With the state facing a severe budget crisis resulting from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the governor needs to temporarily reassign idle non-essential state workers to where they can help currently overtaxed agencies. With thousands of islanders having already lost their jobs, this action should be a no-brainer.
State Rep. Sylvia Luke, the House Finance chairwoman, has lent several akamai members of her own staff to the governor. She said, “I’m offering my services for whatever they need. If you want me to answer the phones, I’ll answer phones” (“There might be no reason for recessed Legislature to return, if recession dries up funds,” Star-Advertiser, Richard Borreca, April 5). Luke’s cooperative spirit is exactly what is needed in state government during extremely uncertain times — like right now.
A lot of the non-essential state workers are very good employees, and cannot be wasted by being idle. While fortunate to still have jobs, they can productively help other state agencies. And for damage control, the sooner the better.
If lawmakers can get raises, so can workers
State legislators have said that public workers’ raises aren’t justified right now. Workers have been working without contracts and without raises for some time. Negotiated raises were approved and passing through the Legislature until the COVID-19 recess.
Now there is talk that workers’ raises can’t be justified. This is a slap in the face to workers, especially those right now at their worksites across the state risking exposure, without personal protective equipment, in order to keep operations running, benefits processed, police and fire departments supported, and more.
Legislators will be getting a $10,000 raise, going from $63,000 to $74,000 a year, while the legislative session runs from January to the first week of May.
You mean to tell me their jobs are worthy of a $10,000 pay raise, but the workers struggling at the unemployment office or supporting first responders aren’t worth a few dollars’ raise? Support the working class for once.
Create Covid Corps to help kupuna in need
As a former Peace Corps volunteer providing health care (Marshall Islands, 1966-68), it saddened me to see all volunteers pulled from their posts abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
My health care service inspired me to become an emergency physician. I am now a state legislator dealing with this pandemic from a health perspective.
Let us create a paid Covid Corps for the young and older. The mobile young could bring food and medicine to the older folks, who should stay at home. The older folks can grow and cook food, make masks and help with contact tracing.
As we see more recovered patients, we should expand to a Covid iCorps (“i” for immunized), providing personal care as well as deliveries.
A year of paid service in a National Health Care Corps (or alternative service) for all 18- to 25-year-olds would be very valuable in this crisis and crises to come.
Richard Creagan, M.D.
State representative, District 5
Naalehu, Hawaii island
Modly dismissed captain who showed courage
By what standard of decency does the “acting” (as so many are in this incompetent Trump administration) Navy Secretary Thomas Modly refer to an ousted aircraft carrier captain as “stupid” before that ship’s crew?
Capt. Brett Crozier was recently removed by Modly after he’d pleaded with Navy higher-ups to take a different approach to the ship’s outbreak of the coronavirus.
Modly claimed Crozier may have leaked a letter to a news outlet in which he stated that his 4,000-plus sailors were at risk of dying when more than 100 of them had already contracted COVID-19. Modly made his claim without any evidence showing the captain had violated the chain of command or broken any rules.
The aircraft carrier’s crew cheered Crozier, now a coronavirus patient himself, as he disembarked the ship for the last time, an act that Modly was reportedly unhappy with.
Modly mirrors “Bone Spurs” Donald Trump in his disregard for commanders courageous enough to speak truth to power as they endanger their own careers in order to care for their troops.
Mayor’s Sherwood Forest actions unconscionable
That the mayor should resume construction of the much-maligned Sherwood Forest project during a time when no one can legally protest and thousand have recently been laid off is both unconscionable and cynical (“Mayor Caldwell criticized for resuming Sherwood project during coronavirus crisis,” Star-Advertiser, April 7). Auwe!
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.