Letters To The Editor
April 22, 2009 - MidWeek
Thank you to MidWeek for the wonderful Good Neighbors feature on Elsie Foster, who has been the chairperson of Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii’s Teddy Bear Drive for so many years. Because of your help with public awareness, we were able to collect 10,478 stuffed animals of all sizes, shapes, colors in one day at Pearlridge. Our goal was to surpass the previous record of 5,657 teddy bears collected by a school in Massachusetts - and we nearly doubled that number!
“The stuffed animals that were collected with the help of MidWeek will be shared with children who have suffered from child abuse,” explains Elsie. “These stuffed animals provide children with happiness and comfort. Our profound wish is that one day there is no need for a Teddy Bear Roundup because there will be no abused children.”
Please start saving your stuffed animals for next year’s drive.
Program Director, Prevent
Child Abuse Hawaii
I thought it a rather unusual topic when editor Don Chapman recently wrote about catching a screaming line drive at a UH baseball game, and the inherent danger to fans who aren’t paying attention to the game. But then my latest Sports Illustrated magazine arrived with a story about injuries and even death caused by being hit by a baseball, including 52 fans deaths over the years. I guess Chapman was just, so to speak, ahead of the curve.
It’s sad that Robert R. Kessler and Garry P. Smith feel it necessary to misstate facts and put words into other people’s mouths to bolster their constant unfair attacks on Mayor Hannemann.
Their attempts to personally blame the mayor for tax bills based on increased property values are both illogical and dishonest, especially since they were responding to my April 8 letter in which I made it very clear that the mayor has no control over the value of individual private properties.
Smith’s childish personal attack-“If Oto is telling us that our property taxes are lower than in 2005, he needs to go back to accounting school”- was especially scurrilous and deliberately misleading.
As I correctly stated, the residential property tax rate is $3.29 today- 46 cents lower per $1,000 of assessed value than it was when the mayor took office in 2005. I further stated that the mayor had supported lowering the rate when the city could afford to, specifically to help offset the effect that increasing property values were having on tax bills. I obviously made no claim that any individual bill was lower, and I suspect Smith clearly understood that but chose to continue blowing his usual smoke.
Even if the City Council agrees to set the residential rate at $3.59 per $1,000 of value, the rate will remain lower than it was in 2005. I suspect Kessler and Smith clearly understand that too.
Mark K. Oto
Honolulu Department of Budget and Fiscal Services
Let Obama lead
Ah, the smoke, the mirrors, the hypocrisy, the whining. After running up one of the largest deficits in our country’s history and aiding and abetting in our nation’s financial meltdown, Republicans are now organizing so called spontaneous, grassroots “Tea Parties” to protest attempts to straighten out the mess. Well, as George W. once famously said, “You can fool me once, you can fool me ... um ... but you can’t fool me again.” The main difference between the Republicans and the Democrats seems to be that the former want to spend and borrow, and the latter want to spend and pay as they go. It’s the spending that’s the problem, but neither party gives more than lip service to addressing it. But if spending is needed, it is irresponsible to pass the burden on to our children. That means taxes.
I think we need to give Obama a chance to straighten out the mess before dressing up in silly costumes and parading for the benefit of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and Fox News.
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