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Planning for very different Hawaii should start now

The mayor’s column in The Maui News Weekender was right on.

In 20 years, when the effects of global warming have very seriously impacted the beaches and Maui’s primary economic driver, tourism, all of Hawaii will be drastically affected.

Let’s wake up! Planning for a very different Maui and Hawaii starts now. Maui in 20 years? More vibrant economy with better job opportunities through education, training and attracting 21st century jobs?

Health care, high tech, internet-focused, software and hardware innovation, sustainable and renewable innovation, etc. Or, more Third World thinking and “can kicking”?

Concern is not with diminishing levels of tourism. It will happen on its own. Concern is with our residents, our young people and our future.

What to do? Start at the state level. Place much more emphasis on high-tech opportunities, high-speed internet, upgrade to educational opportunities and instruction. Less impediments to moving into the 21st century. Astronomy? Zoning and urban planning?

Attracting high tech should top the agenda. Scientific and health care as economic drivers.

Future growth should be first priority. Lobby the governor and the Legislature now. Bring professional planners and forward thinkers to Hawaii. Tax benefits, job opportunities and related motivators.

Hawaii has much to offer now. Beaches, amenities, sunshine and a great lifestyle. What don’t we have? Advanced educational facilities, decent health care, affordable housing, infrastructure, both high tech and low tech.

The future is now. Now what?

Ray Phillips

Kihei

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