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LETTERS for the Jan. 7 issue

By Staff | Jan 8, 2021

State unemployment system failing to help the needy

Sometimes, the best way to get some answers for our community is to go to the press.

PLEASE do a story on the suffering people of our wonderful town. Our beloved Lahaina Town that brings in a HUGE amount of revenue to the coffers of our state tax collector!

Our people are beyond frustrated! The unemployment system has had ten months to get it together! People are waiting, waiting, calling and calling. They are being told to be patient or that their case is being escalated.

This seems to be a lie. This is an example: “I am at a complete loss of what to do next. I’m at 11 weeks of non payment from PEUC. Already escalated my claim back in early November, got that all ‘fixed’ and cleared up the day before Thanksgiving, and was able to back file to October finally. I’ve had my paperwork for weeks now and have ‘escalated’ my claim twice (once two weeks ago and then again today), and I got the same representative that helped me that lives in Chicago. She was only able to tell me that my claim was never updated, and there’s no time frame on when it’ll be fixed. I’ve already tapped my 401K and savings — there’s nothing extra left to hold me over anymore. Any suggestions?? Sorry to vent and thanks for any suggestions.”

This woman has children to feed.

This is just one example of a letter I see on the Facebook Group chat page daily.

Have you seen the line of cars waiting for ONE box of food on Thursday mornings? It’s hours and hours long!

Lahaina Baptist Church was doing the food boxes for many months. They now host an outreach to the growing homeless community offering showers and laundry facilities. Citizens Church in Kahana gives a box of food on Thursday mornings. Feed My Sheep in Lahaina still does food boxes.

Governor IGE, HELP! Mayor Victorino, HELP!!

I don’t know what you can do other than to bring attention and shame to those responsible.

T. COOPER, Napili

2020: A ride like no other

It’s been a roller-coaster of a year, and from small kid time until today, I have never liked roller-coasters. Whether it be at the E.K. Fernandez Show’s weekend carnival or at Disneyland, roller-coasters were never my cup of tea. Thank goodness this one seems to be winding to a close. While still a long way from being over, at least the ride seems to have slowed somewhat, the twists and turns have leveled out and the end of the craziness seems to be approaching.

2020 has been a double-stress-whammy with the virus threatening our health and political discord threatening our Democracy.

Fortunately, this extraordinary year is coming to a close on both of these fronts. Many good things of a positive and hopeful nature are happening now, “as we speak” (or as we Zoom, which may be the case).

The people have spoken and voted. Through a clear and unequivocal majority, Joe Biden has won the election to be president of the United States. I am hopeful and confident that the minority who supported the other candidate, and the majority that prevailed, will both now tone down the divisive rhetoric and turn their common energy and attention toward creating a more positive future for all. Let’s find our common ground, and then leverage it.

While the pandemic continues to rage across the planet, we are ending the year with multiple vaccines being distributed to our most vulnerable and most at-risk populations. Within a few short months, by spring or early summer, the majority of us will have had the opportunity to be vaccinated and thus protected from the virus. I’m not sure what the death knell of a pandemic drawing its final breath sounds like, but I think we’re starting to hear it.

When it’s my turn, you can be sure I will be rolling up my sleeve without hesitation. As a child, I was vaccinated for measles, mumps and other illnesses. As an adult now in the prime of my life, I have also been vaccinated for flu and pneumonia. These are the choices I’ve made for myself and my family, and I’m hopeful that a great majority in our community will do the same.

It’s a trifecta of good news really. We have a new president, multiple new vaccines, and finally, the COVID Economic Stimulus package has been approved (whether it is $600 or $2,000, it will be for sure on its way soon).

Did you hear that? Am pretty sure I heard my mother at this very moment shouting out from her home on the continent, a hearty “Praise the Lord!”

And not a moment too soon. People are hurting bad. It’s all fine and dandy to be happy about a new president and the unveiling of new vaccines, but when you can’t afford rent, you’ve been unemployed now for months, or your business is crashing down around you, the political bickering is exacerbating and the extra money is needed now.

Another strong dose of good news coming out of Governor Ige’s office is his announcement that the public-worker furloughs are being postponed indefinitely!

At the risk of sounding nonsecular, and being somewhat politically incorrect, I believe a “hallelujah” is most definitely in order.

It’s good to end the year with hope and positivity. While we still have a ways to go, it looks like this roller-coaster may very well be ending soon, and there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel.

Best wishes to all. Please do what you can and reach out to help those less fortunate.

Say hello to your neighbors, find someone of the opposite political persuasion and talk about food, or the weather, or the children or grandchildren. Tell your friends and family how much you appreciate them.

Stay safe. Don’t let your guard down, please. Not yet.

GARY HOOSER, Executive Director, Pono Hawaii Initiative