Letters to the Editor: July 5, 2020

The time for change is now

“The Honolulu Police Chief does not agree with all or the proposed changes expected to pass in upcoming state Legislature police reform bills,” Susan Ballard said. Really? Knee-jerk reaction? We realize our mistakes and take action? There is the problem with police reform.

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Resistance to change to prevent needless deaths. In 2018 and 2019, there were 20 police shootings with 10 deaths. This does not sound like the Honolulu Police Department is doing all right. She replaced a corrupt chief of police. They are resisting implementation of required wearing of body cams. They still want to maintain officer discipline secrecy. She may be much better than the previous corrupt administration, but she is in denial about what is truly needed to make meaningful police reform. This reform must be islandwide, not just in Honolulu, but in all of Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Lanai, Molokai and the entire nation.

Sorry Chief Ballard. You cannot stop this change just because you fell that we don’t need it. The record actually shows that we are long over due for major police reform right here in Hawaii. Rather than resisting the coming change and making excuses, you should embrace it and look for ways to make it even better and more inclusive here in Hawaii so we can become the example of what the new 21st century police departments will want to model themselves after, not staying a relic of the past failed system filled with abuses and cover-ups. The time for change is now.

John Pierce

Waikoloa

Transition STVRs in residential neighborhoods to long-term rentals

The Hawaii County Planning Director says there are 4,000 permitted rentals and 4,000 illegal ones in Hawaii County. So, there are 8,000 homes that possibly could be used for long-term rentals, give or take. COVID-19 puts a cramp into the tourism industry and we’re not likely to see robust tourism again for a good long time. Best to strategize another way for Hawaii County to recover the economy besides tourism.

Short-term rentals in our residential neighborhoods to tourists not only invites health risks to residents but security and safety risks as well. There should be zoning put in place for all short-term rentals. They don’t belong in residential neighborhoods. Transition to long-term rentals for some stability. We have a housing shortage that drives up the cost of rent. Out-of-state landlords don’t have our interests in mind. They only want to make a buck. Maybe the cost of rent can come down some to a more reasonable cost to make it more affordable. Maybe families won’t have to relocate for more economic stability.

Time to change the paradigm and prepare for less dependency on the tourism dollars. Including the short-term rentals. A double-edged sword.

JoAnne Martinez

Kailua-Kona

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