comscore Letters: HART following law regarding contracts; State’s position on tracers needs clarity; $600 plus-up allows people to avoid work | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: HART following law regarding contracts; State’s position on tracers needs clarity; $600 plus-up allows people to avoid work

Any suggestion that the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is relying on a “dubious” claim of what the Hawaii procurement code requires is false and faulty (“Oahu rail careens toward yet another fiscal train wreck,” Star-Advertiser, Volcanic Ash, Aug. 2).

HART is abiding by the provisions of the state procurement code, as it always does in soliciting proposals for the construction of the Honolulu rail project. And while the agency doesn’t need to be congratulated for doing so, neither should this issue be misrepresented.

The decision on which project delivery method to use for completing and operating the rail system was a joint HART and city decision, not HART’s alone, as was wrongly implied.

The column also takes a worst-case projected funding shortfall as certainty and draws erroneous mathematical conclusions that are misleading.

The inaccuracies contribute to an unfair characterization of procurement and contract awards, not just for the rail project, but with other Hawaii projects.

As has always been the case, HART and the city will make public the latest procurement details, upon award, in accordance with the law.

Andrew Robbins

Executive director and CEO, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

 

Tourism industry seeks profits over safety

On July 24, the Star-Advertiser ran a headline, “Hawaii Hits 55.” The coronavirus had clearly begun a relentless upswing in our islands.

In the same issue, tourism industry spokesmen were both proclaiming their dedication to the welfare of Hawaii’s people and urging the reopening of mass tourism (“Hawaii hotels prepare to return to life in a COVID-19 world,” Star-Advertiser, July 24).

Mike Shaff, an Outrigger executive, piously asserted, “The health and safety of our hosts and guests is our No. 1 priority.” Longtime industry mouthpiece Mufi Hannemann proudly announced the start of “tours to show elected officials that we are making plans to reopen safely.”

This was pure shibai at a time when the virus was rising daily both here and in Hawaii’s leading mainland tourism markets.

This episode shows that the tourist industry and its publicity organs are focused only on their own welfare, namely generating increased corporate profits. So it becomes urgent for us not only to diversify our economy away from tourism but to organize a Hawai‘i Residents Association to represent our interests.

Noel Kent

Manoa

 

State’s position on tracers needs clarity

I would like clarity on the status of contact tracing in our state. You read about 400-450 people already trained, about nursing students ready to be trained, about the Hawaii National Guard available to do tracing. Yet we also hear the state Department of Health is unable to provide adequate tracing due to the recent surge.

I am a retired registered nurse. I contacted DOH more than two weeks ago, asking about being trained to do contact tracing. I have heard nothing in response. What gives? What is the truth? Do we have enough tracers or not? And if not, what is being done to increase the supply? Why have I had no response?

Judith Keith

Hawaii Kai

 

Hawaii residents show lack of aloha spirit

Hawaii is the “Land of Aloha.” Bah! Humbug to hear this. Aloha means to wear a mask, to keep the proper distance from each other, to care for others as well as one cares about oneself.

Look around, folks: It’s not happening. Many people are not wearing masks. They gather at the beach, parks and their homes, continuing to raise the daily count of the deadly disease.

The people of Hawaii should be ashamed of themselves. We were once a well-mannered society. Businesses are closed, wages are lost, tourist spending is gone and many inconveniences must be tolerated in our daily lives.

The irony is that knowing all this, people will not follow the rules that are meant to protect them.

Lucky to live in Hawaii? Not anymore.

James Kataoka

Mililani Mauka

 

Businesses lack support from local government

Thanks for the twofer in Saturday’s editorials (“Landfill dispute heats up,” “More delays for TMT,” Star-Advertiser, Our View, Aug. 1).

Your recommendations for the governor to veto Senate Bill 2386 and to stay the course on the Thirty Meter Telescope are on the mark. How can we expect to recover from this pandemic if we don’t find a way to be more supportive of business opportunities and prevent damage to existing ones (e.g., the construction industry)?

Jim Newman

Waianae

 

$600 plus-up allows people to avoid work

Many Americans who have been laid off from their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic have been able to collect an additional $600 a week in unemployment benefits on top of what they get from their state; $600 per week is $15 per hour, or $31,200 per year, to stay home and do nothing — and that is in addition to their state unemployment pay. Why would many of these people want to go back to work?

Michael Miller

Niu Valley

 

Federal authorities have right to protect property

Respectfully, James Fukumoto ought to review federal statutes that empower federal authorities to enter state jurisdictions to protect federal property (“Constitution protects states’ sovereign rights,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, July 30).

Fukumoto asserted that in Portland, no federal property was “threatened.” Numerous videos — not just on Fox News — show the federal court building there being pummeled with various projectiles, with fires set close to that federal property. Hence the necessity of federal intervention.

Perhaps he missed the coverage of numerous such incidents in Portland, which were seen widely? Or is he concocting “fake news,” something some think only Trump supporters were thought to create? Please see 18 USC Sect. 1361 and 40 USC Sect.1315.

Michael Kappos

Waikiki


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