WELFARE OFFICE ISSUE SHOWS LEGISLATORS OUT OF TOUCH
In response to House Human Services Committee Chairman John Mizuno's comments in the May 5 article regarding the law banning the closing of some of the welfare offices, I offer the following thoughts:
First, the petition of 7,100 signatures does not represent nearly everyone in the community. If there are 1,300,000 residents in Hawaii, 7,100 people represent only 1/2 of 1 percent of the people. And if there are 500,000 taxpayers in the state, the 7,100 petition signers represent just 1.4 percent of that number. It is doubtful that many of the 7,100 are taxpayers or voters. It was pressure from the state employees union.
Second, this is classic thinking on the part of our Legislature. They look to what wins them votes and not what is good for the residents of the state of Hawaii. We cannot afford to not save money. We cannot continue to spend what we do not have.
And last, does Mizuno really believe that welfare recipients don't have phones? Perhaps if he visited a very slow and long line at the welfare offices, he would see the reality.
Vote them out - all of them - until they understand we are tired of their irresponsibility with our future.
GUIDELINES FOR LETTERS
In order to expedite the process of receiving, editing and publishing submissions to Letters on the Opinion pages, The Maui News has established the following guidelines:
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The Letters section is among the most popular features of The Maui News and submissions on subjects of general interest are welcome. Adherence to the guidelines above will allow for the publication of a greater volume of letters on a wider range of issues from a more diverse group of writers. Thanks to all contributors to the Letters section for your cooperation.
-- The Maui News
L. David Taylor
MOST RESIDENTS PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE
This is in response to the May 7 letter writer who chastised Hawaii residents for complaining about property tax increases on tourism property.
Most residents of Hawaii quietly pay their fair share of property tax, state income tax and excise tax.The Hawaii residents who are fighting property tax increases are likely anti-tax people. So, the letter writer, an anti-tax person, is complaining about other anti-tax people not wanting to pay more taxes.Maybe they should get together and decide who pays the bill.
Who are these property owners the letter writer is defending?Some owners who rent out vacation homes are multimillionaires who own second homes in Hawaii.They are able to write the mortgage and property taxes off of their federal income taxes. They not only have the use of these homes but they make money from renting their second home to tourists. And as nonresidents, they pay no Hawaii state income taxes on the rental income.Is that fair?
As a tourist, the letter writer has limited understanding of the taxation issues facing our state and residents.Unlike other states, we pay for public schools from our state taxes, not our property taxes.
I won't even get into the difference in housing values between Hawaii and Nebraska.
LOSS OF HC&S WOULD HURT THE ECONOMY
I am a small-business man on Maui with a contracting business that has really felt the effects of the downturn in our economy. The idea that we may be at risk of losing Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar, one of our largest businesses and employers, because of the state water commission's pending determination on water flow is very disturbing.
Maui will take years to come back to a more prosperous economy with greater opportunities for our young people. We cannot afford to have such an important part of our community suffer the uncertainty of possibly not having water to grow its crops. The only way to give our kids the opportunities they deserve is to continue to grow our economy, and that's not going to happen if we fail to support our most important business.
HC&S COMMITTED TO TAKING CARE OF COMMUNITY
I live and work in East Maui and can't tell you how blessed I feel to be surrounded by the beautiful, green fields of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar's agricultural operation. The beauty and serenity that these majestic green vistas provide would turn to brown, dusty expanses of barren land without HC&S.
HC&S is a very large employer in our community, providing millions of dollars in wages and support to small businesses on Maui each year. It has a proud tradition of giving back to the community and we would be hard pressed to identify another employer who is as committed to taking care of our community.
In short, I, for one, truly hope that HC&S will be able to maintain its operation in the future.
FLAG ETIQUETTE NOT BEING OBSERVED ON MAUI
Around our island, outside government buildings and private businesses, I have noticed what seems to be improper placement of flags in respect to one another.
In front of the state building, there are two flagpoles. On one is the American flag, with the black-and-white POW flag beneath it. On the other, at the same elevation as the American flag is the state flag of Hawaii. If Hawaii were internationally recognized as a sovereign nation, the American flag would not be here at all. If Hawaii were a member of the United Nations, an international enclave, her flag would be flown there at the same height as those of all the other member nations. But neither condition exists.
According to David Singleton's "Honor Our Flag," a guidebook published in 2002 by Globe Pequot Press, when flown on a pole, "The American flag is always the most important flag, so always attach it to the flagpole first, above any state, municipal or society flags on the same pole."
I have traveled throughout the United States and everywhere I've been the United States flag goes above the state flag. Why not here? Is this a concession to the many people who believe that the United States never had and does not have legal claim to the Hawaiian Islands? They have every right to their opinions. But until Hawaii is recognized as a sovereign entity by other nations, including the United States, flag etiquette should be observed.
VOTERS SHOULD CHOOSE CANDIDATE, NOT PARTY
This race for the U.S. Senate reminds me of the elections in the communist country where I lived for 20 years - there was only one candidate for the only party (Communist) that you had a choice to vote for. Much later there were two anointed candidates of the Communist Party so that you had "a real choice."
The Ed Case/Colleen Hanabusa race is being criticized for splitting the Democratic ticket. In reality, that diminishes the opportunity people have to choose, for the sake of the party vote regardless of the quality and performance of any single candidate, which actually presses people to vote for the party and not for the best individual.
PAIA STORE OFFERS GOOD PRODUCTS, GREAT PRICES
Being a supporter of small business all of my adult years, I urge people to continue their support of Mana Foods in Paia. I am someone who has owned or partnered several small businesses in my years and I understand the challenges faced.
I've watched here on Maui and on the Mainland the onslaught of box stores take the place of smaller businesses. I think in the fast-paced times we are living in we need to take note of some of the special things in life that are quickly passing us by. I, for one, truly love being able to shop in stores where I can give or receive a greeting from a friend working there.
My family, in particular, is avid Mana shoppers. Not only do we buy all the healthy foods we eat but can also satisfy our constant desire for great international products and hands down the best chocolate selection on Maui.
I urge people to recognize the gem of a store that Mana Foods is and appreciate how for many years they have been serving our community so well with good products and great prices.
LEARN MORE ABOUT AIONA BEFORE SUPPORTING HIM
It's scary and it saddens me to see and hear Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona incite hate by preying on the ignorance and unfounded fears of the electorate.
Aiona's comments, views, affiliation and being blessed with the International Transformation Network and founder, Ed Silvoso, must be made public to voters. See what the lieutenant governor believes and reiterated when he appeared at the January rally against same-sex marriage organized by the Hawaii Family Forum - founded by ITN Chairman Francis Oda.
We cannot allow a bigot to become governor of Hawaii or continue to hold any public office.It is an entirely inappropriate trait for a state official who must represent all of the people.
The ITN is religious extremists linked to the so-called kill the gays bill in Uganda.
I only hope Gov. Linda Lingle steps up and signs HB444 into law.Civil unions (it's not called marriage) are a civil rights issue, not a religious issue.
There is to be definite separation of church and state as mandated in the U.S. Constitution. Aiona, however, has already declared Hawaii a Christian state. So not only is he vocally homophobic but obviously wrong on other levels.Hate is unjustified and so is forced religion.
For those able to vote in the next gubernatorial election, please learn and understand the beliefs of this man. Take a moment and watch the video of Aiona speaking at: www.bilerico.com/2010/04/is_hawaii_about_to_be_run_by_the_antigay_religious.php.