Let’s allow international visitors to receive vaccines while they are in Hawaii. Places like New York, Alaska and even Guam already are promoting themselves as destinations where tourists can receive the vaccine.
While anyone who wants a vaccine here can now get one, the vaccine rollout in markets like Japan and Korea is slow and I’m certain people would probably love to come to Hawaii to get vaccinated.
Also, Korea allows fully vaccinated people to bypass the travel quarantine when they return home, making vaccine tourism even more viable.
This move to publicly open vaccination to international visitors will help bring back our higher-spending Asian visitors. Hawaii would do well to follow the model of other parts of the U.S. and market ourselves as a destination where international tourists can get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Don’t blame vacation rentals for tourism ills
I was elated to read Margaret Aurand’s article (“Allow vacation rental hosts to survive,” Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, June 30), calling for an end to city interference in a property owner’s right to rent and Ordinance 19-18.
All of this vacation rental controversy is caused by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), as it is threatened by local residents taking their profits.
The truth is, vacation rentals have less of an impact in residential communities than long-term renters. Tourists are out all day and come home to eat and sleep for the next day’s adventure. They spend money in local shops and eat in neighborhood restaurants. If at all, they use one vehicle.
The fact is, many tourists want a local experience and want to avoid Waikiki at all costs. They want nothing to do with crowds, let alone the crime and violence that plague Waikiki.
Stop trying to frame property owners for the ills of tourism. The state learned nothing over the past year and has done less to mitigate tourism’s negative effects.
Merrie Monarch brings ‘Olelo Hawai‘i to fore
The Merrie Monarch Festival, shown on at least one local television channel, was a huge triumph on many fronts: brilliant cinematography in post-pandemic untested waters, a new terrain, multiple technical challenges, particularly with storytelling, seamlessly told, seamlessly put together, brilliantly choreographed.
But in one respect over all else, it was a huge, brilliant triumph for ‘Olelo Hawai‘i, the Hawaiian language: a great gift to this and future generations of Hawaiians, and a substantial contribution to, and replenishment of, a very important part of Hawaiian intergenerational equity.
Democrats oust statues of Democrats at Capitol
All Democrats of the House of Representatives approved a bill that would remove from the U.S. Capitol three statues of founders and early leaders of their own party (“House vote targets controversial statues,” Star-Advertiser, June 30).
First the Democratic Party will be erasing the history of its own role in slavery by removing the statue of former Chief Justice Roger Taney, who wrote the Dred Scott decision, which said that Blacks had been regarded as “beings of an inferior order.”
The second statue to be removed is of Jefferson Davis, a member of the Democratic Party and pro-slavery president of the Confederate States during the Civil War.
The third statue to be removed is that of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, a member of the Democratic Party, and pro-slavery vice president of the Confederate States.
All statues at the U.S. Capitol reflect American history and should remain in place, so everyone visiting that building will learn a part of our history, whether positive or negative.
Better pay could result in better legislators
I don’t get it. We want our state legislators to work hard, and not be beholden to special interests. However, we pay them $60,000 a year and $23 a day for working in special sessions. After taxes, who can live on that?
Everyone in Hawaii needs to work two full-time jobs just to be able to pay for their home, kids and other costs of living. Legislators are expected to have another job to supplement their income. But they can get called in for special sessions and committee meetings any time during the rest of the year. That puts a strain on their employers.
And they always have constituents who call year-round and expect immediate responses. So what kind of job can they get with those continuing legislative obligations?
The Legislature has some retirees, some with income from a spouse, some who own their own businesses. But that limits our pool of prospective candidates. Let’s pay legislators a fair wage so we can encourage those who would otherwise not run for office.
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