Wednesday, August 5, 2020
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Governor Ige: There will be more sick people and, yes, deaths on our island if we let more visitors come who routinely ignore wearing masks and do not observe social distancing. We need to take care of the health of our residents before the profits of the visitor industry. The health of residents should be our priority. We also need to nurture and develop other income sources. This visitor industry will not work the way it has been. We need a new paradigm for our state. Have the courage to do the right thing.
Dis' n' Data
Monday, August 3, 2020
Monday Extra: There IS a way Jose'. Track the election ballots like Amazon does. It is just a bar-code on the envelope and software to track it!
There is a way to save the election despite the disgusting actions of the Trump appointed post office leadership trying to delay and screw-up mail-in voting. Amazon does it already with every package that they send out to buyers. They track every package and know where it is and why it is not being delivered and what the hold-up is illegitimate or not. We can see where the Trump administration is holding up the vote. As it is happening.
Top Trump Admin Official Believes 85% COVID Masks Use Would Bear Same Outcome as 'Complete Shutdown'
Trump Administration Reportedly Considering ‘Unilateral Action’ If Lawmakers Can’t Reach A Deal On Second Stimulus
Sunday, August 2, 2020
I recently read a cheer-leading article by Ben Jealous (Wikipedia) endorsing Kamala Harris (Wikipedia) for a running mate on the Democratic ticket with Joe Biden. Oops. This is exactly the wrong candidate for Joe to pick. My own choice for a "kick ass" candidate would be Either Stacey Abrams (Wikipedia) or Tammy Duckworth (Wikipedia) Each of whom would be a far better choice.
Why? In my mind it is because Harris has a similar distasteful quality that was embodied by Hillary when she ran against Trump. Perhaps it is not who she is, but in my perception and that of a great number of voters is she has that "too cool for school" attitude many people found offensive in Clinton and now with Harris. "Righteousness is not it's own reward" as the old saying goes. Joe Biden needs a real person to add real energy and real strength to his campaign. He doesn't need another political caricature of a righteous politician with lots of baggage. He needs a strong and honest woman like either Duckworth or Abrams with lots of courage and charisma.
So, that is just my opinion. The election is the Democrats to lose. Let's make the choice that gives the American people the best chance to win.
Saturday, August 1, 2020
Friday, July 31, 2020
Fauci on possibility of Covid-19 vaccine being ready by late 2020 or early 2021: "I don't think it's dreaming"
Co-founder of influential conservative group: Trump's tweet floating election delay is grounds for impeachment
Hans von Spakovsky: Despite Trump tweet, election won’t be delayed — but all-mail voting poses grave dangers
Flotsam and Jetsam: A note to all Trump voters: How is this presidency working out for you?
Some Links Just For Kauai.......
Thursday, July 30, 2020
(of a condition or a person) producing or showing no symptoms.
"infection is usually asymptomatic"
I wonder why we take the temperature at airports of folks who otherwise have no symptoms of Coronavirus when it is clear that many of us are infected by "asymptomatic" people. Isn't a "high" temperature a "symptom?"
Monday, July 27, 2020
Saturday, July 25, 2020
It has been almost two months since I wrote an op-ed piece titled “Grief for a World Killed by covid” (I still refuse to honor the germ by capitalizing it). Hawai‘i is still shut down to visitors, and the anticipated August opening has been moved back to September due to the spikes on the mainland and limited testing abilities available here. Our numbers in Hawai‘i, though rising, are much better at about one positive test per thousand population, versus 10 times that rate for the nation as a whole. Our government officials are struggling with the decision to re-open our tourism dependent economy at the risk of increasing our infection rate. Our isolation has become our best weapon against infection, but our worst enemy at stimulating our economy.
On a positive note, the islands are regaining much of their beauty. The roads are pleasingly free of thousands of visitors. Eyes seem to be smiling even if we cannot see smiles under the face masks. But we are heading for a financial cliff. Every day, more businesses are forced to shut down when the hopes for recovery get overshadowed by realities of their overhead, dwindling savings and diminishing governmental assistance. Their impacted employees are also facing ends to government stimulus plans, unemployment and stress of unpaid rent and mortgages. We need a government that gives them a tangible reason to hang on until our borders open up to tourists again. A government with a plan, not a hope.
I hope that Hawai‘i does not return to having 10 million visitors here per year. That number was and is unsustainable and has little opportunity for a quality of life here for our residents. Yet, we have built our economy on tourism, and it can be the economic powerhouse it once was, even if we have less tourists.
The key may be to legislate reforms that would aim at maintaining revenue from tourists but actually reducing their number. Economically, that means charging more money for visiting Hawaii. Not just a little more. I propose an increase in the Hawaii General Excise Tax for visitors to 40%, instead of the uniform rate for residents and visitors of 4.5%. I also propose a reduction in the Hawai‘i resident rate to 2%. Based upon our existing system of taxing the tax, visitors effective tax rate on food, lodging, car rentals, and visitor attractions would be about 65% and the tax for residents would be less than half of the current rate. Provisions would have to made for mitigating the progressive nature of our excise tax in the supply chain to the ultimate taxpayer to avoid government swallowing the vast majority of all money flow in the islands. The idea is to make Hawai‘i more expensive to visit, and less expensive to live in. If tourists want to visit a relatively pristine, uncrowded, Aloha based place, they will have to pay more, a lot more than they used to.
If such a provision is enacted, here are my predictions of what will happen:
1. Numbers of tourists will go down significantly, maybe by half.
3. Some hotels will not be able to survive the higher rates necessary to pay the tax. State revenue will be increased, and available to purchase hotels that shutter.
4. State revenue will be increased, and available to purchase hotels that shutter.
5. Hotels purchased can be used for our homeless, as long as there are comprehensive services to support the mentally ill, the drug dependent, and those with insufficient resources and income. I would venture that almost no one on the streets has zero income. They need assistance in allocating their resources to stay off the streets. Hotel rooms may be the step necessary to their permanent independence.
6. Other hotels purchased by our government may be available for low-cost rental or for resale to our residents hoping to establish a foothold in their state. The cost of a hotel (prior to the pandemic) seemed to hover around $200,000 per room. Many of the hotel rooms are larger than the smallest Kakaako units selling for $700,000+. State provided 100% financing at current mortgage rates would allow a purchase at $843/month, which is well below the “affordable” solutions available today.
This two-tiered tax system will have its detractions. Visitors will not like having to pay $100 for a meal at a restaurant that a Hawaii resident can get for $36. But, that’s the price of paradise. There should be rules for who gets the “kama‘aina” rate of tax. Kanaka Maoli (they are true residents, forever) those born in Hawai‘i, or those that have lived full time in the islands for at least 5 years would be entitled to the lower tax. One could also lose the exemption by “gaming the system” (profiting by paying the lower tax rate for a fee), committing a felony, by operating an illegal vacation home, pr by being a public official convicted of corruption. During this era of emergency proclamations, refusing to wear a mask may provide unprecedented incentive to comply. It is a privilege to live in Hawai‘i. Let’s think outside of the box to allow us to not only live here, but to thrive here in our new, uncharted world.
Nolan Ahn is a resident of Lihu‘e.
The above essay from the Garden Island Newspaper ( Finding meaning for Hawai‘i)
has some good ideas worthy of further discussion and exploration. I propose forming a "zoom" meeting platform that would meet to develop strategies and methods to make such ideas a reality. Tourism as it once was is done and we need healthier alternatives both spiritually and physically. Let's make it happen.