comscore Letters: AVR will not expose voters’ private data; HART, city squandered Dillingham opportunity; Only 9% of bill goes to direct COVID relief | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: AVR will not expose voters’ private data; HART, city squandered Dillingham opportunity; Only 9% of bill goes to direct COVID relief

There has been misleading messaging trying to scare Hawaii about automatic voter registration (AVR), but we know better.

Some people, including elected officials, are saying that AVR will let voters’ private data become public. This is just plain false.

Hawaii has a longstanding law in place specifically to protect people’s voter registration data — Hawaii Revised Statutes § 11-97 — and the current AVR bill moving in the Legislature, Senate Bill 159, SD1, will not change that. A county clerk may not disclose voter registration information if it compromises the privacy of voters or interferes with the operations of elections, according to Hawaii Administrative Rules § 3-177-160(c).

Don’t let scare tactics prevent Hawaii from advancing voter security and easing barrier to voter registration. Hawaii is better than that!

Sandy Ma

Executive director, Common Cause Hawaii


Weddings are safer than bars, but are restricted

Could someone explain how it’s safer/legal for me to go to a bar with 50 people in it until midnight, yet I’m unable to host or attend a wedding of more then 10 people? At this point it seems like government is attacking the wedding industry for zero scientific reasons. At least at a wedding one can determine who is attending and monitor the health of guests prior to arrival. At a bar I wouldn’t know Johnny from Kekoa and where they’ve been, as well as their health status.

The mayor needs to clarify his decision to punish the wedding industry out of business.

Shane McEnroe



Gray sand unsightly on Waikiki Beach

Recently I walked along Waikiki Beach and was distraught by seeing the huge mounds of dirty gray sand being dredged from offshore and dumped onto the dirty brown sand of Waikiki Beach in the government’s latest attempt at sand replenishment.

I can clearly remember back in the ’50s and ’60s when the government trucked in white, fluffy sand, from Australia I believe, to replenish Waikiki Beach. The white sand was so light in weight that when strong winds blew, my legs would be stung by the flying sand.

Now I think the dirty gray sand from offshore and the dirt-laden brown sand onshore probably couldn’t be moved by any hurricane-strength winds!

Ed Kuba



Quadruple bill referrals insidious abuse of power

The use of the quadruple referral by House Speaker Scott Saiki to “kill” bills this legislative session, at best cheapens the policy process; at worst, if subsequently repeated, it is an abuse of power.

The community now must waste time to lobby for re-referrals (unlikely) and, equally important, the underlying issues linger for yet another session. House members should bring this issue to the majority leader for discussion in caucus to put a stop to such an inherently insidious process. Process integrity matters.

Bob Grossmann

Ph.D., political science



Minority veterans get full share of benefits

Glenda Tali’s column concerning Black History month and her journey through self-imposed guilt was full of incorrect information that only stirs and divides this nation further (“Black-history delve is white-privilege epiphany,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, March 7).

I do not deny discrimination and injustice exists. Her assertion that minorities receive unjust compensation for their military-service disabilities is not true. According to the March 2017 Minority Veteran Report by the Office of Data Governance and Analytics, minorities receive more veteran disability compensation than non-minorities in the ratings 100% to 50%, with the largest margin being at 100% — 20% versus 16.5%.

It is important to note that any disability rating over 50% allows the individual to receive full retired pay in addition to their full compensation pay from the Veterans Administration. Those with a rating less than 50% have their VA compensation “deducted” from their retired pay. Those with higher ratings receive much more compensation.

Tali’s false claims do nothing but create further distrust and ensure that we are even further from becoming a United States.

James Roller



HART, city squandered Dillingham opportunity

Mufi’s Rail is about completely missed opportunities. The latest was squandering the Dillingham Boulevard corridor.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) and the city should have had plans in place for utility relocation years ago. What were all those expensive consultants doing for the past 10 years?

HART and the city completely missed the perfect opportunity to accelerate utility relocation and street widening while traffic was minimal due to the pandemic. The Florida Department of Transportation and CalTrans got a ton of work done ahead of schedule last year.

HART’s highly paid rail consultants should be working 100-hour weeks for free to complete the plans.

Mufi’s Rail eventually will become as expensive and over-budget as Boston’s Big Dig project.

Von Kenric Kaneshiro

Downtown Honolulu


Only 9% of bill goes to direct COVID relief

Congress passed the COVID-19 relief bill, which has a $1.9 trillion price tag. It’s been reported that only 9% is actually for COVID relief. The other 91% of this huge package will go to special interests of the lawmakers.

I propose that when the members of Congress receive their next paycheck, it should be 9% of their normal paycheck. They obviously felt that the American people should not receive 100% of the relief, so we shouldn’t give Congress 100% of its pay.

John Berry



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