Hawaii’s World

By A.A. Smyser

Thursday, December 3, 1998

A program for
revitalizing Hawaii

RYOZO Ariyoshi, 39, a long-haired version of his father, former Gov. George Ariyoshi, has a degree in political science, studied interior design, is something of a poet and lives between his parents' home in Nuuanu and a condo by his office in Kakaako. His varied business activities here and in Japan include drafting project reports for start-up firms and helping with their space planning.

Growing up in a "glass fishbowl" as an officially declared "legislative baby" has caused him "to kind of squinch" at the mere thought of politics. His more gregarious younger brother has played a limited role but Ryozo and his older sister have stayed in observer roles only.

However, by now Ryozo has squinched so much at the loss of the idealism of his father's Nisei generation and its replacement by "for me" politicians whose "integrity is disheveled" that he has drafted and shared with me a 22-point state plan. It is titled "Mediocre Mind Sets Must Be Replaced by New Ideas and New Modes of Thinking."

I can't adequately share it with you in the space that follows but I'll do my best.

He names a few names. He says the "do-nothing" 1998 legislative group epitomized by Norman Mizuguchi, Senate president, contributed to economic quagmire and drift. He applauds "traits of boldness" shown by Mufi Hannemann and Rene Mansho at Honolulu City Council and legislators Brian Taniguchi, Randy Iwase and Ed Case. He wants to see more small- business entrepreneurial spirit to help develop a "future-oriented mindset" for Hawaii, as he felt his father tried to do.

He would eliminate tax pyramiding, cut corporate taxes, downsize government, create a one-stop government permit office and turn to corporate management techniques to revolutionize the civil service. He would impose a bold 20-percent across-the-board cut on government departments and reduce public employment by attrition and privatization.

He recommends more emphasis on diversified agriculture and aquaculture, as successfully begun by his father, and would try to woo back the Oji Paper Co., which was spurned when it proposed to start a 5,500-acre tree farm on the Big Island.

Bio-technology is a tremendous new industry opportunity for Hawaii, he says, using local crops to produce seeds, medicine, vaccines, food supplements and fertilizer. Awa, for example, is a muscle relaxer. In aquaculture, he sees Hawaii having special advantages, among others, in raising tropical fish for export. He would crack down hard on destructive fishing.

High-tech zones with tax incentives should be created on the Big Island and/or at Kapolei on Oahu. Kakaako in Honolulu should yield high-tech ambitions, he feels, to focus on marine science. Along with the Honolulu waterfront, Kakaako should become part of a marine science center with marinas, parks, museums, restaurants, shops, residences and hotels. He recommends $50 million for planning. He think the state needs a strong apprentice training program.

He would shape up public education with renewed emphasis on the 3 Rs plus computer studies and direct 80 percent of spending to the classroom, 20 percent maximum for administration. He favors an appointed school board.

He winces that the University of Hawaii's world-famous mouse cloner, Ryuzo Yanagimachi, works in a run-down lab and was denied $30,000 for machinery while UH dangled $500,000 in travel subsidies to be included among the schools that broke away from the Western Athletic Conference.

CHINATOWN should be made more alluring and allowed to "sizzle and pop." A Venice-like promenade is within reach for the Ala Wai Canal. Waikiki Gateway zoning should help clean up that area. He strongly supports the 145-acre eco-camp proposed for Pua'ena Point near Haleiwa. A tent city prison should relieve other facilities by taking "non-dangerous" offenders. A strong state apprentice training program is an urgent need.

Oil companies are charging us twice what is fair for gasoline, he calculates. Get 'em!

This is Ryozo Ariyoshi's plan, not his father's, but he says his former governor dad did look at it and said it includes some good ideas.

A.A. Smyser is the contributing editor
and former editor of the the Star-Bulletin
His column runs Tuesday and Thursday.

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