The following are some comments about recent news items this past month.
LWV Rail and Budget Forum
About 35 people showed up for a forum put on by the League of Women Voters to discuss issues related to rail and the city budget. What I got out of the forum is that 1. the city will be using more taxpayer money to fund the maintenance of rail.
Most of that funding will come from property taxes. 2. Property taxes are the biggest source of funding for the city. Depending on how you look at the accompanying graphics below, property tax revenues make up 35% to at least 50% of total city funding. 3. Property taxes hit everyone, whether you own, rent or go to a business. 4. Property taxes will probably go up to fund the maintenance of rail in the coming years. This is in addition to other things that property taxes fund - police, fire, infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, etc.).
Transportation which includes rail will end up being the biggest cost for the city in the coming years. This is one of the reasons why I continue to oppose rail. We are going to be paying for this huge boondoggle forever. Very, very sad.
Below is a graphic from Councilmember Ann Kobayashi's office that shows where city funding goes and where it comes from. Click on the graphic to see larger version options via Flickr.
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
I am once again disappointed by the latest rulings coming out of the United States Supreme Court extending marriage rights to gay couples and overturning California's Proposition 8 vote by upholding a lower court's ruling that declared it "unconstitutional".
The result has been a rush of new gay marriages in states that have a law and an effort to get the Hawaii State Legislature to convene a special session to overturn our law on traditional marriage.
Frankly a costly special session should not be convened to overturn Hawaii's marriage law. Not having gay marriage in the books is not an emergency situation. Supporters of gay marriage can wait until the start of 2014 and have the legislature tackle the issue during the course of the regular session that starts in January.
Hawaii already has a civil unions law which is just fine for them. Hawaii's definition of marriage law should not be overturned.
Friends of the Library Book Sale
The 66th annual Hawaii Friends of the Library book sale was held June 22 to June 30 at McKinley High School's cafeteria. I stopped by yesterday afternoon (June 29) and bought a few CDs and one book. I have several books that I bought in previous sales that I have yet to read. Lately I been trying to not buy too many things that add to the clutter of my small apartment. Buying books and more CDs doesn't help.
The annual book sale will be a huge success once again for the Friends of the Library as it was packed with people yesterday. I am sure all previous days were just as busy.
The Super Moon
Went up to Tantalus on June 23 to take a picture of the Super Moon. Did not get any photos from there. We were shut out by rain. I did get a decent rainbow picture before the sun went down up at Tantalus. After waiting for more than an hour for clouds and rain to clear, my friend and I opted to go to Diamond Head where I did manage for pull off a couple of photos of the full moon with 2 different cameras.
Super Moon through the trees. Taken with Canon Powershot G5 point and shoot camera.
Manoa sunset rainbow taken from the Tantalus lookout area.
And finally, yesterday's sunset at Ala Moana Beach.
All photos except for the U.S. Supreme Court building are from my Flickr photo stream, taken by me.