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President Obama’s Speech Before Makana Sang His “Occupy With Aloha” Protest Song at the APEC World Leaders Dinner

This is the speech that President Obama gave at the Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki shortly before Makana Cameron got on stage in front of the world leaders and sang his song about “Occupy with Aloha” (Note bold paragraph I emphasized).

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, everybody.  To all the leaders who are representing their countries here at APEC, I hope you’ve had a wonderful stay so far, and hope you had a wonderful dinner.  To members of the delegation, welcome.

Two years ago, when I was in Singapore and it was announced that we would be hosting the APEC Summit here in Honolulu, I promised that you would all have to wear aloha shirts or grass skirts.  (Laughter.)  But I was persuaded by our team to perhaps break tradition, and so we have not required you to wear your aloha shirts, although I understand that a few of you have tried them on for size, and we may yet see you in them in the next several days.

But one tradition that we did not want to break is the tradition of the luau.  Here in Hawaii, there is a traditional gathering that we call luau, and it’s basically an excuse for a good party, and it’s used for every occasion.  We have birthday luaus and graduation luaus.  And now we have APEC luaus.  (Applause.)  And there is — somebody is ready to party already.  (Laughter.)

We have music.  We have song.  We have celebration.  And we have hula dancing.  And Michelle does not think I’m a very good dancer, so I will not be performing this evening.  (Laughter.)  But I think we will have some wonderful examples of traditional Polynesian dance and music and song.  And it will capture, I think, the extraordinary spirit of these islands, but also capture, I think, the spirit in which I hope we proceed in our important work during the course of this APEC Summit.

We are bound together by an ocean.  We are bound together by a common belief and a common concern for our people — their aspirations, their hopes, their dreams.  And so I hope that all of you feel the extraordinary spirit of Hawaii and very much look forward to a wonderful set of meetings tomorrow.

So, with that, please enjoy. 

Makana Occupies APEC World Leaders Dinner… With Aloha

I’ve asked Makana Cameron to respond to some questions I posed to him about his protest song that he sang in front of the APEC 2011 World Leaders last nght… and if he is even as close to tired as I am… I don’t expect him to return my answers anytime soon.

Makana Cameron Occupy With Aloha

Makana Cameron "Occupy With Aloha" at the APEC 2011 World Leaders Dinner

In the meantime… the following video is going viral and when I have his direct comments posed to the questions I asked… I will post them later.

I find it interesting that they weren’t allowing filming with phones at the time considering the day before I was taking video and pictures of the luncheon with the world leaders.

Here is the actual video taken on 11.12.11 in Honolulu on the grounds of the highly secured Hale Koa military hotel and facility in Waikiki:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/H-M07v8N_eU]

Makana writes:

My guitar tech shot this with a camera phone during my performance for the World Leaders Dinner at APEC, which was hosted by the First Family.

He had to be extremely discreet as Secret Service had warned those on site that any phones used to capture photography or video would be confiscated. Since he has a guitar tuner app on the phone we were able to justify having it out, but grabbing video was not easy. We were under constant surveillance. Personally I like to have video of every performance. It’s my art and my right.

About an hour into my set of generally ambient guitar music and Hawaiian tunes, I felt inspired to share some songs that resonated with the significance of the occasion.

I sang a few verses from “Kaulana Na Pua” (a famous Hawaiian protest song in honor of the anniversary of our Queen’s passing), then segued into Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”, Sting’s “Fragile”, and finally my newest song “We Are The Many”.

My goal was not to disturb the guests in an offensive fashion but rather to subliminally fill their ears and the entire dinner atmosphere with a message that might be more effectively received in a subconscious manner. I sweetly sang lines like “You enforce your monopolies with guns/ While sacrificing our daughters and sons/ But certain things belong to everyone/ Your thievery has left the people none”. The event protocol was such that everyone there kept their expressions quite muffled. Now and then I would get strange, befuddled stares from heads of state. It was a very quiet room with no waiters; only myself, the sound techs, and the leaders of almost half the world’s population.

If I had chosen to disrupt the dinner and force my message I would have been stopped short. I instead chose to deliver an extremely potent message in a polite manner for a prolonged interval.

I dedicate this action to those who would speak truth to power but were not allowed the opportunity.

Me ka ha’aha’a,

Makana

Here is the full video of the song that he sang that he uploaded a few days before the APEC 2011 Concert:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/xq3BYw4xjxE]

Remarks by President Obama and President Medvedev of Russia After Bilateral Meeting

A member of the Russia Delegation meets a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I want to welcome my friend, Dmitry Medvedev, to my birthplace, Honolulu, Hawaii.  My understanding is that he’s been spotted in a Hawaiian shirt walking and enjoying the good weather.  And so I don’t know if anybody got pictures of this, but I’m glad that he’s enjoying himself so far.

President Medvedev and I have I think successfully established the reset of U.S.-Russia relationships — the U.S.-Russian relationship over the last several years.  And it has borne concrete fruit in the form of the New START Treaty, the 123 Agreement, the work that we did together imposing sanctions on Iran, and most recently, the efforts that we’ve made on Russia’s WTO accession.

Today, we had a wide-ranging discussion.  It focused on a number of security issues where the U.S. and Russia have a significant interest.  We discussed Afghanistan and our plan to transition, and the importance all the regional parties assisting the Afghan government in stabilizing the country for the benefit of the Afghan people.

We discussed Iran, and reaffirmed our intention to work to shape a common response so that we can move Iran to follow its international obligations when it comes to its nuclear program.

We discussed a number of world trouble spots, including Syria.  And we discussed the importance of APEC and our common interest in assuring global growth and increased opportunity, business investment, commercial ties, and most importantly, job creation in both our countries.

Although it’s not official yet, the invitation has been extended to Russia to join the WTO, as a testament to the hard work of President Medvedev and his team.  We believe this is going to be good for the United States, for the world, as well as for Russia, because it will provide increased opportunities for markets in which we can sell goods and products and services, as well as purchase good, products and services without some of the traditional barriers.

And so we very much appreciate the cooperation and partnership that we forged around this issue.  We think it’s an example of the importance that both countries place on economic reform and economic growth.

And on my part, on my administration’s part, this is going to be a good time for us to consult closely with Congress about ending the application of Jackson-Vanik to Russia, so that the U.S. businesses can take advantage of Russia’s membership in the WTO, and we can expand commerce and create jobs here in the United States.  So those consultations will be taking place in the weeks and months to come.

So, President Medvedev, thank you again for a constructive conversation.  But more importantly, thank you for several years of constructive engagement with the United States.

PRESIDENT MEDVEDEV:  Aloha.  (As interpreted.)  Well, I would like to start by thanking Barack for this brilliant idea of hosting the APEC Summit here in his birthplace, in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Not only is it a beautiful location but it also is a great opportunity to discuss all sorts of issues like we did today.

But today, my friend, Barack, and I discussed not only weather but also issues he outlined just recently.  But I would like to start by thanking President Obama and his team for his active support and engagement in our accession process to the WTO.  Moreover, we have never received similar support from any previous administration, and this is probably the explanation of why we’ve been acceding to the Organization since 1993.  As has been recognized just now, Russia’s accession is good not only for Russia itself or for the U.S. or other countries, but for the entire system of trade relations in the world.

Our global economy, global finance is surviving not the best of times.  So the more coordinated actions we take, the less there are trade barriers.  The clearer instructions we give to our trading ministries, the sooner we will be able to overcome recession, which, unfortunately, still continues globally.  And the easier it will be to solve our unemployment, which remains our major problem.

This is why the summit of Asia Pacific region countries is of great importance, so that we can coordinate and integrate our ideas.  And I am sure that it will be very successful at the highest possible level.

Today, apart from Russian accession to the WTO and the need to review Jackson-Vanik, we discussed with President Obama a number of international issues.  I’m referring to the discussions we had about the Middle East, Afghanistan, Syria.  We also spoke about Iran nuclear program, and discussed a number of other issues, including European missile defense.  We agreed to continue a search for possible solutions, though we understand that our positions remain far apart.  But over the recent years, we achieved progress on matters where there was no progress.  Barack has just recalled the START treaty.  If we manage to emphasize similar efforts on European missile defense, just like other issues, I’m sure we’ll succeed.

I would like to express a full satisfaction with the past and present relations with the U.S. President.  Our relations, and that’s most important, have always been characterized by trust, and it is only when trust is present that we can resolve difficult tasks — and we did resolve some, although, much remains to be done.

And I thank President Obama again for the invitation.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you, everybody.

Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on APEC 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Let me begin by saying how pleased I am to be here in beautiful Honolulu for this APEC Leaders’ Meeting and the work that all of the ministers have been doing, and to have a chance to report to you briefly about the extraordinary efforts underway here.

Secretary Clinton Meets with Pacific Island Delegates

As you know, President Obama will be arriving back home shortly, and we will then embark on an extensive engagement with our partners in the Asia Pacific.  I gave a speech about this yesterday at the East-West Center.  We obviously believe that the world’s strategic and economic center of gravity will be the Asia Pacific for the 21st century, and it will be up to American statecraft over the next decade to lock in a substantially increased investment – diplomatic, economic, strategic, and otherwise.

Here at APEC, as hosts of the 2011 Leaders’ Meeting, we will continue to drive a positive rules-based economic agenda for the region.  And then when the President and I travel to Indonesia to participate in the East Asia Summit, we will continue with these efforts to advance a comprehensive regional agenda to promote security, economic growth, and universal values.

U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and I have welcomed foreign and trade and economic ministers from across the region.  Today, I chaired two high-level policy dialogues on critical issues, disaster resilience and open governance, as well as holding bilateral meetings with senior officials from several countries, including China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.  We discussed a full range of issues from our economic partnerships to our security challenges to our shared humanitarian concerns.  In particular, I expressed solidarity with our ally and friend, Thailand, as it contends with the worst flooding in the nation’s history.

We also consulted on a range of other pressing issues.  Regarding Iran, we discussed the recent report raising serious concerns about the weapons-related work the Iranian Government has undertaken.  Iran has a long history of deception and denial regarding its nuclear program, and in the coming days we expect Iran to answer the serious questions raised by this report.  And the United States will continue to consult closely with partners and allies on the next steps we can take to increase pressure on Iran.

Regarding Syria, we discussed the ongoing and escalating violence perpetrated by the Asad government against its own people.  Our position is clear.  We are supporting peaceful transition.  Asad has lost his legitimacy to rule, and he should step down.

And regarding North Korea, I updated our partners on the exploratory talks the United States had with North Korea two weeks ago in Geneva.  We made clear what we expect North Korea to do in order to get back to talks, including concrete steps toward denuclearization.  North Korea must comply with its commitments under the 2005 joint statement of the Six-Party Talks, relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and the armistice agreement.  And we are awaiting North Korea’s reply.

So it has already been a productive few days here in Hawaii, and I know there will be a lot more work to do when the President arrives and begins meeting with the leaders.  And then that will continue, as I’ve said, as both the President and I leave Hawaii, he to go to Australia and then Indonesia; I to go to the Philippines, Thailand, and then Indonesia.

So with that, I’d be happy to take your questions.

MODERATOR:  We have time for two questions today.  The first one goes to AFP, Shaun Tandon.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Madam Secretary.

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Hi, Shaun.

QUESTION:   Hi.  You mentioned yesterday in your speech that in Burma, you’re seeing the first stirrings of change in decades.  From your talks here and talks elsewhere, how serious are these stirrings?  Do you feel that the current government is committed on such things as releasing of prisoners and easing the violence in ethnic minority areas?  And what is the United States prepared to do to try to encourage those changes?

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Well, Shaun, as you know, Special Representative Derek Mitchell and Assistant Secretary of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Mike Posner visited Naypyidaw and Rangoon last week.  They met with a wide range of senior government officials, opposition leaders, representatives of civil society, and they reported back what we are seeing, not only from our own interactions but based on reports from other officials from other countries, that there is a substantive dialogue under way with Aung San Suu Kyi, important legislative initiatives including a new labor law and changes to political party registration law.  It appears that there are real changes taking place on the ground, and we support these early efforts at reform.  We want to see the people of Burma able to participate fully in the political life of their own country.

But we know there must be much more done.  We are concerned about the human rights situation, the political prisoners who are still in long-term detention.  We continue to call for the unconditional release of all political prisoners and an end to the violence in ethnic minority areas.  We urge the government to be more transparent in its relationship and dealings with North Korea.  So we are encouraging Naypyidaw to take steps toward political reform, to bring more openness and transparency.  We believe that the Burmese people share the same universal values that all people are entitled to, and therefore we want to see the encouraging signs continue and strengthen a transition to a broader political dialogue and eventually the kind of democratic and open society that we think would benefit the people of Burma.

MODERATOR:  Last question, Daniel Ryntjes, Feature Story News.

QUESTION:  Thank you, Madam Secretary.  I wanted to ask a kind of strategic question.  And the theory is that your situation is, in terms of the negotiations here at APEC, is somewhat constrained by the fact that, in the next year or so, there are going to be a lot of political transitions of power, a lot of elections – the United States, of course – and that is a constraining factor, and that’s why we can’t go towards the sort of ambitious targets that maybe were envisaged, say, six to 12 months ago.  Could you speak to that?

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Well, I think I would take issue with that characterization.  Our discussions focused on three key issues: growth and jobs, regulatory reform and competitiveness, energy efficiency and energy security, along with disaster resilience, open accountable government.  We think these are evergreen issues.  They are not issues that are here today and gone tomorrow.  They are issues that require consistent, persistent, patient work.  So we are exploring new ways to enhance trade.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we’ve been working on very diligently, is, we think, moving quite well in the right direction.  We are looking to encourage the lowering and elimination of barriers to trade and investment, both at the borders and behind borders, and we are continuing to make progress there.  We’re improving regulatory quality and transparency.  And we think that if you look at the steady progress that has been made on these issues, there’s a great story to tell.

At the same time, we’re trying to promote environmentally sustainable growth, green industries, new opportunities to secure energy efficiency and energy security.  And that, too, is an ongoing commitment.

So I think that – I made a comparison yesterday which I really believe is apt.  And that is, if you look at how much time and effort was required to first create and then institutionalize the transatlantic alliance, all of the institutions that really make up the strong bonds between North America and Europe, we are promoting the same kind of long-term project here.  That’s what I mean about a pivot to the Asia Pacific.  And when you look back and think about the countless meetings, the endless discussion, the never-ending kinds of negotiations that took place over many years to establish the transatlantic architecture, we expect the same on the trans-Pacific architecture.  So I think we’re making progress, and it is a long-term commitment that will certainly last far beyond any of our times in office.

Thank you.

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much.

Secret Service and Presidents… Lunch With the APEC World Leaders

Wow… I was one of just a few folks allowed into a secret room today where the World’s APEC Leaders had lunch this afternoon and I was granted privilege to take pictures of them during their lunch.

The purpose of the luncheon was to welcome the two newest countries presidents to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Peru’s President Ollanta Humala Tasso and Vietnam’s President Truong Tan Sang.

Special Message From Governor Abercrombie Presented to APEC Distinguished Guests and Visitors

On behalf of the State of Hawai‘i, I would like to extend my aloha to the leaders, ministers, CEOs, distinguished guests and visitors from the member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

Hawai‘i is world-renowned for our natural beauty and warm hospitality. We would like to take this opportunity to show you that Hawai‘i has so much more to offer to the world.

In Hawai‘i, a spirit of discovery and entrepreneurship has led to excellence in many industries including the fields of clean and renewable energy; sky, ocean and earth sciences; life and health sciences; and the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions market.

As you read the stories featured in this special edition of Hawai‘i Business magazine, you will appreciate Hawai‘i as a place for emerging technology and international business and investment.

Our community feels privileged to have been selected to host APEC 2011, and we look forward to sharing our islands, our hospitality and our aloha spirit.

Neil Abercrombie, Governor State of Hawaii

Life Size Teddy Bears on Exhibit to Honor APEC Delegates – Teddy Bear World Anniversary Party

While most of the stories about APEC are focusing on security, preparation and economic development, Teddy Bear World has created an exhibit that embodies a lighter side of APEC. Teddy Bear World has created ten (10) life-size bears to honor the delegates of APEC Hawaii 2011.

These amazing bears will be unveiled on Wednesday, November 3, 2011 at the Teddy Bear 1 Year Anniversary Party. This exhibit will be open to the public the next day. It’s a great story about how Hawaii companies are celebrating APEC in unique ways.

WHEN: Wednesday, November 2, 2011 –  5:30 – 7:30 PM

WHERE: Teddy Bear World.  2155 Kalakaua Ave. (Parking at Bank of Hawaii building off Beachwalk)

WHAT: Teddy Bear World 1 Year Anniversary Party. Ten (10) life-size teddy bears inspired by ten APEC delegates will be unveiled at the event to celebrate the upcoming global conference. Learn more about this international organization and tour this one-of-a-kind museum in the heart of Waikiki. Hosted cocktails and pupus.

APEC 2011 Host Committee Releases Current List of Speakers, Panelists and Select Attendees

The APEC 2011 USA Host Committee today released the current list of expected speakers and panelists and select attendees at the APEC 2011 CEO Summit, taking place November 10-12 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference will host 1,500 expected attendees with over 100 high-profile participants including 11 government leaders, 62 private sector Chairmen and CEOs and many other influential leaders from the Asia-Pacific region.APEC 2011“The roster of participants at this year’s APEC CEO Summit really exemplifies how the Summit is unlike any other event in the world, allowing senior business executives to engage with world leaders to have an immediate impact on economic policy decisions,” said Monica Whaley, President, APEC 2011 USA Host Committee Organization. “These discussions move markets. The APEC CEO Summit is essentially the board meeting of the Asia-Pacific.”

The APEC CEO Summit will take place in conjunction with APEC USA 2011 Leaders Week. Government leaders from the 21 APEC economies expected to participate in the summit include President Barack Obama of the United States, President Hu Jintao of China, President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore, President Felipe Calderón of Mexico, President Sebastián Piñera of Chile, Chief Executive Donald Tsang of Hong Kong SAR, President Benigno Aquino of The Philippines, and President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam.

The multi-day Summit will feature a variety of special sessions looking at trade and economic policy perspectives on the future of this critically-important region. Built around the conference theme: “The Future: Redefined.,” delegates will gain significant insights into important trends and issues across the Asia-Pacific region including innovation, healthcare, energy, food security, and women and the economy and trade.

Among the speakers and business community leaders from the Asia-Pacific confirmed to date:

  • Richard C. Adkerson – President and CEO, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (USA)
  • Shai Agassi – Founder and CEO, Better Place (USA)
  • Gautam Banerjee – Executive Chairman, PwC (Singapore)
  • Dr. Delos M. Cosgrove – President and CEO, The Cleveland Clinic (USA)
  • Roger A. Crook – CEO, DHL Global Forwarding, Freight (Germany)
  • Michael L. Ducker – COO, EVP and President, International, FedEx Express (USA)
  • Ning Gaoning – Chairman, COFCO Limited (China)
  • Deborah A. Henretta – ABAC Chair and Group President, Asia, Procter & Gamble (USA)
  • William V. Hickey – President and CEO, Sealed Air Corporation (USA)
  • Eduardo Hochschild – Executive Chairman, Hochschild Mining (Peru)
  • Tom Jenkins – Executive Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer, Open Text Corporation (Canada)
  • Andrey L. Kostin – Chairman and President, JSC VTB Bank (Russia)
  • Bon-Joon Koo – Vice Chairman & CEO, LG Electronics (South Korea)
  • John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D – Chairman, President and CEO, Eli Lilly and Company (USA)
  • Richard Li – Chairman and Chief Executive, Pacific Century Group Limited (Hong Kong)
  • Dr. Zhang Liju, Chairman – VODone Group Limited (China)
  • W. James McNerney, Jr. – Chairman, President and CEO, The Boeing Company (USA)
  • Alexey Miller – Chairman of the Management Committee, Gazprom (Russia)
  • Luis Alberto Moreno – President, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Craig Mundie – Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation (USA)
  • Dennis M. Nally – Chairman, PwC International (USA)
  • Douglas R. Oberhelman – Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc. (USA)
  • Scott Price – President and CEO, Walmart Asia (USA)
  • John G. Rice – Vice Chairman, General Electric (USA)
  • Jin Roy Ryu – Chairman and CEO, Poongsan Corporation (South Korea)
  • Cher Wang – Chairperson and Co-founder, HTC Corp. (Chinese Taipei)
  • William C. Weldon – Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson (USA)
  • Keith E. Williams – President, CEO and Trustee, Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (USA)
  • Hiromasa Yonekura – Chairman, Sumitomo Chemical Co. Ltd.; Chairman, Keidanren (Japan)

For more information, visit www.APEC2011ceosummit.com. Also follow updates on the APEC 2011 CEO Summit in real-time on Facebook and via @APEC2011USA on Twitter.

Registration Information:

Please register quickly to secure participation in the APEC 2011 CEO Summit. Space is limited.

The APEC 2011 USA Host Committee’s (www.apec2011usa.org) mission is to advance the US business agenda in the Asia-Pacific region by creating high quality opportunities for private sector engagement during the US hosting of APEC 2011. Host Committee company members include: Aflac, Better Place, The Boeing Company, Cargill, Caterpillar Inc., Chevron, The Dow Chemical Company, Eli Lilly, FedEx Express, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, General Electric, Google Inc., I.M. Systems Group, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan, Microsoft, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), PwC, Procter & Gamble, Sealed Air Corporation, TicketRiver.com, Underwriters Laboratories, Visa and Walmart.

Lawmakers Told by Governor’s & Mayor’s Office that Roundup of Homeless Will Not Occur Prior to the APEC Summit

Media Release:

The House Human Services chair, Rep. John Mizuno, announced today that the state and county (Honolulu) will not seek a “sweep” or “roundup” of the homeless in Waikiki prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in November 2011.

REPS. BROWER, MANAHAN, CABANILLA, MIZUNO, AWANA, AND COFFMAN AT THE LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING WITH MARC ALEXANDER - THE STATE HOMELESS COORDINATOR & BRIDGET PALMER HOLTHUS OF THE HONOLULU DEPT. OF COMMUNITY SERVICES.

REPS. BROWER, MANAHAN, CABANILLA, MIZUNO, AWANA, AND COFFMAN AT THE LEGISLATIVE BRIEFING WITH MARC ALEXANDER - THE STATE HOMELESS COORDINATOR & BRIDGET PALMER HOLTHUS OF THE HONOLULU DEPT. OF COMMUNITY SERVICES.

In November, Waikiki will be the center stage for the APEC Summit, before 21 APEC nations and 2,500 journalists.  In an effort to avoid a possible sweep or roundup of homeless in preparation for APEC, the House Committees on Housing and Human Services held a legislative briefing today seeking to secure a plan for a safe zone for the homeless.

During the briefing, Mufi Hannemann (former Mayor of Honolulu), representing the Hotel & Lodging Association, concurred with lawmakers that a “sweep” of homeless in the Waikiki area prior to APEC would look bad for Hawaii.  Mr. Hannemann also pledged support by the hotel association to lawmakers and stakeholders in finding both a short-term and long-term solution to reducing homelessness.

LAWMAKERS TOLD BY GOVERNOR'S & MAYOR'S OFFICE THAT ROUNDUP OF HOMELESS WILL NOT OCCUR PRIOR TO THE APEC SUMMIT

LAWMAKERS TOLD BY GOVERNOR'S & MAYOR'S OFFICE THAT ROUNDUP OF HOMELESS WILL NOT OCCUR PRIOR TO THE APEC SUMMIT

At the briefing, Rep. Mizuno read the email from Chad Buck, the Owner and CEO of the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance and the biggest individual donor (over 400,000 lbs.) of food to the Hawaii Food Bank:  “I support this effort to provide a safe zone for our homeless citizens in need and applaud the efforts by Representative Mizuno to reach out to coordinate the efforts from government, non-profits and the business community. As a business owner and resident, I recognize that the homeless issues that we face will only be solved when we stop relying on just the government. If businesses, non-profits, faith based initiatives and government agencies all join hands, the solutions will come both for the short and long term.”

At the briefing, Marc Alexander, State Homeless Coordinator & Bridget Palmer Holthus, Deputy Director of the Honolulu Department of Community Services, both confirmed their focus in reducing homelessness was on 1)  Affordable Housing, 2) Permanent Housing Solutions for homeless, and 3) Job Development.

“Today was extremely important, because we obtained a commitment from the Governor’s Office and Mayor’s Office that no “sweep” or “roundup” of the homeless in Waikiki will occur prior to or during APEC, said Rep. Mizuno. “Moreover, we confirmed support from the hotel industry and a major food distributor willing to help government in its efforts to reducing homelessness.  Today we gained concurrence with state, county, non-profits, private businesses, and faith based organizations willing to work together to better address homelessness.  A viable solution for our “safe zones” for homeless will be to expand our current homeless shelters, possibly in Kakaako and Kalaeloa, to accept some of the estimated 200 homeless in Waikiki.  These shelters provide homeless with a secured facility to sleep at night, showers, restrooms, meals, healthcare, and workforce development.”

“We have homeless with a mental illness and/or drug addiction who will refuse to go to a shelter and some are homeless by choice, so realistically we will always have a percentage of chronically homeless,” added Rep. Mizuno.  “Working together in a coordinated effort with all the stakeholders allows us greater ability to prove assistance to homeless who desire to transition back into the community.  We offer hope to those that seek it.”

Mayor Kenoi Speaks About the Big Islands Role in APEC 2011

Remarks by Hawaii County Mayor William P. Kenoi regarding the Big Islands Role in the upcoming Asian Pacific Economic Conference (APEC 2011)

[youtube=http://youtu.be/h13H7JTTqnA]