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Letters: Hawaii public workers are doing our fair share; Quarantine should be lifted now

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                A sign on the front door of an ABC Store on Kalakaua Avenue advises pedestrians that the store is indeed open for business, June 18.

    BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    A sign on the front door of an ABC Store on Kalakaua Avenue advises pedestrians that the store is indeed open for business, June 18.

Public workers are doing our fair share

I’d like to correct some misconceptions about public workers.

First, we are not lazy. I, like thousands of public workers reported to work daily since COVID-19 started, to keep our communities running smoothly amid the panic, chaos and frustration felt by many.

Second, I, like many of my coworkers, have made concerted efforts to increase spending at local businesses because they need our support.

And third, I, like many other hard-working Hawaii residents, pay taxes to ensure our community has funding for essential services like clean water, drivable roads and accessible services for all.

The notion that we don’t deserve to have our contracts honored is flat-out insulting and short-sighted.

People are quick to vilify public workers, but who will teach our keiki, guard our beaches, provide services for the most vulnerable and deliver all the other services the public rightly expects?

Bryan Phillips

Director, HGEA Unit 14 North Shore Lifeguard Association

 

State and city should support landlords, too

The article, “Rental crisis looms” (Star-Advertiser, June 21), detailed the plight of renters during this time of high unemployment due to COVID-19, but only mentions landlords as obstacles to solving the crisis.

Renters need help to pay their rents, but landlords also need help to pay their mortgages, water bills, property taxes and maintenance. If state leaders, as suggested, force landlords to take most of the losses through imposed renter protections, they will damage rental properties for a long time. Who will want to buy rental property when the state can force them to lose money on it?

It’s time for the state and city to share in the burden.

The state needs to take the money out of the rainy day fund and help pay the rents. The city needs to defer and reduce property taxes for a year or more.

If the rental crisis is going to be solved, it isn’t fair for landlords to do it by themselves. It takes everyone to paddle the canoe, especially when it is leaking.

Garry P. Smith

Ewa Beach

 

Public is reluctant to just ‘Open Hawaii’

Approximately a dozen protesters were standing recently by the state Capitol again holding signs saying, “Open Hawaii.”

My first thought was, “Just another typical day.” But then I started to question the protesters’ intent. What exactly did they want open? To date, restaurants, stores and even interisland travel is now OK. Legally we can’t even stop travelers from visiting our island if they want.

I know there are still a lot of people hurting because of the current state of our economy and unemployment, but I’m not sure the argument is with our politicians in the Capitol anymore.

If people still don’t feel comfortable going out and risking their health to help stimulate the economy, then the argument is against the masses. And that is not an argument they are going to win.

Maybe it is time to put away the signs and take another approach to appeal to the people.

William Wright

Nuuanu

 

Quarantine should be lifted immediately

Apparently Gov. David Ige flunked Economics 101.

Small businesses are the backbone to our economy, with tourism the No. 1 source of money.

The majority of our businesses rely heavily on tourism as their main source of survival. Many stores, restaurants, nightclubs and bars already have closed due to his refusal to reopen to tourists until Aug. 1.

I understand the precautions needed to keep our residents safe from this virus, but in reality, we have the lowest number of cases and deaths in the country.

If he continues with this quarantine until that time, more small businesses will be forced to close, and then where will the revenue come from to continue to run this state?

I believe that most people have enough common sense to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others around them.

It’s time to lift the quarantine for tourists now and let our small businesses start to recover from the three months that they have been closed.

Live and let live, and get our economy back on track.

Fred Remington

Chinatown

 

Sidewalk Segway tours a nuisance to residents

Lee Cataluna recently noted some of the ways residents were benefiting from the decreased number of tourists, and I would like to add one of my own: no more Segway tours.

I have seen these centipede-like lines of vehicles, bearing 10 to 15 overweight tourists, elbowing women pushing infants in strollers off sidewalks in Waikiki and on Diamond Head Road, in parks from Leahi to Kuhio Beach, and even on Kapiolani Boulevard across from the Convention Center.

These motorized vehicles operate on sidewalks in districts where even non-motorized bicycle riding is illegal. Who got paid off to allow this?

Like the frog who boiled to death because it did not recognize the gradually increasing temperature of the water in the pot where it sat, we residents have gradually been cooked by the insatiable appetites of the tourism industry, and losing our sidewalks and parks to these “tours” is just one example.

“Sustainability” isn’t a dirty word, and “pack in as many tourists as we can” is not a strategy that encourages residents to show aloha to visitors.

Ken Sentner

McCully

 

Ease business deduction restrictions on cannabis

Since cannabis and marijuana products are still Schedule 1 drugs, the legal marijuana businesses around the country are being told by the Internal Revenue Service and Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco that these legal marijuana businesses cannot deduct their normal and customary expenses when arriving at their taxable income, or net profit. Many other legal businesses are able to deduct all sorts of expenses incurred for the production of income, but not the legal marijuana businesses.

Still classifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug should be changed by Congress, so that the legal pot businesses are not discriminated against by the IRS. Specifically, Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code should be revised.

The entire mood of the country has changed regarding marijuana in the last 40 years. In 1979, only 29% of the nation favored legalized pot. Nowadays 84% of the country favors either legal medical marijuana or legal recreational marijuana.

Phil Robertson

Kailua


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