Letters for Thursday, January 29, 2015

• Not easy living next to home with wood-burning fireplace • Action, not another study group, needed on tax reform • Let’s put an end to slavery

Not easy living next to home with wood-burning fireplace

Do you have people in your neighborhood who have wood-burning fireplaces? Do you have small children or infants? Are you an older person? Do you have respiratory problems, heart disease, had a stroke or heart attack, immune system problem, cancer, pregnant, diabetes? If so, you would be against wood-burning fireplaces in your neighborhood. 

There are numerous problems than can occur, according to the EPA. The EPA states that small particles (some so tiny you can’t even see) are the most dangerous to your health. They settle deep into your lungs and your nose can’t keep them out. These particles contain nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, benzene, methyl chloride, carbon dioxide and a lot of these have no smell, taste and shutting your windows and closing your doors doesn’t help! 

I am begging all of you to write to Testimony-Kauai County Council at 4396 Rice St. Suite 209 Lihue, HI, 96766 or submit testimony via email to counciltestimony@kauai.gov or come state your feelings in person at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the county building in Lihue. If you already have sent in your testimony, please just come to see how we need your support for the all of us who are affected by wood-burning fireplaces. 

At first, some of you may not realize that the smoke is affecting you, but after a few years, in our case about 10 years, you will. My husband hasn’t had asthma since he was a kid, but now he does frequently. I also have to use an inhaler now to be able to breathe at times. Our friend moved in with us and after living here nine months, she was put on oxygen 24/7 until the day she passed away. We have had three of our beloved pets get cancer. Two died already the third just had surgery and we are hoping for his recovery. 

I agree the bill needs to be changed to just ban wood-burning fireplaces in subdivisons. I also believe they can and should be replaced with gas fireplaces or electric fireplaces. Before I get any comments on this, we have lived here for 40 years. Our kids were born and still live here and our grandsons — with one on the way — also live here. We are not moving, but if someone buys a couple of acres and builds us a house, we will move into it. This is not just our problem. I have spoken to many people who live on Kauai in different areas who have the same problem. Mahalo for your consideration.

Lori Abbey-MacDonald, Kapaa

Action, not another study group, needed on tax reform

On Jan. 23, Walter Lewis wrote an article on “real tax reform.” He suggested setting up another group to study and make changes in our tax laws. 

I sat in on much of the study made in 2003. It was a very mixed group of people representing citizens, government and professionals. They came up with a wonderful and far-reaching plan which would eliminate most of the inequality in the tax system that now is present. The final draft that went to the County Council was vaguely studied by them and then dropped for no particular reason. 

Therefore, I would suggest we not waste our time with another study group, but instead bring back the 2003 study and actually look at it. I believe it is the very best study we can get and it should be sent to the council and implemented.

Marge Freeman, Kapaa

Let’s put an end to slavery

In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama laid out an ambitious domestic agenda for his final two years in office. He also touched on foreign policy, saying “if there’s one thing this new century has taught us, it’s that we cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores.” Unfortunately, one such issue that crosses national boundaries — modern slavery and human trafficking — was not mentioned. 

Estimates of 36 million current slaves in the world mean that there are more slaves now than at any other time in human history. The president was in India this week, home to the highest number of slaves in the world. Partisan talking heads would have us believe there are no points of agreement between the new Congress and the president, but ending modern-day slavery is an achievable goal that everyone can get behind. 

I fully expect Hawaii’s elected leaders can and will work together to marshal our nation’s resources and diplomatic power to end this crime once and for all. 

Laurel Coleman, Kalaheo

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