Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Saturday, May 25, 2024 74° Today's Paper


Letters: Help homeless deal with coronavirus; Reduce influence of public unions; Affordable housing good for Kailua

The CDC.gov website says homeless encampments should not be cleared during community spread of COVID-19 unless individual housing is available.

These evictions or “sweeps” can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.

The CDC further advises local governments to encourage people to set up physically distant shelters and ensure nearby rest- room facilities are working and stocked with hygiene materials.

Further, these evictions are unconstitutional. The law of the splintered paddle, Kanawai Mamalahoe states, “let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety.”

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court declined a challenge to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which said it’s unconstitutional to punish people for sleeping outdoors on public property when housing units are unavailable.

Know that no Native Hawaiian should be unsheltered in Hawaii. Know a Hawaii exists where every kupuna, woman, and child is cared for. Know policies like these evictions stand in the way.

Shayna Lonoaea-Alexander



Help public officials plan for recovery

I was disappointed to read yet another article lambasting the governor and other state and local officials for their latest efforts to rescue our failing businesses and keep our wayward populace safe in this horrible pandemic (“Hawaii Hawaii business owners seek clear path forward,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 2).

I can pretty much guarantee that they want and seek an optimal, successful solution as much or maybe even more than any of the many individuals and organizations referenced in the article.

My question to those people is: Have you proposed viable, inclusive solutions for consideration? I’m sure the governor, et al., would more than welcome credible, well-thought-out, comprehensive ideas to fold into a very, very complicated set of circumstances.

The Chamber of Commerce, tourism groups, unions, big and small businesses (and everyone else) all have very different needs. Government is “here to help” but can’t do it all without assistance and support from those it seeks to support.

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Help them help us all.

Karin Lynn



Reduce influence of public unions

Dave Shapiro was so spot on regarding the Legislature’s approval of public worker pay raises in the midst of 22% unemployment and a $2.3 billion budget shortfall (“Local leaders take ‘Hokey Pokey’ path to COVID control,” Star-Advertiser, Volcanic Ash, July 26).

If the unions don’t run this state, then they definitely run labor for the state and our appointed leaders rely on their endorsement to continually get elected.

It’s a vicious cycle that we can’t seem to break, even though the recent political consensus is that the system is broken. State workers continue to get full pay and benefits despite massive layoffs in the private sector. Some “special” employees, like the city prosecutor, have been paid for nearly two years while under federal investigation.

Here is a novel idea and first step in diversifying our economy: less union labor and more free enterprise.

If we didn’t have a government workforce that sucks 30 cents of every dollar earned, we could free up enough capital and enterprise for a new Hawaii, one not so reliant on tourism.

Bryan Ho

St. Louis Heights


Affordable housing good for Kailua

The 460 Kawainui Affordable Rental Project in Kailua, proposed by the award-winning, Kailua-based Ahe Group, is a thoughtful, well-planned development that meets our community’s growing need for low-income rental options.

Unfortunately, the project has become contentious and controversial due to misinformation circulating in Kailua. For instance, naysayers claim it cannot be built on land zoned R for single- family homes. However, legislation passed more than 30 years ago (Hawaii Revised Statues, Section 201H-38 ) facilitates and expedites the development of affordable rental housing for our low-income families, seniors and disabled. This project complies with these regulations.

Please, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! Rather, let’s adopt a “can do” attitude. There is always room for compromise to achieve this worthy project’s end result: affordable housing. By working together, we all win in the end.

Marianne Whiting



Include fruit trees in planting program

The City and County of Honolulu has pledged to plant 100,000 trees by 2025. The only “fruit” tree among them is coconut.

We already have thousands of coconut trees. Their shade is skimpy and their fruits must be removed to avoid hurting people.

There are so many fruits that grow well in Honolulu — mango, lychee, avocado, citrus, breadfruit, banana, papaya. Besides offering shade, air quality and bird habitats, these trees contribute to self-sufficiency and healthy diets. Plus, there is the psychological benefit of connecting man and nature.

I suggest the city plant at least one fruit tree in every park and schoolyard.

Regina Gregory



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