We’re not all in this together. The $2,200 teacher bonus is a blow to all public service and front-line workers (“Teacher bonuses, classroom ACs may not be best use of federal coronavirus relief funds for Hawaii, officials say,” Star-Advertiser, May 9).
Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto recently visited our campus, which was the model for bringing 100% of students back to high schools. But only teachers get the bonus? How is that fair? We work hand-in-hand with teachers. We were all nervous about bringing students back, we all had questions and we all worked together to reopen the school.
What about the rest of us? What about the health-care workers, first responders and any other front-line or essential workers? Do they get a bonus, too? How can the Legislature single out one profession as the only group to deserve more? This is extremely disappointing.
Thomas Jon Giel
Educational assistant III, Kohala High School
Hawi, Hawaii island
Thousands of jobless didn’t get bonuses
Regarding Shannon Kaaa’s letter (“Lack of appreciation for what teachers do,” Star-Advertiser, May 11): David Shapiro’s “Volcanic Ash” column was actually making a larger point (“Legislature used COVID aid to help well-off stay that way,” Star-Advertiser, May 9).
Teachers are certainly appreciated, backed by a strong union, with good benefits and retirement pay. They have maintained their positions throughout this pandemic.
Meanwhile, thousands of people have lost jobs, benefits, food security and even housing through no fault of their own. The state, under any and all circumstances, has been incapable of supplying unemployment payments, which is a lawfully mandated function. For almost a year, many could not even make an application or communicate their needs by any means, and many are still waiting for checks.
So Kaaa is right: There is no interest in hearing her “whine”!
Andrea W. Bell
Name those politicians who peddled influence
Thanks go to David Shapiro and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser for the recent exposure of secretive and underhanded actions by the Legislature that bypass public scrutiny and favor their cronies (“Legislature used COVID aid to help well-off stay that way,” Star-Advertiser, Volcanic Ash, May 9). But please, start naming those who modify bills at the eleventh hour and slip in provisions that clearly benefit a select few.
Then assign your investigative reporter, Rob Perez, to further expose these influence-peddling politicians by following the money trail to the well-heeled donors. Name names. Assign responsibility. Then you can report news that can make a difference to the majority of citizens in Hawaii.
Wheel, track woes make rail a laughingstock
Are we somehow supposed to believe that, after how many years past deadline and billions of dollars over budget, someone just now found out the wheels on the rail are too thin and the tracks too wide (“Honolulu’s rail project plagued with wheels too thin and tracks too wide,” Star-Advertiser, May 7)?
Hawaii is the laughingstock of the entire mass-transit world. The whole project has to be the punchline of every joke at mass-transit conventions around the world.
What’s next? Will we find out that the trains only work when they are run in reverse? That the seats only accommodate people under 5’2”?
It’s mind-boggling that this error was found this late in the game. I can’t wait for the next “unexpected cause of delay” they find. It gives people something to laugh about during these trying times.
Fastest way from Middle Street to Ala Moana? Rail
Apparently, arguments to stop rail at Middle Street won’t end until the gates open for Ala Moana’s first arriving train.
City leaders who think they can stop short and then extend to Ala Moana later should learn from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. It took 31 years to extend BART from Daly City to San Francisco Airport.
A rider can travel by rail from Middle Street to Ala Moana Center in about 12 minutes. Super-efficient transfers or super-fast dedicated shuttles or autonomous cars cannot beat 12 minutes.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s new executive director, Lori Kahikina, said that rail must go to Ala Moana, the transportation hub for the entire island. Ala Moana is the “beef” in the rail transit system.
Report COVID cases among vaccinated
Coronavirus coverage information should now be revised to include the following additional information:
>> The number of new cases contracted by fully vaccinated persons;
>> The number of new cases contracted by partially vaccinated persons;
>> The number of new cases contracted by unvaccinated persons;
>> And the number of hospitalizations for each group.
Perhaps this information would spur more of the nonvaccinated to get the shot(s).
Raising tourist tax is awful and risky
The front-page headline said, “Increasing the lodging tax could hit tourism, some say” (Star-Advertiser, May 11).
It would have been better to have said, “It will clobber tourism and insult people who will never return once burned.”
A more-than-18% tax on high room rates and resort fees is awful and risky.
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