Letters for Thursday, April 19, 2012

Praise for TSAProperty tax proposalHyperboleStealing from neighbors

Praise for TSA

Given the letters sent to The Garden Island about negative experiences with the Lihu‘e Airport drop-off/pick-up security agency, I’d like to offer a contrasting experience with TSA, a separate security department that handles the security lines.

I take about 10 trips a year, and my interactions with the TSA folks have been congenial and helpful despite their role in security.

On at least two occasions, I have noticed La Vonne Pironti, Security Manager, quickly working to open additional lanes, answer multiple questions, and repeatedly treat people with a smile and a thank you.

Even though I have been patted down occasionally or something has required extra screening in my carry-on, the workers have all done so with courtesy and respect.

Traveling these days can be a bit stressful, so these kinds of interactions where we are treated with dignity and respect makes a big difference in the experience.

I’ve also observed the nice way United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines employees (the airlines I tend to use more frequently), treat people.

Kudos and mahalo to TSA and others for the TLC.

Jack Yatsko. Kapa‘a


Property tax proposal

The current depressed real property market has had some troublesome effects on our county’s property taxes.

With the County Council keeping property tax rates basically unchanged, the decline in value of properties of other taxpayers has resulted in considerable tax reductions for them, but for resident homeowners with the 2 percent cap intended to protect them against value increases, the opposite has occurred and their taxes have risen.

Though Councilmember Bynum was well meaning in his purpose to lower taxes for the homeowners, his Bill 2425 sought to achieve it by increasing exemptions and this method was rejected recently by a 5 to 2 council vote.

In his well written, in-depth article (Forum: April 14),  Walter Lewis suggests that by simply lowering the tax rate of the homeowner class, the same objective could be accomplished.

In fact, as he states, using the rate to adjust taxes would be far more equitable than using exemptions as a means of lowering taxes.

Walter’s statement: “ … if tax rates were kept constant, increased exemptions would reduce taxes for the homeowners group. But if revenues from the homeowners class were kept constant, increasing exemptions would remove or reduce revenues from lower value owners and shift them to middle and upper value property owners. The only direct way to reduce the tax burden of the homeowner group is to reduce tax rates (emphasis added).”  Obviously in this down market and with a 2 percent cap, the homeowner does take a hit. But with an adjusted rate (that the council has the authority to set), this need not happen, just as Mr. Lewis outlines.

Let us try to persuade the council to cure the injustice that has occurred by using its power to reduce the rate for homeowners and implement the suggestions that Walter Lewis has made.

Ken Taylor, Kapa‘a



Mr. Alan Faye left out some very important information in his letter (Letters: April 2), “Regarding historic scam,” where he claims that President Obama “has given himself the powers to declare martial law”.

I am not disputing that sections 1021 through 1024 (known as the Indefinite Detention Bill, IDB) of the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) abrogates Constitutional guarantees.  Indeed, I would like to see these sections annulled as soon as possible. However, it is important to understand that the IDB is a very small part of a very large bill. The NDAA provides funding for all of DoD. If the president had vetoed the bill, the Defense Department would have no money to fund operations.

The offending sections were introduced by Republican Rep. McKeon in the final conference report, so were added late in the process.  The report passed with 190 Republican and 93 Democratic votes, so it was a Republican Congress that passed the bill.

The Washington Times article referred to is full of hyperbole, if not lies, as it claims the Executive Order of March 16 imposes martial law. This same Executive Order, “National Defense Resources Preparedness,” has been issued by every President since Truman. Check out Snopes.com.

If Mr. Faye is really concerned about martial law, he might ask our Representative and Senators why they did not stop the IDB and hold them responsible. Not the president.

John Zwiebel, Kalaheo


Stealing from neighbors

I sure wish people would think of the consequences of their actions. Our company had a company vehicle vandalized for about $40 in gasoline. That $40 in gasoline cost our small business about $1,000 in lost sales and vehicle repairs.  In this economy a loss like that could push some businesses over the edge.  

When you steal from someone, even a business, that loss has to be made up somewhere.  With us, it will have to come out of employees’ hours and wages. That means that $40 in gasoline you stole just cost my employees hours and wages. That equals you stealing their grocery money, rent money and their kids’ college fund money. Our employees and our business are paying for your theft.

I hope that $40 in free gasoline got you where you needed to go.

Please consider the results of your actions next time you think it necessary to steal from your neighbors.  We are all neighbors here on Kaua‘i. Let’s act like it.

Sandy Poehnelt, Koloa


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