comscore Letters: Restrictions on tourists should not be lifted yet; Haiku Stairs neighbors deserve aloha; Releasing inmates | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Restrictions on tourists should not be lifted yet; Haiku Stairs neighbors deserve aloha; Releasing inmates

Current statistics show that many COVID-19 positive carriers are asymptomatic. Checking for a fever at the airport will only identify actively ill people.

We all know that tourists coming in are not going to self-quarantine for two weeks. Without supervision, why would they? They obviously aren’t worried about carrying or catching the virus.

As of April 9, there are 32 non-­resident cases reported. How many residents have come into contact with those 32? How many more asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic visitors are walking our streets, and how many will arrive tomorrow?

Gov. David Ige needs to restrict tourists entering Hawaii at least until the stay-at-home order is lifted. It isn’t fair to ask us to risk our lives and those of our families for those who feel the need to vacation during a pandemic.

Teresa Todd

St. Louis Heights


Time to admit visitors who agree to testing

In March, Hawaii had a 2.6% unemployment rate. In April, unemployment is projected to be near 30%. A Google search shows that the highest unemployment rate during the Great Depression got up to 25%. On Oahu since April 23, the island has had five days with no new cases of the coronavirus and daily cases trending downward on all islands. Social distancing, masks and disinfecting seem to be working very well here.

Gov. David Ige should consider paying for all new arrivals to voluntarily test for the coronavirus at the airport to avoid the 14-day mandatory quarantine. He would get a lot of takers. That cost would be minimal compared to the damage a several-week delay would have on the economic health and well-being of so many of our citizens. Also, the testing would add to the image that Hawaii is now and will continue to be one of the most coronavirus-free travel destinations in the world.

Ron Miller



Why doesn’t ACLU help lockdown protesters?

Where is the American Civil Liberties Union during the COVID-19 restrictions and violations of rights under the Constitution of the United States?

People were arrested for peaceful protests at the state Capitol, with unequal protection under the law (citations were not given to homeless people walking around streets after midnight, but others got them).

The ACLU is quick to jump on a case that makes headlines, but where is it now?

Vernon Oneil



BWS praised for access to Haiku Stairs meeting

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply deserves a standing ovation. On April 27, it put on a master class in use of technology to facilitate public participation in a board meeting during a pandemic. The board members patiently accepted testimony on the fate of the Haiku Stairs for hours by phone, in-person by video feed and by email, while livestreaming and recording the entire event on Vimeo for all to see.

When testimony concluded, it put on a second master class in how to shrewdly resolve a conflict while sincerely respecting the concerns of all stakeholders. It was an incredible display of compassionate governance and empathetic leadership.

Other public agencies struggling to accommodate public participation, such as the Honolulu Police Commission, would do well to seek its advice.

Luke Wassermann



Haiku Stairs neighbors deserve some true aloha

Neither I, nor anyone I know, was at all fully involved in the Board of Water Supply’s livestreaming of last Monday’s meeting.

The livestreaming itself encouraged participation only by those who favored keeping Haiku Stairs alive. For most of us, we are more concerned about lost jobs, lost income and lost hope — especially for young families — during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fanciful thought that the city can successfully manage Haiku Stairs as an attraction would be laughable if it weren’t so ridiculous. City government can barely maintain roads and other basic infrastructure. Should Haiku Stairs somehow become operational by the city, it would be only a matter of time before the city — a la taxpayers — would be hit with a multimillion-dollar lawsuit after a Haiku hiker suffers a serious injury or, just as likely, death.

Besides, how about some true aloha for the residential neighborhood that’s been getting overrun by scofflaws still climbing the stairs, which are beyond common sensible repair?

Tom Haynes



Tell all sides of story about releasing inmates

Regarding “Hundreds of Hawaii inmates freed from overcrowded facilities to limit exposure to COVID-19” (Star-Advertiser, May 1): Many of the paragraphs had a variant of the Office of Public Defender in the first sentence, while no space was made for police, mayoral or prosecution officials.

The article noted that there are zero positive cases among the incarcerated, yet made no reference to the likelihood some of the inmates will be exposed after being released. And it made no reference to the (already and to come) cases of recently freed prisoners committing crimes, nor did it mention what percentage of these folks are now homeless.

Your editorial board might well favor fewer jailed residents, but I can assure you that a great many of the people who live here are appalled at what has been allowed to happen.

At an absolute minimum, you should at least give some voice or acknowledgment for arguments not supporting what is happening.

Jim Newman



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