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Friday, September 3, 2004
[ OUR OPINION ]
Lingle, isle GOP
In a 5-minute early-Wednesday evening address to the Republican National Convention, Lingle said Bush's policies of "limited but effective government," tax cuts and "promoting ownership and opportunity" were responsible for Hawaii's "climate for growth and job creation." Hawaii's economic recovery is unquestionable, but many forces have been at work, including low interest rates, a rise in tourism from Japan and the increasingly distant past of Sept. 11, 2001, which stymied tourism for more than a year.
Earlier this week, Lingle cast Hawaii's votes for Bush, proudly identifying them as coming from "the state where cultural diversity is not a slogan but a way of life." Those remarks were in sharp contrast to the buffoonery of state Democratic Chairman Brickwood Galuteria in announcing Hawaii's convention votes at the July convention. All he could think to do was to scream "aloha" over and over again, totally missing an opportunity to cite the credit to Hawaii's diversity that Democratic rising star Barack Obama had given for his world view in his keynote address.
Hawaii delegates gained some deserved attention by cleverly sporting T-shirts proclaiming, "Re-elect Keoki W. Bush." Fellow delegates chuckled and quickly became educated about the Hawaiian name for George.
What should have been the most embarrassing moment for Hawaii's GOP delegates came when their vice-chairman Willes Lee, who was vignetted daily by C-Span, was televised kneeling before radio talk-show host G. Gordon Liddy, saying, "I so admire what you did," then asking for the autograph of the man who became famous as a lead Plumber in the Nixon White House. Was Lee referring to Liddy's role in the break-in of the office of Daniel Ellsburg's psychiatrist or in the Watergate burglary?
The High Technology Development Corp., a state agency established in 1983, will provide business development services and lower-cost office space at the Hawaii Incubation Center in Hilo and other facilities at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in Kailua-Kona. Through "virtual" centers in Lihue and Waimea, start-up businesses will be able to get advice and assistance for $100 a month without having to pay for office space.
Entrepreneurs receive help in setting up operations, marketing and legal matters, issues that often trip up promising businesses in their initial stages. The agency has seen one-time start-ups like Hoku Scientific Inc. and Blue Lava Wireless blossom through its programs, transforming good ideas into the financial successes Hawaii needs to broaden its economic base.
Demand for support has increased, HTDC Executive Director Phil Bossert told the Star-Bulletin's Dan Martin. At the Manoa Innovation Center, when tenants who have gained their footing move out, new enrollees fill their slots quickly, he said.
Safe Water Systems, a tenant at the Manoa facility, attributes its achievements to the incubation programs. Last year, the company received a state award for developing and producing a system that purifies water using solar heat without electricity, fuels or chemicals. The company recently got an order for 84 of its $3,500 units, which will put the it in the black for the first time. Although aimed at Third World and developing countries, the product has promise for rural or remote areas in Hawaii and the United States where municipal water isn't available or in emergencies like hurricanes, when power and water supplies are cut off.
HTDC's newest programs prudently target tech-concentrated areas, such as astronomy facilities and the natural energy labs on the Big Island, and the missile range at Kauai's Barking Sands.
The agency, funded through various federal and state sources, adjusts its focus to fit the needs of new technology businesses. It spends its money well and its leaders are doing some clear thinking.
David Black, Dan Case, Dennis Francis,
Larry Johnson, Duane Kurisu, Warren Luke,
Colbert Matsumoto, Jeffrey Watanabe, directors
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