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Sweeping security frustrates residents

The city tries to reassure people in Waikiki who must endure lost parking, closed venues and traffic

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 07:40 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011

As details about security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting begin to trickle out, local residents are discovering that delays, disruptions and displacements will accompany President Barack Obama, 20 other heads of state and thousands of attendees when they descend on Oahu next month.

The Nov. 7-13 event will close roads and snarl traffic, consume parking spaces and close access to public places, especially in Waikiki, where world leaders and their delegations will fill rooms in about 11 hotels. And it will disrupt access at key meeting sites like the Hale Koa Hotel and the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa, which will be shielded by 10-foot-high barricades.

Many Hawaii tourism, government and business leaders say the long-term benefits of APEC far outweigh any aggravations.

"Obviously, there's going to be times when it's going to be inconvenient for people, but the benefits are enormous and a few days of inconvenience is something that I think we've learned to live with on more than one occasion and this is the right occasion to be ready for it," Mayor Peter Carlisle said.

Some residents who will be most affected see it differently.

"APEC has brought us extreme high security with no information and lots of inconvenience. APEC will bring millions into our state so people are trying to overlook everything, all in the name of money," said Les Among, a Waikiki Neighborhood Board member.

One frequent complaint is that the lack of information has made it hard for those who live, work and gather in Waikiki to make plans.

APEC security has already forced the World Invitational Hula Festival to make a last-minute venue change to the Blaisdell Concert Hall from the Waikiki Shell, where it has a 20-year history of shows over the Veterans Day holiday.

"I was told that (APEC) wasn't going to use the Shell, so no problem. But now they are using all of the parking, so it's impossible," said Paulie Jennings, the hula festival's 81-year-old executive producer, who is scrambling to save her Nov. 10-12 event after learning about the change on Sept. 30.

"We thought APEC was going to be a good way to sell tickets," Jennings said. "We didn't know the State Department was going to take over Hawaii. If they didn't think that we all lived in grass houses, they would have let us know much sooner."

The U.S. Secret Service and the State Department might release official security plans for APEC as early as this week, including information on road closures and other inconveniences.

"We greatly want to reduce our footprint for the APEC summit, but with that being said, security is paramount," Max Milien, a Secret Service spokesman, said last week.

The agency, which is overseeing the National Special Security Event portion of the summit on Nov. 12 and 13, worked with the Honolulu Police Department and the U.S. Coast Guard to minimize disruptions, Milien said.

"Once the (security plan) release is put out, I would encourage people to absorb it and read it in its entirety," he said. "Some of the closures dictated by the NSSE portion will not be as long as people think that they are. You can plan around your day and still have a good weekend in Waikiki and Honolulu."

APEC's official security plan will be available soon through the media and on websites including www.honolulupd.org and www.honolulu.gov.

But preliminary information is already circulating.

HPD Maj. Clayton Kau, temporarily assigned to the APEC planning special unit, told Waikiki Neighborhood Board members last week that barriers will be placed at each of the major meeting locations, including the Hawai‘i Convention Center, Hale Koa and Ihilani. Barriers will be far enough from the venues to ensure attendees' safety in the event of a bomb blast, Kau said.

The Secret Service will coordinate security at the Hale Koa and Ihilani, where the leaders' events will take place. Barriers and 10-foot-high chain-link fences, covered with tarps, will be erected at these venues, he said.

The State Department will control security at the convention center, which will not host top delegation leaders, Kau said, but Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner might attend meetings there.

Traffic on Atkinson and Kalakaua will be rerouted, and part of the Ala Wai Promenade will be closed, Kau said. The area behind the convention center also will be closed, he said. Only people with proper credentials will be allowed to get close, he added.

HPD plans to install 34 additional security cameras in public places, mostly in Waikiki. "The cameras will be subject to live monitoring," Kau said.

Roadways will be closed when Presidents Obama, Hu Jintao of China and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia are moving, he said.

"We'll only have to close the roadways for these three leaders," Kau said. "The other 18 economic leaders will be required to move with the flow of traffic. We are asking them to obey all traffic laws when they are moving in their motorcades."

Waikiki Neighborhood Board member John Moore said he thinks transportation plans are shortsighted. "Did they consider helicopters for the longer caravans?" Moore said. "It's quicker, easier and saves man-hours."

Some Waikiki residents and workers also are concerned about parking during APEC, said Jim Poole, another board member.

Poole, who parks at the Hale Koa, said the facility's manager told him that there will be no parking there from Nov. 10 to 13 because of APEC. "He said the entire Fort DeRussy area will be locked down," Poole added.

Kau told Poole to advise those near the Hale Koa to give themselves plenty of travel time. "If it takes you 30 minutes, I recommend that you give it an hour and a half," he said.

Board member Among said he has fielded numerous calls from dissatisfied residents. "APEC is just going to be a mess," he said, adding that concerns have surfaced about harbor use, traffic, lack of parking and access to Waikiki.

Louise Kim McCoy, Carlisle's spokeswoman, said the city recognizes that some residents might be temporarily inconvenienced and asks for patience and cooperation during an event that will ultimately bring great benefits.

APEC is expected to bring between 15,000 and 20,000 attendees, including delegates, their friends and family members, staff, media and other government and business leaders. The event could pump an estimated $120 million into Hawaii's economy and has been touted as a one-time chance for the state to be on the world stage.

"Our guests are going to be enamored by Honolulu's physical beauty, enjoy the climate and its people who, hopefully, will be ambassadors of good will to help produce a successful global event," McCoy said.

Once the various federal agencies finalize and disclose their APEC plans, the city will inform Waikiki businesses, residents and visitors, to minimize potential disruptions, she said.

McCoy noted that the city absorbed the cost of the more expensive Blaisdell venue for the World Invitational Hula Festival after being notified that public parking at Kapiolani Park in front of the Shell would be used by multiple agencies during APEC. The city also is providing the services of the Royal Hawaiian Band for the event's opening day, and the use of the concert hall lawn to sell Hawaiian merchandise, she said.

But organizers of the festival said they still need help with transportation and access. "The Shell was walking distance from the hotel where our participants stay," said John Hays, the festival's international coordinator. "At this late date it might be hard to find transportation to Blaisdell. And even if we find it, getting in and out of Waikiki could be pretty hard."

Carlisle acknowledged traffic and transportation concerns and stressed that the city will keep the public as well informed as possible.

"Really, the most important thing for us is to let people know there's going to be people arriving, there's going to be closures on occasion and there's going to be a big trip from Waikiki out to West Oahu," he said, referring to the most high-profile meeting and the finale of the APEC summit scheduled for Nov. 13, a Sunday, at Ko Olina. "We want people to know that that's going to happen so that they can plan accordingly. If you're afraid of ‘car-mageddon,' then don't get in your car."


Star-Advertiser reporter B.J. Reyes contributed to this report.

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manakuke wrote:
Stimulation of Hawaii's economy? Sure sounds like more expensive hassle than it's worth.
on October 17,2011 | 03:34AM
Sunny wrote:
How ridculous is this? Just got this notice: AS A RESULT OF APEC, THE FORT STREET MALL OPEN MARKET WILL BE CLOSED FROM NOVEMBER 1 TO NOVEMBER 18, 2011. Fort St. Mall is miles from the Hawaii Convention Center....what next?
on October 17,2011 | 08:09AM
bikemom wrote:
Why so long?
on October 17,2011 | 12:33PM
1local wrote:
many will benefit from APEC. Many HPD will be earning unlimited OT.
on October 17,2011 | 12:01PM
lamwong wrote:
No doubt that this APEC event will inconvience many local people and its a gamble that it will stimulate positively on our tourism industry. But its a opportunity that will benefit Hawaii's economy in the long run if the people of Hawaii are willing to make the sacrafices to tolerate the inconviences and help to make the APEC event a sucess. Its just 2 weeks and the resulting benefits may last a lifetime.
on October 17,2011 | 04:00AM
bender wrote:
Yep, the public sacrifices and the hotel owners scoop the economic benefits.
on October 17,2011 | 05:38AM
silvangold wrote:
Ok. Can you please explain why and how "our economy-in-the-long-run will make a difference"? Honestly, I just don't get it. This island is pouring out so much money that government says WE DON'T HAVE. One thing, I visited Waikiki in May, damn - the sidewalks that they DIDN"T break up yet (at that time) Looked pretty damn good to me.........why did we have to buss up all the good stuff.....cuz we dont have the money for anyway.And I do think Obama should be protected for goodness sakes, but the $$$$$$$$$$$ that we don't have is ridiculous. it goes on and on and on. And our schools where our keiki spend most of their days in and around are a S A D sight........from middle school to hi school mostly..... our homeless are running rampant thru out the island keeping ahead of the chaser-outers....... but we don't have the $$$$ to help our our own island...... we have to spend the dollars we don't have to impress the people we don't know (personally anyway) .... wass wrong with this picture?
on October 17,2011 | 06:03AM
Kauikalewa wrote:
We should all leave from Nov. 7 to the 14th. That would do the state well if we all just left for the week. The economic impact might wake somebody up. Maybe they will realize we make a difference everyday not just when they have visitors to impress.
on October 17,2011 | 04:42AM
Sunny wrote:
The State should mandate all businesses close during the APEC conference, we can all stay home!
on October 17,2011 | 08:13AM
fishguy wrote:
Yup, already planned my vacation on that week. :)
on October 17,2011 | 09:27AM
Highinthesierras wrote:
Next time let's try East Molokai, and send that security force dressed in black.
on October 17,2011 | 05:01AM
frontman wrote:
Mr. Obummer, Please move this to your home town, Chicago.
on October 17,2011 | 05:16AM
busup1 wrote:
how about moving it to his birth town in Kenya!
on October 17,2011 | 11:05AM
Bdpapa wrote:
The APEC event is a nassle for the local community. However, the amount of dollars being spent, mostly by the federal government, pays for upgrades within our public safety community Fire, Police , Ambulance, to name a few. It also brings in a lot of retail sales and a lot of work. The local community working in Waikiki should see more overtime, tips etc. This is a Risk/Reward situation. This Risk is worth the Reward in the "long run".
on October 17,2011 | 05:26AM
nitrobreath wrote:
The Risk/Reward idea is interesting but nondescript. How many local people working in Waikiki will see the APEC conference in this light? Probably very few, especially in light of the fact that people who work in Waikiki during the APEC conference will need to allow an extra hour each day, for every travel destination, in order to get to and from their workplace due to the increased security checkpoints and redirected traffic patterns that will impede the normal flow of traffic and pedestrian access. And has their employer made sufficient accommodation for this effect? I would like to know how many employers are willing to be more lenient for employee tardiness to work due to increased traffic delays. I am thankful that my schedule allows me to avoid these areas completely during the APEC conference and may God have mercy on the frustrated souls that must endure the delays and emotions that will no doubt accompany this historic event.
on October 17,2011 | 09:40AM
Bdpapa wrote:
I worked in and out of Waikiki for 30 years and you would be surprised how sharp the working people are in the arena of getting around events. If I was still workingʻ I would love it with the opportunity to make some extra income. Most employers will make arrangements for their employees so as to maintain manpower and services provided.
on October 17,2011 | 10:35AM
kennysmith wrote:
i don't see any thing good out of this.
on October 17,2011 | 07:25AM
kainalu wrote:
...and some actually believe and trust "the city". lol
on October 17,2011 | 07:29AM
mcc wrote:
I thought the APEC participants were going to not have to pay excise tax?
on October 17,2011 | 07:51AM
KekoaBradshaw wrote:
Funny that nobody's saying anything yet about the demonstrations which will come. All of these APEC conferences in the past have been marked by violent street demonstrations. To a greater or lesser degree, they'll happen here too.
on October 17,2011 | 08:29AM
bikemom wrote:
Some of them get exemptions, not all.
on October 17,2011 | 12:36PM
kawika72 wrote:
Parking reserved for security purpose - I won't be surprised to see limos parked in these so called "reserved for security" areas. No parking for Hawaii residents so APEC dignitaries and family can leisurely park and enjoy our parks and beaches. Just another time when our government is not quite telling the whole truth. If anyone spots this happening, I hope you will expose it. Yes, this is just one of many inconveniences our island will have to experience. There is no detailed explanation of how APEC will benefit the individual taxpayer. We have already been informed that most of those dignitaries will NOT be paying taxes, so our general funds will NOT see the benefit. They possess Federal government issued cards that allows this. So, how does the general public benefit with APEC's visit?
on October 17,2011 | 08:05AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
For a six day visit by the 1%, Hawaii has thrown concern for its residents out the window.
on October 17,2011 | 08:06AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
These "security measures" are an indication of how much the government, your government, formerly of, by and for the people, trusts its former citizens, now subjects. Of all places in the world, Hawaii where the 'aloha spirit' is marketed as a mantra to the disgusting maximum, will now get a taste of the new Amerikan fascist government, they won't even let you leave without getting searched. So congratulations, you're selling your Aloha spirit for money, again, but this time at gunpoint.
on October 17,2011 | 08:06AM
bwaikiki wrote:
Another Obamination stimulus? No excise taxes paid out by participants and residents so inconvenienced only a full-blood Hawaiian will be able to come up with any aloha.
on October 17,2011 | 08:41AM
stanislous wrote:
We're sure going to a lot of trouble just for having a bunch of poor countrys to come here and beg for more foreign aid.
on October 17,2011 | 08:46AM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
Wait until they tell you the H1 HOV lanes will NOT be opened the mornings when the "dignitaries" will travel from Waikiki to Koolina to facilitate their travel west. Traffic will back up to Waiawa and Ewa Beach both those days.
on October 17,2011 | 08:51AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
Those people, not with Tourism will suffer and gain nothing from all of this but headaches from a bad hangover. Security is lax compared to other States. APEC will just show America how weak they are in business and economy.
on October 17,2011 | 08:57AM
peles_fire wrote:
I got caught in a couple of traffic standstills when VP Biden was in town some weeks back ago. Nightmarish! Why do the dignitaries have to travel the H-1 / Farrington to go to Honolulu or the Ihilani? There is a huge vacant field across from Disney as well as a large lawn expanse from the Ko Olina golf course just across the street from the Ihilani. Motorcade to the airport, Camp Smith, or Fort Shafter and helicopter to the Ihilani without traffic disruptions. There will always be a traffic problem given the local road net but at least it could be minimized.
on October 17,2011 | 08:57AM
cojef wrote:
Maybe he is afraid to ride in a copter. But if he did, no problems with the traffic.
on October 17,2011 | 11:34AM
Anonymous wrote:
The number 20,000 is used often to tout the benefits of the APEC meeting 20,000 is the total number of hotel rooms available, so Waikiki will have a full house. What is not mentioned is that Waikiki has been running at about 75% occupancy of late. The total gain for APEC is the difference between 75% and 100% occupancy. It begs the question Is the 25% increase (5,000 visitors) worth all the expense and inconvenience. I think not!
on October 17,2011 | 08:58AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
It's less than a MONTH away, has 15K-20K attendees, and yet the "the various federal agencies [have yet to] finalize and disclose their APEC plans"????? That is an UBER-WTF. Smells like Obuma's been here....
on October 17,2011 | 09:15AM
olos73 wrote:
All the residents should stay home the 2 weeks APEC is here. Let the 20,000 anticipated visitors spend all their money and make up the difference of our spending at stores, restaurants, etc. Only the State is making money, not the residents unless you own a business. And, the money the State makes will be wasted by the politicians. We won't see any improvements for anything. We'll still pay higher taxes. This meeting only screwed up many things, like moving the Hula Festival from the Waikiki Shell to Blaisdell. I also saw on the news that the wrestling season had to be cancelled for young kids from Wahiawa. If this APEC meeting had a positive results for ALL the people of Hawaii, I would be all for it, but it's not. Only SOME will benefit. Most of us will be inconvenienced. We can't ride small aircrafts, I'm waiting for them to say you can't hangglide too; can't go to certain beaches; can't go on ocean tours; restrictions at harbors where people live; can't park in a lot of areas (we don't have enough parking as it is); roads and streets will be blocked off for traffic (enough snarled traffic); H1 closed when they travel to/from Ko Olina. Oahu residents should go to outer islands for a couple of days and get away from all this madness.
on October 17,2011 | 09:20AM
Tahitigirl55 wrote:
What will happen to the cemetary on Veteran's Day? Did anyone ever think about that. I went to Waikiki this past weekend and what a shame. Our homeless problem is an embarrassment to our State. Give all of them a one way ticket back to where they come from. They are sleeping on the sidewalks down Kalakaua Ave. I say not (1) local person. We should get birth certificates of these people or get their resident state to come and claim their people. Does our State care - NO. The now decide to bring this APEC and then close our road. We are only a small state travel distanced from Waianae to Waikiki about ? miles. We don't have the state to state travel distance. What is wrong with the City who thinks this is a good idea@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ Think of money - what a joke. How about the money that will cost us and the money that is lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. What a shame. But look who is running our State @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@. Like Brada Iza song - if they could only see it now. We need help. Get together Hawaii and do something. Help our own and get rid of the rest - dead beats that cost us money.
on October 17,2011 | 09:27AM
olos73 wrote:
Good point about Veteran's Day. I don't think officials thought about all the people that would go to all the different cemetaries. If any of these APEC people such as President Obama will attend a ceremony at Punchbowl, that's it. They'll probably shut down the place and let only INVITED people in. That would be such a shame. Residents lives will be screwed while they're here. Lucky I'm retired and can stay home away from all the madness.
on October 17,2011 | 07:04PM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
For SA, I am not anonymous! ------------------------- I submitted this comment______________________________________ The number 20,000 is used often to tout the benefits of the APEC meeting. 20,000 is the total number of hotel rooms available, so Waikiki will have a full house. What is not mentioned is that Waikiki has been running at about 75% occupancy of late. The total gain for APEC is the difference between 75% and 100% occupancy. It begs the question Is the 25% increase (5,000 visitors) worth all the expense and inconvenience. I think not!
on October 17,2011 | 09:35AM
Ronin006 wrote:
When the dust settles after APEC, we will learn that APEC was an economic disaster for Hawaii, especially Oahu. Despite all the hype from government and tourism officials about the millions of dollars APEC is expected to generate, it will not offset the $100M plus the city and state is spending for security and other APEC-related expenses. Will APEC be a boom for tourism? That is not likely. Take a look at the list of the 21 member nations and you will see that Hawaii already is well promoted in some of them by HTA and we are not likely to get many tourists from others like Peru, Chile, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Brunei, Indonesia, Russia and Vietnam. Will it be a boom for trade between Hawaii and APEC nations? Not likely because Hawaii has little to offer except tourism. And let us not forget that although the APEC meeting is being held in Hawaii, it is being hosted by the United States to promote economic growth for the United States and not just for Hawaii.
on October 17,2011 | 10:09AM
nitrobreath wrote:
It's all about the amount of money that will be funding Obama's campaign warchest....his will top $1 Billion before the next election and it will allow the financial backers of the "occupy Honolulu" demonstrators (aka occupy Wall Street) to push their agenda into the public spotlight. Obama and his socialist masters will benefit from this comedic charade and may even bilk more unsuspecting voters out of higher amounts of campaign contributions.
on October 17,2011 | 08:03PM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 17,2011 | 10:16AM
nitrobreath wrote:
Yeah, cameras are good....only when somebody is monitoring them and then dispatching the cops where they need to be. What happens when budget cuts force the cameras "off" or lay off the guys watching the monitors? Then they are useless. Better to have the guys patrolling the streets, like the freeway underpasses to prevent the homeless from setting up their squatter's nest in the first place. Good Luck.
on October 17,2011 | 08:10PM
SmedleyFerndock wrote:
SA, I am not ANONYMOUS. ---------------------- I posted the following comment-------------------------------------------------------------- The number 20,000 is used often to tout the benefits of the APEC meeting 20,000 is the total number of hotel rooms available, so Waikiki will have a full house. What is not mentioned is that Waikiki has been running at about 75% occupancy of late. The total gain for APEC is the difference between 75% and 100% occupancy. It begs the question Is the 25% increase (5,000 visitors) worth all the expense and inconvenience. I think not!
on October 17,2011 | 10:40AM
Anonymous wrote:
If the powers at be truly wanted to minimize the impact of the APEC to those living here on Oahu why didn't they just avoid using the roads altogether and take helicopters? I mean with all the money they are spending they could have bought a fleet of helicopters. No need make traffic jams for unecessary motorcades. Make sense?
on October 17,2011 | 11:08AM
cojef wrote:
You got it right!.. Problem is not enough copters and some dignitaries might feel slighted if they could get copter and someone else did. Bring in the military and let the dignitaries sit in buckets seats and understand how fighting forces travel. Good idea?
on October 17,2011 | 11:38AM
manakuke wrote:
Not a good idea unless you want an aerial shooting gallery. Too many unaccounted for shoulder fired SAMS (Surface to Air Missiles) out there.
on October 17,2011 | 12:55PM
Dragonman wrote:
Now you know what OWC is all about. Big Business will benefit from this gathering and the middle class will suffer and yes the delegates do not pay excise taxes on any purchases they will be making in Hawaii, the people that can most affort it get the tax breaks. Its all about Big Business. Bail out the Banks and sell out the people is what OWS protesters are chanting, do you all understand the chant now ?
on October 17,2011 | 01:03PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Foreign dignitaries hardly ever pay the GET. So that is a moot point. The main thing is the normal worker can make some money!
on October 17,2011 | 01:24PM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 17,2011 | 01:28PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Bott0m line the local workers make extra bucks!
on October 17,2011 | 07:47PM
nitrobreath wrote:
Yeah, I understand that Obama received $750 Billion in campaign contributions from his socialist masters in the last election and they are the same guys funding the OWS protestors. How else can a group of people not work and sit around for two weeks and sing slogans,etc? These Big Brother Corporate types are very well funded and could easily purchase thousands of airplane tickets to get their communist protestors (OWS) types flying in over here. Just wait, our homeless population is about to grow by leaps and bounds because our climate is so temperate and the weather all over the rest of the world is turning extremely cold right now! The OWS group will fly over, protest, and then never leave Hawaii.
on October 17,2011 | 08:19PM
my2cents4u wrote:
The C&C should waive bus fares during the APEC summit. This would help alleviate traffic congestion.
on October 17,2011 | 01:33PM
kennysmith wrote:
to this person you sure got the right idea on this, if the buss can go where the people can't go. they should do this 100% as long as this APEC is in honolulu hi for the week they are there.
on October 17,2011 | 03:46PM
braddah wrote:
This whole thing is BS!!! Fixing up Nimitz and all that stuff! Lame Lame Lame.....
on October 17,2011 | 06:18PM
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