comscore Letters: Close public libraries; Suing fossil fuel firms; City spending massive sums for rail | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Close public libraries; Suing fossil fuel firms; City spending massive sums for rail

A Hawaii man, ill after traveling to Singapore, said, “I wasn’t tested, but definitely feel that (COVID-19) is what I had. … (Y)ou know how the politics work here in Hawaii. They don’t want to have a case … because it’s going to affect tourism” (“COVID-19 testing under fire,” Star-Advertiser, March 10).

In our fear and frustration, let’s be careful not to make accusations, scapegoat or stereotype officials without evidence. Yes, we should hold all leaders accountable. But put the blame for lack of testing squarely where it belongs — with the federal government.

Until days ago, all states had no choice but to use federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tests, which proved faulty, and follow strict CDC criteria for who could be tested. Testing is now more widely available from state and private labs.

I feel fortunate Hawaii has knowledgeable, capable and mission-driven health leaders such as Lt. Gov. Josh Green and Department of Health Director Bruce Anderson during this global crisis.

Doris Segal Matsunaga



Close public libraries until pandemic passes

Our large population of homeless people presents an extreme and immediate risk of COVID-19 taking hold here.

Somehow our public officials have not identified our public libraries as an extreme risk for spreading this pandemic. Libraries are the places where the homeless go to use the internet, take a nap, use restrooms and just hang out. Library users and workers are being unnecessarily exposed to risk from this group of library users and others who all use the same keyboards, books, tables, chairs and restrooms.

Sitting inches from each other at an internet station, coughing and sneezing or sharing books, is a tremendous risk when we all should be six feet from others in public situations.

Why wait to prevent cases of coronavirus? It is time to close the book temporarily on the Hawaii State Public Library System, as many of the more cautious, more careful communities around the world have done.

We all love our libraries but they are not essential. Let’s get through this pandemic, people.

Mark Dillen Stitham, M.D.



Something is wrong with President Trump

We are finally seeing who and what President Donald Trump really is. He is not a leader with any vision, because anyone would have anticipated the need for a large number of test kits to fight this coronavirus. We are in a hurry-up mode to get enough kits.

All of Trump’s time has been spent trying to keep the Dow from falling, so he would not get hurt in his pocketbook or damage his chances for re-election.

I don’t think he is all there up there. Something is wrong.

George Higashi



Suing fossil fuel firms waste of time, money

Don Quixote has a better chance at killing a windmill than Honolulu has in winning a lawsuit against fossil fuel corporations for climate change (“City sues fossil fuel businesses over climate change costs,” Star-Advertiser, March 10).

This uphill battle is likely to cost the city millions in outside legal fees, and for what possible gain? Even the city uses fossil fuels. Should the “big oil companies” lose the case and have to pay off the plaintiffs, the money will come from their customers: us. “Big Oil” cannot stop selling fossil fuels because citizens require fuel in order to live.

Wouldn’t it be a better use of the mayor’s time and our money to take care of everyday problems like the shortage of police officers and real traffic relief?

Mary Monohon



Oil and gas companies should pay for damage

Honolulu has filed a lawsuit against fossil fuel companies so that the corporations responsible for climate disruption pay their share of the costs to Hawaii (“City sues fossil fuel businesses over climate change costs,” Star-Advertiser, March 10).

As a professional marine biologist who has studied Hawaii’s coral reefs since the 1970s, I applaud this action.

I personally have witnessed entire reefs bleach and die completely from seawater being too warm for the corals to survive, and scientific models predict that coral bleaching will be an annual event in Hawaii by 2040.

No coral means no food from our reefs, no natural breakwaters protecting our beaches, no undersea tourism, and no medicines from our coastal ocean.

Oil and gas companies have known for more than 50 years about the environmental harms their products cause. Instead of protecting people and the planet, they chose to spend millions on a campaign to sow doubt about climate science and stall effective climate policies.

Mark Hixon

Diamond Head


City spending massive sums for rail project

Did I read the numbers correctly in “Rail a heavy lift for city budget” (Star-Advertiser, Our View, March 9)?

In the sixth paragraph, it says that “Caldwell’s budget calls for $71 million to be used for train system operation and maintenance during its first six months.”

If true, that is an outrageous amount. Someone in Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration needs to explain to the taxpayers why this huge sum of money is being spent in a short six month period.

Dee Montgomery-Brock



Progressive Democrats are realistic, not radical

The Democratic Party needs to remember that the enemy is not Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, but Donald Trump.

Affordable college and a living wage are not radical demands.

More than 30 million of us still do not have stable health insurance, and it is not crazy to want it. The Green New Deal sets realistic goals because climate change is an existential threat to our species and planet.

The Democratic Party needs to show some courage.

I’ll vote for a parakeet if the Democrats put one on the ballot, but for the sake of our democracy, play fair. Ignore the labels. A lot of people like what progressives say — fair taxation, equal opportunity, getting corrupting money and lobbying out of politics.

Government as a force for good in people’s lives was what Democrats once thought, but now it’s hard to know what they actually believe. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Kris Matsumoto Wong



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