Editorials for Sunday — August 24, 2003

• Kaua‘i economy

• Aloha Festival

• Gas prices

Kaua‘i economy

A new report from the University of Hawai‘i’s UHERO economics analysts shows the Island’s economy is doing well.

Real estate sales, home construction, the visitor industry, service industries and other sectors of the economy are moving along at a rapid clip.

The future looks rosy too, with an expected increase in jobs at the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility and a boost in local residents using telecommunications tools to do off-island work on Kaua‘i, turning the Internet into an export pipeline for the Kaua‘i economy.

Sectors not thoroughly addressed include the agricultural industry, which is doing fine, but perhaps not bringing the diversity to the local economy to a degree once expected.

The report is an economic one, and not written from a sociological viewpoint. However, reading between the lines the report shows that the average working person can expect to flourish in the service sector, while the Island will continue its trend of having upscale homes built at a rapid clip, thus changing the demographics of a number of Kaua‘i communities, bringing them more in line with wealthy California coastal communities.

The influx of money is great for the economy, but what price will it cost the way of life on Kaua‘i that gives the Island its special flavor, and spirit of aloha? Only time will tell if this economic boost is a major turning point in the makeup of the Island’s communities, or if it is signaling the end of an era.

Aloha Festival

The pageantry of the Aloha Festival celebration for 2003 began this weekend at Kamokila Village on the banks of the Wailua River.

The annual festival highlights the Native Hawaiian culture of Hawai‘i in respect to the visitor industry. Kahanu Smith and Nalani Brun are the king and queen of the festival this year, and Smith and Brun are both active in the visitor industry world on Kaua‘i, and are fitting representatives of the Native Hawaiian community of Kaua‘i.

Gas prices

Ouch. Gas prices continue to rise slightly on Kaua‘i and across Hawai‘i, as we regain the crown as the highest price gasoline state in the Union.

The complex process that brings gasoline to our pumps is somewhat different than that on the Mainland, but does the big difference in prices truly reflect that difference, or is something else going on?

That question has been asked for years, and state investigations have resulted in fines.

Coming up next year is the possible imposition of a state-mandated gas price cap. Careful consideration of what to do with the gas cap is needed, as well as some resolution in bringing down the cost of gas in Hawai‘i.


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