comscore Letters: Focus on tourism; Hotels should test guests; Hawaii should not start in-person classes | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Focus on tourism; Hotels should test guests; Hawaii should not start in-person classes

                                People wait to cross Kalakaua Avenue on Saturday in Waikiki. Hawaii’s visitor count has steadily increased in the past week.


    People wait to cross Kalakaua Avenue on Saturday in Waikiki. Hawaii’s visitor count has steadily increased in the past week.

Focus on restoring tourism industry

It is unacceptable that our state and county leadership continue to support a recovery period from the COVID-19 that is overly cautious and lacking in foresight. Instead of worrying more about beach activity and mall store openings, they should be focused on returning tourism to its place as the No. 1 economic recovery engine. It doesn’t mean that we forget about social distancing and large gatherings. It means that we get many people back to work.

Quarantining all tourists and returning residents for 14 days is idiotic. Implement quick-testing requirements on passengers before they board their flights. Persons testing negative may board and no quarantine is needed upon arrival, while “positives” are rejected. The accompanying benefit is that all passengers are safer together.

With tourism restored, many ancillary jobs can be restored and people re-employed. Hotel occupancy, air travel, car rentals, shopping and all other related employment activities benefit.

Stephen Kealoha

Pukalani, Maui


Hotels should offer daily tests to guests

Instead of imposing truly insulting conditions on tourists, why don’t hotels establish testing areas in their lobbies and offer guests daily tests? If a guest comes up positive, he goes back to his room; if negative, he can go out and enjoy Hawaii while wearing a mask.

Andrew Rothstein

Downtown Honolulu


Social programs, not markets, will save us

The simplistic notion that “the market” will decide what makes economic sense is the childish fantasy that right-wingers always fall back on (“Government, social programs must shrink,” Star- Advertiser, Letters, May 8).

Perhaps the letter writer read the bedtime stories of Milton Friedman, who gave “the free market” the powers of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and Santa Claus.

Social programs pay for themselves. Which is better: helping someone with food, medical care and some cash assistance until they get back on their feet and can pay taxes, or paying for their upkeep for years in prison after they’ve committed a crime to feed their families?

Which is better: using taxpayer dollars to help the actual taxpayer, or continuing to shovel billions of taxpayer dollars into the hands of those corporations who have billions and dodge paying any taxes?

It’s time to end these silly right-wing fantasies and look to a cohesive set of social programs and market regulations that will allow people to live decently — and not at the whims of the wealthiest and best-connected people in our society.

Sid Goldstein



Help kupuna get services online

As a senior citizen enrolled at Kapiolani Community College, I was introduced to Zoom when the University of Hawaii system decided to stop face-to-face classes and instead have classes online. I thought the online classes, which started in March, went smoothly after I figured out how to set up my computer.

The only thing that bothers me is that I struggled to get comfortable with my remote class (beginning Spanish) and I think seniors who are asked to telework, telemed and do other online conferencing may also have a steep learning curve.

Young people and others who are technology-proficient need to support their elderly acquaintances in this transition to remote technology. But it can be problematic when there is no face-to-face help.

Seniors need to put in the effort to connect via computer and join the online revolution. With a little help, it’s not hard to do.

Stuart Shimazu



UH should not start in-person classes

I am writing in response to David Lassner’s commentary (“Public higher education key to recovery,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, May 10).

I agree that public education is crucial. However, opening up the University of Hawaii to in-person teaching puts students, faculty, staff and everyone else at great risk. Scientific evidence shows that measures such as physical distancing, that UH claims will keep us safe, will not prevent infection.

The simple fact is that when people are placed together in closed indoor spaces such as classrooms and labs with air conditioning, COVID-19 spreads throughout such spaces. We do not have to choose between education and our lives. We can run fall university classes online, just as many other public universities across the United States are wisely deciding to do.

Nandita Sharma



Invest more to help voters in elections

Our new all-mail election could save lives during the coronavirus pandemic. Hawaii was forward-thinking in 2019 when it enacted the statewide vote-by-mail law, but policy alone without proper implementation is not enough. A majority of the voters were already voting early — either via absentee ballot or by walk-in. But this does not mean that the transition will be easy. Many people still think they can vote at their usual polling place.

In reality, this time there will only be eight voter service centers statewide (and only two on Oahu) for people to vote in-person, same-day register to vote, or perform other necessary voter services. The state has received approximately $3.1 million in federal election security funding to respond to the coronavirus. To keep long lines to a minimum, we should use that money for more election assistance centers, drop boxes and lots of voter education.

Larry Meacham



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