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Letters to the Editor: 9-23-17

Updated: 
September 23, 2017 - 9:10pm

Park employee behavior discouraging

On a recent Sunday morning my husband and I walked our three dogs on leash to the northerly beach at Honokohau National Park. On my way, I said a smiling good morning to the ranger who was changing the trash barrel at the entrance, and was ignored with a scowl.

OK, the guy must be having a bad day or is unhappy in his job. On the way back along the beach, I passed two female rangers who were speaking with a tourist waxing poetic about the turtles they pointed out in the ocean. A few feet past them and because the dogs were in front of me masking a large hole, I dropped down deeply and fell face down in the sand.

I got up gradually, wasn’t hurt, brushed off the sand and kept walking. My husband, who was considerably behind me with our elderly dog, noticed the rangers were laughing at me. There was not an offer to help or ask if I was OK, the first thing I would naturally do had I witnessed someone fall in front of me. I got the distinct feeling their aloha is reserved for tourists and not locals with dogs.

All the many national park employees I have encountered during my 40 years on island have been dedicated public servants with exemplary customer service skills, reflective of genuine aloha and love for what they do. Sunday’s encounter was deeply disappointing, although it didn’t ruin my beautiful day at the beach. There are so few places where humans and their dogs can enjoy the beach together, real aloha is for tourists, locals and animals, too.

Thalia Naidu

Kailua-Kona

Numbers behind West Hawaii’s doctor shortage

I know a number of people who have moved from West Hawaii to Henderson, Nevada, in the past few years. Seems the cost of living is a fair amount less in Henderson than in Kona, the pay for work is a fair amount higher in Henderson than in Kona.

Result?

In Henderson, a working family can afford to buy a home, go on vacation and set aside savings for education or retirement, etc. How does this relate to our doctor shortage here in West Hawaii? Well, instead of a working family, make it a doctor and his or her family considering a move to West Hawaii to work and live. The same issues that cause a longtime Hawaii resident to move to Henderson are the same that prevent most doctor’s from moving to West Hawaii to work and live.

Most doctor’s who do their homework before moving to West Hawaii find that if they make the move their income will take a 20 percent to 40 percent cut from what they make in the mainland, and their cost of living will be 20 percent to 40 percent higher than where they are living in the mainland.

Simple math at work here but not simple economics. Simple economics would say that the demand for doctors is high and the supply is low therefore the price (pay) to attract doctors should be high. Alas, this simple economic formula is exactly what is at the heart of our doctor shortage … for whatever reason, the pay for doctors’ services in West Hawaii is far below what a doctor can make on the mainland so on the mainland is where her or she stays (or returns to after a year or so).

Sad for us who are in such need for improved health care but simple to understand. Solve the problem? Solve the economics.

Eddie Herd

Kailua-Kona

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