Letters for Sunday, March 22, 2020

Surfrider warns to stay out of brown water

Very heavy rains this week on Kauai contaminated flood waters and ocean waters with sewage from two different spills from County Wastewater Treatment Plants (Wailua and Waimea), surface water runoff carrying animal wastes, and flooding and overflowing of cesspools and septic tanks.

On Monday March 16, the Hawaii Department of Health issued a Brown Water Advisory for Kauai: “The public is advised to stay out of flood waters and storm water runoff due to possible overflowing cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals, and associated flood debris.” Unfortunately, no signs were posted on the beaches warning beach users.

Whereas, chemicals, pesticides, and debris in the water are of concern, it is the bacteria and virus pathogens associated with human and animal feces that are most dangerous to us. The novel coronavirus that is pandemic and killing people now is an example of how dangerous viruses can be to human health. While coronaviruses are known to be present in human feces and can survive in freshwater, it is not known how long they may survive in saltwater. It is expected that the concentration of viral contamination will be diluted by ocean waters.

It is alarming to see photos in this newspaper of people standing or paddling in waters with known sewage runoff. Surfrider warns everyone to stay out of this heavily polluted water, especially in residential flooded areas. If you do go in, be sure to wash thoroughly with soap and water, just as the alert for novel coronavirus recommends.

The Dept. of Health does not test the water to determine when it is safe to go back in but will eventually cancel the Brown Water Advisory when the water looks clean. DOH regular water quality testing will be not be done next week due to shutdown of State agencies because of the coronavirus pandemic. Check the DOH website for water quality advisories and latest data.


Dr. John Alderete, PhD, virology and Dr. Carl J. Berg, PhD, ecology, Kauai Chapter, Surfrider Foundation

Coming, full-fledged economic stall is going to be ugly

Hi, people of the community and country. I am writing because my frustration level with the decision-makers in our community, country, whatever, is at the boiling point. We are about to enter a full fledged economic stall where, like an airplane that stalls in flight, it’s coming down fast and it’s gonna be ugly. This is something that the world hasn’t seen in over a century.

Can we get real for a minute and realize what is happening? Thousands of small businesses are going to close at least temporarily. How many restaurants do you think can afford to close for any length of time and survive? What about their employees? I don’t give a rat’s ass about the damn GDP or other measurements of the “economy.” I care about people.

What do we need to do to support the small businesses of all types and the millions of people that work in them, while the economy stalls for some period of time, I’m guessing at least two to four months? A payroll tax cut doesn’t help if there isn’t a payroll. It is hugely expensive to the treasury, but doesn’t do much if anything for those most directly affected by this crisis.

How about we look at business-interruption insurance and quick, simple, unemployment insurance that kicks in immediately? All businesses that rely on public interaction, i.e. restaurants, theaters, retailers, activities and entertainment, etc. If we want to stop the spread of this pandemic in our communities, these businesses need to close for a period of time.

I own a family restaurant, one that does quite well, and I don’t know how long we can pay our personal bills if we close, not to mention the business’ bills. Yet I’m torn, because I know that every day that we open our doors, we create a space where the virus can spread. We are wiping all surfaces and door knobs, etc., in an effort to minimize the risk, but a busy restaurant is not an environment to increase “social distancing,” and a not-busy restaurant doesn’t last very long.

There is also the responsibility we feel for our employees. They need paychecks. I would guess very few could pay their rent missing more than one paycheck. And if we close for a while, will we be able to reopen and employ them? Yet there is also the responsibility to their health. I don’t want them in an environment where they are at increased risk of contracting the virus and in turn bringing it home to their families.

So, this is where we are. We want to do the responsible thing for everyone, the community at large, our customers, employees and ourselves. Can we please get it together as a country so that can happen without completely devastating millions of our citizens’ lives? I really don’t think it would be that hard. Just remember who you are elected to represent and not who paid for your campaigns.

Daniel Seltzer, Koloa

  1. therealhawaiian March 22, 2020 8:18 am Reply

    A good letter Daniel with heart felt concern for everyone! Unfortunately, there is nothing we’re aware of that can be done that isn’t being tried somewhere in the U.S. President Trump and his cabinet are working overtime to come up with the possible support for all large and small businesses under these circumstances. Maybe now, the liberal left will realize how important “business” is to them and our Country. For the past decade all they can say is tax business to death so we can get more “free” stuff for the less productive among us? Now, the insanity of that perspective is going to kill many people because the businesses they rely on for their food, clothing, and shelter will begin disappearing! The County is strapped for money and can’t help much. They’ve been taxing small businesses way too much here in Paradise and that will come back to kill many businesses when unforeseen catastrophe’s like this rear their ugly head. I thought the County would become more Conservative and business friendly after the Hurricanes, but nope, all they did was get as many Insurance and Federal Dollars as possible, and continue to rape small businesses on the Island. It’s sad, but hopefully this time everyone will realize that the answer to our problem is to have businesses so healthy that they can weather any storm. Unfortunately, the “Government” under liberal leadership is only interested in it’s own health and taking care of itself.

  2. ulla freeman March 22, 2020 8:59 am Reply

    RE Coming Full Fledged Economic stall…
    We are with you Daniel. I am a restaurant owner in Kapaa and I have a small gift shop. We closed the restaurant Wednesday , we can not do Take Out , not set up for it, and we have a bad location. Both full time cooks out of work, servers and bartenders out of work. Customers kept coming in , we had to shut down to protect , staff and community. VERY HARD THING TO DO, high rent, all invoices due as you know, we have keep up payments in this business, BUT no customers no money . Nobody has savings just the opposite , we all owe money. I am the sole employee in my gift shop , I tried to stay open longer , but it is wrong thing to do ,to put us all in a risk to be infected. So here we are , no way of knowing if we going to be open ever! Small restaurants are hardest hit, we have no corporation behind us to support with finances. Please we need a finance package to get us all going again when the time allows us to do so. I know Chamber of Commerce had SPA loan application posted , deadline seemed to come and go in a flash , hope we can still apply, anyone have an answer on that?
    Ulla Freeman , Kapa’a

  3. Richard Blake March 22, 2020 10:10 am Reply

    Mr. Seltzer, those of us who listened to the wisdom of our kupuna would have heard them say that there are things that are bigger than any person, or government. Many said WWII was such a thing. Your lament that this is bad, and somebody better fix this is often heard spoken by those who want to quickly get back to business as usual. I expect many like you are feeling frustrated, but the inconvenient truth is that this illness and the coming economy hardship is something that is bigger than any leader or government. Don’t expect someone in government to slay this monster with a silver bullet. Hard times are coming and people will soon learn why self-reliance and family are so important.

    1. Your neighbor March 22, 2020 12:10 pm Reply

      Well said my friend. Prepping over a long period of time under normal times is not ‘hoarding’. I will be more than willing to share what I have with my community, but thieves who did not have the foresight to plan ahead might want to think twice before attempting to take what I have saved for my family.
      There is nothing political about this illness, and those that have come to rely on their ‘government’ for things are in for a possible rude awakening. There is nothing that the gov can do that the individual community cannot do better. It takes a ‘village’.

  4. Debra Kekaualua March 22, 2020 2:55 pm Reply

    This is a perfect setting for individuals or groups to dive into gardening, specifically aquaponics. Besides there are a lot of other alternatives that we must quickly engage, cuz two weeks of food storage isnt going to make it all better, anytime soon! So, we take care of our kupuna, our keiki and everyone inbetween that we are able to support or, that is otherwise stuck in the throes of fake fear mongers worldwide. U.S. occupiers of the MilitaroGovernmentoJudicio, as well as all the humosextraffico Epstein-types that are slated to fall victims to this virus, the outcome of which will straighten out the evilians, who turned their legacy to ring hells bells for eternity. Amen

  5. Rampartview March 22, 2020 6:52 pm Reply

    Well so much for Aloha! Have we finally given the word to the rest of the world that we don’t want them in Kauai? Sure sounds like it. $5 to use a beach,,,$50 to park a car but only if you are not a full time resident.

    Hope we are ready for the reaction

  6. Martha Hodges March 23, 2020 11:55 am Reply

    The myth of the “liberal” government not caring about small businesses still circulates. Plenty of Democrats are doing well and champion the economy but also have a social conscience to share their good fortune with others. If Republicans care so much about small business, why did the tax cut only go to those making 1M or more?

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