Letters for Thursday, April 26, 2012

• Gershwin • County homeowners • Religious views • Cancer and Kaua‘i

Gershwin

When the Kaua‘i Sings! group took to the stage last Sunday evening to sing “The Songs of Gershwin,” they literally brought tears to my eyes as they created a nostalgia of long ago.

My mother played Gershwin songs on our piano every day, and last Sunday I was transformed back in time to my growing up days in upstate New York as I sat in our living room to listen to her rattle the ivories.

I then thought of my days playing drums at Club Jetty in Nawiliwili.

 I remembered how just one soft cymbal, a base drum and a snare drum with brushes could really enhance Gershwin. Yes, the Kaua‘i Sings! group was fantastic.  

I got chicken skin when the Swing Sisters sang “I Got Rhythm,” and then I remembered every girl I went with and the dances in my teenage years when Peggy Lake sang “Embraceable You.”

I’m still smiling with the thoughts of Gershwin songs bouncing around in my head.

I urge anyone interested in music to make arrangements and time to visit the Hukilau Lanai Sept. 21-23 and listen to the Kaua‘i Sings! group performs “Kaua‘i Sings Motown.”

Stu Burley, Lawa‘i Valley

County homeowners

Is Kaua‘i County government about to (really hurt) resident homeowners?

Several recent news events, as reported by The Garden Island, could lead one to come to this conclusion regarding county property taxes.

These news reports are as follows:

TGI March 15: Mayor’s operating budget of $161 million includes 18 new positions.

The mayor’s budget has a $23 million revenue shortfall which is being made up by taking $10.8 million from the county reserve and $12.6 million from the county’s forecast 2012 surplus.

Some county council members question whether the surplus will be that large.

Also, shouldn’t the reserve be used for those unexpected or unplanned events and expenses?

 If the county is indeed revenue short, why is the mayor adding 18 new positions to the county?

This is like buying something with a credit card when you have to borrow the money to pay your credit card balance.  

TGI April 5: Total revenue in the general fund for FY 2013 will add up to $113.8 million.

Just how do we get from $113.8 million to $161 million, even allowing for the use of reserves and surplus?

(Sorry if I don’t understand this, but I’m not an accountant, just an engineer.)

TGI April 20: The county administration is pondering a property tax increase.

This sounds like the other shoe dropping.

After all, recently the county abolished the resident homeowner 2 percent property tax cap and replaced it with a new cap.

The new cap is either 6 percent or the Honolulu CPI-U, which from 2011 to early 2012 rose 4 percent.

So the percentage increase of resident homeowner property taxes can either double or possibly triple.

Yes, assessed property values continue to drop.

However, in the recent past the county administration coped with this by “belt tightening.”

 However, the mayor adding 18 new positions (or the county prosecutor requesting several new positions) certainly doesn’t sound like belt tightening to me.  

Peter Nilsen, Princeville

Religious views

We would like to see The Garden Island reestablish the letters and commentary on the “Religious Views” page, instead of the criminal and mug shots and other unimportant news put on that page.

One page, one day a week, would not be too much.

Lama Tashi Dundrup, Kapa‘a

Cancer and Kaua‘i

Recently the state issued a report that the highest rate of cancer was found on Kaua‘i.

We need to request that The Garden Island, medical community and the county investigate to find out why and what may be the causes.  

Are the high rates located on certain areas of the island?

Is it smoking (lung cancer), too much meat and white grains (colorectal cancer), sunlight (skin cancer), pesticides, insecticides or fertilizers (various cancers) used on GMO farms, county parks and roads, golf courses, and by local farmers? Are medical exams (X-ray, CT, etc.) contributing?

It’s hard to believe that a small island thousands of miles from industrial centers should have high rates.

Let’s have a local campaign to educate and prevent needless suffering and painful loss of life.

Dr. Frederick Wells, Kapa‘a

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