By Jay Fidell
Although Hawaii has been faced with difficult economic and challenges this year, there are still more than a few reasons to give thanks. Not an exuberant, noisy, loud thanks, perhaps a more moderated thanks, but a thanks nevertheless.
Sure we’re thankful for IHS and River of Life and other local charities that help people in trouble, but we also want people not to be in trouble. Homelessness is our canary in the mine. We’ve had terrible fiscal problems but hopefully we’ve seen the worst of it. The stock market seems to be okay, knock wood. If it can keep going, this could raise spirits and take the economy out of the woods.
We should give macro economic thanks too. Thanks to China and India and Korea for standing fast in the recession. They’re competitors, but they know we’re all in the same boat.
THANKS TO LOCAL OFFICIALS
Sometimes we should give thanks to the bureaucrats too - to DLNR for granting the open ocean aquaculture permit to Hawaii Oceanic Tech and to DOA for granting the algae importation permit to NoriTech. And thanks goes to the PUC for having adopted the Feed-in Tariff in Hawaii. Done right, that could be great in our quest for renewables. Could it be that the regulators are finally finding a way to enlightened policy? That would be fabulous.
Despite the audit difficulties that the DBEDT director has been having, we’re thankful for what appears to be a new vitality among the attached tech agencies – Yuka Nagashima at HTDC, Karl Fooks at HSDC and Ron Baird at NELHA. Likewise for Ted Peck, the Tech Administrator at DBEDT.
We're thankful that the Cancer Research Center may now be back on track. Although UH is in disarray over money, thanks to those who bring reason to chaos and make it right for the students, and the community. UH cannot afford to displace education with university politics.
THANKS TO OUR CHAMPIONS
Tech champions in the legislature also deserve our thanks. Sen. Carol Fukunaga and Rep. Angus McKelvey, for example, who organized the tech industry workgroup to identify worth initiatives for the next session.
Surely, tech will be one of the biggest issues in the coming election. Soon we’ll hear tech visions from candidates. We hope they will carry those visions all the way to the finish. This is the year of the Transition. Is that Transition moving to resurrected glories or the bottom of the barrel? It’s up to us – either as beneficiaries or victims of what we have wrought in electing them.
One way or the other, we’ll have a new governor. Some will be thankful of that. We should be hopeful the next governor will be a leader who can focus on building a diversified economy.
BAD THINGS THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN
There are many bad things that didn’t happen – terrorism, epidemics, social unrest and natural disaster – and we should be sincerely thankful for them, that they didn’t happen. The sun still shines and the trades still blow; lots of tourists still come and the sea level hasn’t climbed up to Moilili yet; we still have something of the old aloha; and we haven’t had a blackout in some time. We should be thankful for that and more.
Bud I'd have to add that 2009 is not over yet. Here we are at Thanksgiving, and anything could happen between now and the end of the year. Remember, this is the year of Transition on the way to the year of the Ox.
THANKS TO ENTREPRENEURS
Although I would never be thankful for the recession we’re having, this kind of adversity is in many ways an invaluable opportunity. We should appreciate and make good use of it - carpe diem.
HVCA recently gave entrepreneurship awards to Henk Rogers and five others, and that’s a good sign that they exist and are worthy. They are our tech heroes, even in difficult times. All tech companies bear on our future and must be appreciated even if they don't do as well as we might have wished. Every entrepreneur is a hero, and we must be thankful for each one.
We are also thankful for companies like BAE Systems, which works so hard to do outreach and encourage our entrepreneurs. We are lucky to have such good corporate citizens in Hawaii. We should appreciate them and look for more.
Sometimes I visit the K-Bay O-Club. As I pass the sentries, I tell them I appreciate their service to our country every day. This it not completely unrelated. In their own way, our entrepreneurs and tech leaders should also be appreciated for what they do for us and the future of our state.