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Letters for Wednesday, February 24, 2021

New technology will get us open again

I read with interest the recent editorials in the TGI newspaper and agree with many of the points raised regarding House Bill 1286. JoAnn Yukimura, Dr. Weiner and Chad Taniguchi have their hearts in the right place, but some of their statements are worthy of further scrutiny.

As they stated, “Unfortunately, the lieutenant governor and certain travel, medical and business leaders have chosen to ignore science and push a travel plan that puts the short-term economic interests of tourism over the health of the people.” What about the long-term interests of the many local businesses who have, or will soon be closed, many never to reopen? How long are we willing to keep local workers unemployed?

They also shared, “A recent poll showed 67% of Hawai‘i’s residents agreeing that the island is being run for tourists at the expense of local people.” Like it or not, tourism is currently the engine that drives our island economy. Kaua‘i determines the number of tourists by the number of rental units that our government approves and makes available. It is obvious that our island would be better served with a transition to a more-diverse economy, one that will be more stable, especially when another catastrophe hits. I am looking for the Kaua‘i leaders who will describe this new economy and the time and cost to get there.

It appears that a Honolulu-based company, Oceanit, is poised for approval of a new saliva rapid test that gets virus results in under 15 minutes at a cost of less than $20. Other highly-accurate rapid tests are also available. How about encouraging investment in this newer technology and getting us open again?

George Hinds, Koloa

Check facts on DC statehood

In response to “No statehood for DC” (Forum, Feb. 15), the author should have looked up some facts.

DC is not too small to become a state. Its population is larger than Vermont and Wyoming and getting close to Alaska.

If DC becomes a state, yes it would it have two senators, just like every other state.

Washington DC has too much power now? Residents of Washington DC are not the ones in power. In fact, having no voting representation in Congress means they have much less power than other U.S. citizens. The ones in power in Washington DC are from states. They may live in DC — mostly temporarily — but they pay taxes to their states.

Yes, the Constitution says Washington DC is a federal jurisdiction. Under the proposed amendment to the Constitution, making DC a state, the federal section of DC would remain a federal jurisdiction. The remainder (where people live) would become a state.

Perhaps Hawai‘i Senators Schatz and Hirono are in favor of DC statehood because it is the right thing to do. It is not fair to deprive more than 700,000 Americans of the democratic rights that other Americans enjoy while charging them with the responsibilities of a state and requiring they pay the same federal taxes. What other democracy in the world deprives residents of its capital city of the right to representation in their government?

(I live in Princeville and Washington DC, 50-50).

Kathy Chamberlain, Princeville
Source: The Garden Island

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