An open letter to Governor Ige, April 25, 2020
Dear Governor Ige:
I listened to your press conference and then read your 6th emergency proclamation. While everyone is focusing on the fact that you are now ordering everyone to stay home for another 30-plus days, I also saw what you did right at the top of the proclamation.
Yup, you determined that the Mayors of the counties needed to stop making their own rules over interpretation and enforcement of the COVID 19 response, and made every single issue from it now your responsibility.
I’ll hand it to you; it took guts to do it. But with new powers to direct the whole state, you now have no one to blame than yourself for anything that happens from here on out, statewide.
And what are those things you may ask? Well if your thinking that its just about that “magic death number”, that currently stands at 14, and the lowering of the number of cases, I am going to say to you “think again.”
There are other numbers that you now have taken on that are your total responsibility. Those are:
- 244,000 – the number of workers that are now unemployed in Hawaii;
- 244,000-plus: The amount of people, with family members, that have been thrown off of their employer sponsored healthcare plans – with many of them not able to take on COBRA or can’t afford it;
- *Unknown number* The amount of people that will commit suicide because they don’t have a support system or have just run out of hope because of orders like this;
- *Unknown number* The amount of people who will get very sick or die not because of COVID, but because of pre-existing conditions that were maintained because they had health coverage, but don’t now;
- *Unknown number* When June 1 comes around how many families will be summarily thrown out of their houses. This is not because they couldn’t pay rent, but because the landlords, losing their shirt on all of this, decide to sell the property and, 40 days later, throw the family out;
And the numbers go on, and on, and on, and on. Before today, you could have shuffled some of these issues to the Mayors and just said “they are at fault.” But nope, you took all that on.
Now maybe you’ll surprise me and realize that the way things are cannot continue without really putting a lot of strain on society that, once broken will take a long time to fix. Maybe you’ll surprise everyone and realize that a measured, orderly process to reopen the state with dates is necessary now. Maybe you’ll have to keep tourists at bay, but allow the people who live, work and enjoy the fact that they can call themselves “residents of Hawaii”, a bit of relief from all this.
So, while you have taken on all of the issues related to shutting down the state, we’re also looking to you to do the right thing. As said in a movie: “Just want to tell you…good luck, we’re all counting on you.”
Or as said in another movie “And try not to muck it up again.”
Stanford J. Fichtman
Taxpayer and Voter in the State of Hawaii.