comscore Letters: DOH lacks transparency, accountability to public; Flavored tobacco addictive to keiki; Dystopian America is on Trump’s watch | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Letters: DOH lacks transparency, accountability to public; Flavored tobacco addictive to keiki; Dystopian America is on Trump’s watch

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Bruce Anderson leaving the state Department of Health will make a lot of people happy, but will DOH become more transparent and share information on COVID-19?

DOH has been the poster child of opacity, a model of our government’s familiar lack of transparency that has drawn criticism from the state auditor and the Legislature, which have experienced DOH’s failure to cooperate and provide information that might help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

What really needs to change is the culture of opacity that has been on full display at DOH during this crisis. Ray Vara, CEO of Hawaii Pacific Health, noted, “It’s a cultural issue, it’s a culture of leadership, it’s a culture of action orientation, it’s a culture of accountability and it’s a culture of (lack of) transparency” (“State Health Director Bruce Anderson and Public Safety Department Director Nolan Espinda are leaving their posts,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 1).

The governor said that Anderson spoke of retiring due to the “grind of being in charge in this pandemic.” So far, it’s the pandemic that has been in charge. Transparency will help change that.

Bob Kern



Don’t believe advocates for herd immunity

The next time you hear someone advocate for herd immunity in dealing with COVID-19, call this policy what it really is: Thinning the herd.

Don Chapman



Ige administration has failed in virus response

Across the nation and around the world, governments have struggled to respond to COVID-19. But Gov. David Ige’s administration has demonstrated particular incompetence, indifference and failure.

The advantage of Hawaii’s geographic isolation was squandered. The Department of Health (DOH) seems morally bankrupt. Public Safety has been compromised. The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) nearly collapsed and, even today, cannot perform basic data queries.

Nearly eight months since the spokesman for the Department of Transportation (DOT), Tim Sakahara, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with retiring DOH Director Bruce Anderson, saying there was no cause for panic because there were no direct flights to Hawaii from Wuhan, China, we know there was indeed cause for panic.

The economy is collapsing. There is no plan for recovery. There is no transparency nor public accountability. Ige must resign or be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Eduardo Hernandez



H-3 tests easy, efficient from Windward side

Coronavirus testing on the H-3 was the most efficient government operation we have ever experienced. It was such a great idea. It was so well organized; hardly any waiting.

We breezed through, choosing to go at midday Tuesday from the Windward side. We can only imagine all the effort and coordination this took.

Kudos and mahalo nui loa to all of the departments and individuals who planned and operationalized the event.

Gail and Allan Fujimoto



Flavored tobacco addictive to keiki

Sadly, we are losing ground in the fight to protect our keiki from a potential lifetime addiction to tobacco. The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey data released last month shows a 5% increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students in Hawaii. State lawmakers had a chance to pass legislation to halt the sale of flavored tobacco products this year, but unfortunately, chose not to take action.

Popular flavors such as “Maui Mango” and “Mystic Menthol” are driving the use of these tobacco products by our keiki.

This 5% increase is not a good sign. Addictions can develop more quickly in youths as their brains are still developing, and health professionals are still researching the long-term effects of e-cigarette use. As the older brother of two younger siblings, I do not want to see the next generation develop new complications because of the effects of e-cigarette use.

Local lawmakers must stop the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol.

Gerico Demesillo

Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Ewa Beach


Dystopian America is on Trump’s watch

George W. Bush was the decider. Donald Trump is the divider.

Senior presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway said, “The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who’s best on public safety and law and order.”

We are warned that this dystopian hellscape will be Joe Biden’s America, ignoring that it’s Trump who is currently president.

But there’s a sly sleight-of-hand trick being played on Americans. Every news cycle dominated by street violence is another day that the Trump campaign can ignore the more than 184,000 U.S. dead of COVID-19. Our damaged economy. Our Depression- level unemployment rate. Our shuttered businesses. Our lost unity.

It didn’t have to be this way. A competent response could have lightened the blow. In two months, we have an opportunity to replace chaos with competence. We can unite and replace the divider. Make sure that you vote.

Ken Kessler



Police union focuses on protecting bad cops

I support police — mostly. And I support unions — mostly. But I do not support police unions.

They appear to spend more effort on protecting bad cops rather than on promoting good cops. I am aware that SHOPO (State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers) has endorsed Rick Blangiardi for mayor, and I think both mayoral candidates should publicly discuss how they would encourage police accountability.

I have contacted both SHOPO and the Blangiardi campaign asking them to address this timely issue, but I have not heard back from them.

Nita Ferreira



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