Letters for Tuesday, August 23, 2011

• Don’t mess with the cap • Government

sentinel at your service • Propagandizing

Friday night lights

Don’t mess with the cap

Tim Bynum wants to mess with property tax caps and exemptions based on short-term real estate trends. Those caps were put in place to protect homeowner occupants from drastically fluctuating property values for the long term.

Homeowners who took advantage of the caps and exemptions when they came out have benefited greatly. The 2 percent yearly increases don’t come close to the huge increases in property values since enactment of the caps. The 2 percent cap increase when property values are falling is a minor cost for the long-term protection. If politicians change the rules everytime they want it destroys the value of long-term planning.

I wonder if Mr. Bynum bought his house during the bubble when he knew that his property taxes were going to be high. Or was he one of those people that failed to take advantage of the cap when it was started.

The property tax cap is doing exactly what was intended to do. Don’t mess with it.

Don Capener, Kapa‘a

Government sentinel at your service

With all due respect to you and your dictionary definitions, Judge Laureta (“Clarifying nitpicker,” Letters, Aug. 20) we nitpickers (NP) are proud to be labeled as such.

Maybe, Judge, you would like it better if we NPs were called “government watchdogs” or “government sentinels”  or just plain “auditors of our government’s doings and misdoings.”

We went after the outrageous property tax increases for homeowners and in 2004 our charter amendment was overwhelmingly approved by the voters.  While the Supreme Court by a 3-to-2 vote invalidated the amendment, the Council confirmed our concern by adopting the same cap as in the amendment on tax increases. 

The bike path, our roads, our landfill, the KIUC debacle, the “enterprise” funds that are not enterprise, the proliferation of vacation rentals and on and on need serious scrutinizing.

Where we continually disagree is, as you state, “How about concentrating your efforts in the next election and elect those candidates who agree with your ‘nitpicking’ view opinions?”

Unless the reality of Kaua‘i politics to resist innovation and reform is ended, election of great candidates like the brilliant Raymond Chuan who was the best consumer advocate this island has ever seen is doomed.

Thus our plan B is to stay after those who are elected. We believed that a County Manager that you so vehemently opposed could have been the guiding force that takes the burden off the NPs backs but that will be a challenge for future action.

Glenn Mickens, Kapa‘a

Propagandizing

When one in four children in the USA is facing hunger on a daily basis, Mr. Beeksma (“Our economic mess,” Letters, Aug. 21) has decided that Obama is “recruiting people to get on food stamps.”

He claims that if you lose your job you can be on unemployment for life; I wonder who the “ninety-niners” are?

Mr. Beeksma then goes on (like Mr. Oswald has previously) to blame the mortgage crisis, and thereby the need to bail out the too-big-to-fail banks, on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Finally, he says business is unwilling to invest because the economy is in the dumps due to government regulations that are too restrictive.

Credit Default Swaps (the toxic assets that are truly the cause of the TARP program) were invented by J.P. Morgan. There were no regulations to prevent Morgan (and other banks) from colluding with bond ranking agencies (like Standard and Poor’s); having their subsidiaries (such as Countrywide) provide sub-prime loans to people who could not afford them; packaging those loans into new securities; rating those securities AAA and selling them to unsuspecting investors.

Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, and Bear Stearns no longer exist because there were no regulations against this type of predatory capitalism.

If you can’t trust the bank, why would you invest? When our economy is run by criminals, of course it is going to fall apart.

If Mr. Beeksma wants to criticize President Obama, there is more than enough to complain about without repeating the made-up propaganda from Fox News.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo

Friday night lights

The shields are up on the stadium lights. Then, why are they still planning on playing the high school football games during the day?

We spent a lot of tax dollars for the sheilds on the stadium lights. So, let’s start this year with our high school football games at nights again.

Howard Tolbe, ‘Ele‘ele

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