I’m very sad about the loss of two Honolulu Police Department officers, but more so, angry.
We should improve mental health care, but I believe that gun law needs to be changed:
>> Ban legacy transfers. Take away the right of a donor to transfer a firearm or ammunition to a beneficiary after the legal owner’s death. According to recent news about the Hibiscus Drive tragedy, there does not appear to be any responsible and permitted gun owner attached to the gun(s) used by the accused.
>> Tax firearms and ammunition, and require annual registration. Use the tax and registration fee proceeds to fund policing positions supporting the legacy ban and to compensate victims of firearms violence.
There is no substantial impact on any individual right to possess a firearm from any of these proposed changes to existing law.
Joseph N. A. Ryan Jr.
Personal firearms needed for protection
So our Legislature wants to review gun control after the Hibiscus Drive incident. The original landlord/homeowners had possession of unregistered firearms and the unstable perpetrator had access to them. This is exactly why this gun control needs to be rational and free of liberal madness.
Without my personal firearms, what government agency is going to protect me or my family at the moment of confrontation with the homeless, drug-addled or mentally unhinged?
Invest in bolstering police departments
A recent article indicated that Honolulu Police Department personnel shortages are contributing to increased criminal activities (“Law enforcement hopes capture of crime ring players will help bring crime under control,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 19).
I’ve read of the police shortages in other reports. However, the cause or action being taken to fix the problem was never clearly stated. If increased salaries are needed to attract more recruits and/or retain trained officers, then a salary increase for police officers should be the first item of business for our City Council members and legislators.
Certainly, ensuring police officers are adequately paid should be placed far ahead of any consideration being given to increasing salaries of politicians and football coaches, paying folks for doing nothing (aka paid administrative leave), or allocating more taxpayer money for the rail.
If the personnel shortages are the result of failure to find locally qualified recruits, then an aggressive search for recruits should be expanded to include the other islands and mainland cities. The police department should be fully staffed, trained and compensated to ensure officers are able to do their jobs and keep our communities safe.
Lawmakers must fulfill promises to homeless
I was particularly interested in what the lawmakers said they will do to ensure affordable housing.
I am a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and I come from a family in Nanakuli. Too many families from Nanakuli, especially Native Hawaiians, call the sidewalks and beaches their residence. I’ve had relatives who have experienced houselessness as well.
As someone who is studying the welfare of families, I believe our lawmakers should seek the opinions of those who are in need of help.
After decades of inaction, lawmakers must fulfill the promises they have just made or risk losing the confidence of their constituents.
Individuals subsidize corporate tax breaks
The results are in for President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax “reform”: Only 14% of Americans believe that their taxes were reduced at all last year. But for corporations, the picture was much rosier: About 90 of the Fortune 500 companies paid no federal income taxes in 2018. The remaining 410 companies paid taxes at an average effective rate of just 11.3% — a tax rate lower than the rate paid by millions of Americans and only about half the legislated rate due to these companies’ substantial loopholes and tax breaks.
What this means is that individual taxpayers paid a hugely disproportionate share in federal income taxes. While greatly minimizing their taxes, these huge companies nevertheless benefit from government services in transportation, defense, education, health care and other areas; they are essentially getting a quite cheap, if not free, lunch.
This inequity also has led to growing federal budget deficits and the staggering $23 trillion national debt.
If corporations and the rich paid their fair share and military spending was reduced, the U.S. could afford quality health care and free higher education for all.
Improve methods for patching potholes
None of the recent articles regarding the fixing of our “beloved” potholes addressed the underlining problem: our poor pothole-patching practices.
A few days ago I saw an Oahu pothole patching crew. They spied a pothole, dumped in a shovel-load of asphalt, tapped it with the shovel and drove away, leaving a big black lump on the road. A trade of a divot for a bump. Dump ’n’ go.
A few months ago, I was on the mainland and saw a crew patching some potholes. After the asphalt went in, here’s where the mainland crew went down a different road: It got a portable-power tamping device and flattened the asphalt patch even with the road, leaving a nice smooth surface. On a larger repair they used a heavy roller, which was on a small trailer towed by the pothole truck.
Imagine how nice our drive would be if all repairs on Oahu’s roads and freeways were done this way, the right way.