Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, October 14, 2021
COVID-19 meets its match: UH football
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 2:10 AM :: 1666 Views :: Higher Education, COVID-19

COVID-19 meets its match: UH football

by Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., Grassroot Institute, October 10, 2021

If there is one thing more powerful than COVID-19, apparently it’s a winning football team.

Just a day after Gov. David Ige extended his coronavirus state of emergency for two more months, the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team played an exciting nationally televised home game at its new Ching Field in Manoa, and that changed everything.

The team beat a nationally ranked rival for the first time in more than 10 years. Yet virtually no fans were in the stands. Neither were there any crowds at its nationally televised home game two weeks before. As the game announcers made clear to their viewers during both events, that’s because UH football was the only major college program in the country that wouldn’t let anyone attend its local football games, not even family members.

But yesterday the governor relented. He and Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced they are loosening restrictions on public gatherings, including UH football and volleyball games. Friends and family members will be able to attend the next home football game, and the general public should be able to attend the final games at reduced capacity.

What happened? Did the situation change so much in a few short days?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for sure. We are constantly being told that all coronavirus restrictions have been crafted in consultation with experts, but the public still knows very little about who those experts are or what data they are using to make their decisions.

On Thursday, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the state Department of Health is refusing to share detailed COVID data with local researchers and epidemiologists, leading to the conclusion that state health officials don’t want independent scientists reviewing their work.

What we do know is that public pressure started building to allow fans into the UH football games even before the Rainbow Warriors’ latest winning game. Newspaper sports writers had complained about the empty stands and artificial crowd noise, and House Speaker Scott Saiki implored the governor just the day before the latest game to allow fans to attend.

Nevertheless, the governor defended his decision to keep Hawaii’s sports stadiums empty. He made vague statements about reopening “various sectors” at the “appropriate time.”

Now, of course, it appears that the “appropriate time” for reopening sports has arrived. And thank goodness for that. But there still is the issue of public trust.

For more than 19 months, critics have been pointing out the logical inconsistencies, lack of fairness and lack of transparency regarding the various state and county lockdown measures. Meanwhile, the official goal posts for a return to normalcy have been moved so often that it’s a wonder anyone takes the official pronouncements seriously anymore.

It didn’t help that in the governor’s latest proclamation, those goal posts seemed to vanish altogether, when he abandoned vaccination percentages as the standard for lifting restrictions and said that no “single metric” would determine the end of the emergency.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, all of these problems are the result of Hawaii’s broken emergency powers law. It was never intended to create a system of unaccountable executive rule that would last for nearly two years. We have created a precedent wherein any threat to our state can legitimize the seemingly endless abuse of executive power.

This will not be the last emergency Hawaii faces. But it can be the last time that due process, transparency and the state’s constitutional balance of powers are tossed aside for months on end. The Hawaii Legislature must reform the state’s emergency management law to create a check on executive power and end the possibility of a never-ending emergency.

Yes, it is possible the Legislature could reform the statute, step in to end executive rule, then pass a series of objectionable laws. But if that happens, at least it will be done openly, with the opportunity for public debate and public testimony — and by elected officials who will have to defend those decisions at the ballot box.



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii