New library not needed
I am disappointed to learn about plans for new library facilities in Puna (Tribune-Herald, Feb. 24).
As a frequent and heavy library user who has spent most of his life in counties that host some of the nation’s finest public library systems (Fairfax and Alexandria in Virginia and Marin in California), I have always been very impressed with Hawaii’s public library system, and the collocation of branches with school libraries in Puna has always struck me as genius — no need for redundant collections, facility maintenance costs, staffing costs, utility costs (not to mention convenience, if your child attends a school housing your local library branch).
There must be a way to mitigate legitimate school security concerns without building an $11 million facility, complete with redundant book collections and all the monthly operations and maintenance costs that create new, long-term taxpayer obligations, especially given infrastructure funding needs in the district for so many basic, yet lacking, things (paved roads in subdivisions, universal home mail delivery, broader access to electricity and public water, broader access to world-class internet services, proper deceleration lanes in high-speed zones of our one “highway,” police staffing, etc.).
I find the idea of “essential workers” very troubling.
In reality, our economy and society functions as an integrated whole. If any segment is removed from the mix, it will cause problems.
Instead of recognizing this, we have bureaucrats with limited economic knowledge, pontificating about who is essential. This is an insult to everyone who is not included in this select group.
I noticed that the first attempt to designate “essential workers” included mostly government employees. Since this did not sit all that well, we now have a much broader definition of who is essential, but it is still not right.
Everyone is concerned about the coronavirus, and lots of people want to get vaccinated. The most vulnerable people are a diverse and unorganized group. It will take some creative thinking to reach them all.
The so-called “essential workers” are much easier to reach, and therefore seem to be at the front of the line.
In a few years, when history looks back on our response to this pandemic, I believe it will tell us that we could have done a much better job.