As a pediatrician, I deplore the decision to close our parks again.
An article in the current issue of Pediatrics puts it very well: “Especially during a pandemic, families and children should be able to access parks, beaches and natural areas in their community to support their physical and mental health.”
With schools and many day-care facilities closed, parks may be the only antidote to excessive screen time and inactivity, especially among socially and economically disadvantaged families. In addition, issues of family conflict, domestic violence and even child abuse can be the result of increased stressors brought about by these restrictions in access.
It is very possible to practice precautions in open parks, and the decision to close access is inappropriate and short-sighted.
Peter Caldwell, M.D.
Closures show bias against the public
The closing of safer, healthier public- access spaces like beaches and hiking trails for exercise, while known COVID-19 vectors like gyms and waterparks are open to those few who can afford them, reeks of bias against the public, hostility to poorer (and often older) people, and a disregard for official oaths to protect and serve the public.
I am not arguing against restrictions to public spaces in line with controlling the spread of the virus. But the public deserves to have access to public spaces when safe for exercise either for limited times in the day (5-8 a.m.?) or by restrictions that allow a variety of exercise activity that is more inclusive of various abilities of the public.
It’s sad to see our public servants so woefully mangle their oaths and duties.
Election workers didn’t keep their distance
I recently volunteered at the Convention Center to help with the audit of the recent primary election. Masks were required and enforced — good work! The room was set up well for social distancing, with one person at each end of a rectangular table — nice job!
However, social distancing was completely ignored by those in charge, plus the majority of the volunteers. A dozen people would huddle around a table, shoulder to shoulder, to watch the work. Lunch tables, which were set up with only a few chairs around large tables, were reconfigured with people dragging chairs from other tables over so they could sit in large groups and visit.
I had to ask people in charge to step back from me when they were instructing me, and they seemed confused by my request. Social distancing is more than just furniture configuration.
Convert office space into more apartments
An akamai approach to the local housing crisis requires office space conversions. Oahu has carried a large surplus of office space for decades. With the pandemic, vacancy stands at 10.72%, or about 1.52 million square feet of space. Meanwhile, the average size of a Honolulu apartment is 544 square feet. If all of the vacant office space on Oahu were converted to housing, it would create about 2,800 apartments.
That’s enough to make a dent in our housing crisis. The conversion of office space into apartments also contributes to the round-the-clock vitality and safety of the downtown area, which will assist small businesses and retailers. Last year, Douglas Emmett Inc. began converting the 1132 Bishop St. office building into about 500 rental apartments. Let’s take advantage of the opportunity that the pandemic brings to convert unneeded office space into housing. Let’s keep the momentum going.
Violent protests mar BLM message and cause
What got lost in the protests is that Black Lives Matter because all lives matter (“Portland protest turns violent, federal police clear plaza,” Star-Advertiser, Top News, Aug. 22). For a supposed equal rights protest, there were a lot of violations of other people’s rights. Don’t the lives of people who live and work in neighborhoods taken over, looted, vandalized and burned, matter?
Also lost is the truth that the police actually save more lives (African Americans included) than they take. It is just not that trendy to post the numerous videos of police saving lives and protecting rights. So you just get the relatively few videos of the relatively few bad police violating their oath posted over and over and over.
The reality is that since Black Lives Matter, people should fund the police more and have greater police protection in neighborhoods with high crime rates and gang warfare.
Tragically, we have legitimized the notion that when an injustice occurs or is perceived, we are justified in hurting anybody else. That is a fatal lesson to teach to our children.
A good time for HPD to recruit from Seattle
The Honolulu Police Department should send a recruiting team to the Seattle Police Department to recruit back to Hawaii those officers who were poached by them in 2019.
DHHL homesteaders need internet service
Native Hawaiian homesteaders living on Hawaiian Home Lands have received shoddy internet service from Sandwich Isles Communications over the last several years.
Sandwich Isles’s shoddy service is a result of its insolvency since 2013. This has led to the filing of multiple lawsuits against the company. These lawsuits ultimately will result in the dissolution of Sandwich Isles.
There are two options of how this will play out. The first option is one entity purchases Paniolo Cable/Sandwich Isles and keeps the assets intact. This is the less-disruptive option for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands homesteaders’ internet and voice connectivity. If there are multiple buyers for these assets, the likelihood of a major service disruption is very real.
DHHL has a fiduciary responsibility that all Native Hawaiian homesteaders have uninterrupted voice/data service. It entered into an exclusive agreement with Sandwich Isles, which barred other companies from serving these areas. DHHL needs to take the lead in ensuring homesteaders access to these necessary utilities.
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