In 2014, California made most personal drug possession offenses a misdemeanor under state law. This means someone arrested in California by a local, county or state law enforcement agency no longer faces felony charges for drug possession. Over the summer, Oregon followed suit with the passage of a similar bill.
Hawaii is behind the times in charging persons possessing drugs for personal use with a felony. The Legislature must act without delay to follow the lead of California and Oregon in de-felonizing drug use. A felony conviction carries significant civil disabilities that limit access to jobs, education and professional licensing. Most drug users aren’t criminals — they’re our ohana.
Repeal these lolo colonial drug laws.
The Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Mountain View, Hawaii island
Navy a no-show for board meeting
Rear Adm. Brian Fort claims the Navy wants to keep the public updated, including at neighborhood board meetings (“Red Hill 4 years later: Drinking water safe,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Dec. 5).
Why then was the Navy a “no show” at the Palolo Neighborhood Board for its presentation? The board had scheduled a vote on a “Resolution to Protect O‘ahu’s Groundwater from the Red Hill Tanks” and the Navy requested the board defer the vote.
Agreeing to give it an opportunity to make a presentation, the board gave the Navy two months to return and make its presentation at the next scheduled meeting. The Navy did not bother to show up. In doing so, it showed disrespect for the board, the Sierra Club representative who attended multiple meetings to present, and all of us who are legitimately concerned about the threat these fuel tanks pose to Oahu’s drinking water.
Member, Palolo Neighborhood Board
Vacation rentals not just about revenue
A recent article suggested that there should be more vacation rentals with higher property tax rates, but there was little discussion of the impact vacation rentals are having on residential and apartment areas (“Need housing? Tax vacation rentals,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Nov. 29).
Government has been totally inept at enforcing current vacation rental zoning laws. As a result, more legal ones will only spawn more illegal ones that won’t pay taxes.
The result could be a wide- ranging proliferation of legal and illegal (even “monster”) vacation rentals destroying neighborhoods and taking housing away from local residents. Enforcement capability and the protection of neighborhoods must be proven before any changes are made.
The article proposes to use the new revenue to build subsidized housing. How about protecting our neighborhoods by not allowing vacation rentals to take away scarce housing in the first place?
It’s not just about the revenue.
Congress must impeach Trump
With Civil Defense sirens wailing in the background, it is now more imperative than ever that Congress initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.
Congress must set aside the political divisiveness paralyzing it, because the revelation that members of Trump’s campaign committee (and Cabinet) colluded with the Russian ambassador and lied about it to the FBI are impeachable offenses.
Apart from Trump’s ignorance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, his bizarre “tweets” unquestionably reveal both his dangerous ineptitude and incompetence to serve as president; he poses a “clear and present danger” not only to our nation but to the world.
State shouldn’t do business with Airbnb
Should the state government government and Gov. David Ige’s main concern with the current short-term residential rental legislation really be about taxation?
Doesn’t the fact that Airbnb actually employs paid lobbyists say it all?
Airbnb and other similar online agencies currently profit in the billions, and its policies have led to suspicions that it is used potentially for money laundering.
The question is begged: Does Hawaii really want to be in bed with a conduit for money laundering for the purpose of obtaining tax revenue at the expense of our communities? Why not legalize prostitution for taxation? Same-same, is it not? Do we really need questionable revenue that badly?
Ultimately, the real issue is property devaluation. What buyer in his or her right mind would pay full market value for a Hawaii home adjacent to a short-term rental property?
Is this really fair to existing Hawaii homeowners who have scrimped and saved in order to have purchased their high-priced homes?
Fix flooding caused by rising tide waters
Motorists are driving through salt water when they need to travel on Ahua, Kilihau, Mapunapuna and Kohou streets. Besides damage from salt water, drivers hit potholes that never seem to get filled.
Pedestrians are forced to walk through the same tide water mixed with dirt, rubbish, oil and unknown germs. How do they cross an intersection that is flooded on all four sides or enter a business when the entry at the sidewalk is flooded also?
The problem was addressed a few years ago but the government has not maintained or repaired damage to the system.
Fix the problem or build elevated walkways for pedestrians.