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Grumblers have a point when it comes to APEC

By Cynthia Oi


Oh, that Peter Carlisle. You can trust that the former city prosecutor who is now mayor would be his forthright self when remarking on public complaints about hassles anticipated because of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation sessions here.

“Even though we live in Hawaii, where the sun is shining and it’s beautiful, there are some people who grumble every day,” Carlisle told The Associated Press.

True that, but in this case, public concerns are understandable, in part because routines will be disrupted and typical traffic problems further aggravated.

Add to that the tickle of fear aroused by the no-drive, no-sail, no-swim, no-fly, no-walk, no-park, show-me-your-papers security measures and the uneasy feeling that something bad could happen because of the presence of lots of really important people.

What makes embracing APEC more difficult, however, is the intangible nature of the benefits the event is expected to bring.

The official line is that APEC inconveniences will be offset by short- and long-term rewards, most immediate among them the estimated $120 million the 20,000 conference-related travelers will “pump” into the island economy.

Hotels, retailers, restaurants and other businesses that make money off tourists certainly will profit, and though such gains are supposed to trickle down to the regular people, they will be indistinguishable in the usual paychecks.

The $137 million in government and private funds spent on tidying up Nimitz Highway, a few segments of Waikiki and other locales aren’t exclusively for the APEC types. Palm trees, grass and new shrubs along the drive to the airport will look lovely for local people as well. Still, residents can’t be blamed for feeling a bit like chopped liver because remodeling was put on the agenda or fast-tracked for APEC.

The primary APEC goal, the state’s political and economic big boys say, is to present Hawaii as a serious place to do business; in Carlisle’s words the “Geneva of the Pacific.”

This objective has eluded the islands for as long as it has been a state, largely because the natural beauty of Hawaii has been its overwhelming appeal and because of the unshakeable notion that a pretty place cannot be a professional, pragmatic one.

The Asia-Pacific crossroads concept has become an even harder sell as virtual conferencing, Internet links and other technologies eclipse strategic geography.

Except for volunteers, not many regular people will get to experience APEC. Few meetings and events are open to the public, and those that are require fees in the hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Above all, security rules will separate people and APEC participants.

No doubt APEC participants will be exposed to island customs, lifestyles and traditions, but in small, prepackaged, controlled snippets. Spontaneous interaction will likely be minimal.

Too bad. The biggest selling point for Hawaii remains its welcoming culture and its inhabitants. For sure, there are those who complain every day, but for every one of them, there are people who share their appreciation of Hawaii every day.


Cynthia Oi can be reached at coi@staradvertiser.com.

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bender wrote:
No wonder we're broke. We spend $137 million to bring in $120 million. Aside from that, we do not need to be the "Geneva of the Pacific" as the Mayor opines. We are an island with finite resources, and those resoures should be preserved. Becoming "Geneva" means more pavement to this reader.
on November 3,2011 | 06:10AM
bender wrote:
One other thing. I'll probably grumble a lot less once Carlisle is gone.
on November 3,2011 | 06:11AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
I'm in the bender camp. Peter has got to go.
on November 3,2011 | 07:01AM
bender wrote:
One other thing. I'll probably grumble a lot less once Carlisle is gone.
on November 3,2011 | 06:11AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
I would be happy if we were the "Geneva" and be neutral in all Wars. APEC will show that "Business is War". Businesses die and those who work for these businesses.
on November 3,2011 | 11:01AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
I would be happy if we were the "Geneva" and be neutral in all Wars. APEC will show that "Business is War". Businesses die and those who work for these businesses.
on November 3,2011 | 11:01AM
Kuniarr wrote:
Really? That's why you submit your comment twice, LS?
on November 7,2011 | 03:00PM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 3,2011 | 07:46AM
Kuihao wrote:
Geez, Louise, "an unserious, somewhat whimsically inept, plantation town?" Seriously?
on November 3,2011 | 08:43AM
Kapakahi wrote:
The location of APEC gatherings rotate, so it is unlikely the US will host another APEC event for a long time. But there is a need for these high-level gatherings of world leaders to come together and negotiate over the division of the world's wealth, develop personal relationships and network business deals. And Hawaii is well-suited for such events, due to the difficulty for large number of disgruntled people to come and deliver their disagreement with rule by these kleptocrats.
on November 3,2011 | 09:28AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Hello Honolulu Citizens! Let me help you understand this conference with 5 FAQs:... .....1) What is APEC? Why, it's a bunch of rich, old, fat, guy bankers sitting in meetings, drinking mai tais and deciding how to divvy up most of the world's resources. Nothing for you to see hear. .....2) How does it help us? Well, we get to spend $137 million hard cash to make $120 million of fuzzy math spending dollars. By the way, these guys' purchases are mostly tax exempt. ......3) Will there be lasting effects? Absolutely - lots of dead palm trees and a surge in new graffiti. ......4) Why do our leaders love APEC? It gives our small town guys a fat chubby to get photos taken with world leaders. Makes them feel all kine important. Remember Mufi waving to Obama?....look at me!...look at me! .....5) Where are the areas approved for legal protest? There is a rumor of one near Keehi Lagoon behind the jet fuel tanks but this has not been confirmed.
on November 3,2011 | 08:46AM
HoldEverything wrote:
One more thing you can count on. The Star-Advertiser will stop running this type of story so as not to offer space for these type of comments from Nov. 7 through 13th, and will focus instead on positive articles about APEC and its participants.
on November 3,2011 | 08:48AM
kennysmith wrote:
i want to see this to for them to stop puting APEC on the news paper on both internet and the news paper to.
on November 3,2011 | 09:05AM
kennysmith wrote:
i want to see this to for them to stop puting APEC on the news paper on both internet and the news paper to.
on November 3,2011 | 09:05AM
Kapakahi wrote:

The "Geneva of the Pacific" talking point is complete nonsense. Hawaii was chosen for APEc because it was the United State's turn to host the event and if it were held on the mainland, thousands of people would have converged on it, probably blocking the streets out of anger over the "Free Trade" policies APEC, the WTO and other corporate plans which are sucking the wealth--and political control--out of us.

It is because we are the "most isolated place in the world," so far removed from any continent, that we were chosen. People will NOT fly here to protest. The few opponents of APEC who are flying in are mostly academic experts in the global economy, speaking at educational forums to use this occasion to explain why APEC and "free trade" are SCAMS against the people of Hawaii, Asia-Pacific and the world.

Our political and economic leaders--the folks who REALLY run this place-- are eager to suck up to the Super-Rich elite in hopes it will help their careers, increase THEIR wealth. They don't care enough about the inconvenience and COST APEC will have on the rest of us.

When the Democrats in Hawaii took over in the 50s, they advocated a "Democratic Revolution" on behalf of the vast majority of Hawaii's working people who were excluded and dominated by the Big Five, haole oligarchy. Times change, the economy has changed. Today's top Democrats have dropped any pretense of ven understanding the problems working people face. They are too busy--and too eager-- to cozy up to the new elite, whether through APEC cocktail parties or through tax breaks for millionaires.


signed, "DIsgusted Democrat"

on November 3,2011 | 09:15AM
Kapakahi wrote:

Where are the "Tea Party" types in all this? I thought they wanted to defend American sovereignty from the banks and international treaties? APEC, WTO and other such groups are the ultimate expression of the theft of American sovereignty. The citizens of the US (and other countries) cannot pass laws which are inconsistent with the deals reached at these gatherings, which are inconsistent with multi-national, corporate domination.

But the "Tea Party" is totally controlled by corporate interests and has been diverted into supporting the corporate agenda, protecting the investment banks. Watch how Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other stooge-leaders insult the "Occupy" activists rather than try to seek common ground with them.

I guess its like Rick Perry, who prefers to stoke passion over Obama's birth certificate because "its a good issue" for attacking him and having fun. Let's see some tr-cornered hats and "Don't Tread on Me" flags out protesting APEC, huh? Or, just stay at home watching Fox News 24/7, listening to rightwing talk radio and stew in your juices.

on November 3,2011 | 09:37AM
Anonymous wrote:
"Geneva of the Pacific"??? Give me a break! As pointed out in Cynthia Oi's article: "The Asia-Pacific crossroads concept has become an even harder sell as virtual conferencing, Internet links and other technologies eclipse strategic geography." This is the 21st Century. Even commercial goods largely bypass Hawaii. All of the high value trade goods fly direct between Asia and Japan and the Northwest US and Europe. Think electronics and components going to the US and Europe and seafood, fruit, fine wine and luxury goods going to Asia. None of this even comes close to Hawaii. I love living here - family roots and all - but Hawaii has been made irrelevant by near instantaneous electronic communications and high speed air travel. YMMV
on November 3,2011 | 10:27AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Another excellent commentary, Ms. Oi, When you mentioned that "palm trees, grass, and new shrubs along the dirve to the airport will look locely for local people as well." I'm a lofe-long resident of Oahu who drives Nimitz Highway often. Every five years or so, the government puts new plantings along Nimitz Highway to beautify the drive to Waikiki for visitors (which makes sense). The only problem is that once the platings are put in, they're NEVER cared for, so they die. Then, bigs bucks ($$$$$) are spent again or landscape design, new plantings, and installation---and the process repeats itself. More wasted money.
on November 3,2011 | 10:29AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
Millions of dollars were used to bring Waikiki back to showroom quality and it is not over yet concerning the high cost of repairs and other expenses. After APEC I would not be surprised if there are more layoffs since State has no money PERIOD. I do not see anyone who will benefit. America will just be shown by Asian business to be "The Sick Man of the West".
on November 3,2011 | 10:59AM
Nuschlerclark wrote:
I have no idea why ANYONE would choose Hawaii ever again for conventions. The people moan and grumble and complain. Fine! No more tourists ever again! Then there would always be parking places, beaches open, no problems! I am very tired of people bitching about everything. We have no idea how good we have it here! Living in Nevada last year in Reno, people were freezing to death in their homes. Highest unemployment rate in the USA..higher than Detroit. We are spoiled rotten keiki. It's disgusting. I've got an even better idea...give everything back to the indigenous people..oh wait! There are no indigenous people. EVERYONE came here by boat or plane.. EVERYONE. I am sick to death of people who scream I was here before you! So what? You don't want to be part of the USA or the world anymore? Stop all airlines from coming in. Stop all cruise ships. No more USA? No more NCAA football! Oh wait! No more welfare or food stamps. No more aid to Dependent children. No more jobs except growing taro plants! GROW UP! Appreciate what you have here! And Cynthia I never thought you would complain about a world class event coming to this third world place. Junk people..junk comments!
on November 3,2011 | 11:42AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
In other news, Swiss voters today approved a measure to have Geneva declared the Kaka'ako of Europe. Big boost to tourism is anticipated.
on November 3,2011 | 01:20PM
kennysmith wrote:
waikiki is not helping the people there. i just wish they are just trying to keep every thing cleard. they should let everyone to use all part of the walk way and the beach and other areas of waikiki. they live there and work there to.
on November 3,2011 | 02:53PM
gamouche wrote:
i'll be forthright myself: mr.carlisle can go f**k himself
on November 3,2011 | 03:31PM
Hank13 wrote:
APEC is a chance for politicians to "strut", make things beautiful, that should have been beautiful, if our politicians had been doing their job all these years, and clamp down on roads and activities that residents should be enjoying. 137mil for 120mil and MAYBE some added $$ because of APEC and not the exposure Hawaii already has. Good Luck! Oh and don't forget to raise our taxes so we can pay for the added expense. Obviously it's too late now, but don't let the door hit you on the way out and please go mess up someone elses state next time.
on November 11,2011 | 04:00AM
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