Hawaii is Broken | Now All Fingers Point to the Top

Hawaii is Broken | Now All Fingers Point to the Top

Rapid-fire departures of Hawaii officials has become the new norm. Where we go from here is unclear. Six of the highest level state government appointees responsible for tourism, health, safety, and unemployment, have all left.

Visibly remaining is vulnerable governor David Ige. But how long he will prevail is becoming less clear. There is ever-increasing talk about his early departure, whether by resignation or impeachment. An Impeach Ige Twitter account @Impeach_IGE has surfaced and also one on Facebook.

Last night we saw the most recent retreat of yet another key state official. This time it was infamous Dr. Sarah Park, the highly ridiculed Department of Health chief epidemiologist. Regarding Park, we predicted earlier this week that she would be next. In addition to other failures, she has been critiqued as being “condescending, isolated, and not open to differing viewpoints.” Those traits are not compatible with someone responsible for infections, disease mapping, testing, and prevention.

Instead of being fired, as had been widely suggested, Dr. Park was allowed to, “take a leave of absence,” with full pay of course. Whether she ever returns remains to be seen. Dr. Emely Roberson had been brought in to replace Park in contact tracing,  but she also took leave this week, saying she was too frustrated with the department to perform her job.

Six months into an uncertain future, Hawaii is worse off than ever before.

With no signs of tourism returning this year, Hawaii has fallen from once being touted as the safest place on earth. A lockdown that was supposed to keep suspect travelers from infecting residents didn’t work, since even with a virtual cessation of all travel, Hawaii has backslid into having one of the worst infection rates in the country. Testing and tracing remain woefully inadequate. And a plan to resume all-important tourism appears to be all but non-existent. The economy is in shambles.

With all of these critical departures, the buck now clearly stops at the top floor with Governor David Ige. Continually rated one of the worst governors in the country, with a current 32% approval rating, Ige is widely criticized even among his fellow Democrats for being ineffective. We first saw signs of that 2 1/2 years ago during the nuclear crisis false alert where Ige could not find his password to stop the chain of events from happening.

Beat of Hawaii commenters may just have nailed it. Read some of the best so far.

Jared: “Continued denial and complete lack of accountability at the highest levels of state and county government. Which leads to the obvious question: Is there no one – in the entire State of Hawaii bureaucracy–that is competent? The virus has simply exposed the extreme incompetence and unprofessionalism of one or two key departments–but surely the rot is obvious from top to bottom. And that begs the question–if everyone at the top ‘resigns,’ gets fired–or is allowed to retire in shame and guilt–who is left to run things? The governor is clearly one of the least competent members of the current administration–but how do we get him out of office if he won’t go quietly himself?”

Greg: “We need to start moving forward and realize that this virus will be with us for the duration with little light at the end of the tunnel. It is unfair to keep us hostage without a foreseeable future and (I) feel a need to maintain some form of normalcy.”

John: “I’m not defending our current leaders, it’s the people of Hawaii that will survive in spite of them…Josh Green should have been in charge and we would have this thing licked. But the mayor will be running against him for Governor and Ige apparently felt threatened by Josh’s competence…..early on Ige removed him from his oversight position but quickly backpedaled. Josh is an ER Doctor and was not used to his full potential for the reasons above…politics. Anyway, that’s my take.”

Richard C: “Most if not all who’ve been fired are Governor appointed positions. The same Governor will now get to appoint new party cronies to these cherry high paying positions. Also if you know anything about state government you don’t fire your pals. Instead they get to retire collect a fat pension, some will take a private sector lobbyist job or move to a low tax mainland state.

Jeanne: My husband “Volunteered to come as an RN when the word came out more help was needed. We come from NY LI, where virus rates are low. We never received a call to come and help. FYI. And we have come annually anyway for 30 years, so this was by no means a way to vacation in Hawaii. It was a gesture of help and support for the locals who have been fabulous to us for years. No call!

Renee: “The lack of a clear plan and inconsistent execution will put the state of Hawaii back 50 years.”

Kimberly: “I don’t know… it just seems to me that after 5 1/2 months they would have advanced to a more viable solution. The economy has to be salvaged or Hawaii is going to become a 3rd world island soon.”

Lisa: “I don’t understand why the citizens of Hawaii whose livelihood depends on the tourism industry one way or another, let their Governor get away with using the millions of dollars of federal funding for purposes that do nothing to quell the devastation felt by its population. Some of the Federal-Aid Hawaii has received could have been used ingeniously to form a partnership between a qualified lab, Hawaiian Airlines, and the state of Hawaii. The state could have been on its way toward economic recovery and freedom.”

Add your comments and join the discussion. Mahalo!

Beat of Hawaii © photo at Waimanalo Beach, Oahu.

129 thoughts on “Hawaii is Broken | Now All Fingers Point to the Top”

  1. First of all, I love Hawaii. However, I hope that no matter who is elected POTUS over the next three terms does not bail Hawaii out. Lots of financial pain is coming to the state because Hawaii is disparaging tourists and ruining business. God Bless the citizens of Hawaii, most of the sensible people here, but not those responsible for destroying a prosperous state.

  2. There is an old saying “everyone deserves what they get” This is also true for Hawaii for voting incompetent career politicians into office at every election. State of Hawaii has by far the most number of state employees per capita: 148 state employees per 10000 residents. Idaho the second one on the list has only 87. Most other states are around 30-40. With an enlarged state bureaucracy comes incompetence, higher taxes and lower efficiency. In addition most of the state employees have guaranteed salaries and thus do not have the urgency to solve the economic problems of others. Governor Ige is a prime example of incompetence. He does not seem to understand the urgency of the problem businesses and their employees face. Rather than face the problem and propose a solution he keeps kicking the ball down the road. How can you trust a person who does not understand the simple fact that $37M thermal cameras can not do a better job than $10 hand held thermometers or that COVID-19 is not going to disappear by sticking his head into sand and doing nothing. The state is in the sad shape it is not because of lack of money either. The Federal government gave a lot of money for testing and tracing yet they have spent only about 1% of the money given for testing. They get offers of help from CDC or surgeon general but refuse to accept it. All they can do is to say “because of competition on mainland we can not get supplies for testing”. How come the other states get their supplies no problem.

    Until Hawaiians wake up to the fact that they need to elect competent leaders Hawaii will face problems. It is COVID now but there will be more in the future.

    1. Gov. Ige is not alone in policy contradictions. Here’s what’s happening in Merrie Olde England:
      “Keeping up with lockdown rules in Greater Manchester has become a full-time job. On Tuesday, casinos and soft-play centres reopened everywhere except Bolton. Later that same day, pubs in Bolton were closed. You can’t meet other households in your house or garden, unless you live in Stockport or Wigan. You also can’t meet them in pubs or restaurants unless you sit outside, in which case it’s fine, unless you live in Oldham, in which case it isn’t. Restrictions were lifted last Wednesday for Trafford, where I live, until suddenly, 12 hours later, they weren’t. From tomorrow, along with the rest of the country, socialising in groups of more than six will become illegal.
      “If the government had tried to design a lockdown that was bound to fail, it could scarcely have done a better job. The rules are now so convoluted that they are nigh-on impossible to understand: they seem to change almost daily, with no serious effort to communicate these changes. Worst of all, they simply don’t make sense to people. Children can go to school but can’t visit their friends? I can go to the pub but not see my mum in my garden?”

  3. I find it interesting that everyone is throwing support at Green. His ideas were testing before you come and travel bubbles. Testing before you come had the majority from the mainland saying it just isn’t feasible. In fact, our mainland numbers are low, and the school kids still can’t get testing without symptoms, even if they have been sent home and have been quarantined for over a week. And travel bubbles? Whether you like them or not, agree with them or not, our US borders were closed, and Hawaii continued to give hope where there was none. At any rate hoping Hawaii is attractive enough, and the people at some point will welcome visitors, and rebound soon. In the meantime, the reality of booking flights and vacations for me personally is rough. We have been to Mexico and were booked again to go in October. Those flights literally change weekly. My current flight has me all over the place. This will be the last trip anywhere for a while. The airlines exhaust me.

    1. “Our mainland numbers are low?” Certainly the death rate isn’t low. Only Alaska has a lower death rate than Hawai’i. Most states are many, many times higher. The number of cases is meaningless because only a tiny fraction of the population has been tested and the percentage varies wildly from place to place. For example, both my wife and I had all the key symptoms last spring but we couldn’t get tested – we were told we weren’t sick enough. It makes no sense to claim that “our mainland numbers are low.”

  4. You all need to hear the recordings of what Trump said about the virus clear back in February that came out today. It is his voice which every conspiracy person here who has been spouting 100% proves you all are wrong

    1. Thanks
      You all need to hear what Crazy Pelosi and Bernie said when President Trump stopped all flights from China and Europe.
      From China Town in SF, “Come on down, its all good here, Trump is just racist.
      Just look for it on YouTube.

      1. Trump did not stop all flights from China and Europe. You are spreading untruth. Not to mention the childish slander of Nancy Pelosi.

      2. For some reason I’m not allowed to point out that in fact Trump did not stop all flights from China and Europe. But the fact is that he did not.

      3. Its too bad that none of that was even close to True. And no one ever said what you stated. So stop spreading lies.

      4. The Covid crisis is going on six months now, and all Governer Ige appears to do is react.
        Instead of making a comprehensive plan reopen the economy, he simply lets the wave of events crash over him and we’re no further ahead in the aftermath.
        Hawaii needs a governor who can plan ahead and act, Governer Ige appears incapable of this.
        He simply can’t rise to the occasion and do the job that needs to be done.
        As long as he is the Governer Hawaii will remain stuck in the horrible position it finds itself
        Mayor Kawakami of Kauai seems to have the credentials, disposition and ability to do the job. Let’s look forward to leadership like that in 2022.
        Meanwhile I shudder to think of the kind of long term damage Governor Ige’s lack of leadership will reap on Hawaii over the next two years.

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