comscore Letters: Hawaii shows signs of recovery from tourists; Work furlough program far better than prison; Radcliffe exemplifies effective leadership | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Hawaii shows signs of recovery from tourists; Work furlough program far better than prison; Radcliffe exemplifies effective leadership

The $150 million pay raises for public workers is logical, fair and a good investment in Hawaii (“Hawaii lawmakers approve public worker raises worth more than $150M,” Star-Advertiser, June 26). Workers were owed $75 million from belated 2019 wages. About $30 million will go to taxes, figuring 15% federal and 5% state tax.

The underpaid workers’ raises will be one of the few bright spots to help stimulate the economy. Because state workers don’t have extra money, the meager belated wage increase will be spent in Hawaii’s restaurants, bars, furniture stores, car dealerships, etc. Hawaii businesses can’t count on tourist money for a long time to come.

The federal government added $600 per week to unemployment to stimulate the economy. Why deny Hawaii’s workers a small $150 a month earned pay increase because the future is uncertain? Let’s not drag each other down but lift each other up.

Richard LaJeunesse

Downtown Honolulu


Hawaii shows signs of recovery from tourists

Sunday’s editorial shows concern for tourists but an appalling lack of concern for our aina and our people (“Welcome tourists with all due care,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, June 28).

The editorial seems to assume we should embrace the tourist stampede from before COVID-19. That is only part of the equation. Over the past months, the honu returned to lay eggs, clear Waikiki waters now sparkle, and our people are coming to swim, to surf and to beach in areas we usually avoid.

We thought our islands would take years to recover from the onslaught of tourists overusing our natural resources. Miracle of miracles! It only took weeks.

Who is presiding over a sustainable return to tourism as many countries are considering? This is a plea to our elected officials and the tourism gurus — malama the aina and our people! Please recognize we should not only be focused on the return of tourists, but should consider how to hold on to the return of our people, our clear waters and our island creatures.

Patricia Talbert



More details needed on coronavirus ‘hot spots’

I have a simple question for the gatekeepers who manage the data on COVID-19 in Hawaii. Why don’t you give us more granular data as to the location of “hot spots” of community spread? Surely some areas are more dangerous than others.

With more granular details, we could all be more alert and take extra protective measures regarding such areas. The state’s current maps are too general in their time span (28 days), area covered and range of numbers of cases to be of much use for that purpose.

We need a daily or at least weekly cluster map with more specific locations. I get that privacy is a concern. But there must be a middle ground that doesn’t violate privacy sensibilities and still better protects the public from themselves. Surely the state has the data and capability. Why not share it?

Mark J. Valencia



Work furlough program far better than prison

Our community should be outraged that the state wants to close its only community-based work furlough program for formerly imprisoned women (“Women’s furlough program gets last-minute boost,” Star-Advertiser, June 30).

The Fernhurst program has been far better helping women succeed in being clean and sober and law-abiding after incarceration than the state’s programs. The state is disingenuous in claiming it cannot afford Fernhust, when it spends about $250 million a year for jails and prisons.

Additionally, in the past few years the state has spent about $20 million more on planning new jail and prison construction on all major islands. Our state’s policy makers who decided to close Fernhurst and who support building new jails and prisons, should be honest and admit that they want continued mass incarceration, and not rehabilitation programs that make our community safer. If you want to call the governor to voice your opinion, his number is 586-2211.

Lorenn Walker

Associate professor of practice


Public Policy Center, University of Hawaii

Radcliffe exemplifies effective leadership

John Radcliffe has been recognized over and over for his leadership on the “Our Care, Our Choice Act,” and for giving cancer the fight of its life (“Radcliffe starts saying goodbye and other things,” Star-Advertiser, Lee Cataluna, June 26).

Oh, but he was and is so much more. I had the privilege and honor to work with John for many years when I was on the board of directors of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly and he was the associate director.

What an annoying man! He pushed us and pulled us to do so many great things that never would have been accomplished without John’s help.

He was one of the great orators of all time. His speeches were the highlight of every UHPA meeting; honestly, I just couldn’t wait to hear them. They would get me so charged up that I would run out of the room ready to act, no matter what the issue was.

He is a good and kind man, just the best. John: You will live in my heart forever! Aloha.

Joel Fischer



Housing First is answer, not additional shelters

When is the state of Hawaii going to realize that shelters aren’t the answer to homelessness?

Most homeless people would leave the streets immediately if you offered them housing as the first option. Housing First is the model we need to adhere to. It’s a proven model.

Shelters are dangerous, dirty and noisy and many homeless people prefer the streets to them. The homeless deserve better than constant illegal sweeps.

I find it crazy to see how our government keeps doing the same thing over and over without concrete results. It wastes tons of money when the solution is right in front of it.

Housing First is the answer. We obviously have the money.

If we can waste money on failing attempts to house people, we can funnel that money into something that will work.

Patricia Demello



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