Friday, January 30, 2009


Let’s get real about Hawaii’s future

by Larry Geller

I cringed a little when I read this:

Hawai'i is 49th among U.S. states when it comes to broadband speed, according to a recent report. Creating a Hawai'i Communications Commission will help make it easier to improve the state's broadband infrastructure and increase competition, Lingle said yesterday.

"We have to be a world leader. We can't be playing catch-up or hope we're in the middle of the pack," Lingle said. [Honolulu Advertiser, New state panel would oversee broadband, 1/29/2009]

World leader?? We’re 49th. Linda, forget about being a world leader. Did you read that the tsunami warning siren at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is out of service? Have you watched as Mufi’s train route flip-flops around the landscape like a dying snake ? We can’t plan, we can’t inspect [dams], we can’t make the sirens work. With all the steady wind waves and daily sunshine we have, we are getting noplace fast on alternative energy. World leaders are not made of stuff such as this.

But more chuckles just now reading Derrick DePledge’s Advertiser blog post for 1/28:

Privately, some House Democrats had to laugh. In 2007, Lingle vetoed the bill that established the task force. Her veto was overridden by the House and Senate in a special override session.

Hawaii is not likely to be leader in broadband, though any improvement will be a help. What we really need is a big dose of reality about the challenges that lie ahead. The governor’s weekly email went out today with the subject: Administration's Proposals Focus on Bright Future for State. It made me wonder what planet this governor is on.

As I’ve written before, we have no workable economic model other than tourism and military. I don’t know what an alternative would be, and suspect that without one, we’re not going to have a bright future, and we’ll be world leader of practically nothing.

Let’s not forget also that Wall Street is betting against Hawaii (see: Merry Christmas Hawaii but no Happy New Year—Wall Street is betting against us with “credit-default swaps”).

While I don’t think it’s wise to depend on government to “save” us, on the other hand, our tax money ought to be buying us something.

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