Letters to the Editor: September 4, 2020

Residents cleaning highway should be honored for service

If there were awards for meritorious citizen service it should go to Kaeti Ecker and Sarah Govier, the two ladies who on their own time have for the past few months been picking up trash from the side of Queen Kaahumanu Highway between Palani Road and Kaiminani Drive as reported in West Hawaii Today on Aug. 27.

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This stretch of road has long been an embarrassment for us residents and a Third World eyesore for visitors, though perhaps the latter are so dazed by being in paradise they don’t notice all the trash. I have contacted state and county agencies about this, but the answer is always limited manpower or other priorities, which I can believe since it’s all the government can do to keep the weeds mowed in the center dividing strip.

Now that Ecker and Govier have shown what two motivated people can do to improve our community, how about one of the service clubs or tourism promotion groups stepping up to take this on as their ongoing project? What do you say Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Island Visitors Bureau or others? You’ve got some woman and manpower and I can’t think of a better use to which it could be put then to help these two women to make Kona an attractive community when the tourists return. And to Kaeti and Sarah, a big mahalo.

John Kitchen

Kona

More of a deterrent needed

I read about those aquarium fish poachers recently and wondered why aren’t they penalized more. Just having their equipment taken is not enough to deter them from breaking the law again. Why not tell them the next time it will be their boats as well? Maybe that might put fear into them. Frankly, I’m sure these guys have done this before and gotten away with it. so charge them for what they would have made on their haul of poached fish.

Colleen Wallis

Kailua-Kona

A step toward racial justice

In the time of COVID-19, while living on an island with very few Black people, what can we do to help ensure that Black lives really matter? Certainly, Black Americans need something more concrete than our thoughts and prayers.

First, and foremost, we should abolish two institutions that represent modern slavery: private prisons and the so-called War on Drugs.

The USA has 4% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. Most inmates are incarcerated on drug charges, with people of color imprisoned at four times the rate of other people, despite using drugs at the same rate as white people. Clearly the War on Drugs is really a War on People. Any politician who will not work to end the War on Drugs should never get our vote.

Private prisons create a powerful and sinister lobby that works to keep the prisons full. That might be the stupidest idea in history. We need to end this vested interest that wants its citizens in jail.

This is just a start, but implementing these two changes could be a wonderful step forward toward racial justice for our beloved “land of the free.”

Charlie Webb

Kailua-Kona

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