Letters: Tax on empty homes could benefit Oahu; Jews are indigenous to the land of Judea; Effects of plastic in asphalt will be felt

Gun Rights

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Tax on empty homes could benefit Oahu

Oahu’s short-term rental (STR) ordinance has suffered a frustrating setback in federal court (“Judge halts Honolulu’s 90-day short-term rental law,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 14). However, the City Council’s empty homes tax bill (Bill 9) can accomplish many of the goals of the STR law, without raising the same legal concerns.

The county’s power to impose property taxes is well established and constitutionally supported. Taxes don’t create zoning issues nor restrict property rights, as the owners still have full rights to rent and own their property as they see fit; they just pay higher taxes for choices that hurt our community by reducing our housing supply.

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Bill 9 could go far toward accomplishing the STR law’s goals of limiting short-term rentals, creating more housing for local residents, and focusing the construction industry on local housing needs while raising tax revenues for affordable housing.

Let’s incentivize owners to transition empty homes to homes for Hawaii’s residents.

Ellen Godbey Carson

Makiki

Aloha for people of every nation

Let us not be so quick to judge other nations and races. Let’s not do this in Hawaii (“Ige should withdraw from Israel agreement,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Oct. 27).

There is too much hate going around in the world today. Our family moved here 21 years ago, after my husband survived the 9/11 attack on Wall Street. We have found nothing but a life of peace, joy and the spirit of aloha. Whenever guests visit the islands, they do so on vacation to a place that is welcoming to all without judgment and preconceived notions of what they should or shouldn’t believe religiously or elsewhere.

Israel is important because 6 million Jews (along with others who did not fit the Nazi mold) were put into concentration camps and methodically experimented on and exterminated. Israel was the refuge that was needed to survive. Please let Hawaii continue to be a welcoming place for people of all nations.

Sandra Armstrong

Kailua

Jews are indigenous to the land of Judea

The letter by Robert H. Stiver is sickening to me (“Ige should withdraw from Israel agreement,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Oct. 27). The lack of knowledge regarding the history of the region is keeping me speechless.

First of all, Jews are indigenous to Judea. Delegitimizing the connection of Jews to the land is both historically and ideologically wrong. No one is trying to take away the connection some Palestinians have to the land, but how is that related to the agreement Gov. David Ige just signed with the state of Israel (“Hawaii, Israel to share technology on range of shared issues,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 20)?

As antisemitism is on the rise in the U.S. and the rest of the world, I would have expected the Star-Advertiser to not allow such horrific words to be published.

Matti Gorodenchik

Kapahulu

Fewer restrictions, more gun deaths

The notion that a trained person with a gun can make streets safer is a dangerous canard promoted by the National Rifle Association, the gun manufacturing industry and radical right-wing gun fanatics.

Just check the facts. Recent FBI statistics show that the states with the least restrictive gun laws also lead the nation in gun violence and, not surprisingly, all are red states. The state with the smallest percentage of gun violence is Hawaii with its strict but sensible gun laws. New York, whose gun laws are similar to Hawaii’s, has among the lowest percentage of gun-related deaths.

Unfortunately, thanks to recent rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, we’re about to descend into the maelstrom of madness by which much of the nation is afflicted. So no, I don’t feel safer with so-called “trained and certified” people with guns on our streets (“Trained person with gun can make streets safer,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Oct. 27). I feel threatened and endangered.

More guns in more people’s hands means the likelihood of being injured or killed by a gun increases dramatically. That’s not safety. That’s a nightmare.

Michael D. Clark

Ala Moana

Effects of plastic in asphalt will be felt

Environmentalists must thank Travis Idol for his insightful comments about the dangers of recycling plastic waste in asphalt for roads (“Paving with plastic will cause ocean pollution,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Oct. 21).

At first glance, it seems like a good idea to recycle plastic with asphalt since we are reusing plastic and it probably is cheaper than using asphalt without it.

What happens if the gravel in the asphalt were bits of plastic instead? With the climate-warming storms of the future, the streams, canals and storm drains will be taking all the loose plastic out into the ocean and because it is not biodegradable, it will continue to pollute our beautiful bays and ocean for generations to come.

Sadly, although the roads paved with plastic waste mixed with asphalt will initially look and appear acceptable, the negative effects will not be obvious until much later. This subject needs to be studied and analyzed thoroughly by our scientists and marine biologists before it is too late.

William T. Kinaka

Wailuku


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