Letters for Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017
• County should spend money wisely before raising taxes • Let people die on their terms
County should spend money wisely before raising taxes
For 20 years I have been pursuing getting our 300 miles of county roads properly maintained. And with our road conditions in the same or worse shape today than they were years ago, it appears that this administration and council need to have a thorough investigation to find out what is going on.
Our council hired an outstanding auditor, the late Ernie Pasion, who did a fine 28-page audit of our roads using fiscal year 2006-07 as a test project. Many very good “findings” were uncovered along with corrective “recommendations,” and though Public Works concurred with these findings and corrections, we look at our roads today and they are still in terrible shape.
In October 2010, the county hired an engineer, Larry Dill, and a deputy, Ed Renaud, who did paving by HAPI and AASHTO standards, which was never done before causing our roads to be in such terrible condition. They were doing a fine job of trying to undo years of incompetent work. But, regretfully, Mr. Dill left his position and we have no engineer.
One of the biggest reasons given for the sorry shape our roads are in is lack of funds, which has some merit. However, Da Shadow (Jerome Freitas) asked the administration in TGI (April 29, 2016) about our vehicle weight tax, our gas tax, our registration fees and public utility franchise fees — how much are we taking in each year.
The answer was that we took in over $35.33 million for years 2012-2015 for these taxes that were supposed to maintain our roads. Also, we did no paving in years 2011-2013, so where did this money go?
Let me quote from the Pasion audit of 2006-07: “The county’s highway fund is comprised of monies subject to restriction (such as fuel, and vehicle weight and utility fees). The funds are commingled and used for various purposes. Including non-highway purposes, so the county cannot ensure that the funds are being used as required.”
Thus, before we ask the taxpayers for more money to properly pave our roads (more excise tax), let’s make sure we know where all these millions of dollars are going now! When the audit showed that these road taxes are being used for other than road purposes, then let’s plug up that hole and see what we still need if anything.
Glenn Mickens, Kapaa
Let people die on their terms
I have every intention of controlling my death. Unlike Dr. Plumer, I believe that I, and everyone else, has the right to die on their own terms. I have practiced medicine in a lot of places and seen a lot of things, and I have seen the physical, emotional and financial consequences of an uncontrolled end of life.
I currently spend most of my time assisting families with a controlled and healthy beginning of life, and I hope that each of these beautiful new people, whose birth I witness, will be empowered to have a controlled and healthy end of life.
I do agree with Dr. Plumer’s assertion that doctors should devote themselves to helping people live the best lives possible. However, he is willfully ignorant to the fact that living a little longer is often not living better.
Graham Chelius, MD, Kekaha