Letters | 4-21-14
Should the county keep acquiring the people’s land?
In light of what we are witnessing in Nevada with the federal government strong-arming private citizens who have had legal claim to grazing property for generations, even before the Bureau of Land Management existed, how wise is it for the people of Hawaii to allow the county to acquire more and more land, taking it out of the hands of the people and off the tax rolls? The 1,264 acres in Ka‘u now under consideration for purchase by the county generates tax revenue for the county. Property taxes are the biggest source of income to the county. Who will make up this shortfall and what sort of rules, regulations, restrictions and fees will the county impose on us to use this property if in fact it is ever made available to us?
The federal government owns up to 50 percent of the land in the western states and a stunning 82.9 percent of the land in Nevada. Remember all those out of control wildfires in the West over the last several years. Untold number of homes, lives and livelihoods lost because of the unwillingness of the federal government to allow thinning out of overgrown forests.
The government also gains mineral rights and water control when they take land in the guise of preservation or for the endangered species of the month. And isn’t it curious when there is a beef with the government, our First Amendment rights are the first to get trampled. The right to peaceably assemble and the freedom of speech did not specify the need to do so within First Amendment zones contained within orange safety fences.
Michelle “Mike” Kerr