Letters for Wednesday, October 1, 2014

• Kauai County 2015 budget online • Corporatization in America is progressing nicely • Know the issues, candidates before you vote

Kauai County 2015 budget online

If you want to find out what the 2015 budget — approved by 6-1 vote (Kagawa opposing) and signed by our mayor — and the CIP budget are, in great detail, Google Kauai.gov, then click on 2015 Budget and later CIP budget, found on the left side of the county home page.

Be strong, as the operating budget is 204 pages. The CIP is shorter. I did this and came away with the impression that a huge part is payroll, benefits and infrastructure costs. You will learn, for instance, what the chief of police makes, and that one deputy chief makes more (probably a tenure thing). You will see many county attorneys making nearly $100,000 each, plus generous benefits. Yet, the county frequently hires outside attorney consultants at substantial extra cost to taxpayers.

In the CIP budget, you will see many projects like solar for the Waimea Theater ($300,000), Kalawai Park lighting and resurfacing ($400,000), and many other similar county fundings that may appear to be pork. Or seeking the good will of voters. Who knows?

So there it is in all its detailed splendor. What could the council and mayor have done without so the real property taxes, hotel taxes and other increases would not have gone up? Is it a surprise that those taxed the hardest can’t move? Once again, who knows? And what coming next can we do without, like councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura’s idea to increase public transportation? By the way, read Glenn Mickens’ fine letter published Sept. 8.

Tom Rice, Princeville

Corporatization in America is progressing nicely

Marriott earns a half page story about providing envelopes in hotel rooms so guests can more readily “tip” housekeeping staff. Seems they could use an improvement in personal finances. This is seen as a good deed Marriott is doing, allowing guests to directly pay the salary of housekeeping staff. In prior news we learned that in many instances full-time workers at Walmart are eligible for food stamps. So all taxpayers help pay their salary so the employees can feed their families. Walmart defends this by saying that many with little money benefit from their low prices. 

Of course, a more direct solution would be for Marriott, Walmart and others to pay a living wage in the first place so that guests and taxpayers need not supplement workers’ salaries. But this intrudes on the bottom line, e.g., salaries of higher ups. 

As a business owner, I can attest that it makes your business much more profitable for the owner to have someone else pay the salaries of your employees. Not readily possible in most instances. Kudos to business. No one even notices anymore, tricked by the pretend justifications.

Frank Marone, Kapaa

Know the issues, candidates before you vote

Kauai has a problem that needs to disappear. We are now an island divided. We have a county council that has a charter to follow, yet nowhere in the charter does it say there is a place for hatred or animosity? We are about to elect seven members. Please take time to realize that every vote counts.

Big business backs its employees with campaign contributions. Family and friends back candidates not always on issues. The more signs you have, the better chance you have to win. Forums are in place, take time to go to them and hear firsthand how and why the candidates are qualified to run our county. Go to coffee hours and ask questions. We can not afford a council that is not up on the problems facing Kauai. We can not afford one single member with a vindictive attitude that is harmful to other members. We can not afford good old boy type policy. We need educated members with heart and desire of all the people that live here. We need forward thinkers who believe in aloha and what it stands for.

We need not waste time fighting with each other. We need to grow the island in a descent manner that showcases our love for each other.

Stop and think who is best for the island before you vote. Please, please, we deserve the best not the most visible.

Ron Horoshko, Kalaheo

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