Have a good time while helping local economy
The price of everything is going to keep escalating. There are no quick fixes, not for this mess we have gotten ourselves into. There are only big economic tsunamis coming one after another. Just like a tsunami, there are things we and our leaders can do. It is up to us to get the City & County of Honolulu and the state talking together and with us about what we can do to plan for the inevitable economic woes bearing down on us.
We are an island. Let's start rethinking as an island - a self-sufficient region. Transportation costs are going to keep escalating. Oil is a finite commodity. Oil is a component of almost everything we use in everyday life. We need oil for materials and medicines - it should not be burnt up for our personal convenience.
Here is a list of immediate things that can be done that will help us stay sane and improve our economy, and will set an example to the world and effortlessly boost tourism without spending a dime on advertising.
» Have a centrally coordinated economic conference for the state. Invite pertinent associations, community organizations, competent visionaries, financial institutions and companies to talk and work with city and state leaders. In the conference, have break-out groups regarding food, energy, education and transportation to talk and formulate then reconvene for immediate actions to be taken. Interlink it with all islands using the latest video conferencing and webinar technology.
» Encourage real farming industry - commodity farming for both immediate consumption and items that can be processed for later use and sale. Revitalize eggeries, dairies and livestock farms.
» Encourage growing biofuels that are not a food source. Recycle waste that can be a biofuel.
» Encourage local food-processing and cottage industries. Build or turn appropriate buildings into manufacturing complexes with affordable rent and utilities.
» Set up community gardens everywhere, including rooftops. Encourage and teach people to garden, preserve and bake. Have contests that stipulate growing, cooking, baking and making.
» Have monthly or biweekly community events/festivals that are a combined flea market, farmer's market, craft fair and food event with entertainment, cook-offs, school bands and expositions of skills such as martial arts, skateboarding and kite flying.
» Have trolleys that circle through neighborhoods and nearby businesses, restaurants, shopping areas, parks, beaches, schools, entertainment venues and bus stops.
» Build neighborhood parking lots to get parked cars off streets. Use streets for driving and moving traffic, not parking.
» Separate pedestrians from traffic.
» Teach home economics and social responsibilities in school.
» Initiate a general excise tax holiday on all grocery and restaurant food; increase taxes on gasoline.
» Develop a plan to get more solar water heaters on more homes and condominiums.
» Have competitions within communities and neighborhoods that stimulate home repair, as well as residence and community beautification.
» Encourage neighborhood block parties. Close a residential street and have cookouts, friendly contests and entertainment.
Stephen A. Geimer is general manager of Arturo's Hot Flavors of Hawaii, a board member of the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association and a Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member.