LAI President’s Message
We’re halfway through another extraordinary year and are headed into recovery. Hopefully, we have also been jolted into a “renaissance” in land economics and land use after emerging from Covid struggles that highlighted the fragility of our economy in Hawaii and vast inequities in our community.
I wanted to summarize a few chapter meetings and updates.
JOB POSTING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII
Office of Strategic Development and Partnership is recruiting for an Asset Manager Position. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 2. As an added bonus, they'll get to work with our fellow LAI member, Michael Shibata! See link below for more details. https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/hawaiiedu/jobs/3119925/asset-manager-pos-79634
SPRING NEW MEMBER INDUCTION AND NETWORKING
Our membership and opportunities to network have always been our most valuable asset. Looking for new ways to connect, the chapter held its quarterly luncheon membership meeting on March 5. A four course meal prepared by Bamboo Catering was delivered by Elite Delivery in an insulated LAI logo bag to all attendees, either at their workplace or home.
We were thrilled to welcome a truly outstanding class of eleven individuals who represented a balanced cross-section of the land economics field including planning, banking, law, commercial real estate, development, affordable housing, academia, hospitality, resort communities and government (see complete list of our new members at the end of this newsletter).
The meeting was facilitated and designed to be highly interactive. Attendees were assigned to digital break out rooms to explore current topics. The main topic was, “What structural changes, related to land planning, has COVID taught us?” A sample of responses included:
- Tourism/Hospitality: are we managing quality or quantity? We have seen the positive impacts of little or no tourists on sea life, nature, etc. Knowing this, how do we move forward? How to strengthen the positive and economic effect of visitors (crack down on illegal rentals, review zoning for resorts, taxes and fees).
- Technology: we need to recognize the role of technology in lending a sense of efficiencies in how we communicate and get to decision-making and how this can expedite land use processes. We need greater broadband connectivity, more fiber. There is a digital divide for seniors and low-income residents.
- Working from home: we saw improved traffic; there is a need for residential safe rooms, expanded outdoor areas, retail adaptation of omnichannel.
- Economic vulnerabilities need to be addressed. Housing vulnerabilities are enormous. Over fifty percent live paycheck to paycheck. This is a vulnerability to the entire community.
- What are the opportunities to re-imagine the urban core for mixed use, transit, affordable housing? We’re not moving fast enough on climate change.
- Is government ready for change needed? Their technology systems are way behind.
The interactive break out groups proved highly popular in an after-meeting survey. At the meeting closure, everyone was asked to type one word into the chat box. Commonly used words included: Grateful, Hopeful, Encouraged, Thankful/Appreciative, Optimistic, Blessed, Busy/Stretched, Revived, Kokua, Mahalo. The overall positivity of these responses demonstrates that LAI chapter members look forward to better days.
JUNE 4th MEETING WITH MAYOR BLANGIARDI AND CABINET
With five months under his belt, Mayor Rick Blangiardi lead a spirited panel of his executive leadership team to convey how inspired he is every day, and the “sense of responsibility” he feels at this challenging time for the City. He’s led an huge infusion of the best leaders and practices with 22 of 26 department heads (and most deputies) being new to their positions.
Among the thoughts shared: creation of a mini-HCDA within DPP to promote urban infill along the Beretania and King Street traffic corridors downtown; adaptive re-use bills to encourage redevelopment of older buildings; creation of a “CORE” task force with City/State/provider/client input to triage the needs, wants and services to help the homeless population; the City’s “top in the nation” success in the rapid distribution of Federal rental and utility relief funds; focus on the well-being and prioritizing a diverse and equitable economy; a target to complete and operate rail to Middle Street by Dec. 2023; establishment of key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on results in each department – many for the first time.
At the same time, the Mayor and his cabinet was impressed and also recognized many faces in the LAI membership and specially mentioned some of our members including Mel Kaneshige, Keven Carney, Dan Dinell and Jan Yokota.
This lively meeting can be viewed in its entirely in the recorded Zoom link below. https://zoom.us/rec/share/CupHmo0ASH7fCW6GyFM42UjeOSyMgJCJWwXjkOnb364IQsiVYZiOvDiGj7RsfvVd.6jCPcMV1Zx0v55_u?startTime=1622842658000
A hui hou, malama pono,
Susan Todani, President
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Congratulations and Welcome Again to our New LAI members in 2021. A truly impressive bunch!