Your Views for May 14

We have your backs

This week is Police Week. Our nation sets aside the second week in May to honor the contribution that our police officers make to ensure the safety of our communities.

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Now, more than ever, our police officers need the loud and proud support of our community. The political and social climate of our nation at this time is so anti-police, and I know that this grieves the hearts of those of us who are pro-police. No other public service agency that I know of has to serve the public and fight the public they serve at the same time.

Tragic events and deaths surrounding controversial officer-involved shootings in our nation deserve our attention as much as any other incidents that result in injustice. At the same time, law enforcement is a unique and much-needed service that requires the use of violence, because they are trying to confront crime that involves violence.

When criminals stop using force, so can our police.

I have heard the question, “Why is there so much increase in officer-involved shootings?” An equally important question is, “Why is there such an increase in violence against police officers?”

No other profession that I know of requires them to be willing to put their lives on the line to protect and serve and then be subjected to intense public scrutiny.

Department transparency needs to be balanced by the officer’s right to privacy. How can an officer confidently do his or her job when they and their families may have their names and situations exposed in the media before there is even a thorough investigation and conclusion?

All that to say this: During Police Week and every other week, let our police officers know that we have their backs like they have ours.

Renee D. Godoy

Hilo police chaplain

‘Truly local governments’

Kenneth Beilstein makes a good point in his letter of May 9 (Tribune-Herald, Your Views). The solution is simple: Create truly local governments.

In most states, county government is not the lowest governmental structure. Municipal and township governments fill that role. The total property tax therefore becomes a combination of that levied by the county and that levied by the municipal or township government where the property is located.

It works!

If Kailua-Kona wants to repave a road, or build a new park, they can add those budgeted expenses into their share of the levied property tax.

That is how it works in nearly every other state. Many states also add public school districts into this formula (of course, you must have local public school districts in order to do this).

Creating truly local government structures would inevitably result in a shrinking of Hawaii County government, as these local governments take over their share of responsibilities.

On the plus side, the citizens would have a real local government — one that is responsive to their needs — and one that uses their tax money to deal with local issues.

Total property taxes might go up, but government services will improve greatly. It is much easier to convince a City Council member that the potholes on your residential street need fixing than it is to convince a County Council member — who probably lives 15 miles or more away from you and deals with roads and streets all over the county.

Establishing truly local governments would automatically solve the east side versus west side issues that we see here in Hawaii County.

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Leslie Hittner

Hilo

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