comscore Letters: Small businesses should be allowed to stay open; Stop rail transit, replace Honolulu’s bus system; Bye-bye, chump change: Get rid of the penny | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Small businesses should be allowed to stay open; Stop rail transit, replace Honolulu’s bus system; Bye-bye, chump change: Get rid of the penny

We’ve had several months of experience with COVID-19, so we should use that experience to target restrictions where they will be most effective in combating Oahu’s surge of cases.

All evidence points toward large gathering (like beach parties, funerals and backyard BBQs) as the primary problem, so the mayor’s restrictions on gathering are right on target.

But the publicly available information suggests that few if any breakouts the last two months have been linked to small businesses (stores, restaurants, golf courses, hair salons, etc.), due partly to how diligent the people of Hawaii have been in wearing masks and distancing in these establishments.

Forcing these businesses to stay closed is causing extreme financial hardship for employees and business owners alike, while contributing almost nothing to fighting the coronavirus.

Jack Ashby

Hawaii Kai


Stop rail transit, replace Honolulu’s bus system

Good news: “Honolulu withdraws from participating in the procurement of a public-private partnership for the rail project” (Star-Advertiser, Sept. 26).

Just stop that whole dumb thing — today. Stop it. It was misconceived, mismanaged, way over budget, well behind schedule, only halfway through, still going nowhere and will never work. Never.

Tear down those ugly concrete monsters. Restore the defiled aina. Restore the original Hawaiian nani (beauty). Grind up those behemoths and use the material to repave all of our decrepit streets. That wouldn’t just be useful but necessary.

Get a completely new bus system. Buy new world-class buses and get new, appropriate bus stops — enclosed in clear plastic, with roofs, seats and screens showing when your buses are coming. (They have them in San Francisco.) Can we afford all of that? Yes. We’ll save ourselves $9 billion or more.

Gerhard Hamm



Bye-bye, chump change: Get rid of the penny

No disrespect toward Abraham Lincoln intended, but the penny needs to be eradicated.

The penny is a drain on society. It costs more money, time and precious natural resources to make pennies than what they are actually worth. Pennies just “make no cents,” as Andrew Yang would say.

Now is the time to be practical, not nostalgic.

In 2014, the U.S. Mint itself declared to Congress, “There are no alternative metal compositions that reduce the manufacturing unit cost of the penny below its face value.”

So why do we keep grasping onto these grubby little coins?

Lincoln is still on the $5 bill, and I’m sure he would not mind no longer being circulated among street gutters, Long’s parking lots or the occasional infant’s gastrointestinal tract.

Nancy Gutzwiller



The Honolulu Star-Advertiser welcomes all opinions. Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor.

>> Write us: We welcome letters up to 150 words, and guest columns of 500-600 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length. Include your name, address and daytime phone number.

>> Mail: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Advertiser 7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana, Suite 210 Honolulu, HI 96813

>> Contact: 529-4831 (phone), 529-4750 (fax),,

Use the online form below

(*) Indicates required field

Dear Editor,

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (21)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up