Letters 5-12-13


Property taxes

County should tighten its belt — not ours

I urge the County Council to reject the mayor’s attempt to pick our pockets with a 10 percent tax increase.

While I don’t doubt that there are many suggestions of ways for the administration to spend other people’s money, this does not mean the people of the county can afford it. How come nobody asked us if we could afford it?

Somehow this proposal is justified by county departments not having increased spending in last few years. Guess what Billy, lots of people are learning to live with not increasing spending. Why is county government an exception?

More bizarrely, the tax won’t cost us more dollars because the tax is a higher percentage of our smaller assets. It is a tribute to the mayor’s rhetorical skills that he can suggest a poorer electorate pay a higher proportion of its income in taxes. Of course, this idea is irrational and unsustainable.

It is time for county departments to show management skills, the “share the pain” strategy (furloughs) of the last few years is a failure of management to face structural issues. Departments have testified their resources are insufficient. The solution is to prioritize resources and yes this implies permanent cuts in less important areas. Making hard choices based on actual income is not rocket science, almost everybody else does it.

And Mr. Mayor please don’t try the currently popular political tricks of predicting doomsday, or of cuts designed to cause the widest possible public pain. We see through those games.

Robert Flatt

Captain Cook

Park fees

We should all pay for maintenance

I think it’s a very good idea to raise the price for the use of the parks and pavilions. The first Tuesday of every month is set aside for park maintenance. The public freely uses the park and its facilities daily at no charge. Sooner or later, we all should help pay for its up keep. It’s only fair.

Colleen Wallis

Kailua, Kona

Graphic photo choices questioned

The May 5 West Hawaii Today featured a color photo of the bullet-riddled bodies of two young Syrian children. The photo was at the top of the front page. There was no story about the conflict on the page, just a teaser promoting a story on page 3A, where readers were treated to another color photo of about a dozen bloody bodies in pile.

I understand the newspaper business has changed in the 20 years since I worked as news editor for the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (and the 25 years since I worked as a reporter at West Hawaii Today), but has it really changed that much? Don’t children still go outside and get the newspaper for their parents some mornings?

Do we really need pictures of dead kids above the fold on the front page to convey the horror of war? Have words failed us so completely?

David R. Harada-Stone

Waimea

Court ruling

Mahalo for upholding development plan

I wanted to thank the Misslers, private citizens who brought suit, and Judge Ronald Ibarra for his ruling that the county’s planning director and Board of Appeals acted in violation of the Kona Community Development Plan and failed to uphold the county’s duty to protect natural resources in awarding a planned unit development permit to a South Kona developer.

The watershed belongs to everyone. The Kona Community Development Plan, a well-crafted effort by hundreds of Kona citizens, over a two-year period and made law, should be respected by the county planners. The arrogance demonstrated by their pledge to appeal the ruling should be cause for their dismissal, as they are not serving the public.

Arnold Rabin

Keei