We know, we know–stories this glamorous and exciting usually come from the pages of Esquire and Rolling Stone. Ooh! People on Molokai and Maui can watch each others small business workshops on television! Except, even in this seeming banal story, which comes to us courtesy of an Oct. 2 press release from the County of Maui, we can find surprising illumination of how our county does business.
Basically, the story is this: Maui County officials–specifically, the Kuhao Business Center on Molokai and the Maui County Business Resource Center at the Maui Mall in Kahului–put on workshops on such topics as “Business Branding with Online Marketing” and “Developing a Marketing Plan.” In the old, pre-videoconferencing days, residents who lived on island but wanted to see a workshop on the other had to travel there. But now, they can just go to their respective county business resource center and watch it on TV.
This has apparently proven quite popular with local business owners–especially those on Molokai. “Residents and clientele are so grateful that they can take advantage of great training opportunities without having to leave the island,” Jennifer Hawkins, Molokai’s business center manger, said in the Oct. 2 press release.
For Molokai residents and business owners, who still have to contend with a depressed economy far worse than the rest of the state, this is indeed good news. But whether it rises to the heights expressed by Maui County Economic Development Director Teena Rasmussen, that remains to be seen.
In the Oct. 2 press release, Rasmussen referred to the new videoconferencing “government at its best.”
That’s a pretty tall compliment. But Rasmussen’s explanation as to how the county went about setting up the videoconferencing comes pretty close to describing “government at its worst.”
“Not only have we utilized equipment that was already purchased and sitting idle, but we have now linked two of our greatest resources for the convenience of our residents and business owners,” Rasmussen said in the news release.
Yes–the equipment was “already purchased and sitting idle.” Those are Rasmussen’s words. In her world, government “at its best” is that which finds a use for purchased equipment that’s “sitting idle” because it’s technically obsolete, no longer necessary or was just forgotten about.
County Auditor Lance Taguchi still hasn’t decided his list of audits according to The Maui News, but when he does, it’s clear he’ll have a lot to choose from.
Photo of people at the videoconferenced “Beat the Banks” workshop at the Kuhao Business Center on Molokai courtesy County of Maui