Your Views for September 23

Expedite bridge repairs

The Kolekole Bridge is currently under extreme disrepair and consequently there have been weight limits placed on vehicles crossing the bridge.

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Only a few cars at a time are being allowed to cross the bridge. A friend who lives north of the bridge by about one-quarter mile related that on Friday traffic was backed up to her street, and it took her 30 minutes to leave her street and cross the bridge.

Others tell of those for whom the process took as much as 50 minutes. The new bridge weight limitations on Kolekole Bridge will cause ambulances, fire trucks, propane trucks, construction trucks and farm freight and even FedEx and UPS trucks to take long detours to reach the area.

Rerouting all these large vehicles over Saddle Road will be quite the problem. This is a huge safety issue, as well as one which will greatly impact our local economy. A viable and rapid solution to this infrastructure issue must be found!

I am concerned for the safety of my many friends, and those I do not know, who live north of the Kolekole Bridge. At a minimum, a temporary fire station should be created to serve the area. Ambulances that normally serve the area and bring residents to Hilo Medical Center should have an alternate plan created.

Queen’s North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea will have to be utilized for emergency services. The state should work with QNHCH and provide for additional staff and infrastructure until the bridge is repaired. Additional ambulances should be made available to bring people from north of the bridge to QNHCH.

I hope the state of Hawaii, which is responsible for this bridge, will expedite all repairs.

The last repair in the area, the Umauma bridge, took four years to complete. This was unacceptable, but at least there was a way to detour the bridge which could be utilized. In this case, there is no acceptable detour.

The bridge never should have been allowed to deteriorate like this.

Sheryl Rawson

Hilo

Free-market solution

How would you feel if the money you have right now lost 88% of its value, and there was nothing you could do about it?

Since 1965, the dollar has lost about 88% of its purchasing power.

This is due to the fact that the Federal Reserve inflates the money supply which results in higher priced goods and services.

This impacts both the worker and employer. The worker wants and needs more money just to keep up with inflation, and the employer needs more money to pay operating expenses. It is not a one-sided argument, but it centers on the minimum wage.

Why would a business hire someone if the business has to pay the worker more than they can contribute to its revenue?

If the business has to pay more in wages, they will have to make up for it by either firing some of their workers or raising the prices of their goods and services.

Some people claim that raising the minimum wage increases worker productivity. I ask: Who is better qualified to determine the best balance and productivity than the employer?

If a company has the option to automate or pay more to an existing employee, the company only has two real choices: (1) choose to keep the employee on at the higher wage or (2) replace the human worker with technology.

If a company cannot afford the increased wages, they will most likely switch over to what is better economically for them. All in all, if the company doesn’t pay enough, they’re going to lose their workers. The free market is the best solution to this problem.

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Michalina Au-Sudlow

Honoka‘a