 billion to $4 billion in exchange for a poultry 138 acres of useless “shoreline property” located directly next to (attached to) the Lihu‘e Airport runway. To prove the point, when asked about access the replied reads: “public or pedestrian access to that private 138 acre parcel between the Lihu‘e Airport east boundary and the Pacific Ocean is clearly “no” as stated in writing by the Federal Aviation Agency and the owner of the airport, Hawai‘i Department of Transportation.

 It amazes me to see elected officials continually granting special privileges to billionaire investors over small homeowners who live on Kaua‘i year round supporting local vendors and businesses; small homeowners wishing to earn dollars to pay high government salaries; retirement/medical benefits; taxes; high electric, food and fuel cost year round; and still hold onto their homes and the ability to continue living on the island they love; Kaua‘i. Stop the bullying!

Five council members, three mayors, departmental heads and the County Council signed onto and awarded 2,272 TAUs (hotel and timeshare units) to wealthy I-BIGs for one project alone that added $2 billion to $4 billion of “added values” to their properties for a mere 138 acres of worthless “shoreline” property with no access and probably valued at half of the county-appraised value of $580,000.00; if that. The big question is; Why? Such a deal, my good neighbors! Is this what one calls positive leadership? Or does anyone care? Aloha.

 

John “nitpicker” Hoff, Lawa‘i

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Mr. Gordon (LTE 19 Jul 2011) is right that current FICA taxes are used to pay benefits to current recipients, but he fails to mention that the FICA taxes collected are in excess of benefits paid. That is why there is a surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund.

Mr. Gordon is also right that people now live longer and that benefits are paid for a much longer period of time than was common when Social Security was enacted. That is why, from time to time, the contributions to FICA are changed or benefits recalculated.

However, blaming the current US debt crisis on Social Security reflects a lack of understanding about how the debt was accrued.

When George Bush entered office in 2001, the budget he inherited from Bill Clinton was in surplus. There were even stories about how the entire debt would be paid off in as little as 12 years.

George Bush had 4 congressional terms during his presidency. For the first 3 he held Republican majorities in both houses of Congress. In his last term, the Democrats took control of the house.

When George Bush left office he had plunged our country into this current crisis by increasing the debt from $5 Trillion to nearly $10 Trillion (CBS News). He did this by failing to put his wars “on the books” and by giving huge tax breaks to the very wealthy.

He further guaranteed that the debt would continue to grow after he left office by bailing out the “too-big-to-fail” banks.

Now the Republicans are refusing to raise the debt ceiling (despite raising it 7 times under Bush) because -now- they want to pretend they are fiscally responsible. I agree that the debt is very high, I have no objections to reducing it. Perhaps though, the debt is not “too high” since it is less than our GDP. Japan carries a debt that is 200% of GDP, yet they have no crisis.

I object to the fact that the only solution for reducing the debt is to steal money from Social Security recipients.

If Mr. Gordon wants to reduce the debt, perhaps he should consider the trillions of dollars spent by the Pentagon and the failure of the very wealthy (those who make over $1M/year) to pay their fair share in taxes. Or to provide the jobs they promised in exchange for their reduced tax bill.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo

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