comscore Letters: Wearing a mask protects people near wearer; Share burden of pay cuts across the board; State should have lottery | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Letters: Wearing a mask protects people near wearer; Share burden of pay cuts across the board; State should have lottery

Recently I flew to Oahu for a medical appointment. I appreciate what Hawaiian Airlines is doing to keep my elderly body safe from this horrifically pathogenic virus.

Boarding the flight back to Kona, people respected distancing. Then a young “cool” fellow boarded the plane, his mask ever so efficiently protecting his chin. He flirted with the flight attendant, then walked down the airplane aisle, with his chin masked.

This microbiologist was annoyed into action.

“You know,” I said, “masks work a whole lot better worn correctly.”

“Take care of yourself,” he snapped. I replied, “I am, I am indeed.”

The notion that a mask will prevent all risk of infection is not based on science. However, when an infected person even breathes or speaks, virus will seed the air. A mask can knock down some of that virus.

I started wearing my mask before it became a requirement. I told the staff at Kaiser Kona, I wear this mask to protect you from me. They smiled. It is the pono thing to do.

Richard Bennett

Honaunau, Hawaii island


Share burden of pay cuts across the board

A few weeks ago our governor brought up the topic of 20% salary cuts for some of our state workers, including workers designated as “essential” and those making annual salaries less than our legislators’ part-time annual salaries.

I understand that our current crisis has brought with it unprecedented difficult economic times for our state; but picking and choosing only some workers to sacrifice for all of the city, county and state public workers does not demonstrate Hawaii’s spirit of aloha.

If salaries must be cut, the burden should come from all public workers, with across-the-board cuts in proportion to their salaries.

It is particularly important for our government officials to lead by example, including our governor, mayors and legislators, and share in equitable financial sacrifices with our public workers. Only if we share the burden can we support everyone during this crisis.

Janeen Kuhn



Instead of cutting pay, state should have lottery

Why is anyone asking state workers to give up 20% of their pay now during this pandemic when people are struggling just to stay afloat?

Now is the time to bring in the lottery and get the state out of this pickle, so state employees will not have the burden of balancing the budget. Or implement a sliding scale based on income: the more you make, the bigger your pay cut. That is fair. The governor, his executives and politicians should bear the brunt of balancing the budget with their pay cuts.

Mary Alice Lee



Teachers offer students an invaluable education

Ouch! Public school teachers are already living the “pinch.” The cost of living in Hawaii is a burden for many educators, and a 20% wage cut will literally run them out of house and home. What then? Do not consider this an option for the budget.

During this pandemic stay-at-home restrictions, it’s been gratifying to witness how well the teacher/student relationship has been maintained. The teachers have been resourceful using technology to replace the classroom. Parents are grateful to see the academic year being completed.

Growing up, I remember my grandmother, who survived the Great Depression, saying, “Get an education. No one can take that from you.”

Brenda Lumeng



Open economy to locals before tourists arrive

Hawaii should be proud of the fact that we have kept the pandemic somewhat at bay relative to many mainland states. Obviously when the time comes to reopen, it will have to be done carefully. I suggest we consider opening the state to ourselves first. With so few cases here, at some point we will be in a position to open sooner than many states on the mainland.

Phase One: We open businesses here while keeping mainland quarantine rules in place — restaurants without lines, parking in Waikiki, hotels with kamaaina rates. If interisland flights are crewed by resident employees only, we could keep it safe for all and start the rebuilding process from the inside. I think a lot of people here would jump at the chance to rediscover our home without waiting in line. And who doesn’t want to help get our neighbors back to work as soon as possible?

John Wade



Offer tourists superior experience for $100 fee

Tourism is the economic engine that keeps these islands healthy. Tourism is also a dual-edged sword: It has both favorable and unfavorable consequences.

Tourism overuses our natural resources, clogs our highways, inflates our cost of living and drives our residents to move to the mainland. Without a robust diversified economy, Hawaii needs tourism.

Hawaii received more than 10 million tourists in one year — too many for our fragile ecology. If we charged everyone who flies into Hawaii, who doesn’t have a Hawaii ID, $100, that would decrease the numbers and change the profile of the visitor.

If we lost 25% of tourists, the additional revenue to the state would be $750 million. The visitors appreciate the beauty of our lands and our people will gladly pay the $100 to receive a superior experience. Let’s reduce the numbers and redesign tourism to Hawaii for the better.

Chuck Cohen

Kalama Valley


Honolulu a world-class city? Not on my walks

Politicians will say Honolulu is a world-class city as justification for all that has been done. A lot of this was said before COVID-19, so I thought politicking was going to stop for a while.

As I see it, it didn’t. So here goes. Is Honolulu a world-class city? I don’t think so. I have been walking for exercise a lot around the city, from Makiki to Moiliili to the bus depot on Alapai Street and back up. I walk both King and Beretania streets.

No. 1, I wear a mask. No. 2, I put just a drop of vanilla on the inside of my mask. It helps with the smell of urine and feces I come across in my travels. Honolulu is definitely not world-class.

I hope the candidates for mayor will take a walk on these routes and tell us what they are going to do about it. I’ve checked all of their websites and I see nothing but fluff.

James Gillespie



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