The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a great toll on our economy, and it’s likely to get worse. Out-of-the-box thinking may allow us to mitigate the infection risk while increasing commerce.
The reopening of our local businesses is an important step in our recovery. Unfortunately, we remain in a precarious situation.
While our infection rates have been minimal, and our remote location has created an effective physical barrier from the rest of the world, the loosening of travel restrictions and the ramp-up of trans-Pacific flights will raise our risk level.
This makes it difficult for local businesses to maintain consumer confidence. Restaurants and bars are especially risky as patrons linger and spaces are generally closed up.
An idea that might reduce the risk is to create open-air dining opportunities in our towns. This may require a temporary modification of Hawaii County policies and the utilization of spaces like sidewalks, alleys and roadways. These may be done daily or on certain days of the week, for the duration of the pandemic.
There are details to work out — for example, provision of covered spaces to protect customers from the weather, recycling facilities, traffic planning and security.
Let’s make lemonade.
Fund the police
There are cities across our nation where the mayors and city elected officials are defunding their police departments, with some politicians even wanting to abolish their police departments. There are members of Congress with the same goals.
Therefore, it is important for the citizens of the Hawaii to know in this election year where their current elected officials and those candidates for public office are on this imperative public safety issue, which is raging across our country.
The Hawaii County Police Department’s mission statement is as follows: “The employees of the Hawaii Police Department are committed to preserving the Spirit of Aloha. We will work cooperatively with the community to enforce the laws, preserve peace, and provide a safe environment.”
It’s vision statement is: “The Hawaii Police Department is committed to providing the highest quality of police service and forming partnership with the community to achieve public satisfaction making the Big Island a safe place to live, visit, and conduct business.”
There is absolutely no doubt in any rational person’s mind the police department on this island, the other police departments in our state, and the other thousands of police departments across our country must be adequately funded to fulfill their respective mission statements and vision statements.
As a citizen of Hawaii, I am calling upon Gov. David Ige, Mayor Harry Kim, all the other elected officials on the Big Island, and all political candidates to publicly state their support for our police departments and say they have no intentions or plans to either defund or abolish our police departments.
James G Borden