It's the wrong time to raise taxes
(The following letter was sent to members of the County Council's Budget & Finance Committee.)
On behalf of the Executive Board of the West Maui Taxpayers Association, we respectfully request your holding the line on Maui County property tax rates in all classifications this coming fiscal year. This is simply NOT the right time to raise property taxes in any category. Given the record number of business foreclosures and residential foreclosures, and the very infancy of signs of life, we should not suffer them additional burdens at this time.
The County bond rating is the highest, with the interest cost the lowest. This is a much better alternative when and only if any more spending is proven to be essential.
Please consider the following points:
1) Tax revenues will increase without a rate increase anyway, with increased assessments already creating additional burdens to all property owners in all classifications.
2) Cross training and cross utilization of positions unfilled or open is superior to permanently increasing the size of county payroll and benefit burdens that continue ad infinitum.
3) Public-private partnerships are a far superior choice and much more efficient than mandated governmental requirements and their associated union and procurement burdens.
4) Out-sourcing functions from government to contractors held to government-mandated specifications is much more cost-efficient and prudent where ever possible.
5) If you must spend, use bond financing now at all-time record low interest costs, which will not be available in the future.
Mahalo for your continued dedication and commitment to the people of Maui County.
JOSEPH PLUTA, West Maui Taxpayers Association
Drivers in Kapalua should slow down
I often walk Kapalua and at times have noticed that for some reason, the speed limit has changed to 40 mph-plus for trucks, cars and even the Kapalua Resort Shuttle on Office Road.
Pineapple Hill Road is very peaceful to walk with my dog and enjoy the serenity and nature... until a speeding vehicle almost runs one off the road.
Kapalua Bay Drive, both directions, is a hazard with speeding vehicles and once again the Kapalua Resort Shuttle.
The speed limit is 20 MPH on all three of these roads, and the bright red signs that have "STOP" written on them actually mean you need to come to a complete stop for the crossing in front of you. Even if no one is crossing, STOP means STOP.
I have never seen any police presence on any of these roads. Is Kapalua immune from police presence? These speeders also include visitors who just do not seem to understand that we have the same laws as any other state, and because they are on vacation, "anything goes" (which is not true). Please drive the speed limit and avoid any more fatalities on Maui.
TERE PATTERSON, Napili
Union wants healthcare dollars spent on Oahu
This is second in my series about why we cannot have complete healthcare on Maui. Make no mistake; this is completely about Oahu keeping Maui medical money.
Banner Health would allow us to have complete healthcare on Maui. Our nurses and other hospital staff would have the pay, education and benefits they deserve. Banner is not union-friendly. I find that good, as HGEA is not Maui worker-friendly. HGEA also does not care about Maui patients.
To look at the big picture, you must sometimes dissect the picture piece by piece. Today we will discuss the union.
Let's focus on the executive director of the Hawaii Government Employees Association (HGEA), Randy Perreira. While Perreira tries hard to hide his salary, it was $90,906 as of 2008, the last year I can find figures for. Perreira has fought hard to cover up access to information about public employee salaries.
Perreira uses scare tactics within the union to make them fear Banner Health. This helps the Oahu HGEA workers. So, Maui union workers, think about this: Perreira is sending your jobs to Oahu. He enables Oahu HGEA workers to have enough patients. He doesn't care about the health of Maui patients, which includes all Maui HGEA workers.
Perreira is extremely entrenched in Oahu politics. Sadly, he is also on the Task "Farce" to Reform the State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA). These are the people who block us from improving healthcare on Maui.
JAN SHIELDS, Kahana
Councilwoman is hard to reach
About a year ago, my wife wrote West Maui County Councilwoman Elle Cochran two different times, and the councilwoman couldn't be bothered answering her. The third time, my wife wrote to her husband. He told her that he would tell his wife, and that Elle would get back to my wife. Again, no reply.
I was under the impression that the West Maui councilwoman is supposed to represent the people of West Maui. If this is true, then why can't the councilwoman get back to my wife?
ROBERT P. POTTER, Napili
Kent an inspiration
Joe Kent teaches music to my kids at King Kamehameha III School. He truly has been an inspiration for so many, and we are lucky to have him. But after reading his column on milk prices, I realized the sad truth. He needs to move to Washington, D.C. immediately!
Mr. Kent, your article was the biggest breath of fresh air I have ever had from a Department of Education employee. It is nice to know that my kids are in the good, invisible hands of the John Adams variety. Joe Kent in 2016!
Foundation appreciates support from tourney
The Lahainaluna High School Foundation would like to thank the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, the PGA Tour, Hyundai Motor America and the staff at Kapalua Golf for allowing us to be a beneficiary again for this year's Hyundai Tournament of Champions Golf Tournament, held this past January at The Plantation Course in the Kapalua Resort.
Being one of the beneficiaries of this prestigious event allows the foundation the opportunity to provide significant funding to several Lahainaluna sports teams, clubs and groups through their hard work at the tournament. The participants this year included the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, boy's baseball, boy's basketball, girl's basketball, LHS Boarders, cheerleaders, Health Occupations Students of America, Robotics, swim team, tennis team and volleyball.
These groups came out in advance of, during and after the tournament to perform many of the tasks that come with such a huge event.
The weather proved to be a significant challenge this year; however, the groups from LHS performed admirably, and I want to extend a huge mahalo from the foundation for a job well done.
Our thanks again to the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and all those associated with the tournament, for allowing us the opportunity to participate this year.
JEFF ROGERS, Lahainaluna High School Foundation