Letters: Maui Residents Speak Out About Washington Attack and Pandemic
Thanks to the Heroes of the Washington Attack
We watched in horror as the Trump Army attacked our government in Washington. It reminded many of us that there are people at the tip of the spear. They are thousands of faceless government employees, experts, facilitators, intellectuals and many others, all of them our neighbors. All of them are in mortal danger because they have chosen to devote their professional lives to the common good.
In our case, many of these individuals are colleagues and friends. We are volunteer lobbyists, working on a planetary solution to global climate change and global warming. Our job at Citizen’s Climate Lobby, CCL, includes working with the dedicated staff members of our members of Congress. CCL is a volunteer organization. We have more than 180,000 volunteers in all 50 states, including more than 800 in four Hawaii chapters.
We are endlessly grateful to the brave individuals who protected our colleagues, our friends and the faceless army that works to protect us from the forces that seek to ruin our efforts.
Many of us in the United States are now in the habit of telling members of our armed forces: “Thank you for your service.” Let’s make an effort to include in that multitude to the staff members who work in the offices of our government. They deserve it. — Jeff Stark, Makawao, Citizens Climate Lobby, Maui Chapter
Maui Leadership Should Care More About Residents than Tourists
It’s very telling that our leadership here in Maui County is not concerned with resident well-being as much as they care about money. Somehow it’s okay to fly 150 to 300 people here at a time in a sardine can of an airplane, yet most residents can’t go back to work yet or gather in groups of more than 5.
Airplanes can’t be as clean as they say they are, so either the virus isn’t as bad as they say it is, or our leadership just doesn’t care about the people they were put into office to serve.
Our keiki weren’t even allowed to go to school yet and they allowed tourists back, which means that a lot of parents in the hospitality industry couldn’t go back to work. How backwards is that? The leadership needs to remember who they are supposed to keep safe, because it’s not tourists or their own pockets. It’s the kama’āina. — Maggie Lloyd, Wailuku
Why Are Runners Not Wearing Masks?
I run the Kapalua Trails Daily. Sad to see 9 out of 10 people with NO MASK! Why!? Help me out. — Jett Crain, Lahaina
All Travelers Should Pre-Test Negative for COVID-19
We are an island. We had the perfect opportunity, like New Zealand, to control our exposure and cases. Instead of requiring ALL travelers to pre-test for COVID-19, they are given a “choice.”
So the airplanes are now filled with some who are pre-tested and some who are not. This is the big elephant in the room that nobody seems to address in the press conferences. When they arrive, the non-testers either follow the rules or break quarantine and run free.
ALL travelers should pre-test. ALL travelers should be in a quarantine hotel with no key to get in/out for 3 days. ALL travelers should then do a post-test. It could be a rapid result test.
I don’t know why Maui is more concerned about “inconveniencing” people, rather than putting public health first. If everyone REALLY wants to travel during a pandemic and wants to come to Maui, they should be willing to do these steps. If everyone was doing these steps (no exceptions) then we would welcome tourists.
I want to be fair. I want people to be able to work and survive and enjoy Maui. But with this whole system, things to be restructured and taken more seriously.
I’m disgusted by the lack of priority. I’m disgusted by the lack of enforcement. And when Maui’s health care system and ICU beds get over-stressed, then what? — Gail Swanson, Haiku
Hawaiʻi’s Workers Affected by Pandemic Need Due Government Benefits Now
Maui is fabulous. But now is the time to see what the federal/state governments can do to get [pandemic-related] funds to hard-pressed individuals, to decimated endeavors. Quickly. Many have waited more than 10 months for payment of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits due them. Others have waited a long time for the county to issue some benefits.
Many who long paid their excise (sales) taxes then burned up time feverishly seeking work when the pandemic reduced income to close to 0. Work was rare. Often it was a patchwork of gig work, even a struggling business of one’s own, with local employers often knowing they could push their employees quite far. Petty violations of state law add up.
Then “invisible” age discrimination impacts on many experienced workers in a youth-centric environment. How about state/counties permitting employers in violation of age laws to require applicant dates of birth? Oh my.
Those working hard to find new employment sometimes got unemployment compensation or PUA benefits after multiple applications. That was through lengthy, varying, online links with complicated, changing explanations. Then after recipients of even partial awards used them for vital expenses, advice was that repayment of the benefits would have to occur. Detrimental reliance had thus occurred. Reliance was on the fairness of governmental issuance of benefits, then a public sector grab back at the benefits.
Applicants, some of them, saw that they could request a hearing of a denial of benefits. But a request did not result in a hearing. No. Delay of justice instead occurred. Now the delay of justice for nearly a year is clearly justice denied. Changes in Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, and the shipping to the mainland of decisionmaking on these matters (what!?) have apparently been in an effort to right difficulties in the system.
Many still await justice. OK, DLIR. What next? Fair expedited decisions? Hearings? Withdrawal of tainted attempts at clawbacks? Or is to be what looks like stalling to wear down applicants until they are ineligible at least for some time-sensitive benefit amounts? So Hawaii/Maui. What next? — Judith G. Eagle, Wailuku, Eagle Employment Consulting
Maui Resident Angry About Execution of Safe Travels Program
I’m pretty mad! After returning from the mainland this week from my father’s funeral, I was in compliance, or so I thought, with a NEGATIVE COVID-19 test in hand. But it apparently was not “approved” by the State of Hawaii.
After getting over the disappointing fact that I would be out of work for another 10 days, I have been in complete isolation the last four days since being home. Checking in everyday as required via a text Safe Travels sends you. AND answering the call I get EVERYDAY asking if I am doing my duty of quarantine. I am! I must! I work with Special Needs and can’t/won’t take the chance of infecting them.
Now on to why I’m so upset. This morning, an officer of the law comes banging on my door, asking to see if I am home! Says the system is “new” and they are not getting my text responses. NOT MY PROBLEM!
I sure hope they are taking the time to bang on all those tourists’ hotel doors that I saw getting off the plane with NO COVID-19 test. This is the way Hawaiʻi is treating its working citizens. Thank you for letting me vent. — Lynda Miller, Lahaina
Traveling Nurse Questions Tourist Restrictions
I am a traveling Registered Nurse from Missouri contracted to work at one of your hospitals here on Maui. I have driven all over the island, and continue to take in its beauty and wondrous nature.
But I need to complain about some business dealings. I have been rejected a reservation at the Luau’s and some sight-seeing tours because I travel alone and they only reserve seats for groups of 2 or more. They say, “…or you can buy a whole table,” or “you can just pay for 2.” What is your thoughts on this? — Debora Jimenez, Makawao
Maui County Should Do More to Stop COVID-19 Spread
I am writing you to express my frustration with the rules and the lack of enforcement of the rules regarding Covid-19. On Jan. 2, Maui had 47 cases of COVID-19 while Oahu had 92 cases. Based on adjusting for population, Maui had in excess of 5 times the number of cases than Oahu.
Nevertheless, Mayor [Michael] Victorino is allowing bars to still stay open, catering to bar owners, and only changing the closing time to 10 pm. He also is limiting gatherings to 5 people, but the enforcement of that regulation is difficult and minimal enforcement is evident.
We have very limited healthcare available on Maui and we need to tighten our regulations on helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
I sent a letter to Mayor Victorino as well as the governor regarding this issue. I know economic concerns exist, but now that additional funds have been authorized by congress to extend unemployment and sustain small businesses, I believe bars should be closed and alcohol could be served in restaurants that provide only outdoor seating and takeout.
We only need to get through a few more months to get the vaccines that will help with protection from COVID-19. This is especially important now that a new mutation has occurred that makes this virus much more contagious. — Judith Petrick, Kīhei
Why fear mongering for a 99.7% COVID-19 recovery rate?
Masks are muzzles. To quarantine the healthy as “presumed sick” is the medical equivalent to “presumed guilty” until proven innocent.
If doctors were compensated for curing people and making them well, we would not even be having this conversation. — Sandra M. Toliver, Wailuku