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Letters for Thursday, January 22, 2015

• How safe are we? • Support council in efforts to reduce spending • Thanks for help rescuing ‘Kekoa’

How safe are we?

Richard Isaac Leibman, 37, of Hanalei, known in the community as the “Jesus Bandit,” is back on island. 

One of the questions I have is, how did he get here, when, as reported in paper, “Leibman absconded from the Kahi Mohala facility center” in Oahu. 

How does someone get to Kauai undetected when they are a criminal fugitive?

Bill Jones, Princeville

Support council in efforts to reduce spending

Jeff Demma’s “What’s wrong with county finances?” (Jan. 21, TGI) couldn’t say it any better: “The cost and size of government has far outpaced its capacity and effectiveness to provide the services to the public that it serves.” 

This writer would suggest that government works more for the “over-rich,” large landowners/billionaires. Three come to my mind. There lies the problem. Kauai’s new County Council appears to be focusing on cutting off spending and I truly admire their efforts. Every citizen needs to encourage our council and council chair to continue those efforts. The council needs to cut waste, corruption, salaries, benefits, hiring relatives over qualified personnel and begin freezing all current salaries and benefits as well as auditing each agency with an honest auditor and support him. The council could also freeze hiring and possibly give each agency incentives for bringing in lower budgets, such as in bonuses.

For immediate revenues, raise property taxes on fallow agricultural lands. Low property taxes for the over-rich is not incentive to make those lands productive. Example: Grove Farm’s 22,000 acres was sold for .027 cents a square foot, which came to $26 million. Last year G.F. sold 2,700 acres of that land for $16 million — .132 cents a square foot to another out of state over-rich individual. That’s a 500 percent profit. Doesn’t that call for a huge rise in G.F.’s property tax assessments, according to the CoK’s property tax practice of “highest & best use value?” Not just for the new buyer’s property, but for all of G.F.’s properties of the highest values, such as the Lihue, Puhi, Mohaulepu, Poipu and Knudsen Gap areas.

In closing, I hope the council considers the fact that every tax hike the county passes onto local residents is in reality a “pay cut for that working resident!”  At this point, I applaud our new council. Keep up the good work! 

John Hoff, Lawai

Thanks for help rescuing ‘Kekoa’

Mahalo nui loa to all of those people who at midday on Tuesday intentionally or inadvertently engaged in the rescue of a small brown dachshund, who was running in panic along Nawiliwili Road. 

Upon leaving Grove Farm Museum near noon, I was surprised to find Nawiliwili Road completely blocked by traffic in both directions. Thinking perhaps there had been an accident, I noticed upon glancing to my left that a small sedan had pulled off the road and a woman was stooped next to the car attempting to catch a dog. Realizing it was a dachshund, I immediately thought it was my neighbor’s dog and when the dog bounded away from the woman, I got out of my car and stooped down hoping the dog might, just might, come to me.

Indeed the dog did race toward me, and imagine my total astonishment when I realized the dog was wearing my dog’s collar, particularly since I had no idea that my dog was “lost.” 

A special thank you to the man in the truck who shared with me that he had initiated the “rescue,” having seen the dog racing along up near the traffic light. Kekoa has recovered from this very frightening event and his family is very grateful to everyone involved.

Bonnie and Mickey Lake, Lihue

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