Arnold T. Hiura
Vol. 18, No. 10, May 16, 1997

Kapakahi. vs. One-sided, crooked, lopsided, sideways; bent, askew; biased, partial to one side; to show favoritism. Lit., one side.

One needn’t look very far these days for an opinion as to the growing unhappiness that is Hawai‘i.

A friend from Los Angeles, in town for just a few days on business, stopped by to visit recently. “What’s going on?” he asked. Having been born and raised in the Islands before his family relocated to California, he had just stopped at a nearby supermarket that morning and was disturbed by what he found. “All the mangos, bananas — even the pineapples — were from some foreign country. At least the papayas were from here, but they were too expensive — about as much as what I would pay in L.A.,” he explained, sadly. “No wonder the local economy is in such bad shape.”

Well, perhaps the lack of locally grown fruits in our retail markets may not be the most sophisticated model to base an assessment of our state’s economic woes, but it surely serves to drive a point home. All one has to do is take his example and extend it over the rest of our society to see how relevant my friend’s experience was to Hawaii’s economic woes.

Friends in the printing industry recently formed an organization called the Printed in Hawaii Association to address a similar point. The group essentially raises the same question posed by my friend from L.A.: “Why? Why do so many major local corporations send their print work out-of-state, when the very customers who support them are struggling to keep their jobs back here?” The group’s members attended the recently adjourned state legislative session to ask legislators why government agencies insist on spending taxpayer dollars to expand their own in-house printing capabilities, or to pay out-of-state printers, when tax-paying local companies here are dying for lack of work. When the Legislature, for example, makes an emergency appropriation of $10 million to the Hawaii Visitors Bureau as part of its economic revitalization package, how aware are they that a large portion of those funds, along with other major expenditures, in fact, ends up in the pockets of out-of-state vendors?

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