Shiyana Thenabadu’s commentary on the closing of Kalakaua Avenue was spot-on (“Beautiful Hawaii well-suited for pedestrians and bicyclists,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, June 18).
Cities across the world have found shutting down streets to cars allows cooped-up residents to practice healthful mental and physical activity. These activities under COVID-19 cannot be relegated to 3-foot sidewalks anymore.
As a Waikiki Neighborhood Board member, I heard an earful this week about the loss of convenient parking, but mostly about the enormous crowds who showed up Sunday, many mask-less and not practicing physical distancing. This latter concern is valid, but it doesn’t mean we shut down the program.
Continue with this popular event and educate participants on safe behaviors. And, let’s be clear on one thing: This is an “inconvenience” for drivers for a total of six hours early Sunday morning — hardly the parking apocalypse that drivers have painted. It’s a small price to pay for bringing so much joy to residents.
Add day of no-swimming to boost Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay, a very popular tourist area, has been closed for some time now. It used to be closed each Tuesday to allow the bay to “recover” from all the swimmers. The current halt on all tourists has resulted in an amazing clarity of the water and an increase in the number of fish. Obviously the bay benefits from the reduction in use.
When the area does reopen, may I suggest that, in addition to the standard Tuesday closings, they add at least one additional day per week for beach-only use. Everyone can enjoy the sun and the sand, have picnics and take walks, but no swimming — no one actually in the water. That should provide some additional, obviously needed, time for the water to stay clean and more habitable for the fish.
Free speech guaranteed, but not destruction
In the early 1960s, in my U.S. government class at Roosevelt Junior High School in Oakland, Calif., my teacher was discussing democracy and how Americans over time will not be able to differentiate between a right and a privilege. After several generations, most Americans will have forgotten the difference, thus believing they have more rights than they actually have, which could eventually lead to anarchy.
We have participants marching and chanting in demonstrations occurring around our country, which is acceptable; it is guaranteed under our First Amendment right of freedom of speech.
What I don’t accept is damaging private property and the tearing down of long-standing monuments and statutes. The United States of America is a country of laws and processes. It appears many of our elected officials and bureaucrats have abdicated their responsibilities, which has emboldened demonstrators to do even more acts of destruction.
We have fewer than 1 million people disregarding established laws, taking over cities and streets, and forcing their wants and ideals upon America, population 330 million-plus.
Share work data to ease jobless claims backlog
In the ebb and flow of our economy over the past 30 years, there have been several times where there have been big layoffs. The Aloha Airlines bankruptcy in 2008 comes to mind.
Since human resources departments have all the information on employees, it seems that so much of this current unemployment claims backlog could have been eliminated if companies could export the details of those laid-off employees directly into the state Labor Department computers.
This would reduce the backlog of the one-on-one data entry requirements, the long waits and inability to get through and make it more secure. It also would eliminate the need to confirm employment. Companies also could let the department know when employees are rehired.
It also would free up time for those without computer access and the need for one-on-one care. The inability to get through and delays in processing unnecessarily hurt families and increase the stress and financial burden beyond what has been created by the coronavirus.
Show aloha for others’ well-being: Wear a mask
Masks are to protect others.
People who refuse to wear masks aren’t just making a statement, they’re posing a risk to others. Masks may not prevent the wearer from contracting the coronavirus, but they will decrease the odds that the wearer will spread it.
This point isn’t emphasized enough. If one doesn’t care about contracting the virus, at least have some aloha for those who don’t want to get it from you.
Travelers’ questionnaire to isles must be tougher
This is an unusual time that lacks precedent for a questionnaire for travelers to complete pending arrival in a state with a 14-day quarantine for many. The questionnaire should be a legal document with several sections that all must complete and sign as long as a quarantine of any kind is in effect.
There are legal and privacy concerns to be met, but with legal input those can be addressed. The current questionnaire doesn’t fulfill its purpose when visitors don’t take the quarantine seriously and some leave the answers blank.
Questions on reasons for visitors traveling to Hawaii include visiting friends and family, vacation, business and relocating to Hawaii.
Additional questions ask for addresses and phone numbers, but are not always answered. “Visit” does not mean “stay with,” as it might have years ago. “Friends” may be vacation rental owners from online sources last year, plus social media friends. “Relocate to Hawaii” is laughable considering the cost of living and unemployment here, and an easy answer for scofflaws.
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