Letters: polluting chemical substances from lifeless batteries; Legalized gambling will increase the struggling of society. Shield college staff earlier than college students return

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Batteries are not biodegradable. What happens to our beautiful Hawaiian landscape when dead batteries from solar panels and electric vehicles pile up? What happens to our water quality when chemicals and minerals from empty batteries get into our water table? Red Hill's threat pales in comparison.

No problem. Carbon Cashback is paying us dividends to address our concerns ("Fossil fuel fees would pay off with Carbon Cashback," Star Advertiser, Island Voices, Feb. 7).

Give us a break.

Ronald E. Hughes

Aiea

Legalized gambling increases the suffering of society

There is no doubt that something needs to be done immediately to accommodate local Hawaiians. But a casino or any form of legalized gambling is not the answer.

In 2012 and 2013, the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling brought Dr. John Kindt and Earl Grinols to the state. They are experts in gambling research who have no financial or other part in whether or not gambling becomes legal here. They spent countless hours with members of the legislature and the public, sharing with them the results of analyzing decades of information about legalized gambling. The conclusions were clear and unquestioned: gambling is a loss.

Hawaii already has some social problems including homelessness, drug addiction, poverty, domestic violence, and food insecurity, to name a few. Legalizing gambling – in any form – will only exacerbate our problems.

Violet Horvath

Vice President of the Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Politicians do not perform their duties to Hawaiians

This state was dependent on tourism and we have not been able to function since COVID-19.

This state has a mandate, but year after year the Hawaiian people are pushed aside. HLM: Hawaiian Lives Matter?

This state is called Hawaii because of its Hawaiians. The Hawaiians belong here; Everyone else is just guests. Hawaiians have been downtrodden and homeless for so long because the state has failed to meet its fiduciary responsibilities. Many Hawaiians have died waiting for a lease to build a home, build a life and be proud of.

It is time for all politicians opposed to all forms of gambling to exercise their fiduciary responsibilities immediately. Otherwise a casino or a lottery.

Mary Alice Lee

Kaneohe

Protect school employees before students return

I am a "nana" of six grandchildren. Four are in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary school.

Yes, they have online courses. Our high school and middle school students attended classes with no other classmates present or only one to three. The four in high school decided to opt out of attending – it's better and safer to be online. We are fortunate that our grandchildren are good at dealing with online classes, but they are losing the social aspect.

Parents want their children to be back in school. That would be great for the kids. However, shouldn't we protect all the teachers, administrators involved in the schools, right down to the gardeners? That should be the goal.

We have had schools with positive COVID-19 cases but we don't know if they were teachers or students or where they took place. The Ministry of Health should be more transparent.

I hope that everyone involved in schools will be vaccinated this month. Then we can open all schools by mid-March 2021 directly after the spring break.

Pat Yamauchi

Hawaii Kai

Structural differences lead to systemic racism

Poor Cal Thomas, so misinformed. He believes that systemic racism means that white people are "inherently racist" and that this is refuted by white people who help help poor colored people and vote for Barack Obama ("Racism is an affair of the heart, none Government Mandates ”, Star Advertiser, February 2).

As "systemic" means, the problem is structural, in economic and political barriers that were developed long ago to maintain an unjust system, and which persist despite changing times and the benevolent intentions of many whites.

Thomas repeats wearily conservative mantras of individual responsibility, ignoring the injustices that regularly occur among hardworking, conscientious blacks that white people rarely experience.

A change in individual opinion does not correct differences in results that are based on unequal starting points and existing structural differences.

Sometimes only government action can sensibly move the system towards fairness – for example, through the passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act by Congress.

David Monk

Hawaii Kai

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