Wary Of Tax On Investment Property

Additional burden should not fall on owners of second homes (April 24, 2018)

What constitutes a “residential investment property”? (“Voters Will Decide Whether To Hike Property Taxes To Fund Schools”)  Is it one that is rented out to generate income? Is it a second home that is never rented out? If the latter, why should any homeowner who does not earn money from a second home in Hawaii (and already now pays more than double the amount in property tax than that paid by a local homeowner) also be taxed to pay for Hawaii’s schools? The proposed law must clarify what constitutes a residential investment property. Please explain.

— Diane G. Armstrong, Santa Barbara and Princeville

Honolulu’s Run-Down Morgue

Reporter lauded for providing a look inside the facility (April 24, 2018)

First class piece of shoe leather reporting by Natanya Friedheim on the city morgue. (“Honolulu’s Morgue Is So Run Down Even The Autopsy Room Leaks”) What is a “reporting fellow”? That’s a new one to me.

— Bob Jones, Honolulu

Why keep spending on rail while ignoring unmet needs? (April 25, 2018)

Does the Legislature (or City Council) ever make a list of priorities as a basis for legislation and funding? It doesn’t seem it does. In Civil Beat’s Tuesday report about the morgue, I read that the Department of the Medical Examiner needs to replace its inadequate, substandard building at a cost of around $40 million.

Honolulu Medical Examiner Facility or Morgue,
Honolulu’s decrepit morgue is just one example of a public need that government seems to ignore, Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Board of Education is looking for hundreds of millions of dollars for teacher recruitment, retention and technical education. UH Hilo lacks teaching staff for required classes. Recent Civil Beat reporting reveals Kauai’s need to rebuild and relocate roads, DOE’s inability to provide meals to needy children, and kupuna caregivers lacking underwriting. All basic needs for our residents unmet.

Yet the Legislature has managed to secure billions of dollars for rail, which won’t improve our current housing needs or traffic and mostly benefits developers. And coming up is sure to be the $50 million the Federal Transit Authority now estimates is unfunded, as mentioned in Civil Beat on Tuesday. 

Will our politicians continue feeding this beast while our infrastructure crumbles, our children’s education suffers, and developers grow fat? Is no one at the Legislature (or City Council) looking out for our residents instead of mainland developers, chemical companies, and lobbyists? It’s no wonder we are now losing population. If our elected officials continue as they have, expect more losses and our state looking more like a third world country populated only by the ultra rich and poor.

— Wendy Arbeit, Makiki

Some Advice For Kauai

This is a chance to build a more sustainable future (April 24, 2018)

I’ve never been to Hawaii, but earned a B.A. in Geography in LA (at California State University Northridge), so have thought about these topics for decades. (Lifeline To Kauai’s North Shore Must Be Rebuilt Now, Relocated Later.)

Skycrane helicopters could be valuable in the recovery work.

FYI the “sinkhole” on Weke Road is just a cave-in. Sinkholes happen in limestone and closely related carbonate rocks.

I think downzoning to no-build classification will be needed for many properties. Erase all the property lines and redraw them in a sensible, updated map. Have a community discussion on adjusting ownership and money to get fairness for all involved. This is really important. Think about co-ops and land trusts, too.

Please ban the cesspools and septic systems. Switch to waterless toilets of composting and incineration types. There are a number of choices.

— Jean SmilingCoyote, Chicago

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