Wednesday, February 14, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, February 14, 2001

'Moon' Sameshima, tax-reform advocate, dead at 82

By Christie Wilson
Neighbor Island Editor

Muneo "Moon" Sameshima, 82, of Waimea, a former Hawaii County councilman who led a property tax reform movement in the ’70s, died Sunday at North Hawaii Community Hospital.

Muneo "Moon" Sameshima led a 'Bicentennial Property Tax Revolt' in the '70s.
Sameshima helped organize Concerned Taxpayers of Hawaii, a group that once had 2,000 members. He filed two lawsuits against the state Department of Taxation for what he said were inequities in Big Island property tax assessments. Both actions were unsuccessful.

Sameshima urged citizens to withhold tax payments and organized tax protests. In 1976 he led a "Bicentennial Property Tax Revolt" rally attended by more than 250 people who burned their tax bills.

That same year, Sameshima decided to run for County Council as a Democrat, saying he would finance his campaign with money he saved by not paying his property taxes. He upset 18-year incumbent Ikuo Hisaoka for the council seat representing North and South Kohala.

While serving a single term, Sameshima focused on tax reform and government spending.

Wing Kong Chong of Waimea, a Republican who served on the old county Board of Supervisors and in the state House of Representatives, was a compatriot of Sameshima’s in his property tax battles. He called Sameshima "a very dedicated person."

"Although we may have disagreed in many things, we tried our best to be good elected officials, and he was one," Chong said.

Sameshima was born Dec. 28, 1918, in Waimea. He was a Realtor and owner of Moon Enterprises, and at one time operated a small hotel in his hometown.

He was a member of the Kamuela Hongwanji Mission and the American Japanese Civic Association.

Visitation will begin at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Kamuela Hongwanji Mission, with a funeral over ashes at 4 p.m. Casual attire is requested. Dodo Mortuary is handling the arrangements.

Sameshima is survived by his wife, Yuriko; sons, Jarret of Lynnwood, Wash., Victor of Gardena, Calif., and Kevin of Waimea; daughter, Joanne of Waimea; sisters, Yoshiko Chung of Carmel, Calif., and Eiko Murakami, Teruko Martinson and Natsuko Ryusaki, all of Waimea; sister-in-law Rose Sameshima of Maui; and four grandchildren.

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