comscore Letters: Vaccination and masks about health, not rights; Reconciliation bill needs more debate, review; Liquor laws flouted on streets of Waikiki | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Letters

Letters: Vaccination and masks about health, not rights; Reconciliation bill needs more debate, review; Liquor laws flouted on streets of Waikiki

I continue to be amazed with those who says vaccination and wearing masks is a personal right.

This is a public health issue, not a constitutional rights issue. One can conclude those against vaccination and mask-wearing are consciously or by default supporting disease, sickness and even death.

The federal government and health insurance companies have not charged those hospitalized and treated in 2020 for any costs related to COVID-19. No charge for vaccination. The federal government has even paid for funeral costs.

This is not necessarily true for 2021. Many will have to pay their insurance annual minimum and a 20% co-pay. My peeve is that as taxpayers and health insurance customers, we have to pay for treatment of those refusing to be vaccinated or to wear masks. Those personal-rights folks should be paying for their own costs for the choices they made — the 80% to 90% of those hospitalized. Fair should be fair.

Richard Abe



Hospital space needed for vaccinated patients

Certainly, a basis for the vaccination refusal movement must be that its advocates don’t believe that they can become seriously ill and die from the COVID-19 infection.

With this myopic view skewed toward their “right” to be free of government or private-sector vaccine mandates of any kind, they ought to be willing to sign waivers for in-hospital treatment of COVID-19 infection, when space and facilities are needed by other patients, including those fully vaccinated, with COVID-19 or non-COVID-19-related emergencies. It’s only fair, and they can’t have it both ways.

Marcia Kimura

Ala Moana


With freedom comes responsibility

From a very young age, I was aware of the crucial interconnection between freedom and responsibility. Now, as a retired minister — age 84 — this principle seems even more important.

Faith leaders should proclaim this truth as related to the COVID-19 vaccine and politicians should follow this principle when dealing with the crisis in Afghanistan. Understanding the Afghan culture and peacemaking diplomacy should always precede military action.

Changing corrupt systems, whether it’s the Afghan government, our national economic disparity or our local rail management, is difficult and needs the combined wisdom of all citizens.

However, the current health crisis directly affects all of us and is a more immediate concern. While people should have the freedom to decide not to be vaccinated, they should also have the responsibility to stay home or wear masks in public.

The need for moral choices seems obvious.

John Heidel



Biden made hard choice other leaders avoided

Afghanistan: The George W. Bush administration got us into it, rightly at first. It took a drastically wrong turn because of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and the unparalleled greed of the military-industrial complex, always happy to trade lives for hundreds of billions of dollars.

Then came Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Both of them realized the folly. Both of them wimped out of doing anything about it. Neither of them had the stomach for making the hard choices that President Joe Biden just made.

All the pundits’ criticism of Biden simply ring hollow. History will be very kind to him for his forceful leadership in the face of an impossible situation.

Ron Kienitz



Reconciliation bill needs more debate, review

Richard Port, former Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman, is a polished politician. He factually stated that President Joe Biden’s reconciliation bill includes expansion of Medicare coverage and other social programs that many Hawaii residents need (“Case threatens Biden’s reconciliation bill,” Star-Advertiser, Letters, Aug. 18). But there is no reason to tie it to the infrastructure bill.

Pass the much-needed infrastructure bill first, then separately work on the reconciliation bill. There are items in the reconciliation bill that have merits. But there’s also a lot of unneeded and expensive programs that our country can’t afford.

Kudos to U.S. Rep. Ed Case to stand up to his party leaders and do what’s pono for our country.

Clifford Toyama



Liquor laws flouted on streets of Waikiki

Have liquor laws changed and no one informed the residents? I have noticed a substantial number of tourists walking in Waikiki carrying visible cans of alcohol.

Every Saturday and Sunday, as my husband and I walk along Kalakaua Avenue, we see at least five tourists with beers, hard seltzers and other hard drinks. You can see the homeless along Kalakaua openly drinking beer and people setting up picnics with cases of beer and coolers.

Recently we walked the beach behind the Hale Koa in late afternoon. I saw more than a few people carrying trays of mai tais from a vendor behind the U.S. Army Museum to the beach. As I exited the foot path from the Hale Koa Hotel, there was a group of six people drinking large plastic cups of beer and chugging them before they set foot on the Hale Koa property. I see no police or security stopping anyone. Is beach drinking now legal in Waikiki?

Frankie L. Ruggles-Quinabo



Tour copters should avoid neighborhoods

In response to the commentary, “Clear skies for helicopters in Hawaii” (Star-Advertiser, Island Voices, Aug. 18): I disagree with the statement that helicopters show residents and visitors our islands, leaving behind zero footprint.

Really? What about the incessant noise of their obnoxious engines flying way too low over quiet residential neighborhoods? Am I not entitled to enjoy peace and quiet in my backyard?

There is a significant cost associated with helicopter businesses making money by flying over my neighborhood. And I, the homeowner, pay this cost.

I ask helicopter operators to avoid all residential areas. I don’t want to hear that you “will do your best.” If offshore routes cost more to fly, then charge visitors more so that you can make a reasonable profit.

Please respect us.

Joy Schoonover



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