Letters to the Editor

Letters: Maui Residents Discuss Outsourcing Prisoners, Alcohol Tax, Tourism & Post Office Rats

February 23, 2021, 7:00 AM HST
* Updated February 22, 7:11 PM
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Letters to the Editor
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Postal Workers at Maunaloa Deal with Rats and Other Problems

Did you know that rats have chewed through the electric lines at Maunaloa Post Office? The employee’s cannot upload or download daily data to the Honolulu United States Post Office. Postal workers cannot scan their daily intake of available services purchased such as stamps, money orders and outgoing packages. The postal worker must travel to another Post Office to finish the close of day.

There is not adequate space on a day with abundant mail. Holidays pose the greatest challenge to space. If it rains, there is not enough space to house two days worth of mail and packages.

The current facility is not water and rodent proof. This puts the employees health at a higher risk. This is also an inconvenience to patrons who have damage to their packages.

Our on-island contact is Ryan Ososky, Administrative Assistant, 808-423-3747. Gary Logan oversees all Molokaʻi Post Offices and can be reached at 808-266-3996. You can write US Rep. Kai Kahele at  https://kahele.house.gov/contact. Thank you. — Erin Peyton, Maunaloa

Hawaiʻi Should Stop Outsourcing Prisoners to Mainland

Hawai’i needs to end the outsourcing of its prisoners to private, mainland prisons. The detrimental effects of being separated from family and cultural support leads to recidivism rates near 90 percent. The best public dollar should be invested in education.

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Since the U.S. drug wars started a few decades ago, the majority of those arrested and imprisoned are low-level, non-violent illegal drug users and people of color. The economic elite have chosen to imprison those who are economically challenged: American Indians, Blacks and Native Hawaiians.

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Criminal justice reform is a popular phrase right now, but anyone who understands the history of mass incarceration and the racism that has now created a multibillion-dollar industry — both public and private prison systems — built around the over-criminalization of poor people and minorities.

Over the past 40 years, the American prison population has increased 500 percent [according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics]. But the immorality of profiting from incarceration is not new. This goes all the way back to Southern states leasing out prisoners shortly after the Civil War; it was slavery by another name.

Ending federal contracts for private prisons isn’t just about the fate of the estimated 14,000 incarcerated people affected. Reform the criminal justice system in Hawai’i to embrace the cultural values of Native Hawaiians.

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All individuals exiting incarceration face huge obstacles, however, the largest percentage of people sent to serve their sentences abroad are Native Hawaiian. This alienation from ʻohana and their ancestral lands only add to the difficulty of reentering their communities. It is time to end this now and repair the damage done. — Maya Marquez, Paia

Proposed State Alcohol Tax About Money Not Health

The proposed alcohol tax increase should be presented more honestly.  The state wants more money! Tax revenues from alcohol sales have plummeted due to COVID-19 issues.

Tourists are drinkers. Liquor sales taxes from bars and restaurants has been crippled. The percentage drop in tourists is probably close to the percentage loss in liquor tax revenue.

The platitudes about all the social and health problems that might be solved are insulting to readers. Ten cents a drink is not going to slow down an alcoholic. It a money grab plain and simple.  Reducing government waste is probably not going to happen. The House of Representatives can give themselves a raise now. — John Jackson, Haiku    

‘Lt. Gov. Green, we are not your guinea pigs!’

Lt. Gov. Josh Green sent a proposal to Gov. David Ige and the mayors of the Hawaiian islands, urging them to eradicate our pre-travel testing program for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, essentially providing a vaccine passport to freely travel to Hawaiʻi.  Importantly, those who are vaccinated would no longer need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to travel to and within Hawaiʻi.  

Lt. Gov. Green claims that those who are vaccinated would have sterilization immunity, meaning they are not just immune to the negative effects of COVID-19, but they are also unable to be carriers of the virus and as a consequence they could not spread it to other people.  This is a bold claim for a doctor to be making, yet Dr. Green claims he is basing this policy decision on science. If this is true, then show us the science!  

Instead of spending so much time worrying about reopening the island, Lt. Gov. Green should be laser-focused on vaccinating our local population. Our state is far behind other states in vaccinations, and while most states have started vaccinating those who are 65 and older, Hawaiʻi is just beginning to vaccinate those who are 75 and older.  

Our poor Kupuna are being left behind while Lt. Gov. Green tries to turn our state into a giant experiment, where we become the guinea pigs.  As our country surpasses 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths, new variants of the virus that are more transmissible and more deadly infect the United States at ever-growing rates.  

Why should we be risking one of these variants entering our sacred islands and wreaking havoc on our Kupuna, all in a futile attempt to prematurely reopen the islands at the height of the worst pandemic in over 100 years? 

Maui Economy Needs Tourism to Survive

I think it is time that people start using common sense. The Maui economy will DIE without tourism. Quit complaining about tourists coming back to the island when they are the lifeblood of this economy. — Matt Miller, Lahaina

What Happened to Removing Abandoned Vehicles?

What happened to the policy the Mayor invoked that said abandoned cars would be removed within 3 days after they were tagged?  It seems that they aren’t even tagging the cars anymore.  

Riding from Lahaina to Kahului, the Pali is littered with abandoned, and in some cases burned out cars and pick-ups. It is really an eyesore and does not paint a rosy picture for tourists driving from OGG to Lahaina.  

The problem doesn’t seem to be as big on the south side as it is here. Nothing gets done here like it does in Kihei and Wailea, where even the roadsides are kept mowed and weed free.  The millions that were spent to put the medians in on Honoapiʻilani Highway, to “beautify” it, are a total overgrown mess. Lahaina is like the red-headed stepchild of Maui. — Mary Stein, Lahaina

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