Think About It: Science, Kaka'ako, + Homelands - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

February 4, 2016

Think About It: Science, Kaka'ako, + Homelands

A few things to ponder as we head into the weekend: Honolulu ranks 95th out of 100 metropolitan areas in employment options for those interested in the science, technology, engineering, and math (or STEM) fields. Our cost of living, housing affordability, employment growth, the quality of engineering schools- all areas in which we don’t make the grade compared to other areas. Not a total surprise on an island, but a bit frustrating knowing how much emphasis we’ve placed here over the past decade or so in robotics and a concept like creating a high tech hub opportunity for our youth. More is going to have to be done here to attract and maintain people in this high-growth business sector. No question, technology is an area we can compete in.

You just knew that every one of the soon-to-be sprouting developments in Kaka’ako just couldn’t get off the ground, literally, as supply and demand would invariably be the deciding factor. The cancellation of the planned Vida at 888 Ala Moana Boulevard and another luxury residential tower close by indicate that the market currently will only bear so much, and the limited amount of construction workers available also drove up construction costs by a huge 13% in 2014. Yes, sometimes the free market does things that anti-development forces cannot do.

Finally, keep an eye on Senate Bill 3029 and House Bill 1932 which aim to correct a seemingly serious flaw whereby the legislature appropriated $9.6-million in general funds to administer and operate the department of Hawaiian Homelands, but the original request was to provide $28-million last year to cover the needs. Thus, there is a serious disconnect between the money granters and the home land beneficiaries of such funds. The bill asks that the legislature pay up, as apparently funds haven’t been paid to cover administrative and operating expenses fairly… since 1978. Now even here, that sure seems like a long wait. Think about it…

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