Puerto Rico's $1.7 billion "Fantasy City"

In Puerto Rico's continuing saga of self delusion it was announced that the "Science City" project was "put on the map" as a result of the presentation made by officials in Las Vegas. This is code for "we are really important and people listen to us." Well, you know the saying, "What happens in Las Vegas, stays in Las Vegas." Wish it were true. This project is so detached from reality that it makes you wonder if the government has a rampant internal drug problem. It seems that they are working under the same theory as the Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams." However, in this case, if they build it, they won't come. The old military base is not situated near Boston, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, or any other likely location.

You see, science parks have a basic premise. You establish them in an area with an excellent education system, surrounded by respected universities and institutions, and backed by mature and well managed governments with vision. You even have respected scientific organizers. See where I am going here? Our educational system is undeniably the worst of any state, territory, or rocky outcrop. Our universities give A's and B's to anyone who can pay tuition (OK, not totally fair but we are definitely near the bottom). Our law schools and business schools are not even ranked (although they do get honorable mention below 4th tier!). The government loves to talk about the percentage of the population that earns college degrees, but where is the quality (notable exception is UPR-Mayaguez Engineering and Computer programs). We have no critical mass of medical or scientific research institutions and we are unable to attract students or post-docs to applicable science programs. Anyone who can read knows what to expect from the government - nothing. Virtually everything dumped on Puerto Rico by the Feds has turned into a dump. Oh, and did I mention money? Turns out that you actually have to have it to pay for such a project. No longer can Puerto Rico expect to pull the wool over the Feds' eyes. They have been screwed too many times by Puerto Rico and have finally caught on. No more gravy train from that S.O.B. Uncle Sam!

If Puerto Rico is to ever develop a knowledge economy it must first deal with the basics, and number one on the list is developing a universal, high quality, educational system. Start by casting out the current cast of characters and go off-Island and find some educators and administrators who know what needs to happen to meet this goal and then empower them with the money and authority to make it happen. Hold it! That's starting to look like the basics of good business. Better not go there.

If the government officials truly cared about the future of La Gente, rather than what is in it for them, they would sell off the property with a ten year tax holiday for any manufacturing venture willing to set up shop. Then take the money and start giving the children of Puerto Rico the education every child deserves.