I read, on a daily basis, about the lack of public restrooms at state and city parks and other recreational areas (“Public restrooms remain critical for some,” Star-Advertiser, Lee Cataluna, April 1). Obviously, the lack of sanitary restrooms and toilets pose clear health and safety concerns that only exacerbate the disastrous COVID-19 impacts all over the state.
The situation is worsened with the closures of stores and restaurants and other businesses that have provided necessary relief — not only for the homeless.
So what about portable toilets, which are simple, cheap and common solutions for crowds at carnivals and other entertainment, food and sports events? Portable and hygienic outhouses have been around for more than 60 years, and Hawaii has a huge number of them.
Social distancing can be achieved in parks
Closing public parks may be overkill. Social distancing can be practiced without keeping everyone out of them.
I began self-quarantining as a precaution. When my gym closed, I began taking daily walks alone in Kapiolani Park. When the parking lots closed, people squeezed into the limited street parking, risking life and limb getting out of their cars. I felt threatened with arrest for simply walking through the park to the beach.
Here’s hoping the city will decide this measure is unnecessary and that the goal of social distancing can be achieved without closing the parks.
Green, Congress step up to bring aid to Hawaii
I gotta say, our congressional delegation and Lt. Gov. Josh Green have really stepped up to the plate in responding to the concerns of the people: They made sure that Hawaii saw at least $4 billion out of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act.
Why is this great news? Because everyone is going to benefit from these funds. Of course they are still working out more details for Hawaii businesses. And this may only be the third out of four phases of this sort of stimulus funding.
Whatever the issue is, Hawaii has much to be thankful for. If it wasn’t for the concern and competence of Congress and Green, I’m not sure whom the people of Hawaii would have been able to rely on during this crisis. We’d probably still be in the moratorium stage.
So mahalo nui loa for looking out for our best interests equally and fairly, and always keeping it real and factual. I know I’m only one of many who really appreciate it.
Lots of money for war, little for real dangers
The COVID-19 global pandemic has exposed the despicably misplaced priorities of American society. For decades, peace activists have warned that the distorted U.S. war spending (wasting tens of trillions of dollars since World War II by focusing on mostly imagined foreign enemies and/or real terrorists spawned by U.S. imperial policies) would cause drastic harm to the health of citizens and our planet.
Sadly, even 60 years after President Dwight Eisenhower alerted us to the danger of the military-industrial complex draining resources away from the critical health and welfare of citizens, a genuine peace agenda is still being sidelined to near-oblivion, both by the bipartisan ruling elite and the largely compliant mainstream media outlets.
It is high time that citizens demand a drastic cut in the obscenely bloated budget for war preparation, and use the diverted funds for urgently needed investments in infrastructure (especially a transformation of the profit-driven but mismanaged health system) and sustainable economic policies that actually prepare us for the real dangers of the impending climate change.
Danny H.C. Li
Keaau, Hawaii island
Pandemic should have been easily predictable
We can blame ourselves as well as our leaders for being unprepared for this pandemic, since anyone who could read over the last hundred years could have predicted that pandemics were going to be with us forever.
How could we have been so blind to the obvious?
How could we not have known that the more people travel in an overpopulated planet, the more likely it would be that pandemics were going to reappear and spread rapidly?
Will we learn from this and become more proactive than reactive?
I doubt it, because even with all the red lights that are flashing, our species is woefully unprepared for the catastrophic future consequences of climate change and habitat destruction of other species.
Once again, we will end up reacting to these disasters instead of working to prevent them.
We are not as proactive or as rational as we would like to think we are.
Minimum wage should not be a living wage
I keep seeing letters urging an increase in the minimum wage (House Bill 2541), because one cannot buy a house or support a family on the current minimum wage.
This is confusing minimum wage with a living wage, often used synonymously. Minimum wage is what we are required to pay inexperienced teens part-time to perform simple tasks, develop skills and establish work habits, such as punctuality, reliability and honesty.
A minimum wage was never intended to support a family — that would be a living wage.
Once those teens acquire good skills, habits, and additional training sufficient to enter the workforce, they become part of the supply-demand competition of the labor marketplace. Here, employers compete for valuable employees by offering higher wages and benefits.
As skills increase with experience, employees move up the compensation ladder, ultimately receiving a living wage.
But employers must never be forced to pay more than an employee is worth: Every increase invariably leads to job losses, when employees of marginal value now prove too costly, and are dropped from the payroll.
John M Corboy
KINDNESS GOING VIRAL
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.