Letters to the editor: 04-21-19

Costs of camp sweeps should be shared

Thank you, Department of Transportation for doing a good job cleaning up the Palani pig pen. That accumulation was such a public blight that it was insulting to our community and our visitors as all such trash heaps are. These camp dwellers elect to choose that lifestyle as no one accepted the offer to go into housing after the cleanup. Plus, WHT’s recent investigative report indicated 70-80 percent want to live that way.

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Around $60,000 reportedly was spent on a total of about 18 people mentioned in the WHT article, which means taxpayers spent roughly $3,334 on each person for the single cleanup! With 10 in the Palani pig pen, we paid 15 workers to clean up, which is more workers than inhabitants of the camp. If we can spend that much money on non-productive members of community why was a new ambulance turned down by the mayor and council? That amount could hire a police officer but the money has yet to be found for that.

One solution could be for those who sympathize with and enable the continuance of this lifestyle — be it individuals, churches or organizations — is to show their commitment by participating in a regularly scheduled monthly activity for cleaning up their garbage.

Sympathizers can volunteer each month to pick up trash from the illegal camps, load it in to the dumpsters and listen to their stories. Then to solidify their dedication, they should pay for the dumpsters, hauling to the landfill and tipping fees. Plus pay for any damages and repairs made to the property whether private or public.

Talk is cheap, so if you feel that strongly then put your time and money into action.

Don Zero

Kailua-Kona

Hawaii Saves will help workers’ nesteggs

Senate Bill 1374 would create a Hawaii Saves Retirement Savings Program to help workers of all ages grow the savings they need to take control of their future. It would let employees save money out of their regular paycheck to rely on in later years, and the savings would follow them from job to job.

The growing numbers of “gig economy” jobs (like Uber drivers, freelancers, and seasonal workers) and small businesses means fewer Hawaii workers have access to workplace retirement savings plans. In fact, about half of the state’s private-sector workers have no way to save for retirement out of their regular paycheck. Yet, we know that people are 15 times more likely to save if they can do so at work.

Senate Bill 1374, the Hawaii Saves bill, offers an innovative solution to these changing realities. This program, which is managed like a 529 college savings fund, will allow more workers to grow their savings and take control of their future. With Hawaii Saves, businesses and self-employed get access to an easy, plug-and-play retirement option that helps their employees to save for retirement out of their regular paycheck. And, the savings are the employee’s own money that they can take with them from job to job, and rely on to take care of themselves in later years.

While Social Security is a critical piece of the puzzle, it is not enough to depend on. The average Social Security benefit for a 65-and-older Hawaii family is only about $18,000 per year, even though these families spend over $25,000 a year on food, utilities and health care alone.

It seems to me like this is an all-around win, and just the kind of innovative solution we need for today’s workforce. It’s time for lawmakers to pass Hawaii Saves so all workers can grow the savings they need for a secure future.

We need to tell our legislators to pass the Hawaii Saves bill to help workers grow their retirement savings.

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Arne Werchick

Kailua-Kona