Hawaii can lead world in tourism
Hawaii has a unique and timely opportunity to establish itself as a global leader in tourism. We know the future of airlines is uncertain, many countries and regions will not allow U.S. passport holders to visit, and many international tourism-dependent areas are struggling to restart their tourism industry.
Hawaii is isolated. We have the hotel rooms and tourism-related businesses ready to open, employees ready to work, and airlines looking to deploy aircraft on routes they believe will help them recover.
Our elected officials and private industry need to work with the Hawaii Tourism Authority to establish a list of priorities that will ensure the safety of visitors, residents and employees, and then make sure every person in the U.S. who needs and wants a vacation are aware that we are open for business.
HTA is the best-equipped entity to lead this effort. Everyone with a stake in our vital tourism industry needs to be part of the solution.
If we do nothing, then nothing will happen.
Voting not enough to make real change
No one reading this paper needs to be told again how important it is to vote this year. You see it on all your social media pages, and likely have seen TV ads telling you to vote.
However, just voting this November is not enough. The fallout from the coronavirus pertaining to public health, housing, the economy and our social lives, can be attributed directly to our conception that we only need to act once things get bad, and that voting every two or four years is enough for us to make a change.
We need a more diverse economy and as a start, we need to invest seriously in affordable housing.
Our votes have for too long been directed toward upholding the status quo, as it is convenient for some of us. However, the status quo has failed. If we want things to get better for ourselves, we must go out of our way to help others. No one can be comfortable until we, the voters, make ourselves uncomfortable.
Energy bill would benefit contractors
An “Island Voices” commentary urged Gov. David Ige not to veto House Bill 1846, which requires that “total payments should not exceed total savings” on government clean energy contracts (“Ige shouldn’t veto energy savings performance contract bill,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 15). It argued that technology has become “far more efficient, resulting in greater cost-saving benefits for the state.”
The logic is flawed and the argument misleading. Increased cost savings are not passed on to the government, and merely allow for greater profits for contractors. While total payments are calculable, total savings are only fuzzy projections highly subject to manipulation.
Evidence as basis for justice reform
David Shapiro seems to blame “attorneys and social reformers” for not fixing our failed criminal justice system (“Don’t expect criminals to get a conscience during pandemic,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 13).
Attorneys and social reformers have been recommending evidence-based alternatives for decades. It is government that must apply the recommendations.
Gov. David Ige vetoed Fernhurst funding (Senate Bill 2523), an evidence-based alternative, which helps reduce repeat crime. In 2004, Hawai‘i Friends of Restorative Justice began developing and testing a re-entry planning process that works to lower repeat crime. It has been successfully replicated in other states and countries, but the state has basically ignored it.
Blame won’t protect anyone, but the state can apply evidence- based alternatives to improve our justice system.
Public Policy Center,
University of Hawaii
Veto of funding for Fernhurst a joke
I am appalled that Gov. David Ige has yanked $450,000 in state funding for the only program in Hawaii empowering women to successfully transition from prison back into the community (“Funding for Fernhurst vetoed,” Star-Advertiser, Off the News, Sept. 17). Over the years, 84% of women who have graduated from the YWCA Fernhurst program have not gone back to prison. And yet, the Department of Public Safety says it cannot afford the program.
While volunteering with my fellow Honolulu Rotary Club Rotarians to spruce up the Fernhurst facility and share holiday events with the women and their children, I have witnessed firsthand women achieving their potential. Their stories about employment opportunities, reconnecting with family and self-care are inspiring.
To veto a manini fund for a successful program that makes it easier for women to re-enter society and not prison, is a joke.
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