comscore Letters: Health insurance system fails isle hotel workers; Bring rail project to a well-organized stop; Don’t let Trump tactics undermine democracy | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Letters: Health insurance system fails isle hotel workers; Bring rail project to a well-organized stop; Don’t let Trump tactics undermine democracy

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I was startled to learn that 5,000 of the 7,000 unemployed Unite Here Local 5 hotel workers are not only out of work, but have lost their health insurance as well (“Forecast bleak for the state’s hotel industry,” Star-Advertiser, Nov. 24). In the middle of a pandemic, no less!

Could there possibly be a worse arrangement for the delivery of health care during a pandemic than to tie it to an employer, who may barely be staying afloat himself?

A government option doesn’t sound so bad right now, does it?

Paul Pomerantz

Diamond Head


This is not the time to ‘go back to life as usual’

In reference to the letter from Janet Eisenbach, I am shocked anyone could sound so callous with regard to human lives (“Restaurant card won’t help Hawaii economy,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Nov. 27).

No country in the world (sans Sweden’s debacle) has thrown caution to the wind and flung open doors of businesses so that “everyone can go back to life as usual.” We are in the midst of a deadly pandemic with 260,000 already dead.

Herd immunity by mass exposure is not a public health response to a pandemic because it is unethical. You can prevent the spread of the virus: Wear a mask, keep your distance and avoid crowds. It’s not difficult, yet half our country is unwilling to do anything to tamp down the virus.

Thank God there is a vaccine on the horizon. It’s a crying shame we can’t count on individuals to protect each other. Show some aloha!

Linda Kim



COVID tests inaccurate, won’t protect Hawaii

The PCR test currently being used to obtain quarantine exemption failed to accurately diagnose COVID-19 in 30% of clinically diagnosed Wuhan hospitalized patients, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Rapid antigen tests, proposed by Lt. Gov. Josh Green for traveler testing, are intended to confirm infection during the first five days of symptomatic COVID-19. They are not designed to rule out infection in asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spreaders, are reliable when positive but not when negative, and have been used inappropriately for surveillance of arriving passengers.

Even missing 1 in 1,000 COVID-19 carriers among 10,000 arriving passengers a day, a recently acknowledged gross underestimate, disperses 300 undetected COVID transmitters into our Hawaii communities monthly, igniting community spread and killing people.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell should join Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami urgently to opt out of the pre-travel testing program.

Ellen Sofio, M.D.



Bring rail project to a well-organized stop

There seems to be a similar theme in Democrat slogans.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s was, “Build Rail Better.” President-elect Joe Biden’s is, “Build Back Better.” The Star-Advertiser’s unannounced slogan must be, “Just Keep Building.”

The editorial, “Keep rail project moving forward” (Star-Advertiser, Our View, Nov. 29), does a good job at detailing rail’s misfortunes and even the daunting tasks to come as the project continues through its most difficult segments. But, a false start-up just to prove it can move under its own power, but with nowhere to go, is nothing but showmanship.

COVID-19 has decimated the economy and it is unlikely that tourists will return and grow tax revenues for several more years. At some point, rail just will run out of money. Let’s come to a well-organized and managed stop while we still can.

Earl Arakaki

Ewa Beach


Don’t let Trump tactics undermine democracy

Joe Biden won the popular vote and enough electoral votes to become our next president. There should be no doubt. Yet President Donald Trump and his legal team persist with legal challenges, further stirring doubt within the minds of so many.

Besides Trump’s pugnaciousness, two things are of genuine concern to me. The first are attempts to get any state’s existing voting procedures, which have worked for years, dumped now in order to get votes tossed. This would effectively change rules after the fact. My second concern is that the upcoming Electoral College could technically stray and vote Trump in anyway.

If that happens, we seriously need to think about ditching the Electoral College system.

Should Trump ultimately become president from either method, we can kiss goodbye to any notion of the value of individual votes in our democracy. Talk about disenfranchising voters. Please, may this not come to pass!

Jim Kennedy

Ewa Beach


President attempts coup in his own country

What we are witnessing by President Donald Trump is an attempted coup. I’m in my 70s, so I’ve seen some history, and this is the first time that I recall seeing an American president attempting a coup to remain in power.

With a few exceptions, the Republicans are remaining silent as Trump tries to hijack our country and our liberties. Think about it — this is a coup attempt by a sitting president in America!

Robert Woliver



Biden’s leadership team is step in right direction

Joe Biden is not Hercules, but his efforts to clean out the Augean stable in Donald Trump’s Washington is commendable. His proposed appointments of women and men to leadership positions who respect rather than denigrate their agencies is a step in the right direction.

Bill Lofquist



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2020 has been a whopper of a year: the COVID-19 pandemic, economic hurt, politics and elections. But surely there is much to appreciate, much that brings joy.

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