Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara should be fired.
Last month he implied that our economy is more important than the many additional deaths and illnesses from COVID-19 that could result with the reopening of the economy (“Delay in reopening Hawaii’s economy could lead to rioting, Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara warns,” Star-Advertiser, May 12).
Now he says dependents of military personnel should be exempt from the quarantine required of everyone else, with the laughable statement that this is necessary to protect our security (“No quarantine for arriving military in Hawaii, but ‘restriction of movement’ required,” Star-Advertiser, June 3).
Are we to believe that our bloated military, which is equal in size to the nine next largest militaries in the world combined, cannot protect us without the help of Hawaii’s military dependents manning the battle stations? This is an insult to our military and their families.
As a U.S. Army veteran, I am ashamed of Hara.
Hawaii can be refuge for those from Hong Kong
There has been much empty talk about how we should diversify our economy so as to reduce our heavy dependence on tourism.
Hawaii is well known for its poorly maintained infrastructure, high taxes and burdensome regulations. We rank near the bottom in most measures of a business-friendly climate. What then do we have to offer?
Location drives our visitor industry. It can do the same in other areas, particularly finance and banking. The current political turmoil in Hong Kong provides an opportunity for us to promote Hawaii as a refuge for those besieged companies and individuals seeking a safe haven. We can be the bridge between Asia and the Americas.
Already in place here are enterprise zones administered by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Although they currently suffer from many bureaucratic impediments that limit their full exploitation, that could change, given the political will.
Ige is unqualified to question Trump
It’s difficult to believe that Gov. David Ige believes he is qualified to question President Donald Trump’s call for governors to crack down hard on the protests (“Gov. David Ige ‘extremely disappointed’ by Trump’s response to mainland protests,” Star-Advertiser, June 2).
Certainly Ige has more recent experience with protesters than perhaps any other governor, but I would hardly say that he has been successful. With most Hawaii residents in recent polls supporting construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, just a few Native Hawaiian activists still were able to completely shut down one of the most important scientific projects in Hawaii history.
I can only think how lucky we are that there have not been riots in Hawaii, or they surely would have not been interrupted by our governor.
Embrace diversity, reject racial divisions
When local politicians repeat, “Diversity defines us,” they remind us that our willingness to accept, to value, to appreciate one another, no matter our ethnic, racial or gender differences, only enriches our lives.
Concurrently our inept president stokes the fires of division, threatening to kill those victims of racial and economic inequality, who justifiably protest against the system that oppresses them.
Let us embrace diversity and turn away from division.
Random test to find out how many had virus
Between December 2019 and March 2020, Hawaii residents came into contact with approximately 3 million tourists. This was the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Surely, Hawaii would be a center of the outbreak.
But Hawaii has virtually the lowest number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people and the lowest number of deaths per 100,000 in the country.
On the surface, this does not make any sense. Why is this happening?
The solution is to randomly test citizens to find out how many people actually had the virus and have the antibodies to fight it off in the future. Truly random samples do not require massive amounts of testing — a Stanford University study of only 3,000 people concluded that 40 to 80 times more people had the sickness without knowing it than the county had concluded. Could this be a reason, rather than a lockdown, why we have such low numbers?
Mahalo to Mrs. Willie K, a true angel of aloha
For years I watched Debbie Kahaiali‘i organize Willie K’s office and management, book concerts here and on the mainland, and perform innumerable other duties. She handled all his requests, including one from a big fan: former President Barack Obama.
In addition, she assisted the family business, Maui Tribe Productions, with his siblings and, most importantly, was mother to their children, Toni and Lycette.
When Willie K was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer more than two years ago, Debbie was by his side — at all doctors’ appointments, defining medical terms, understanding medical conditions and caring for Willie — while still being his booking agent and traveling companion. I watched her administer Willie K’s medications during breaks at his Blue Note concerts.
Thank you to his ohana for giving us Willie K in sickness and in health. Thank you especially to his wife Debbie, for the tireless hours of caregiving and loving Hawaii’s iconic Willie K, until his sad passing.
Emme Tomimbang Burns
Jones Act necessary for maritime security
In response to Michael Hansen’s letter about the Jones Act (“Defense of Jones Act doesn’t hold water,” Star- Advertiser, June 4): This is simple. Without the Jones Act we would not have a U.S.-flagged Merchant Marine. Without U.S.-flagged vessels, our expeditionary forces (Navy and Marine Corps) cannot defend us in Hawaii.
The foreign-flagged vessels will not be in Hawaii ports in time of crisis or conflict. Whatever small price we pay as consumers in Hawaii (if any, as the economics on this issue are disputed) is money well spent.
Captain, U.S. Navy (retired)
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