I must take issue with Ms. Francine Pearson (Your Views, Tribune-Herald, Feb. 6). What I was against is another tax. Because, once elected, officials implement one tax — and it does not stop there. Yes, I do protest taxes on commodities. It is bad enough that we are taxed on income and property, plus so many other taxes that are levied upon us.
Ms. Pearson, I am from the Big Island and not Honolulu. True, I can buy soda. I do not choose to because I like to keep my glucose low. And, true, we do have a high rate of diabetes and obesity not only in Hawaii, but the Pacific Rim as well.
But let’s say for the sake of argument that half of the obesity epidemic is either hereditary or a health problem. So the other half is what we consume.
It is our choice to put into our bodies whatever we like, even when it is not good for us. And much of the obesity comes from lack of exercise. We do not take our kids out running or doing things which will burn off the calories. Why? They are too busy with electronic devices. And we are too busy just ignoring them.
You say this tax is similar to others for things we consume, like cigarettes and alcohol, which in some cases is an expense to the taxpayers. But you want to tax all for the abuse some do? Keep in mind, not all soda drinkers have a health problem.
Who does that tax affect? Not you, but it will hit low-income families. Especially those with children who plead, “Mommy, why can’t I have a soda?”
There are a lot of things that are bad for us. Cigarettes, liquor, marijuana, too much red meat. So do you also want to tax everything that is bad for us?
I just do not like the government telling us what is good for us and what we should eat or drink. It is our life, and we should be able to live it the way we want to.
In 2012, the state fulfilled its constitutional obligations to Native Hawaiians by providing OHA with fee-simple title to lands in Kakaako makai, Honolulu. However, to our surprise, the Hawaii Community Development Authority had agreed to lease the harbor in Kakaako for 50 years to a California-based marina operator and increase the boats slips to 243.
Now OHA is feeling heavy pressure from both entities to accept the harbor improvements, which include two “finger” piers that will extend from OHA’s Fisherman’s Wharf site. OHA was not aware of the HCDA’s commitment to the finger piers prior to our signing the settlement agreement with the state.
OHA needs its ocean front unobstructed to be able to master plan our area as a whole. Cruise ships docked in front of our property would violate our promise to the Kakaako community.
Rowena M. Akana
Office of Hawaiian Affairs