In response to Christian Self (“There’s a cost to raising minimum wage, and it’s too high,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Feb. 22): I am a retired restaurant owner of over 30 years in San Francisco and was subjected to the Board of Supervisors’ continual increases in the minimum wage. In our business particularly, it compounded operating expenses to the point where more than a few of my fellow owners quit the business.
We should take a lesson from cities such as Chicago, which applies the industry’s minimum wage by pairing the income from tips and from the employer to result in a fair and livable wage level. It’s not fair to have both the non-tipped and tipped personnel on the same basic level.
If it is the government’s position that it wants only the “big box” restaurant corporations to own these businesses, and eliminate the small business owner such as Self and hundreds of others, then it will succeed if it does not make the minimum wage fair and equitable.
Lowering BAC about driving, not drinking
At least one-third of deaths on Hawaii roads in 2019 were caused by drunken driving. Lawmakers have an opportunity to reduce these preventable tragedies by enacting pending bills (Senate Bill 634, Senate Bill 754, House Bill 651) to lower the limit of blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) while driving to .05%.
This solution took effect in Utah on Dec. 30, 2018. Early data from 2019 found the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities dropped 37% in the state. Counter to misinformation and predictions about .05% BAC, lobbed by members of the alcohol and hospitality industry in their attempts to defeat the measure, alcohol consumption and tourism went up and arrests for drunken driving decreased in Utah.
We urge Hawaii to join Utah and more than 90 countries with .05% BAC or lower limits to deter drunken driving. Not every vote the Legislature takes this session will save lives, but this one clearly would.
President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Falls Church, Va.
T. Bella Dinh-Zarr
Former vice chairwoman, National Transportation Safety Board
Open up vaccinations at Longs to fill slots
Longs Drugs (and other CVS-owned locations around the country) are administering COVID vaccines, which is a welcome development. The CVS website shows only a handful of locations across the country with available appointments for vaccines. Hawaii has more than any other state, based on my recent observations.
Why is this? Because the state Health Department has restricted Longs Drugs to administering vaccines only to those age 75 and over. But apparently there still are many openings here in Hawaii going unused. This is a shame. The Health Department needs to immediately expand eligibility at Longs locations where the “age 75 and up” customers are not using all the available slots. This is a matter of efficiency and sound public health policy.
Navy can move fuel tanks, as in Washington
Since 1949, the Navy’s Red Hill fuel tanks, which store up to 187 million gallons of jet fuel, have leaked thousands of gallons of fuel. Considering that those tanks sit just a hundred feet above Oahu’s precious water aquifer, island residents wonder whether the Navy is truly concerned about the well-being of its hosts.
At a cost of $186 million, the Navy plans to replace the World War II-era underground fuel storage tanks at Washington State’s Naval Base Kitsap Manchester Fuel Depot with state-of-the-art, above-ground steel tanks in compliance with environmental policies — a drop in the bucket, considering that the Defense Department received $716 billion for fiscal year 2019.
Moving those fuel tanks to another location would be the more viable solution for the Navy and the safest for Oahu’s residents because of the 96% probability of a leak of thousands of gallons of jet fuel directly over Oahu’s aquifer within the next 10 years.
Har’s behavior could have led to tragedy
I disagree with Marie J. Scott (“Hitting a good person when she’s down,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 1). State Rep. Sharon Har was caught, allegedly intoxicated, at night, driving the wrong way on a one-way street (“Hawaii state Rep. Sharon Har apologizes after being charged with driving under the influence,” Star-Advertiser, Feb. 24).
Fortunately the police stopped her before anything disastrous happened. What if an innocent was killed because of her recklessness? Would folks tend to show her “more kindness and understanding”?
My brother was hit and killed by a drunken driver going the wrong way on a one-way street. I still remember the night and that horrible phone call. It was so unfortunate and so preventable.
When the police stop a drunken driver, it’s almost a sure thing that the driver has been on the road many times before, impaired by alcohol. She knew better but she must have thought that she wouldn’t get caught. Play the game (commit the crime), pay the piper. No, she will not be governor.
Kupuna group at risk but not protected
Thanks to Dr. Michael Ling for advocating for those of us 65 years and older (“Follow CDC guidelines on 65-plus vaccinations,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 1). You have brought to light the failure of the governor, lieutenant governor and the Department of Health (DOH) to protect a highly vulnerable kupuna group.
My friend is in his early 50s and a maintenance mechanic at a cemetery, doing work the DOH deems essential. He already has gotten his first shot.
Good to know the cemetery is functioning safely, in case.
How and when to get COVID vaccine
There is urgency to get Hawaii COVID-vaccinated, but the rollout has stirred many questions. The optimal link to access vaccination info and sign up (currently by appointment only for health-care, frontline and essential workers, those in long-term care facilites and seniors age 75 and up): hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine.
Other sign-up portals include Hawaii Pacific Health (hawaiipacifichealth.org/hph-covid-19-updates/) and Queen’s Health Systems (covid.queens.org/vaccine/).
Also, the state Health Department has a weekly online newsletter of COVID updates: 808ne.ws/2Kfzl3n.
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