Letters 5-23-13


IRS scandal

Taxable deductions for contributions questionable

I would like to know why political organizations are being treated like charities and given tax exempt status by the IRS for donors contributions and given the right to keep donors names secret. Groups like Karl Rove’s Political Crossroads are given tax exempt status under an IRS provision for “social welfare” groups. Why should we be paying to let them deduct their political contributions from their taxable income?

That’s the real IRS scandal not targeting conservative groups to see if they qualify for the same tax scam.

Jerry Smith

North Kohala

Roadwork

What’s up with Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening?

The West Hawaii community deserves an update on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project. The Hawaii Department of Transportation and Federal Highways Administration are keeping the ongoing Section 106 consultation process under wraps, so the community is essentially blacked out.

I understand the discussions between the Native Hawaiian organizations and the FHWA/HDOT are confidential. However, this restriction doesn’t stop them from telling our politicians wildly fluctuating project start dates. For example, the HDOT director told Sen. Josh Green the project would begin in June a few months ago. Then a few days ago Rep. Denny Coffman announced the project would begin September. What gives?

The widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway was supposed to be completed about three years ago. However, this project has faced a litany of challenges ranging from two unsuccessful bid protests and the ongoing Section 106 consultations. The latter process, which has dragged on for 18 months, HDOT and FHWA are doing a poor job keeping the public informed. The poster child for this is the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening website. HDOT hasn’t updated it since Sept. 25, 2012.

The current status quo of hiding behind a cloak of secrecy is not acceptable. FHWA and HDOT need to engage the community and provide genuine updates regarding where things stand with this project.

Aaron Stene

Kailua-Kona