Trump’s Party

The GOP’s “Feckless factotums”

Re: Kapolei’s John Riggins’ “why” questions (Letters, Aug. 17).

Apparently Mr. Riggins isn’t aware of this state’s political history or he would know about and why the Democratic wave swept the up to then Republican oligarchy from power after World War II and the residual resentment of the GOP now compounded by the anti-democratic (small “d”) antics of the Orange One in the Oval Office (“OOOO”).

In the current national climate, the majority Grand Opposition Party are feckless factotums at best standing mute while the OOOO abuses the Constitution, the republic, its allies, the press and the GOP along with them. A local Republican candidate would not, could not, nor should not identify with the current GOP platform to have a credible viewpoint in the local media let alone a wild card’s chance at being elected.

BTW, the booming Mr. Riggins hears are American businesses hitting bottom thanks to OOOO’s tariffs.

— Sanford Lung, Haleiwa

Ranked Voting

An abuse of the democratic system

Former Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is the perfect reason to oppose ranked choice; it can and will lead to “winners” who are incompetent and/or venal (“Should Hawaii Convert To Ranked Choice Voting?” Aug. 20). The damage she did to the city of Oakland is still being felt by the residents.

This scheme basically means that if your first choice doesn’t win, you get to vote several times while others only get to vote once. This is an abuse of the democratic system on which our government is supposedly based. You end up with an unbalanced system which leads to winners who are not supported by a majority but are seen as the “lesser evil” (i.e., Malia Cohen) who did not have the support of the majority of her constituents.

As for increasing voter turnout, the results are debatable, as the percentage of eligible voters continues to drop in both Oakland and San Francisco. 

— Joe Birts, Kailua-Kona (previously lived in San Francisco for 41 years)

Big Pharma

Choosing dollars over death

Big Pharma isn’t just ripping us off. It’s killing us in record numbers (“Health Beat: Pharmaceutical Companies Are Ripping Off Americans,” Aug. 15).

“60 Minutes” broadcast revealed that 60,000 Americans died in 2016 from opioid related causes. The primary reason for this extraordinary loss of life was due to predatory practices by the pharmaceutical industry, abetted by politicians and former employees of the DEA, who became high paid lobbyists of the industry. In the words of a former DEA investigator turned whistleblower: “This is an industry that’s out of control. What they wanna do, is do what they wanna do, and not worry about what the law is. And if they don’t follow the law … people die.”

And die they have. Opioid related deaths have claimed over 200,000 American lives over the past 15 years and accelerating with no end in sight. The fact that these deaths are allowed with little deterrence shows how deeply embedded our government is with Big Pharma. Death, not just dollars, should be our major concern.

— Mark Doo, Honolulu

Veto Override

Historic homes versus DHHL

The lack of support to override Mayor Caldwell’s veto of Bill 91 that would have provided a exemption for active duty military on their property taxes is shameful (“Council Fails To Override Mayor’s Veto Of Tax Break For Active-Duty Military,” Aug. 15).

Why is it shameful? Because the mayor supports both historic home exemptions (which he is eligible for on his multimillion-dollar assessed manor home) and all DHHL Hawaiian Homelands homes.

He is eligible and will begin to receive again, an historic homes exemption that he pays a minimum tax of $300 per year. His home is valued at several million dollars and should be paying over $7,000 per year.

There are over 100 other historic homes paying this minimum. Why? Their only requirement is to not change the architecture of the home, to have a plaque identifying the home as historic and open it one day a year for viewing. For $6,700, I would do that.

DHHL homes all receive city services like anyone else does but they also pay the minimum $300 per year. Why? Is this a race-based benefit?

Civil Beat needs to do some investigation on this minimum tax of $300 which year after year the city Charter Commission refuses to raise or even publicly discuss.

— Garry P. Smith, Ewa Beach

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