Sign of the times: Governor and four mayors Zoom in

Posted on Jun 26, 2020 in Capitol Connection, Featured
Governor Ige with the mayors (clockwise): Kirk Caldwell, Mike Victorino, Harry Kim, ASL interpreter Laura Safranski, and Derek Kawakami.

Governor Ige with the mayors (clockwise): Kirk Caldwell, Mike Victorino, Harry Kim, ASL interpreter Laura Safranski, and Derek Kawakami.

It’s not often you get to see Governor Ige and Hawai‘i’s four county mayors “zooming” together on Facebook Live, but that’s what has been happening on the governor’s “Community Connection” — a chance for the state’s top leaders to connect virtually and answer questions from the public. From vacation rentals and increasing broadband to their biggest challenges during the pandemic, the group fielded questions and emphasized they were committed to keeping case counts low as the state reopens for business. Each mayor also talked about trying “out-of-the-box” approaches to family and work activities and how COVID-19 showed the state where the inequities were — especially in using the Internet for workers, students and teachers. They also shared concerns about illegal vacation rentals and a belief that hotels are better equipped to monitor visitors for quarantining.

Gov. Ige hosts the four mayors on ZOOM

Gov. Ige hosts the four mayors on ZOOM

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said, “There’s no playbook for this pandemic. We’re learning how to deal with it.” He talked about the success of “Open Street Sunday” that drew local families to Waikīkī and plans for other city-sponsored outdoor events. He said he was also looking to amend his earlier order to allow musicians to perform safely in bars and other venues. Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami got his family involved in producing daily “break the boredom” videos during the “Stay-at-Home” order. He added, “Our sense of aloha and taking care of each other has gotten us through many challenges, and that’s what is going to get us through this one.” Hawai‘i Mayor Harry Kim said, “We all knew the tremendous impact of the 14-day quarantine rule. It was going to shut off the world we depend on economically, and with that, we shut out the virus. That’s why we’re the envy of the world.”

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino said his county saw the advantages of telecommuting as a “win-win.” He described how it reduced traffic as people alternated between working from home and offices and how it provided some promise for economic diversity. As for relaxing precautions such as wearing masks and physical distancing, Mayor Kawakami replied in the May 28 Facebook session: “We’re still learning about this new virus. We do know this virus is very patient and very sneaky. You could be a carrier of COVID-19 and get people sick. Wearing a mask shows people you care about them.” To view the May 28 and June 18 “Community Connections,” go to https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/.

Read more in the July Capitol Connection newsletter

Subscribe to the Capitol Connection newsletter