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Thursday, January 21, 2016
Letters to the Editor, January, 2016
By Letters to the Editor @ 12:35 AM :: 4012 Views

Job opportunities and tax revenues suffer as a result of fallow fields

Dear Editor,   January 21, 2016

Agriculture provides food security and sustainable employment, which is important considering we live on remote islands. Hawaii’s ideal growing conditions provide majestic beauty only nature conveys compelling people to visit.

Job opportunities and tax revenues suffer as a result of fallow fields. Some developers only consider “highest and best use” related to personal finances rather than revenues realized continuously if used for agriculture. “Fake Farms” are detrimental for our economy.

The amount of “country estates” may seem inconsequential but the precedents established entail the threat of over-development and agricultural resources lost forever. Land uses will determine the direction Hawaii will progress.

“The economic impact of food import replacement is significant. Replacing just 10% of the food we currently import would amount to approximately $313 million. Assuming a 30% farm share, $94 million would be realized at the farm-gate which would generate an economy-wide impact of an additional $188 million in sales, $47 million in earnings, $6 million in state tax revenues, and more than 2,300 jobs.” (HRS 226-55)

Now is a perfect opportunity to transition to an Agrarian Economical society. Billions of dollars will be generated by increasing the percentage of food we grow. It is substantial and worth the investment. People have to eat. Food is an essential commodity.

Agriculture promotes lush tropical landscapes protecting our vital visitor industry. Maui generates a substantial amount of tourism revenues for the entire state. Transitioning from sugarcane to other agricultural uses is essential to maintain and increase financial security.

Michele Lincoln

Lahaina, Maui

  *   *   *   *   *

Muslims Celebrate Christmas

Dear Editor,      January 17, 2016

At the height of the holiday season, while Christmas carols are fading and New Year preparations are being made; Americans received more threats of violence from Muslim terrorists. With the world still on edge from the Paris and San Bernardino attacks we hear calls to violence from Islamic leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi. He called upon all Muslims everywhere to join the fight against the infidels. Thank goodness some brave souls mocked his attempts in social media.

Then we saw the video clip of a 5 year old boy whose mother converted to Islam and moved from London to Syria. His message is “We are going to kill non-believers.” The video concluded with a threatening message from a masked spokesman and the beheading of 5 men. Seems to me we should focus on whole families being radicalized not just young men. Who can we trust?

Currently Germans are rioting in the streets about the influx of refugees and the raping of women by asylum seekers including Syrian refugees on New Year’s Eve. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted Europe has “lost control” of the refugee crisis.

Our President is in favor of accepting more Syrian refugees and is shaming Americans into welcoming more. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said that if she becomes president she will not only continue Obama’s refugee program but expand it, bringing in more Syrians and more Muslims from the Middle East. Is this compassion or foolish enabling?

We keep hearing Islam is “The Religion of Peace.” Islam consists of Muslims who choose to follow their prophet and leader Mohammed. His teachings might have started out peaceful but certainly ended with violence. Mohammed taught world domination by force, condoned murder, stealing, lying, beheading of violators and cruel treatment of women including rape. Not a whole lot has changed.

As history has taught us corrupt leadership will destroy countries, corporations and families. America will soon choose a new leader. Because we have so much on the line; I ask that you vote your conscience. Vote for the candidate you trust has the ability and strength to bring America back to greatness and global respect. Our future and our children’s future depend on it.

C. Moore

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

  *   *   *   *   *

Labor Camps for Deadbeat Dads

An Open Letter to Hawaii Legislators:          January 13, 2016

I am writing this letter in order to bring to light an important issue that I, along with literally thousands of men, women, and most importantly, children, suffer from.  With these words, I hope that many voices will be raised and laws will be changed. 

As of now, the following are the steps that the Child Enforcement Agency takes when a non-custodial parent does not make the arranged payments:

1) A database is monitored for their social security number when they acquire gainful employment and their wages will be garnished.

2) Should they receive a tax return, that will be garnished as well.

3) Their license will be suspended and possibly their passport.

4) A database of banks is also monitored so that any assets that they may have can be seized as well.  However, if they do not keep their money in a bank account under their name, CSEA cannot touch it.

During a conversation with a representative from CSEA, I asked if anything else could be done if the previously mentioned steps did not work.  The response was, "Not until the laws change."

The laws DO need to change.  There are many laws that protect people in other situations that involve large sums of money, but none that effectively protect the finances of a custodial parent and well-being of their children.  In addition, these issues are just as important, if not more important, than common criminal cases as they personally effect the interests and prosperity of thousands of children every day.  Hawaii law should view non-payment of child support as if it were in the same category that corresponds to equivalent criminal activity.  For instance, if the state of Hawaii considered a non-custodial parent who chose to actively avoid legitimate employment in order to avoid paying child support a criminal under similar circumstances, they could be punished with imprisonment of up to five years. 

Today I had a conversation with the manager of CSEA, Alton Kagawa, and posed a question:  Are you aware that Hawaii is ranked last among all states in collecting child support arrearages?  This clearly signifies a problem in the system.  If I had stolen $10,000 from someone, that would be considered a felony offence, but many non-custodial parents owe over $20,000.   That will be theft in the first degree.  Do you feel that incarcerating people with this amount of arrearage should be enforced? 

His answer was, "No."

Of course, there are several arguments against this type of enforcement:

1) If the parent is in prison, how are they to be expected to work?  The answer is that they are not.  Perhaps a work program during incarceration could be instated.  However, I guarantee you that the threat of more stringent punishments regarding child support non-payment cases would be a motivating factor for some people and increase the likelihood of continued payments.  For the rest of the non-paying parents that would be willing to push the proverbial envelope of non-payment and risk jail time, I'm sure many custodial parents would agree, we would prefer them to be learning their lesson in prison.  At least after a short stint in prison, there is a better chance of them coming out willing to get a job, and we probably were not going to get child support from them during that time frame anyway, so what does it matter?

2) Wouldn't the cost of incarcerating non-violent criminals only add to the financial drain on the government?  Consider the cost of financial assistance, food stamps, childcare, housing assistance, and medical insurance that the custodial parent must seek out for at least one child which also drains taxpayers' dollars.  I'm sure that the majority of taxpayers would prefer to stick the blame where it belongs instead of indefinitely footing the bill of caring for a child that is someone else's responsibility.

3) By incarcerating deadbeat parents, will it leave a mark on their criminal history, making it even more difficult for them to find employment?  No single parent would want to hurt the non-custodial parent’s earning potential.  However, just as the thief chooses to steal, the non-custodial parent makes the choice to not pay.  Some states require jobless, non-custodial parents to join an employment program.  If those standards are not met, then they may face jail time.

4) Isn't the government system already saturated with bills and laws that need to be passed?  What could be more important than our children and  their livelihood?  Doesn't it all begin with them?  Isn't the fair treatment of all citizens the foundation in which this country was built on?  If legislation like this, which is designed to protect the interests of our children, cannot be pushed through, what is the point of any new legislation?

In order to rectify the issue on their own, a custodial parent could hire an attorney (if they could afford one and/or find the non-custodial parent) in order to serve them court documents.   In order to find them, they could hire a private investigator, if they could afford one of those, too.  

Many of the fifty states have enacted more aggressive laws that actively prosecute individuals that refuse to financially support their children.  Why is it not the same here?  Why are Hawaii's children less important than those of other states?

At this point, the only option that I have left at my disposal is to write this letter.  A change needs to be made now. Hopefully, with this one, small voice, change will begin. 

Before attempting to write this, I asked myself, could I possibly be the first to challenge the laws in Hawaii regulating the enforcement of child support?  After a quick Google search, I could find nothing making reference to any new legislation.  Maybe other single parents are too busy working several jobs and running households by themselves to allocate the time required for the insurmountable task of challenging Hawaii's child support enforcement laws.  Unfortunately, we are not in control of making the laws.  We just suffer from the absence of them.

Angela Larison

Honolulu, Oahu


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