The state Department of Education claims safety and student health are its top priorities, but as we continue into the chaos of this school year, it is clear that the DOE’s actual mantra is, “Stay the course, no matter what.”
The DOE reopened schools with no backup plan and without the forethought needed to run a school system that is negatively affecting our keiki, families, teachers and school communities.
As a parent of a high school student and a teacher, I see the lack of planning and ineffective protocols behind the scenes, the mess that is the communication system to parents, and the absolute incompetence that is our contact-tracing system.
Kids, teachers and bus drivers are testing positive for COVID-19. Whole busing systems are being stopped, cycles of substitute teachers are babysitting students but most importantly, students are being thrust into this environment. The daily instability of who may have COVID-19 or who needs to be quarantined will leave scars on our kids’ emotional health for years to come.
Hakalau, Hawaii island
Funeral attendees don’t act responsibly
I was dismayed at Gertrude Nakamura’s letter comparing funeral attendance during COVID-19 restrictions with shopping malls and Costco (“Allow mourners to attend funerals,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 5).
Recently, a relative passed. The funeral director took our temperature and seating was spaced appropriately. However, the funeral attendees hugged and kissed family mourners on the mouth, no mask, including a relative who just arrived from the mainland when the quarantine was in effect.
My wife and I stayed put in our seat, keeping socially distanced, but came to pay our respects. Until folks can think and take this pandemic seriously, the government has to step in and think for us.
For rentals, 180-day minimum unreasonable
The city Department of Planning and Permitting has a draft bill proposing amendments related to short-term vacation rentals (“City considering a plan to better manage short-term vacation rentals on Oahu,” Star-Advertiser, Aug. 25), without attempting to implement the rules adopted in 2019.
I rent my legal guest suite compliant with the 30-day minimum rule. I live on site and I have on-site parking and insurance. I pay taxes.
I will never open up my guest suite for long-term renters because I want to keep the unit for my family to visit. I believe if the homeowner is a resident on property, he or she should be allowed 30- to 180-day rentals. Changing the terms to require a 180-day rental period will result in new problems.
I often rent to traveling professionals who stay one to three months on Oahu. They do not want to stay in Waikiki. Keep the rental period to 30 days and require that the owner live on property, and the problems are solved.
Animal agriculture drives climate change
Lucky you live Hawaii? That’s how I was feeling after seeing the damage done by Hurricane Ida to Louisiana and up the East Coast to New York City. I was smugly thinking this couldn’t happen here, but then that’s what they thought in New York.
Climate change is here and there is one thing that each one of us can do today to slow it down, but it’s the proverbial elephant in the room: the food.
According to the climate scientists, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and Code Red, animal agriculture is a main driver of climate change. If each one of us stopped eating animal foods and plant oils, we could make a more effective and immediate change than just switching to electric vehicles, solar panels and so on.
The warnings are there. Are you listening? Still thinking, “Lucky We Live Hawaii?” It can and will happen to Hawaii.
Ruth Heidrich, Ph.D.
Hawaii not prepared for climate emergencies
Hawaii has been fortunate to avoid the droughts, fires, storms and floods that have been on the rise all over the world due to climate change. We cannot, however, continue to rely on fortune.
I have seen mayors and governors on the mainland speaking of the need to be better prepared “next time,” after terrible death and destruction had occurred. We need to learn from this and urge our state and county governments to prepare the means to minimize the impact of climate change here.
How can we mitigate the effects of flooding? What will we do for water in case of a long drought? Are there areas in danger of sweeping fires? And, of course, what will we do as the sea continues to rise?
We don’t want to be saying to ourselves in future years, “We should have been better prepared.”
Traffic-accident injuries have long-term effects
The state Department of Transportation reported that 60 people were killed statewide between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30 (“Hawaii traffic-related fatalities continue to surpass those from 2020,” Star-Advertiser, Sept. 1). Sixteen were pedestrians.
While it is concerning that so many people died in traffic accidents in just eight months, it would be very informative to know how many survived but were injured. I believe that the toll of traffic-related accidents must be many times the number who died.
It’s like COVID-19 deaths, which are far outnumbered by those hospitalized or end up with long-haul issues. Survivors of traffic accidents, like the Japanese couple that was badly hurt in the Kahala hit-and-run incident a few years ago, suffer for years.
We will not know the true human cost of traffic accidents without such information, which should spur more attention to making our streets safer and promoting safer driving habits.
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