Hawaii’s Constitution

A ConCon would be a civics lesson

Nice summary (“Chad Blair: I Read Hawaii’s Constitution So You Don’t Have To,” Oct. 5). I have, in fact, read the Constitution.

I believe it needs an update, but I fear it will become argumentative as currently popular, and controversial, issues will be attempted to be codified. As I believe the constitution should be an enduring document it should, in my opinion, remain a high-level governance document that does not provide specifics.

I hear politicians say we cannot afford a ConCon, but they seem to be willing to afford everything else. It would be a good civics lesson at worst.

— Davis Seeholzer, Wahiawa

Dental Care

How about some help for needy seniors?

Would Ohana Health Plan and AlohaCare plans consider offering free and/or reduced market rate dental benefits also to seniors on fixed incomes who can’t qualify for Medicaid (“Two Insurers Offer Basic Dental Care For Poor Adults,” Oct. 3)?

Most of these seniors can’t afford paying the rates offered by other health plans that offer individual dental benefits, some costing $45 a month with high copays, low annual maximum amounts and long waiting periods for some procedures. I, being one of these seniors, am tired of having worked all my life, paid regular taxes to fund these programs, but “make too much to qualify for Medicaid.”

But now that I’m retired, trying to live on a fixed/lower income, I have to pay upwards of 20 percent of my income for medical plan premiums, and more for co-pays and deductibles, which can add up some months to almost 40 percent-plus of my income. We need some type of universal health care for all.

I applaud the government entities that offer life-long health benefits to qualified employees. But, we all pay for that. So, why not let everyone receive these benefits, not just the very, very low or no-income folks, and those having worked for a few such employers that are funded by taxpayers?

— Jackie Hong, Honolulu

Constitutional Amendment

Just vote “no”

No one disagrees that Hawaii’s education system needs to be strengthened. However, the Community Voice by Lawrence Boyd related to a new property tax for education ignores the bare facts about the amendment’s language (“There Are Good Reasons To Support The Education Tax,” Oct. 3). As it is vaguely worded, “investment” property is all property not occupied by an owner.

It doesn’t specify the type of property, which could include retail, office, industrial, residential and any type of land. It doesn’t say “non-resident” or “speculator,” it could be any type of owner, including a local owner, multi-generation family, a retiree, or military veteran.

There is no dollar threshold in the amendment so it would apply to all investment property. As presented, this amendment is unclear and open-ended and would allow a new tax on all nonowner-occupied property irrespective of value or type or owner. If approved, the amendment would leave the details to be worked out in the legislative process, which is enigmatic to most.

It also doesn’t say this will increase education funding; the Legislature could decrease other funding in the budget process. I urge you to join me in voting “no.”

— Samuel W. Pratt, Lihue

Keith Hiraoka

Ige should have recused himself from court nomination

I just read the article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser regarding Governor Ige’s nominee for the Intermediate Court of Appeals. What the article doesn’t mention is that the nominee, Keith Hiraoka, was Ige’s campaign manager during his first run for governor.

It does not seem right that he chose a close friend and classmate who happened to be his campaign manager over the five other candidates. He should have recused himself.

— Wes Taniyama, Aiea

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