LETTERS for May 5 issue
MAYOR OVERTAXING THE VISITOR INDUSTRY
I think that Alan Arakawa needs to wake up to the fact that he did not win the election for mayor; Charmaine Tavares lost it. Just as it was when Charmaine got elected, she did not win the election; Alan Arakawa lost it. In both cases, there was great dissatisfaction with the performance of the office. Alan now has the opportunity to redeem himself, but he is off to a very poor start.
Alan and his colleagues have a blind eye when it comes to our number one industry, tourism. They look upon the industry as a cash cow that they can milk with seemingly no effect on the working population of Maui. Almost every job on the island is directly or indirectly connected to tourism.
The tourist industry has become overburdened with taxes. The industry has suffered a loss in property value, and as a consequence, Alan is going to tax them more. The hotels are hurting, but not near as bad as the time share owners.
What is difficult to understand is why a time share owner pays Transient Accommodations Tax attached to vacation rentals, and then in turn pays the property tax as a property owner.
Until such a time when the economy is back on two feet, Alan should look for ways to save money — not raise money. Start with the four people standing around watching one person work. Then, maybe, Alan might win an election.
FOSTER HULL, Lahaina
MAHALO FOR MENTORING LAHAINALUNA STUDENTS
On behalf of Lahainaluna High School, I would like to thank the 33 community members that were part of the evaluation teams for the 232 senior project presentations between Jan. 31 and April 4, 2011.
Mahalo for your time and your comments shared with each senior as they completed their final component of the senior project. These presentations were the culmination of the four components of the senior project; research paper, project, portfolio and presentation.
Through this experience, our seniors explored careers, made and repaired items, did community service and fund-raised.
Additionally, mahalo nui to the 232 mentors who provided 30 hours of mentoring to each of these seniors. Thank you community members and mentors for your commitment to the leaders of tomorrow.
LESLIE HIRAGA, Parent Facilitator, Lahainaluna High School
KEEP THE GREEN PARTY ON THE BALLOT
On Saturday, May 14, on the Big Island, the Green Party of Hawaii (GPH) will hold its Annual State Convention at Hawaiian Acres Community Center beginning at 1 p.m. State party officers and two delegates and two alternates to the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) national conventions, along with two members to represent Hawaii on the National Committee (NC), will be elected.
This year, the Green Party of Hawaii (GPH) is once again organizing a petition drive to secure a ballot line for state and national races for the 2012 elections. State law requires political parties, other than the two largest parties, to petition the state to appear on the ballot. When the GPH is successful with this ballot access petition drive, by State of Hawaii election law, the GPH will have obtained ballot access for the next ten years.
When voting, people deserve to have as many choices as possible. Hawaii is one of only five states in the United States that does not allow “write-in” voting. Currently, Alaska is represented in the United States Senate by an individual who beat the candidates from the two major parties by mounting a successful write-in campaign. This would not be possible by our current law in Hawaii. As a result, in most situations, the voter is limited to voting for one of only two individuals, with at times little difference between the two candidates. At other times, when there is a difference, neither of the two choices truly represent the political positions and beliefs which the voter prefers.
Here in Hawaii, the contest next year for the United States Senate already has individuals who are front-runners in the two major parties. More moderate to conservative in their political position, the race currently has little option for the more progressive and environmental wing of the political spectrum. It truly would be sad for the voters of Hawaii in next year’s election to be limited solely to a choice between these two candidates. Thus, it becomes even more important for the GPH to be on the ballot in 2012. This will allow individuals an opportunity to give votes to a clear and substantive choice.
The GPH first appeared on the ballot in Hawaii in 1992 and has maintained ballot status for every election since. On the Big Island, where their County Council is elected by a “district” voting system, three members of the GPH have been elected seven times since 1992. On the Mainland, mayors, city council members and three state legislators have been elected when running in partisan races as a member of the Green Party.
Besides write-in voting, another progressive change would be to have “ranked” or “instant run-off” voting, especially in local, nonpartisan races. This would allow voters to “rank” their preferences when there are more than just two people on the ballot, especially in primary races. This would avoid having to feel that one’s vote would not count when voting for a “third” or “alternative” party candidate, or for a candidate who a voter truly supports but feels may not be strong enough to win. This method allows voters to always make a positive vote for a candidate, rather than the lesser of two limited choices, or against a certain candidate. This progressive change could then allow the possibility of eliminating the primary, saving a significant amount of money and holding only a general election in November.
To sign the petition, one needs to be a registered voter in the State of Hawaii, plus one needs to perfectly follow the instructions. The state Office of Elections and the County Clerk’s office reject petitioners who incorrectly fill in their information. To find out more about the petition drive and the GPH State Convention, visit www.greenpartyofhawaii.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 572-8787.
NIKHILANANDA, Co-Chair, Green Party of Hawaii, Huelo
A SOLUTION FOR MAUI’S HOMELESS?
This is dedicated to the late comedian George Carlin.
Someone should donate a golf course, maybe more. The homeless can have a community garden. Elect their own association and so forth. Help from the “outside” can help, too!
“What the mind can conceive and the heart can believe, the body can achieve.”
FREDRIC CUMPIANO, Honokowai
MAHALO FOR ERASING SCHOOL VANDALISM
Lahainaluna High School fell victim to random acts of graffiti on our entrance marquee and fence line. This occurred sometime between Friday evening, April 22, and early Saturday, April 23.
A police report was filed and photos taken.
We are grateful to Mark and Kathy Betterncourt, Michelle Tuipulotu and their children, some senior student body and class officers, and to a group of scouts who happened to be nearby completing another service project for their quick action to remove the black markings and clean up the mess that was left by these inconsiderate and thoughtless vandals.
I wish to also thank the Lahaina community for their support and concern over the matter.
EMILY DE COSTA, Principal, Lahainaluna High School