It is time for Hawaii public schools to fully reopen. Immediately.
The New York Times recently published the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which call for returning children to school as soon as possible.
Our children are suffering from lack of interaction with their teachers and other kids. Some have limited internet access. Meanwhile, parents have to sacrifice work during an already stressful time economically in order to oversee distance learning.
At Koko Head Elementary, our twins are attending kindergarten in person just two days a week, and Grade 5 is just phasing in. It is time for Hawaii to catch up to the science, which indicates that having kids in school is safe as long as they wear masks and practice social distancing. Teachers are getting vaccinated.
Here, we are blessed with great weather — doors and windows can be left open and children can play outside. There is no excuse. Reopen schools.
Stop funding HTA, find better opportunities
Kudos to Gov. David Ige for acknowledging the white elephant in the room: the Hawaii Tourism Authority (“Hawaii Tourism Authority readies for defunding,” Star-Advertiser, Jan. 25). Cutting funding to the HTA is the right thing to do. Our tourism economy is unsustainable. Grassroot Institute of Hawaii CEO Keli‘i Akina was spot-on in stating even under normal circumstances, subsidizing tourism is questionable. There are many needs that deserve to benefit from our scarce tax resources more than tourism promotion, including paying for essential services and helping Hawaii residents who have lost their jobs due to lockdowns.
Public revenue saved also can be directed to environmental restoration efforts and building a better, more resilient economy. Why should Hawaii’s taxpayers prop up a multibillion-dollar industry that at best only offers perpetually low-paying jobs?
We have an opportunity to create a more equitable society with good-paying green jobs, while at the same time passing on a safe and healthy climate to our keiki. Let’s not waste this opportunity.
GOP must dump Trump to achieve party unity
I am a registered Republican, but I have no intention on voting a Republican ticket again until the party shows some backbone and is through with Donald Trump. I am sorry to say that may not happen in my lifetime.
There will never be unity until the current Congress purges its Republican members who continue to lie and spread falsehoods, and stands up and tells the people of America the truth — not Trump’s version of the truth.
With so many lies and misinformation, and an insurrection at our Capitol, it’s no wonder we are divided.
We will be unified only when we all eliminate hate, bigotry and fear, and all of us start to discern facts from lies. Truth will guide us toward unity.
My prayer is that the current administration will have the strength to tell us the truth. Maybe then we can begin to heal. God bless our troops and God bless America. We sure need his help now.
We must listen, engage in civil conversation
The Star-Advertiser deserves commendation for its coverage of the travesty and triumph of events in our nation’s Capitol — including recent letters, with balanced opinions and hopeful conclusions.
For the healing of America and the diminishment of cultural polarity (both religious and political), there needs to be much more of this civil conversation. When words of anger and hate aren’t used and when we seek the common good of all citizens, healing will happen and progress will take place. Moderation and compromise are critical, as are forgiveness and listening.
President Joe Biden is correct in asking for unity and expressions of respect. It was wonderful hearing these calming, compassionate thoughts from a reasonable, unselfish leader — very hopeful and promising.
Now we face the challenges of healing the divisions and overcoming the violence in American culture. Also, of solving the many domestic and international concerns and creating a peaceful and just world.
The truth about REITs and taxes in Hawaii
Catherine Lee’s allegation that adding a corporate income tax to real estate investment trusts (REITs) would generate $64 million in revenue is baseless and unsubstantiated by any credible source (“REITS should pay taxes like rest of us,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Jan. 27).
The state Department of Taxation (DoTax) determined in 2019 that applying a corporate income tax to REITs might produce $2.2 million in revenue the first year and possibly $10 million annually thereafter.
DoTax cautioned this change in tax status would compel REITs to utilize tax deductions and credits — like most corporations — and not pay any corporate income tax. Moreover, the current economic shutdown has caused a downturn in tax revenues for all businesses, including REITs.
REITs annually pay hundreds of millions in state and county taxes and support thousands of jobs.
It’s disappointing false allegations continue to be made despite the availability of facts. Making bogus, unsupported claims to demean REITs’ importance is wrong and bad for Hawaii.
Gladys Quinto Marrone
Executive director, Nareit Hawaii
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