The news continues to be depressing. Now it is reported that Gov. David Ige is proposing a 10% furlough on a single department (“Department of Human Services employees told to expect 10% furlough for 4 years,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 21).
A more equitable alternative is for all state and county elected officials to take a 25% salary reduction, retroactive to April 1, with restoration perhaps after four years. Appointed department officials should take a commensurate reduction. Media reports continue to cite thousands of applicants still awaiting unemployment benefits.
Let responsible bars remain open; close rest
Mayor Kirk Caldwell is awfully fond of his “bad actors in a play” analogy, but when bars were allowed to be open, those who weren’t being responsible were basically told to go home for the day with a 24-hour suspension. And then he shut the whole play down, putting the entire cast and crew out of work.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to fire the violators (or bad actors), shut them down, and let the show go on?
Serious consequences of COVID shutdowns
The Hawaii COVID-19 shutdown has resulted in a case fatality rate of approximately one person per thousand infected, according to recent numbers.
This low death rate, which includes the passing of many high-risk patients with co-morbid conditions such as old age, diabetes and obesity, is being achieved with serious unintended consequences.
Statistics show a concurrent decrease in childhood immunizations, cancer and other health-screening procedures, and an increase in depression, suicide and substance abuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend the resumption of face-to-face teaching. The absence of the usual socialization, school lunches and instruction has an even greater negative effect on children from low-income families.
Furthermore, everyone recognizes the shutdown has had a devastating effect on Hawaii’s economy. One needs to ask: When does the cure become worse than the disease?
Malcolm Ing, M.D.
Electoral College gives smaller states influence
The Electoral College does not make elections unfair or unequal, as Rod Catiggay asserts (“Electoral College makes elections unfair, unequal,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Sept. 22).
In fact, the reality is quite to the contrary.
The Electoral College is a fundamental part of American federalism, asserting individual states’ rights, wherein the president and vice president in our constitutional republic are essentially elected by the states. Electors base their vote on a plurality of votes within their state.
This system increases the political influence of small states. Hawaii, in fact, has four electoral votes, despite its small population. So if there’s anything “unfair,” it’s that Hawaii’s voters have more influence than is justified by their numbers alone.
In a pure popularity contest, populous states would have “unfair” advantage over smaller states, and candidates would likely not expend resources in other than large “swing states.” It is said, for example, that “coastal elites” in New York, New Jersey and California, with almost 100 million voters, could control a leftist executive branch for decades to come.
Kupuna care homes need more funding
Much media coverage has focused on the tragic loss of lives at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo, and deservedly so. It is right that the management company be investigated to determine what may have contributed to these losses and what changes might prevent more losses in the future.
More important, though, is to ask what our state is doing to prevent the repetition of such a tragedy at other facilities. Kupuna in Hawaii are currently housed at 47 licensed nursing homes and more than 1,700 licensed care homes and assisted-living facilities. Yet many of these facilities continue to be short-changed in terms of personal protective equipment, coronavirus testing and policy guidance for both staff and visitors.
Is this not one of the targets for funding from the CARES Act? We need to see accountability from our state.
Stopping rail at Middle Street best choice now
The new consensus is to stop the rail system at Chinatown instead of Middle Street, where there is a terminal with buses going every which way.
My questions for all those who say it makes sense to stop at Chinatown: Where? Do you stop it at the last rail station on Dillingham Boulevard? Take it down King Street? How about Nimitz Highway? The last two require another rail station.
And what about a turnaround point? And then there are people who need to catch a bus to go farther on. Until we can figure out a way to get out of this boondoggle, Middle Street is not only feasible, it is our best bet and only hope before going forward.
Stopping at Chinatown keeps rail options open
The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated our economy and tax base and a return to normal levels is at least five years away. We need to pause the rail project until we can afford it.
The proposal by Nancy Peacock and Janet Gillmar (“End Rail just before Chinatown,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Sept. 13) is a simple and straightforward solution. It gives Downtown workers a “one-seat ride” but saves hundreds of million in construction costs and years of disruption to our urban core.
It stops the guideway at a point where it could go either mauka (on higher ground, to account for sea-level rise) or makai (current route) based on future ridership and finances. It also provides an excellent reuse of Honolulu’s original train station, the OR&L depot, as a transit hub for express buses to the city center, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Waikiki. I would urge our political leaders present and future to given it serious consideration.
Scott R. Wilson
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