Resolution 158-13, A High Stakes Game
Dear Editor, August 19, 2013
I am writing to share my concerns about the proposal before the Hawaii County Council to include Hawaii County Resolution 158-13 in the 2014 Hawaii State Association of Counties legislative package. It proposes legalizing High Stakes Bingo for a source of revenue. I believe that this resolution is bad for Hawaii, nor should it be fast tracked, bypassing community discussion.
Hawaii's citizens have strongly expressed a desire to keep gambling out of Hawaii at the Legislature. The Hawaii County Council should not attempt to undermine this desire through the false hope of new revenue. Studies clearly show the negative effects of gambling after it is introduced into a community, often costing the state money in the end.
Resolution 158-13 would also generate revenue from High Stakes Bingo which is a tax that will target the most vulnerable in Hawaii, hurt our economy by diverting money away from struggling businesses, and will pave the way towards legalizing gambling in Hawaii.
A perfect example of why Hawaii should not legalize High Stakes Bingo is the 1980 Jefferson County, Alabama constitutional amendment. It allowed charity bingo, which opened Pandora's box for allowing legalized gambling within the state of Alabama. Hawaii should learn from Alabama's mistake. The lesser of an evil is still an evil.
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Kakaako Development Promotes Inequality
Dear Editor, August 3, 2013
While the City of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii join forces with the Kamehameha Schools Trust to develop Kaka'ako into a residential 'Waikiki West' that caters to some lower-income residents, they pander to those who want to look down from $2M perches twenty or more floors above the rest. Meanwhile, two Mainland professors received the 2014 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought by studying poverty, inequality and well-being.
Government intends to develop our natural environment so that it yields greater tax revenue. For the Kamehameha School Trust it seeks to increase the cash flow that funds private education for an indigenous ethnic minority.
One professor, Angus Deaton, focuses on the effect of economic upheavals that affect the health and well-being of all of us. James Galbraith, the other professor, has shown that inequality isn't an outcome driven by factors outside our control, but instead results from the policy choices we make.
Before the rest of us cannot afford to live here, we might focus on the unintended negative consequences that insure that many residents may have to leave Hawaii earlier than they anticipated to survive elsewhere.