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Letters for Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Thank you to all who support ‘Rise to Work’

Thank you Dr. Priscilla Chan, Mark Zuckerberg, and all of you who gift our community with your abundant financial resources. Few are able to give such huge amounts of money that can uplift hundreds willing to Rise to Work. And just because someone is able to give doesn’t necessarily mean that they will.

On occasion I hear someone speaking disparagingly about people with money. In my experience, having more money makes people more of who they already are. If someone is greedy, I have seen them more likely to hoard newfound money. If someone has a generous nature, I have seen them give abundantly when they have more.

I feel so much gratitude for all those who give – whether it’s financial resources, time, or talents. Our community is blessed by an abundance of volunteers who serve our kupuna, keiki, and families in need. Thank you, TGI, for consistently recognizing those who give and make a difference here in Kauai.

Marian Head, Kapaa

As we open up, quality of life should be considered

As the county announces its about to “open up” (to visitors) I would just like to say, before they do, please try “opening up” state and county public buildings so residents can once again enter them. If there is nothing left to fear from this virus, if we are now considered “safe” to open, lets begin by opening the state and county buildings and all other public venues, before the visitors arrive.

In addition, I hope and trust the county has taken into account all those folks who have expressed their concerns about TOO MANY VISITORS. I think most of us accept that visitors have a place here on Kaua‘i, the problem is, EXCEEDING OUR CARRYING CAPACITY! Buildings by law have a limit of how many people can be in them at one time, due to fire concerns. It makes sense to me that our island should also have a carrying capacity limit. When an emergency happens, a tsunami or hurricane or ????.

We don’t want a huge traffic jam, where no one can move and get to safety. I’m all for businesses being able to get back up and running smoothly and making a profit. Most businesses, I expect, received federal and state financial assistance during our shutdown due to the pandemic to help keep them alive. Going forward I’m hoping it’s not about greed and just how much money can be made by bringing as many visitors as possible.

I hope at this point, quality of life for those who live here has been mixed into the sauce of decision making. Working families should not have to sit in traffic an hour each way, to and from work. Let us never forget what Kaua‘i was like before the shutdown. The everyday stand still traffic through Kapa‘a, the inability to even find a place to park at the beach. The abuse of the land.

This is our opportunity to balance Kaua‘i. To keep a lifestyle we are all here to enjoy while still inviting enough visitors to support our economic system without destroying the ‘aina. I hope, I trust. Please.

Evelyn Harris, Kilauea

Bill would make jobless benefits exempt from state income taxes

Unemployed workers should not have to pay taxes on their unemployment benefits. There have been over half a million Hawai‘i workers who filed for unemployment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

It has been extremely difficult for workers to navigate the state Unemployment Insurance system, and to add insult to injury the unemployed have to pay a 5% state tax. The federal tax is even larger, at 10%. There is a bill to forgive the state tax at the Hawai‘i Legislature, Senate Bill 614. It has passed committee in the Senate and will come to a floor vote this week. There is overwhelming support in the Senate for this measure. Those that have paid the tax already will be able to get a refund if it passes the full Legislature. It will be going to the House soon. SB 614 will only cover the period from March 1, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020.

It will be up to the House Speaker Scott Saiki to have it heard in the House. In two hearings in the Senate there were over 173 testimonies heard about this bill. There were only two in opposition. There was support from unions like the ILWU, the Hawai‘i Tax Foundation and Mufi Hanneman with the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association. There were also dozens of heartfelt testimonies from both unemployed and still-working Hawai‘i residents. Hawai‘i’s working families are struggling, and we need this measure to pass. Please call House Speaker Saiki at 808-586-6100 to schedule a House hearing or email him at repsaiki@capitol.hawaii.gov.

w Editor’s note: The measure has been received by the House, passed first reading and has been referred to three House committees, including the Finance Committee.

Mahalo,

Ray Catania, Lihu‘e

6 Comments
  1. RGLadder37 March 16, 2021 12:39 am Reply

    Nice letter Evelyn Harris. You sound like a true spokesperson for Kaua’i. I can see just by reading your letter, you love it here and this is the best place to live in all the world. Many visitors will want to come here just by reading your letter. It sure looks that way too. Slowly things are beginning to get back to normal. Businesses are opening up. And more people are out and about their usual business. I think they are doing a great job at keeping COVID-19 under control. Not that much cases on Kaua’i is great to hear.


  2. Safe Lee March 16, 2021 12:59 am Reply

    With visitors returning, Let’s hope we have the majority of us become positive with the Covid virus and its mutated variants as only natural exposure with infection causes natural immunity, that is you can’t get the same virus twice, and immunity means you have eliminated the virus from your body and thus you are no longer contagious.

    This natural immune response takes 2weeks to occur, and it also gives you necessary Herd Immunity. We need that to eliminate the virus. Healthy people have no symptoms and become immune and non contagious in 3 days.

    In the meantime those over 70, who have had long term end of life degenerative diseases for 30 to 40years, and taking 1 or or more end of life prescription drugs for 30 to 40 or more years per each disease you have, well you made your bed in life so you best stay home in bed because you have been weakened by prescription drugs and a non nutrient diet and low end lifestyle that does not restore health but only manages and keeps your diseases continuing on until death wherher or not you may have Covid. Everyone else who dies before or after 80 dies of the same pre-existing conditions.

    Bring in the visitors, they do not make a traffic problem, the traffic coordinators just fail to run the highway efficiently as other nations do. For one thing it should be 2 lanes to Lihue from Kapa’a, 24/7. And invent a new “Pineapple Exoress” non stop car trains system from north Kapa’a to Rice St. in Lihue.

    It’s a done deal. It takes those who can see the invisible to do the impossible.

    Hire or train an intelligent County road coordinator to instruct the State Highway Division, because they cannot, so far, figure it out. Amen

    And to all who talk about limiting visitors and greed, you must be fully employed or fully financed and no need work.
    Selfishness is when you limit the people who provide 98% of what we import, yet when they want a week in God’s Paradise,, in order to go back to their low pay boring jobs providing us our needs, you say sorry and want to cut them off. How about they cut back our groceries, gasoline, medicine, electricity, clothing,and cars and alcohol and cigarettes. You gonna plow up the jungle for poi?

    ,


  3. nobody March 16, 2021 6:05 am Reply

    Evelyn,
    The tricky part of throttling back tourism is finding working class jobs for those who work in tourism.

    For the Financially Privileged the quality of life will benefit with less tourism. There have been lot of people moving here this past year. Almost all are FP’s. When tourism comes back they are going to be very whiny and vocal about the quality of life on this island. I hope they realize they too are part of the problem.

    We need to diversify, but how? Until we diversify we need tourists. Less tourists equals less income for the working class and the working class will need to migrate elsewhere in search of work.

    People want to save Kauai, but for who?


  4. douglas henry March 16, 2021 9:18 am Reply

    We have to have a balance. Even tourists don’t want this island overrun.


  5. Jill March 16, 2021 8:49 pm Reply

    Mariann. Kawakami is merely a shill in zuckers influence on the world. He has a controlling stake in the company. How many users does Facebook own? They know how you’ll react to everything based off of learned AI and algorithms. The zuck will Has too much money and power. He’s more of a world leader than ceo. Scary times when the wealthiest few are deciding what’s best for the rest.


  6. kimberley March 21, 2021 10:02 pm Reply

    Nobody wants the island overrun with tourists or more people it’s a nightmare when you spend an entire afternoon on the highway, can’t even go to the beach cuz it’s packed out.
    Even the people who work in the tourist industry can’t stand this.
    Covid has given us pause – do we really want to go ‘back to the normal of the last 8 years’ or can we figure out how to live without screwing up the island, the aina, the quality of life.
    (I believe that with the exception of some hotel workers in shuttered hotels, people are figuring out how to make this work OK without relying so heavily on tourism dollars).


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