Place conditions on property-tax deferral
The bill that would allow coronavirus-impacted businesses to defer paying property taxes for an indefinite period of time must come with strings attached (“Council advances bill to defer property tax for pandemic- stricken Hawaii businesses,” Star-Advertiser, April 19). These businesses must agree to reopen for business and rehire the employees they laid off. The city should not simply be an insurance policy to protect business owners from loss, but should involve reciprocity on their part.
The proposal made by the president of the Waikiki Improvement Association to waive altogether the second installment of property taxes for commercial and resort property owners is even more objectionable. Are these property owners refunding the payments made for hotel stays that had to be canceled? I doubt it. For them, charity is a one-way street.
Times like this test all of us. Sadly, while there are many stories of acts of heroism and personal sacrifice, there is also the predictable whining of those who are looking for a government handout.
Edward D. Lasky
State too vague on virus benchmarks
While I understand the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for mitigation, I am frustrated by the lack of clarity going forward.
The federal government has provided states a framework. However, it is not clear what this state considers to be clear, objective benchmarks to attain in order to meet each phase.
All I know of this situation is that things are getting better, but we need to do more to flatten the curve.
When people are sacrificing and suffering, it would help to know exactly what specific results we must attain as we move through the phases. If things are better, why the increasing mandates? Opening parks for exercise doesn’t make me feel better or give me hope.
My biggest sacrifice is not being able to be there for loved ones in a nursing facility for close to two months now. I pray I will be able to do so at some point before something happens to them or myself.
Tourists could spread virus again
Compared to the rest of the nation, Hawaii has been faring fairly well with the coronavirus outbreak. But that doesn’t mean we should be one of the first to return to normalcy. Quite the opposite, we should be one of the last.
This isn’t because we’re more susceptible to the virus. It’s because we could have a bigger impact on the rest of the world. Hawaii is one of the largest hubs of tourism in the world. If there is a recurrence somewhere else, Hawaii could be the cause of spreading it to the rest of the world. For example, if somebody from Seattle brought the virus on vacation, they could transmit it to tourists from Japan or New Zealand.
Yes, tourism is our leading bread and butter here, but we should bite the bullet and be very careful about reopening the hotels.
Bringing back plastic bags not a solution
There’s been no evidence to suggest that the use of plastic bags decreases the spread of the virus. According to a recent UCLA study, the virus can live on plastic for up to two to three days, making these bags possible vectors for transmission.
We should instead make sure to properly wash or sanitize anything we reuse regularly. Arguing that we should switch to plastic bags is like arguing we should switch to single-use plastic door handles or single-use shopping carts.
Furthermore, businesses afraid of viral transmission should continue to implement policies such as asking customers to bag their own groceries, providing paper bags, or sanitizing high-touch surfaces often.
We shouldn’t make nearsighted decisions. It’s not a solution if it exacerbates another existential crisis.
College athletics don’t need football
The Mountain West Conference commissioner’s statement — that “if there is no college football this fall, there’s very little likelihood there will be any other sports because 85% of the revenues derived in college athletics comes from the sport of football” — is way off base (“Prospect of lost college football season raises concern,” Star-Advertiser, Ferd Lewis, April 21).
There are fewer than 30 college football teams that produce more revenue than they expend. In other words, most college football teams are a deficit on the athletic budget.
Football should be supported in its own right and not because it is expected to generate revenue to support other teams, which it doesn’t.
Eight schools in the Big West Conference do not field football teams and they seem to be competitive in the other sports. Also, Gonzaga, which the Mountain West Conference tried to recruit as a member, has no football team.
The other sports will survive and compete whether there is a college football season this year or not.