Your Views for May 28

Don’t cut services

In response to the Your Views letter on Sunday, May 17, titled, “The new royalty,” there is much that needs to be pointed out, but I will keep it to this.

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The vast majority of people want, expect and demand public services. We need police officers and 911 operators to help you in a crisis and make sure laws are followed; a fully staffed fire department to help when your house is on fire; ambulance services for severely injured and ill people to be taken to the hospital in times of need or when they have coronavirus; lifeguards to keep families and visitors safe at our beaches; teachers, educational assistants, principals, janitors and all employees who make a school run; health inspectors to make sure our food is safe; agriculture inspectors to make sure invasive species don’t ruin our local farmers’ businesses; social workers to help abused children; and the list goes on.

If our communities want these services that public workers provide, we have to keep them on the job.

In the letter writer’s logic, we should cut services because the private sector is hurting. That makes no sense. When there is mass unemployment, public services provide the safety net.

There is a worldwide crisis happening right now called the coronavirus. For health and safety reasons, tourism and many businesses were shut down — that’s why people lost their jobs.

It is our federal leaders’ responsibility to pass aid for the states and counties that will keep these services available for everyone who needs them — until our economy can reopen and ramp back up.

Thomas Nakayama

Hilo

Repair the ramp

Thank you, Tribune-Herald and reporter Stephanie Salmons, for the nice article about the Pohoiki boat ramp repair project (“Progress on Pohoiki boat ramp,” May 17).

This project is so very important to my community, and I would like to clarify my position on this as state senator for the district.

There are essentially two options: repair the existing boat ramp by creating a stable channel in and out, or plan and build a new boat ramp in a new, as yet undetermined, location.

Repairing the ramp will cost about $5 million and three years or less. Planning, designing, permitting and building a new ramp will cost about $30 million and take at least 10 years.

Is this a difficult decision?

We don’t need an environmental impact statement for repair. We don’t need to wait 10 years without ocean access for 100 miles of coastline. We don’t need to wait 10 years to restore the third-most economically important fishery on our island, and help the fastest-growing, poorest district recover from a disaster.

Why is the same question being asked now as was asked 18 months ago, when the answer is as obvious now as it was then? Why delay even further?

This inaction on the part of the Department of Land and Natural Resources is inexcusable. We need meaningful recovery results now.

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State Sen. Russell E. Ruderman

Puna

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