MAHALO FOR SINGLING OUT THE achievements of Hawaii-based developer Stanford Carr in your June 2004 issue (“Island Instincts”).
The only aspect of the article I question is an anonymous comment by a mainland home building CEO who credits some of Carr's success to “connections to the island's inner governing circle.” Such connections may have been important to developers in the past, but the political dynamics are far different now under the administration of Gov. Linda Lingle, Hawaii's first republican chief executive in 40 years.
Gov. Lingle does help developers and all other businesspeople by reducing unnecessary layers of bureaucratic red tape and cutting fees whenever possible. But such assistance is extended across the board, rather than to just a chosen few.
In fact, one of the highest priorities during the governor's first year in office was bringing transparency to the state contracting process and thus eliminating Hawaii's longstanding practice of cronyism and political paybacks. She is fond of saying that it's no longer an issue of “who you know” but rather “what you know” and “will you do the best job at the most reasonable price for the people of Hawaii?”
Carr rose through the ranks of Aloha State developers through his resourcefulness and entrepreneurial courage. His successes are much admired by Gov. Lingle and her administration, but this “inner governing circle” did not offer any special favors. Mr. Carr did it on his own, and he should be commended for making a significant impact in a challenging profession.