Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 75° Today's Paper


Letters: Census still in progress; ensure you’re counted; Changing circumstances require changes to rail; Electoral College overrides majority rule

Your editorial noted Hawaii’s high response rate in the 2020 Census (“Hawaii counts with the Census,” Star-Advertiser, Off The News, Oct. 6). That’s good news, especially as federal funding depends on Census data, and residents and hardworking Census takers and community organizations deserve credit.

But the Census count is not pau. Sept. 30 was the original completion date. The date was extended to Oct. 31 after COVID-19 hit, then inexplicably shortened midstream by the Trump administration back to Sept. 30. Federal courts have now ordered the count to continue till Oct. 31 amid concerns a shortened deadline would shortchange whole communities.

We must get our count even higher. If you haven’t self-responded by mail, phone or online, or been visited by a Census taker, or want to check whether you’re counted, please go to www.my2020census.gov or call (844) 330-2020 by Oct. 31.

It’s really easy, and so much is riding over the next decade on a full count, for all of us.

U.S. Rep. Ed Case

1st Congressional District, Hawaii


Masks aren’t enough; second test needed

Two tests or one? I thought of two things after Dr. Anthony Fauci’s interview with Lt. Gov. Josh Green on Wednesday (“Dr. Anthony Fauci offers advice to help Hawaii through coronavirus crisis,” Star-Advertiser, Top News, Oct. 7).

>> Too many people wear masks just above the tip of their noses, because it’s more comfortable. That’s because your warm breath escapes, including aerosols that may contain the virus. More space between your mask and face also means a larger pathway for floating aerosols to enter your lungs. More public education is needed on this.

>> Fauci seemed to indicate sample screening used by mainland colleges may be OK after initial universal screening. But rule-breaking students can be kicked out or immediately isolated.

Hawaii will be a respite for all kinds of people, including many who think COVID-19 isn’t so bad or so lethal. We need the second test.

Leslie Ozawa



Let businesses stay open if they act responsibly

Our favorite community corner of wisdom (Hawaiian Rent-All) suggests that the “tiered” reopening strategy not be a “teared” one.

To that end, I have a simple suggestion. Once a business or organization is allowed to open, it will remain open if no cases of COVID-19 are attributed to that business/organization (better yet, if the business/organization does not exceed the infection rate for the current tier).

My point is simple: Government rarely, if ever, rewards businesses for good behavior. Its approach to COVID-19 reflects this mindset. If one gym is problematic, the government shuts down all gyms.

This punishes the businesses that put creativity, thought and effort into reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading. Let’s reward those businesses by allowing them to stay open without interruption. Those allowed to remain open may become models for the others.

Jo-Ann Adams



Changing circumstances require changes to rail

The proposal by Nancy Peacock and Janet Gillmar to stop the rail just ewa of Chinatown sensibly responds to changing circumstances (“End rail just before Chinatown,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Sept. 13).

The twin blows of pandemic and economic collapse have impoverished state and local government. What we previously could not readily afford we now flatly cannot pay for. Second, with contemporary understanding of sea-level rise, the long-standing route through downtown is now in the city government’s acknowledged flood/high tide zone.

Stopping at a Gateway Station ewa of River Street will save the mauka- makai corridors connecting Honolulu and its harbor.

Like the old Oahu Railway & Land Co. train, it will take commuters to the edge of the city, then provide a space for dispersal.

We previously advocated for stopping at Middle Street. With a revised focus, Gateway Station is a good idea for many of the same reasons.

Donna Wong

Executive director, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends


P3 contract would be a bad deal for city

As a former Chicagoan now retired in Hawaii, I look at the P3 rail deal, with its giveaway of the right to operate the system for 30 years, as a raw deal for the city of Honolulu and its taxpayers (“Mayor Kirk Caldwell suggests circumventing HART on alternate rail plan,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 6).

Chicago regretted its deal with a private investment company, which now sucks up all the parking revenue from across the city for 75 years. Now the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation plans to make a similar deal for 30 years, with a private company that is also bidding on the completion of the rail line for the front end of the deal.

In other words, money coming and going. As if that wasn’t bad enough, one of the bidders is already upping the ante for the first part of the deal from $1.4 billion to $2 billion. Why are the taxpayers being treated like such suckers?

Edward D. Lasky

Hawaii Kai


Electoral College overrides majority rule

Eric Nedzweckas’ letter on the Electoral College makes two points, and both are incorrect (“Electoral College guards against mob rule in U.S.,” Star-Advertiser, Oct. 7).

The Electoral College does not ensure that the president has the support of the entire country. When the votes of the most populous states are overcome by the votes of the battleground and rural states, the Electoral College assures that the majority of the people, including those in the minority in those battleground and rural states, have their presidential preferences overridden.

As to whether democracy will promote mob rule or the oppression of the majority, throughout the country governors are elected by direct, majority rule. Are the minorities oppressed in our states? Are they under mob rule? Of course not.

It is time for every state to mandate that its electors divide their votes in the proportions that their electorate has voted. This will end the absurdity created by the “winner-take-all” approach that predominates in the Electoral College now.

James Duca



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