comscore Letters: Vacation rentals better for visitors, economy; Remove quarantine for local, interisland travel; End rail at Aala Park | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Vacation rentals better for visitors, economy; Remove quarantine for local, interisland travel; End rail at Aala Park

I was surprised at Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s comments during a press conference in regards to vacation rentals (“Hawaii officials pass the blame for loopholes in mandatory quarantine for incoming passengers,” Star-Advertiser, May 15).

I’m not surprised at his position on the issue (he seems always to be on the wrong side of any issue), but surprised at the venomous spewing at the scofflaw vacation renters.

I did a small two-question, unscientific survey of mainland family and friends. I asked, if Hawaii were to open up for tourists, would they come, and if they did, would they rather stay in a hotel in Waikiki or a vacation rental home in Waimanalo? The answers were 100% the same. Yes to coming to Hawaii and Waimanalo.

Given that restarting the tourist economy would include keeping people safe on both sides, the Waimanalo choice should be obvious, as opposed to cramming people into hotels and eating in crowded facilities.

Also, the money spent at vacation rentals mostly stays here, as opposed to hotel revenue that mostly goes off-island.

John Henry



Hawaii, Alaska residents should visit each other

We are lucky we live Hawaii. We live in a beautiful place and are listed by Statista as having one of the lowest rates of COVID-19 in the country, along with Alaska. I applaud efforts to keep us safe, but this virus is not going away. We will have to live with it, knowing some will die from it, the same as with many other infections.

I am an emergency room doctor; I see those infections. We can and will keep taking steps to minimize spread of COVID-19.

I believe travel between neighbor islands is safe for Hawaii residents. And I would be happy to welcome Alaska residents here if I can go there — without a 14-day quarantine. We can fly nonstop between our islands and Alaska. Travel will put more of us back to work. Let’s do it!

Mark Baker, M.D.



If Venice can reopen fully, why not Maui?

Venice is opening for business on June 3 with no restrictions. Let’s compare the Veneto District to Maui:

Veneto had about 1,800 deaths to Maui’s six — nearly 30,000% more.

Veneto square miles: 7,083 to Maui’s 727 — nearly 10 times bigger.

Veneto’s population: 4.9 million to Maui’s 144,000 — nearly 34 times larger.

Who has the greater risk exposure? Clearly, Veneto. Yet the region’s leaders clearly understand what is really killing their community and future: the loss of jobs and businesses, not COVID-19.

Too bad we don’t have real leadership in Hawaii.

Dan Blessing



Remove quarantine for local, interisland travel

As Hawaii begins to open up again, the governor should consider removing the travel quarantine for Hawaii residents for interisland travel. This would be a boost to airlines and hotels if staycations within the state were allowed.

Steven Schick



Open tourism between Hawaii and Australia

As a former resident of Hawaii, a 1964 high school graduate in Honolulu and now a resident of Australia, I might suggest that Hawaii and Australia would both benefit from Hawaii opening up its tourist trade to Australian residents who have not traveled abroad for a qualifying period and are free from the virus.

Australia, a country of 25 million, has had fewer than 100 deaths from the coronavirus, and we are all itching to get out of the country. We’ve got island fever, which I am sure all of you islanders have in spades, given that your islands are a lot smaller than ours.

There would be some interesting constitutional questions were Hawaii to open up its market to us here while restrictions remain on U.S. mainland folk, but I can assure you that we would fill Qantas and Hawaiian Airlines flights in droves.

Michael Clarey

Pyrmont, New South Wales


Honolulu’s rail system should end at Aala Park

Let’s admit that we can’t afford to get rail to Ala Moana Center (“Rail struggles along,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, May 16).

A suburban rail system gets people from outlying communities to the city center. Aala Park is on the very edge of downtown Honolulu. It is the perfect location for a rail terminus. We are already committed to get that far.

The Federal Transit Administration should accept that this is as far as we can afford to go. Forcing rail on through downtown to Kakaako and Ala Moana will break the bank. There is no point in stopping at Middle Street, the middle of nowhere.

Aala Park is somewhere — with adjacent land for a major station and transfer point. At the edge of downtown, people can walk to work or fan out by bus to the University of Hawaii-Manoa and places mauka or Diamond Head on a number of different, more-direct routes.

Jack and Janet Gillmar

Palolo Valley


Labor department should hear reader suggestions

As the media has reported over the past month, there are thousands of unemployment claims that the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) is struggling with. The claimants are in desperate straits and are finding it impossible to connect with DLIR. They are looking for resolution to their Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims, not an explanation of why the DLIR system is being overwhelmed.

Kokua Line recited a number of suggestions for improvements to the unemployment claim processing from claimants with first-hand frustration with the DLIR UI system (“People filing jobless claims know how to fix the system,” Star-Advertiser, May 10).

Perhaps DLIR should be asked if it is aware of these suggestions and whether it will implement any of them. I fear DLIR has adopted the standard bureaucratic arrogant response, saying, “DLIR is the expert, the claimants don’t understand the system so their input is worthless.”

Stephen Tom



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