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Letters: Strongest action needed to stem coronavirus; Guard unemployment system abuse; Newspaper coverage essential during crisis

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With each day it becomes apparent that the spread of coronavirus is rising dramatically, including here in Hawaii. The health impacts of our leaders not taking the strongest actions, and communicating them to the public clearly, are obvious and terrifying.

Many ordinary citizens do not understand, and many are not taking, even the minimum precautions recommended by health agencies and experts: social distancing, washing hands, minimizing contact and congregation in groups.

The time for recommendations is over. It is time for the strongest leadership, the strongest actions available; unambiguous, enforceable requirements; and most important, clear communication of what must be done by all citizens of Hawaii.

I implore our leaders to take the strongest legal measures available to stem the rising tide of infections.

Every minute wasted now will result in more illness and potential mortality. The time to wait is over.

Barry Pollock



Go for a no-stop drive to relieve boredom

May a boomer recommend a way to relieve boredom that my parents used on us?

Assemble snacks and limited drinks (you can hydrate when you get home), send everyone to the toilets, and go for a ride. Close the windows, turn on the A/C, put the kids in the back after deciding who sits where.

This is not a trip to a fast-food joint, so explain ahead of time there will be no stops at places like that. And no bathroom stops.

We live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, and yet, rarely take the time to look at it. Too busy, too much traffic, too many tourists. The shutdown is a great opportunity to enjoy for free the Hawaii many pay a fortune to see.

The H-3 freeway is one of the most spectacular drives in the world. Drive the speed limit so you can see more. Next time, pick another route.

Mary Macmillan



Civil servants aren’t getting pay cuts, layoffs

While a large proportion of our population are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts, there is no information on civil servants at all levels, federal, state or local, being laid off or taking pay cuts.

Why are they immune?

There are some exceptions: Police officers, medical workers and first responders are necessary 24/7.

Our elected lawmakers must wake up and join the taxpayers who are suffering daily.

Edward Gencarelli



State workers remain on front lines to help

I am writing to praise our state employees who are working on the front lines during this coronavirus crisis to provide essential services to the people of Hawaii.

I think they deserve a salute. Since Hawaii declared a state of emergency, Gov. David Ige and county mayors have mandated the closure of schools, restaurants, bars and parks, and cut back on nonessential public services. Private companies and services also followed, instructing employees to work from home.

The state workers still on the front lines, risking their lives, are the police officers, firefighters and emergency and medical personnel.

The state unemployment office has been overwhelmed. Recently the office website crashed due to overwhelming demand from the public. The small number of staff at the office is working overtime to service the community of beleaguered people who just lost their jobs. Many of them have families and children to feed and have mortgages to pay. I think the staff at the state unemployment office deserve to be recognized.

Peter Hwu



Guard against abuse of unemployment system

As a small-business owner, I believe regardless of the law, protecting employees through unemployment insurance, workers comp, temporary disability insurance and prepaid health plans is the right thing to do.

I am, though, baffled when job applicants do not show up for interviews after being prescreened or for their first day of work. Every business in Hawaii is advertising for help. I hope the state Unemployment Insurance Division exercises due diligence to make sure unscrupulous individuals are not taking advantage of the panic.

To what department should I forward my list of no-shows? It’s a colossal waste of my human resources department’s and my time. Is there a penalty for defrauding the state during an emergency such as this?

Kevin and Susan Mulkern



Newspaper coverage essential during crisis

As a subscriber to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, I want to thank you and the entire staff of the paper for your continuing coverage of events in Hawaii.

As we become more isolated from one another, it is critical that we continue to receive accurate news so we can feel connected with others. Some of your reporters are putting themselves at risk to report the current news on the COVID-19 epidemic. I hope they are staying safe.

Please continue to print the paper and know that some of us really appreciate all you do.

Thank you so much.

Claudia L. Webster



Even in these days overshadowed by the coronavirus, bright spots exist. If you see kindness or positivity going on, share it with our readers via a 150- word letter to the editor; email it to We’ll be running some of these uplifting letters occasionally to help keep spirits up, as we hunker down. We are all in this together.


The Honolulu Star-Advertiser welcomes all opinions. Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor.

>> Write us: We welcome letters up to 150 words, and guest columns of 500-600 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Include your name, address and daytime phone number.

>> Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210 Honolulu, HI 96813

>> Contact: 529-4831 (phone), 529-4750 (fax),,

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