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Not all owners of historic homes rich

The Star-Advertiser’s recent articles regarding historic property tax exemptions paint an incomplete and somewhat inaccurate picture.

As a co-owner of a property recently placed on the state’s historic place registry, I hardly fit the mold of a wealthy homeowner trying to take advantage of the system. My mortgage, tax and insurance costs are close to half my firefighter salary. The exemption the city allows will go a long way toward allowing me to afford badly needed repairs to the unique and clearly visible house designed by my late father.

If you had taken the time to talk to other historic property homeowners, not just those on the high end of the scale, I’m sure you will find many compelling cases of need for this exemption. Instead you focus on just a few properties and seem more intent on stirring up emotions than presenting a complete report.

Alfred Sturgis


Burns setting aside his religion was costly

In the Sunday Insight article chastising political leaders Jonah Kaauwai and Gary Okino for openly declaring their religious and moral views ("The clashing of church, state," Star-Advertiser, Sept. 12)), you invoked Gov. John Burns’ 1972 decision to allow the legalization of abortion as a good example of how religious beliefs should be ignored in making public policy. Let’s examine the outcome of Burns’ fateful decision.

Since 1972, Hawaii has had an average of 5,000 legalized abortions a year. Over the span of 38 years, that comes to 190,000 babies in Hawaii alone!

And what about the social turmoil — the collateral damage — caused by a society that thinks it is morally OK to kill babies? No wonder depravity and violence continues to increase.

This legacy of death and violence is what Gov. Burns unleashed on the world when he decided to set his religious and moral principles aside.

Leon Siu


Prosecution guidelines are incentive to crime

I was dismayed but not surprised to see that theft cases were up last year in Hawaii.

I was one of those 133,422 victims, of a brazen 7 a.m. burglary in suburban Honolulu followed by an attempted car theft that evening. But despite my neighbor writing down the license number of his car, a description of the suspect, finding his cigarette butt outside my back door and the police officers on the scene saying, "Oh yeah, we know that guy," I was told by the detective and the police chief’s office that they did not have enough evidence to submit my case to the prosecutor’s office. They said the prosecutor has made rules so strict that they really can’t submit unless you catch the burglar red-handed.

I am a staunch supporter of innocent until proven guilty. But by making the rules so tough, the prosecutor’s office is essentially encouraging these criminals to keep stealing from hard-working folks, knowing that they will not be pursued.

Julie Rivers


OHA offers forum to trustee candidates

In response to Kealii Makekau’s letter, "OHA ignores its own candidates," (Star-Advertiser, Sept. 16) the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has a commitment to our beneficiaries to inform and educate them on issues that have a broad effect on their lives, as well as the lives of their ohana, neighbors, co-workers and friends.

In the past, OHA has sponsored debates for various political races and will be sponsoring gubernatorial and congressional debates next month so beneficiaries can hear where candidates stand on issues affecting native Hawaiians and the broader community. Furthermore, OHA will dedicate an entire pull-out section in the October issue of its Ka Wai Ola newspaper to showcase candidate views on issues specific to native Hawaiians.

Candidates for the OHA Board of Trustee seats were afforded an opportunity to submit their position on these issues for publication in Ka Wai Ola.

Clyde W. Namuo
Chief executive officer, OHA

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