• Bombshell story needs more attention • Taxes are rising because county wants your money
Bombshell story needs more attention
This total County Auditor Ernie Pasion issue is a bombshell story that needs to reach all Kauai residents, but politics at its worst is keeping it under the radar screen.
What we have is an honest, dedicated man hired by a unanimous vote of seven members of our council four years ago. He did eight audits, all by the Auditors Yellow Book — their charter and was applauded by the Association of Local Government Auditors. Most of the audits done were soundly approved by those being audited with a lot of improvements being recommended and promises of compliance from the auditees.
However, the Audit of Fuel Costs, Consumption and Management which commenced in August 2010, showed many misuses of county fuel amounting to millions of dollars. Changes were recommended and our county engineer, managing director, director of finance and police chief all concurred with the findings and the changes that needed to be done. Mayor Carvalho, who was represented by County Attorney Al Castillo during the investigation, appeared before authorized representatives, invoked his 5th Amendment rights under the Constitution and refused to answer questions.
By using his 5th Amendment rights, section 78-9 of Hawaii Revised Statute came into play, which dictates that the employment of the mayor SHALL be terminated and he shall not be eligible for election or appointment to any county or state office. If there was nothing to hide or the mayor had done nothing wrong, wouldn’t he have cooperated with the investigators and answered their questions?
Thus, we have a fact-based case (as outlined above) against the mayor and no one wants to touch it — why? And even worse, we have an honest, government worker, Ernie Pasion, being threatened with job termination with not one shred of evidence showing just cause for this action.
We desperately need honest, qualified people in our government like Mr Pasion, so please, citizens, show your support for him by voting for those who support honesty and integrity in the November elections.
Taxes are rising because county wants your money
For most of us, the purchase of a home is a major event, one that requires the help of a mortgage. We spend a lot of time getting that mortgage, filling out forms, evaluating interest rates, working for a low fixed rate or an adjustable one that we think will stay within our budget. But, what if the only mortgage we could get had an open interest rate? A mortgage where our future monthly payments would be based on the bank’s need for profitability? Would we trust the bank management to keep payment within our ability to pay? Not likely.
We have the same situation with property tax. This is the second major expense of home ownership. Yet, five members of our current County Council seem to think it’s OK to allow them to determine annually how much we have to pay, based on need of the county to break even.
These are the same people who, through legal maneuvering several years ago, overturned our nearly 2/3 vote to have a cap on annual property tax increases. Then they imposed the same cap and recently removed it.
Some say the property tax cap is unfair because neighbors pay different amounts. So what? Most of us want the assurance that we can afford our home in the future. In the 70s, before Prop 13, many Californians were taxed our of their homes — 30-, 40- and 50-year residents who fully owned their homes, had fixed incomes and could no longer afford the taxes. Is that fair?
People who rent should not get too comfortable with this — property tax increases will be passed along to them as future rent increases. Envision, if you will, being homeless because the county needs the money more than you do. Is that fair?
If the county is spending too much, cut expenses.