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Letters for Sunday, February 28, 2021

Letter about supporting local businesses is right on

Mahalo, Dr. Bulosan, for your outstanding Feb. 25 letter to business owners and community members to support our local businesses. I appreciated your direct and specific requests, the thoughtfulness you gave to how we can identify businesses to support (starting with those who have supported us and our causes), and your practical list of easy “to dos” to take positive action. I second your e-motion!

Marian Head, Kapa‘a

What a caring community

Feb. 22, Monday, around noon, I just finished a long mediation in court and (was) feeling great that I was again able to help people make peace in a legal dispute.

On my way home, I dropped something off in the Lihu‘e post office on Rice Street. When I was stepping into the crosswalk to get into my car parked near the Kaua‘i Museum, I was suddenly hit by something, and fell on the pavement with one shoe flying out.

I was quickly helped up by a lady (later I found out her name is Monica Carle of Lihu‘e), then I realized I was just hit by a pickup truck turning right into the street. Fortunately, the car was not driving fast, and it stopped immediately. My head did not hit the ground and I only had minor scrapes on my knee, elbow and one finger.

With Monica’s help I was able to stand up, and she helped me to sit inside the truck, with the driver, an older gentleman in his 70s sitting by my side, shaking badly.

I held his arm trying to calm him down, saying “I’m OK, don’t worry.” A young security guard (later I learned that her name is Mary Chris of First Hawaiian Bank) approached the truck and asked if I needed an ambulance and if I wanted to call the police.

I told her there was no need, I felt fine and I didn’t want to get the driver in trouble. Later, a few policemen came, talked to us separately and gave us a police report card.

While the driver and I were sitting outside the post office, another kind woman came out from the post office with bandages and hydrogen peroxide and covered my wounds (later I learned that she is the Postmaster Junlin Rivera). While waiting for the driver’s daughter, I learned that the driver lost his wife in 2015, had a stroke in 2018, and now suffers from anxiety attacks.

We exchanged names and phone numbers. After his daughter picked him up and my partner picked me up, we parted like good friends. Thereafter I went to Urgent Care for a checkup and was relieved to know everything was fine.

I went home, rested a bit and participated in the KKCR radio show as previously scheduled, giving a talk on moratorium and eviction. That night, the driver and I exchanged text messages to let each other know that we were all fine and wished each other a good night rest and sleep.

In an unexpected accident, so many people came to help instantly with great warmth and kindness. The passerby Monica said: “I was at the right place at the right time. In a single second we just do instinctively what heart says, and mine said that lady needs help. Go now!” A lesson learned: when in crosswalk, even you have the right of way, make sure to look left, right, left; and if there is a light button by the roadside, make sure to push it before stepping in the crosswalk.

And, most of all, I’m so grateful and appreciative that we live in such a lovely caring community!

With deep gratitude;

Sonia Song, Kapa‘a

Biden-Harris only team with chance for success

A battle won, but a war continued. Not just a simple battle. No, this was a gut-wrenching, people-dead-at-our-Capitol battle. Was this the last effort of the “white American male?” I doubt it, but we can always hope this change will remain and help our country grow.

What a change it is. The President, Joseph Biden, is a politician with a broad view of our America. By “broad” I mean years of experience and a view of politics from the head and heart. He doesn’t have the need to grab the almighty dollar as though it’s his life’s last meal. His need is to help his country and the world. That’s a broad view of his position as president of our “melting-pot” America.

His help mate in this endeavor is Ms. First Kamala Harris. I say “first” because she has been the first female African/Indian American female to be elected attorney general of California in 2010. In 2017 she was the first Indian/African American to be elected to the Senate (second Black woman); the first Black woman to appear on a major party’s national ticket, and now Kamala Devi Harris is the first Black/Asian (Indian) woman to be elected as vice president of the United States of America. Wow, that’s big, and a jump forward for our country. Truly an American melting pot.

This twosome have been handed an unbelievable job: The COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 429,000 Americans as of Jan. 30; an economy in its death throes; an educational system restructured by people out of touch with reality; a country ravaged by white suprematists and politicians interested in their pocketbooks “only.”

Who in their right mind would take on these problems and global warming? We, Americans, are hoping we have the best team and only team that has a chance of success.

Dana Reid, Princeville

Kaua‘i will be an island just for the rich

I’d like to respond to Lauren Johnson’s letter (Forum, Feb. 18), “Housing is out of control.”

I agree with you, and I think you’re right. This is something where the blame is to the Realtors. If there are properties to be sold and the rich buyers want them or not, the Realtors will do whatever it takes to make them very attractive for the buyers to purchase them. So, blame this on the Realtors.

Have you heard of any Realtors trying to sell lands to a company, an organization, someone or somebody with money for the homeless or the poor? Of course not. Silly statement, or a stupid statement? Why? I am not smart, but I ask, because of my ignorance.

Have the state and counties involved where the buyers needs to be five years as residents, rather than the one year Lauren Johnson proposed, before buying properties. Stop the state and the counties sleeping with the Realtors and permitting them to find loopholes to make the sales possible, when it should not.

There were situations where agricultural lands were changed to residential lands. Since I know nothing about this property, was the ‘Aliomanu lands once upon a time an agricultural land? Or am I wrong? If it were an ag land, how was it possible for it to become residential? What and who made it residential? Wasn’t this place a pineapple field, too? So again, blame this on the Realtors.

The Realtors are greedy enough to target and deal with the rich. Do you believe the Realtors would spend a great deal of time with the small potatoes like me for smaller profits when, in an arm’s reach, they are larger and bigger profits to be had? Blame it on the Realtors. Look at Mark Zuckeberg, the Cases, Julia Roberts, Will Smith, the sugar fields at the Kukui‘ula estates and a lot of those rich people who bought properties and sold them them for very bigger profits. Yeah, blame this on the Realtors.

The locals making less than $100,000 a year are being slowly shoved aside and making the ways for the rich. It’s hard and very difficult to compete for choice lands when the rich can easily outbid and outbuy you. All the buyers need to do is to wave those dollar bills, and the Realtors will rush to them. Blame this on this Realtors.

And Lauren Johnson, you could beg, scream, yell and try to find ways for the state and counties for the wealthy to stop the landgrafting until you turn blue, and your only answer from them is that they will look into the matter or issue. You just wasted your breath, and you lose. Just blame this on the Realtors.

You’re right, Lauren Johnson, Kaua‘i will be an island just for the rich. Housing is already out of control. So, blame this on the Realtors.

Ray Domingo, Lihu‘e

29 Comments
  1. Re-dana February 28, 2021 12:21 am Reply

    Wow. That is quite a letter you formulated there. Are those your genuine feelings or the talking points of the echo chamber you just got out of? The earth has been going through heating and cooling phases from as far back as we can have archeological carbon dating. So everyone’s been dealing with that. Not camela and joesep. The capitol…the police officer “beaten” was not in fact. And his death was attributed to non related issues. The woman shot in the neck was from a police officer. And that was that. There’s a ton of evidence that has come out you undoubtedly will ignore. Because facts don’t care about your feelings. The political parties decimated our country through gas lighting, polarization and media support. Both sides equally as guilty as the other. To say otherwise you would lose any credibility for your statements.


  2. james February 28, 2021 7:28 am Reply

    Hey Ray; It’s called Capitalism. So you would prefer some other system of government just for Kauai? Regulations are crucial for protecting the environment, guarding against corporate greed, making sure folks have power and water (except for Texas where they don’t believe in regulations) and other areas that benefit the entire community of residents. I don’t think regulating residency requirements for purchasers of real estate falls into that category. And since Kauai is actually part of the U.S., it’s illegal to prevent a non-resident from buying property here as long as they are a US citizen. Your best avenue is to try and change the Constitution.


  3. YuCalJoe February 28, 2021 8:12 am Reply

    I can tell that you haven’t lived in California with Harris in the Senate. It has been a nightmare. And her replacement is even worse! Biden has proven his value, none. Wait for your freebies to roll in, and the tax bill that comes with it. You’d get a better deal from a Mafia loan shark than you will ever get with Democrats in power. You’ll get a $1,200 stimulus check for the cost of $5,000 per taxpayer. Logic is toxic to liberals.


  4. Howard Tolbe February 28, 2021 8:12 am Reply

    Ray, you, “hit the nail right on the head!”


  5. Reality Bites February 28, 2021 8:13 am Reply

    Ray, you need to grow and evolve. I know facts sting, so here ya go…. It is all about supply and demand, and realtors only facilitate sales from one person to another…..they don’t set the prices. Of course a realtor will want to sell a multimillion dollar house, vice a $400K house in Hanapepe……they work on commission from the sale.

    It has ALWAYS been expensive here. In 1960, once jets could get to Hawaii, fast and cheap, the price of a house was ALREADY double the national median price. Plantation days were dying, so the State threw all their chips in to TOURISM, which only creates high paying jobs for the few, but provides low paying jobs for many.

    I agree that Kauai will eventually be an island for the rich. Your government (Senators, Congress Representatives, State Representatives, Mayors, County Councils) has failed the people of Hawaii…….continuation of the Jones Act, not seeing past Friday to create an economy beyond ONLY TOURISM. Hawaii produces nothing now….the plantation days are over. There is nothing wrong with moving to some place cheaper on planet Earth, that also provides better opportunity. Kauai is not immune to supply and demand. Keep the Government out of any requirements that would limit prices or require years of residency before home ownership. Stop the madness!

    BTW, homelessness has little to do with lack of homes. Do some research.


  6. nobody February 28, 2021 8:52 am Reply

    Ray, you have identified the symptoms but not the problems. The rich ARE replacing the working class on Kauai. This is clear. The pandemic has simply fast tracked these ongoing migrations. Relators are not to blame. It didn’t take a Realtor to convince me or anyone I know to move here.

    If you’re looking for blame, look to our elected officials. They appoint the planners. The planners were unable to forecast the shortage of housing and provide this basic housing need. I admit, it was hard to see it coming.

    Kauai needs lots of cheap, tiny, affordable houses. The working class needs to come to the realization that they are not entitled to a 3 bedroom 2 bath house on a quarter acre lot. We must make due with less. Our planners need to wake up and look beyond the borders of the USA to see how other nations have solved their housing crises. It’s not only possible it’s being done all over the world. We could do it too.

    What I see as a larger parallel crisis for the working class are jobs. More specifically jobs in the tourism industry. The Financially Privileged have no need for tourists. They are very big on “Saving Kauai” (from tourists). Like you blame the Realtors for the housing problems many blame the tourists for the overcrowding problems. What makes it worse are the working class individuals that voice opposition to
    tourism. This is self destructive, Darwinism demonstrated.


    1. Doug February 28, 2021 10:42 am Reply

      “Kauai needs lots of cheap, tiny, affordable houses. ”
      They are starting to do this; down by the water company, next to the homeless tiny houses that they just finished, they are building an apartment building meant for lower income working people. Not a separate house, no land, but a place to live. We’ll see how it works out.


    2. Kara Thrace February 28, 2021 6:52 pm Reply

      And exactly why isn’t our working class entitled to a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home to raise our families??? Especially when we WORK HARD TO PROVIDE FOR OUR FAMILIES. Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness (and I respect that if that happiness means paying our own mortgages, opposed to those belonging to others).

      Sit down, clearly you are precisely nobody.


      1. nobody March 2, 2021 6:26 am Reply

        Kara, What is YOUR solution to Kauai’s housing crisis? “Work hard”? That’s it?


      2. Jake March 2, 2021 1:22 pm Reply

        And there you have it ……”working class entitled to a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom home”.

        I think you need to go back to High School Civics Class……”Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness” is not defined by the Government providing you an 1800 square foot house.

        There is nothing wrong with renting. Spoken like a true, entitled, liberal, living in one of the “Bluest” states in the Union. SMH.


  7. Paulo February 28, 2021 9:01 am Reply

    Ray Domingo is one of my favorite letter writers but this time I question his conclusion that realtors are the reason for Kauai’s high real estate prices. Yes prices are high. For those of us with adult kids or adult grandkids trying to buy property, we see it is overwhelmingly difficult.

    However prices are even higher in California’s bay area or Santa Barbara, Orange county and San Diego county. Same with much of the east coast. Lower prices are available but mainly in the deep south or desert states.

    As far as changing our land designation out of AG for building out residential, that is not up to the realtors, it’s our country planning department pushed by the land owners. Some are recent land owners who purchased large tracts at low AG prices specifically to profit if they can get it up-zoned to urban.

    As the population here and on the mainland increases there will always be more demand for residential property. Some claim that changing property out of AG to urban and building out areas of new residences is the answer to high prices but that has been done in plenty of places, including California. It increased density but did nothing to reduce real estate prices. Be careful what you wish for.


  8. Chamundi Sabanathan February 28, 2021 10:00 am Reply

    It’s the economic system itself, not the Realtors. When land is treated as a commodity, available for private ownership, it will naturally go to the highest bidder–whether through a Realtor or an FSBO sale.

    How to make living in Hawaii affordable?

    Shift taxes from productive activity of all sorts, and instead increase taxes on natural resources that are privately held.

    Taxes on productive activity penalize all who contribute to the economy. This applies particularly to the sales tax, which takes a disproportionately large toll on low-income people—who must spend every penny of their income each month, leaving nothing for savings, let alone investing.

    There can never be equality for all people until our natural resources—which nobody created—are recognized as our common heritage and treated accordingly. The ancient Hawaiians understood this concept and very successfully implemented one version of this. The Native Americans, too, had this concept: “How can we sell you this land, it belongs not just to us but to our children and great-grandchildren!” (Not an exact quote. Chief Sitting Bull, perhaps?)

    Our current system makes equality impossible: The land is treated as private property and sold to the highest bidder, enabling the wealthy to displace everyone else from vast tracts of our land, or require them to pay tribute (rent) just in order to live on this earth. Even though we do still have a fair number of individual homeowners, they have had to pay an artificially inflated price for their land—and their numbers will shrink as the middle class is continually squeezed to pay for the excesses (and tax breaks) of the rich and, at the same time, fund aid to the growing numbers of those who have already been squeezed out of the taxpayer class by this arrangement.

    The Hawaiian approach worked for them, at that time in history, but would not be feasible today. However there is an approach which can be implemented at state level and would effectively recognize and treat the land as our common heritage, while preserving the rights of individuals to cultivate or build on their land as they see fit, subject of course to zoning regulations, permit system, etc.

    That approach is known as land value taxation.

    Essentially, there are two distinct types of taxes: taxes on community-created values (values which by definition rightfully belong to the entire community, and should therefore be recovered for the benefit of the community) and taxes on privately created values (which by definition rightfully belong to the individuals or business which created them, and which therefore should not be commandeered by the government. Taxes on privately created values work to drive down the middle and lower classes: the income from their productive efforts (such as their wages, sales, houses and other improvements to the land) is siphoned off through taxation, while at the same time most such individuals must also pay rent to those who own the land they and their businesses occupy. Meanwhile, values created by the community (i.e., by our demand for land and other natural resources) is allowed to lodge in the pockets of the “owners.” This system creates a social structure very similar to the lords and serfs of feudal times.

    If the full rental value of every parcel of land (exclusive of improvements) in this state were returned to the community, as its rightful due, through taxation, that government income could then be used to lower the tax burden on productive activity such as commerce and employment.

    Relieved of speculative pressure, land prices would fall within the reach of many more people—and would no longer attract speculative investors from the mainland and other countries. Kauai does not need any more absentee landlords!

    Of course this solution would meet (as it has in the past) with opposition from the powers that be, who naturally want to retain their privileged position. Our political/economic debate has been hijacked from the essentials (“who rightfully owns what?”) and focused on bandaids to counter the results of the inequities created by our system. Poverty, hunger, homelessness, drugs—none of these would be such a drain on our society (not to mention those most directly affected!) if our system of taxation were to respect the economic rights of the community and those of each individual and business within it. At present, however, our tax system is engineered to support government on the backs of labor & commerce, and increase the wealth of the 1%.

    Here’s a very pertinent quote:
    “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum — even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” -Noam Chomsky, linguistics professor and political activist.

    Opposition of course would be funded by “the full force and power” of our landed elite, and all whom they could sway by this argument: “We paid for this land, so it’s ours! You can’t say its value rightfully belongs to the community—what are you anyway, a communist?”

    But nobody created the land. When populations were small and land was plentiful, the “first come, first served” arrangement seemed reasonable. Nevertheless, growing populations increased the demand for the land—i.e., its value. The value of land is a community-created value. So neither the land (natural resources) itself nor its value was created by its original “owner.” For an equitable economic system, therefore, the community as a whole must be regarded (and treated) as the proper owner, and must recover the full rental value of the land (natural resources). These funds must be used for the benefit of the community as a whole.

    Think in terms of stolen property. No matter how many people have purchased a stolen item in good faith, it still rightfully belongs to its original owner. Recognizing this truth, highly reputable museums have been returning priceless antiquities to the countries from which they had been stolen.

    In order to free our population from the social ills fostered by our unjust tax system, we must go to the root of the problem and fix that system.

    As time progresses, the benefits of land value taxation would reduce or even eliminate the need for many (some say all) of the other taxes we currently suffer under. Imagine not being taxed on the food you buy! If you are fortunate enough to have a job, imagine being able to keep the paycheck you have earned! If you are a business owner, imagine being freed of payroll taxes! And just imagine, if you will, being able to buy a piece of land where you can build a home.

    Thanks for reading.


    1. nobody March 1, 2021 5:35 am Reply

      Great food for thought.


    2. nothings free March 1, 2021 9:20 am Reply

      Seriously Charmundi? Your statement “Our current system makes equality impossible:” speaks volumes. You do realize that equality is impossible? Right? Equality of what? The opportunity to work hard, be smart, and earn money is already equal!! Your politically legislated and taxation based “equaliizer” is ridiculous and dangerous. It’s nothing more that a pipe dream for the lazy!! Communism is absolute proof of that. Using the “tax” hammer for legislatures to force human behavior is the main problem of our Society, and you want to double down on the so called “rich” to make it all better? The only way for anyone to be able to afford anything is for them to grow, educate themselves, work harder than most, and EARN IT! That’s what created America, and you want to create another Russia? Good luck.


  9. Doug February 28, 2021 11:08 am Reply

    We are out spending as much as we can locally, but some local businesses don’t seem like they want the business sometimes? Like the food trucks that are open 10 – 4 but run out of food consistently at 2:30 – 3 pm and close (we don’t even stop there anymore), or the incident I saw the other day where a couple of tourists (matching aloha shirts, no masks) walked up to a store at a few minutes after 3 only to be told the store closed at 3. When we had a store and first opened, I had closed up the store and was getting into my car when I noticed a lady juggle the door and stare inside the store. I went back up, reopened for her and she spent over $100 (a lot in those days!). Who knows, those tourists may have bought a couple of dresses, aloha shirts, etc and you would have made a good sale for a few minutes of your time. On the other hand, I see many small businesses who are changing how they do business and are bending over backwards to try to make it during the pandemic. Kudos to them!


    1. Dugouts February 28, 2021 2:08 pm Reply

      You would think maybe if a food truck or vendor runs out of food an hour before they are set to close, that would be the sign of a successful day of business. You sold all your product and do not have to offset your profits by wasting food and or other resources that weren’t bought. Maybe you try to go at 130-2pm as you already know they have a tendency to sell out early due to the popularity of their product. Now on the store, ie your store, that you owned and gained the income from whatever products were bought. If the person closing the store is an employee they will certainly be required to clock out as their shift is done, if not they could be reprimanded for staying on, the employee may have needed to rush to get their child from a friend because school is not in session. Your viewpoint is always skewed towards being wealthy enough and or retired to not understand the struggles that a business owner, employee, entrepreneur has to go through just to make it through the day. You would do well to try expand your level of understanding how things work around here and it’s survival mode.


  10. billyjoebob February 28, 2021 12:07 pm Reply

    Hmm, I assumed Ray was being sarcastic.


  11. I saw a Vampire once February 28, 2021 1:06 pm Reply

    What do you think Joe Biden should do about the travel industry? I think he should raise the minimum wage rate to $15/hour. Someone mentioned maybe raising the minimum wage rate for Costco employees. Cheap labor. I think this would attract more workers. But can he do it? Who will be backing up Joe Biden when he wants to raise the wage rate? Other businesses will be against it because they’ll be paying more taxes. What now for Joe Biden? The economy must sustain itself at the higher wage rate. And Joe must be the brains behind this to see this through and that it will work. Lot’s of people would love this deal. Selling cheap labor that cost $15/hour. I don’t think they have the know hows or will to do this.


    1. james March 2, 2021 7:37 am Reply

      If other businesses operated and treated their employees like Costco, those businesses would be doing a lot better than they are currently doing. I like the Costco formula much better than the Walmart or other big box stores’ way of doing business. In the scheme of things, Costco treats their employees well and pays them fairly. I heard they just raised their starting wage to $16 per hour plus benefits of health care, vision and dental care, 401(k) programs, life insurance, stock options, voluntary short-term disability, long-term care insurance, and more. Moreover, their stock continues to increase in value. It shows you can make money and treat your employees well at the same time.


  12. Norm Smith February 28, 2021 4:54 pm Reply

    Wake up Ray…


  13. Jeff S February 28, 2021 7:16 pm Reply

    Ms. Reid

    Have you spent time watching Biden trying to give a rehearsed speech, with a tele-prompter as a back-up? I suggest you go to YouTube and watch his speeches and then tell us how wonderful and smart this man is. And your VP is great a giggling when she is under pressure. That’s what I call a winning combination. White Supremacist? Check out your president using the n word a few days ago while giving one of his remarkable tele-prompter speeches. I feel sorry for you, truly!


  14. Property for Americans February 28, 2021 9:59 pm Reply

    Many countries do not allow foreigners to own land or homes, keeping prices closer to local competition to purchase.

    No brainer, million dollar homes only increase in value always out of reach of locals.

    Local youth must hui up to find housing, add bedrooms and baths and privacy for multi family housing.


  15. Kaaona Kipuka March 1, 2021 3:16 pm Reply

    yeah wake up ray!!! LOL…


  16. WAVE March 1, 2021 8:06 pm Reply

    CRYBABIES GET BUSY CRYING HARDWORKERS GET BUSY BUYING !!!

    I CAME HERE WITH NOTHING NOW I AM A HOMEOWNER !!!!

    HOW ???? BY WORKING MY A############# OFFF !!!

    SO IF YOU LIKE THEN KEEP CRYING CRYBABIES ! MEANWHILE

    I WILL KEEP WORKING MY A### OFF AND BUY HOUSE NUMBER TWO !!

    I LOVE YOU ALL SO PLEASE REMIND YOURSELVES THAT THIS IS THE GREAT USA WE DONT HAVE TOYALTY HERE OR LAND BIRTH ENTITLEMENTS

    THIS MEANS THAT….. IF YOU START WORKING YOUR A### OFF INSTEAD OF CYRYING YOU CAN DO IT TOO !!!! !!!

    IF YOU STOP CRYING AND MAKE A PLAN YOU CAN DO IT TOO !!!!!


  17. Croesus March 2, 2021 11:19 am Reply

    “His (Biden) need is to help his country and the world”
    —Dana

    In his first day as President, Biden immediately put thousands of Americans out of work by cancelling the Keystone pipeline project.

    Biden plans to deliver thousands of cheap foreign labor (via H1 visas) to the Big tech honchos to enhance their profit margins, at the expense of US graduates

    For the coup de grace, he opened the southern border to allow thousands of migrants (no covid test requirement) to kill off what jobs are left for the low skilled American worker.

    All this in the middle of a pandemic while millions of Americans are out of work.
    What kind of President would do that to his own people


    1. Cyrus March 2, 2021 6:19 pm Reply

      Not every business is sacred.


  18. Hirondelle March 2, 2021 3:45 pm Reply

    When lower income people have to move off the island, the very rich will have to change the diapers, bus the dishes, maintain the pool and yard, handle the baggage, and prepare all the food. This is true whether the island is Kauai or Manhattan. Smart leaders and business people keep this in mind.


  19. No Get Nutz March 2, 2021 8:28 pm Reply

    The Biden Harris Administration is a joke no one can give a straight answer.
    he already broke promises he made during his campaign.
    He’s still hasn’t had a solo press conference yet
    I swear,harris is on Edibles.
    They stole a job hes not qualified for.


    1. Jake March 5, 2021 4:20 am Reply

      1,000,000,000 “up” votes.


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