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As memories of APEC dim, railing returns to rail, debt

By David Shapiro

LAST UPDATED: 02:02 a.m. HST, Nov 21, 2011

The last gasp of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit starts us off as we "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

» President Barack Obama and local boosters declared APEC a rousing success, but many residents and tourists were put off by the sight of armed troops, Humvees and concrete barriers on the streets. We looked like the Geneva of the Pacific after a detour through Baghdad.

» Though the event came up short of the projected 20,000 delegates, 2,000 journalists and $123 million in economic stimulus, organizers promised long-term benefits. As usual, we have to wait for heaven for our reward.

» Gov. Neil Abercrombie said APEC established Hawaii as the "anchor of the Asia-Pacific region." Businesses shut out from customers felt like anchors only in the sense of getting thrown overboard.

» Mayor Peter Carlisle said his only criticism of APEC is that Secret Service agents frowned too much. He never did understand jobs that require actually paying attention.

» Slack-key artist Makana sang an Occupy-themed protest song for 45 minutes while Obama and other world leaders ate dinner, but said the president didn't seem to notice. That solves the old Zen riddle about the sound of one hand clapping.

» Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's photo op with the Hong Kong delegate was interrupted when a torchbearer wearing only a loincloth streaked behind her. She must be tired of getting upstaged by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

» Obama couldn't resist stopping traffic one last time by motorcading to his departing flight in the middle of the morning rush. He loves the power of being the cause of gridlock here instead of the casualty of it in Washington.

» In non-APEC news, a report said Hawaii's state government has the nation's fourth-highest debt at $26,693 per capita, compared with a national average of $13,754. And those who ran it up expect us to pay them a debt of gratitude at the polls.

» A majority of the City Council wants the city transit authority to delay Ansaldo Honolulu's $1.4 billion contract to build and operate rail cars until the Italian company fixes its financial woes. Some think the fix was in on this deal long ago.

» Economist Paul Brewbaker said the city's property tax exemptions are a "gobbledygooky hodgepodge with seemingly no rational pattern." He needs to be more specific; that could describe almost any city program.

And the quote of the week ... from Dennis Young of Hawaii Tents and Events on how APEC money will trickle down: "My guys are going home with some fat paychecks, while their wives are ticked because they've been working so hard. So momma's going to go out and buy some stuff to keep the family happy." From globalism to Bubba-nomics.

Reach David Shapiro at volcanicash@gmail.com or blog.volcanicash.net.

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allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 19,2011 | 06:46AM
cojef wrote:
Ditto, hope they don't come here again. ever. We got no respect, only insults, like shunning our Aloha shirts.
on November 19,2011 | 07:35AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Indonesia's fashion industry received a major boost when President Obama and the Asian heads of state all donned brightly colored, boldly designed local shirts for the traditional photo opportunity.

Mr. Obama was quoted as saying, "Now this is what I call a dignified shirt. Not frivolous. Shows serious intent. Not like those silly aloha shirts they wanted us to where in Asia-Hawaii"

on November 19,2011 | 07:36AM
kennysmith wrote:
it did not help the U.S.A with this APEC at all. it just only try to help other countrys and just maybe it cound help the usa.?
on November 19,2011 | 07:58AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Dave, to me the funniest APEC story is the one carried in today's Civil Beat that said HPD did not make any prostitute arrests during the APEC meeting. Imagine - local residents were barred from the area by everything short of tanks and bazookas but those very trustworthy ladies of the evening were given free rein to stimulate the...uh...economy with the delegates. Makes you want to reach in your pocket and pull out your Titcomb.
on November 19,2011 | 08:20AM
pakeheat wrote:
Excellent commentary David Shapiro! Right on
on November 19,2011 | 08:40AM
DonGa-me wrote:
Editorials reflect the opinions of the publisher.
on November 19,2011 | 09:35AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Can't get over the aloha shirt snub by our own local boy president. His excuse was a weak one. Obviously, he's ashamed of our culture. And, I don't buy into the media polls saying most people agreed with his choice of business suits over aloha shirts. Aloha shirts are worn by business people on a daily basis in Hawaii. I know it seems to be a minor point but it still grates me that a local boy would do this.
on November 19,2011 | 10:14AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Not a local boy. There's your answer.
on November 19,2011 | 10:17AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Gotta admit, those APEC folks looked funny in the silly suits. They thought they were in NYC or DC and that is what was expected of them. LOL. What a farce. Maybe if the `Iolani Palace had been open, or if canoes were allowed on the nearby Ala Wai, or surfers on the waves at Waikiki, they would have realized they were in Hawai`i. It was mishandled, but at least its over and it only cost us (and some businesses and employees) a few million dollars?
on November 24,2011 | 10:11AM
dashadow wrote:
I guess you did not hear what President Obama said that this APEC was all business. Funny when I see a tourist wearing matching Aloha Shirt and pants and his wife wearing a matching Aloha Dress.
on November 25,2011 | 04:33PM
dashadow wrote:
"American Politicians Entice China". China is playing a game with America. Once insulted and being called "The Sick Man of the East", China is doing the same thing Japan has done before and doing it better till. Japan was doing well in production of products "Made in Japan" till they found labor expensive and needed to imports parts from foreign countries. Many products said to be "Made in Japan" are made in the Philippines or other cheap labor countries. China has cheap labor and the yuan is strong. American ideas only "Made in China" products. China will eventually cut off the middle person and make the product and sell it on their own name. Nike and other companies that use China are exempt from paying taxes in their "offshore account". America needs to find a loophole to be able to tax these companies. China will fail if they become unionized or pay higher wages. Little do people know that computers and other smart phones "Made in China" have micro bugs in them that look like micro chips. China has ears in America and countries that buy products, "Made in China"
on November 25,2011 | 10:36AM
captkam wrote:
Lets call it: RAILCINO Too rail or not to rail. That is the Question! Too have a casino or not to have a casino. That too is the Question! All this bickering between all the heads of state. COMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will elect myself as Supreme Leader of the State of Hawaii for one glorious day!. OK. You guys who want the Rail!!! Go ahead! Bankrupt every Hawaii citizen! Your vote is like God and you cant even admit it, when making decisions! Same goes with Gambling!! Gee Whiz! Over 30 plus years and youre still throwing bull over to the other side and back!!! You guys are STUCK in neutral and dont know where to go! Forward or Reverse! You call yourselves leaders! HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 Since I am Supreme Leader. Heres my thought on both issues! Again, go ahead and have the rail. So what if you underestimated the cost and growing!.. Heck, by the time its finally completed, it will cost 10 plus Billion. Maybe more, Right! COMN!!!!!!!!!!1 So the rail is finally built and NOBODY comes to make it a profit! Wholly Molly!!! What to do! So when this happens, my Plan B takes into effect. The rail turns into a CASINO!!!!!!!!!!!! HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM, a casino on rails!!!! The 10th Island!! Charge for fees which by the way will be when they enter and then depart OUR CASINO! Glorious views, parties, gaming for 20 miles and then back. Being gamblers, they would most definitely stay on board for several hours. Think what you can get out of it from rider fees alone! Ahhhhh. gaming revenues, the views, entertainment, etc. Who could ask for more! Well there it is!!! Take it but dont leave it! Dont ponder over it on both issues like youre doing right now! The state would rather bankrupt every Hawaii citizen by the Rail and Gaming! I would still visit our beautiful Ninth Island as a getaway place, not only to gamble but to leave our state to see the real world in the Mainland. Lets see! They charge 50 cents for license plates. For verterens, car registration is a whopping $35.00! This is not a TYPO! I dont know if it applies to everybody else. NO state income tax! Taxes on other certain items might be on food etc. Sure theres Pros and Cons, BUT being conned by this state is far to much for me and a lot of others. COMN!!!! Do the state see the light!!! NOl, Cuz, they forgot the batteries to their brains! I could go on and on, BUT, thats it in a nutshell! I will call this on order! Enough is Enought. Welcome our new venture: RAILCINO! HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM! Nice NYSE ticket, NASDAQ etc. IPO would be great! Gather true investors, instead of being bought! Again this is an order! Once Said, it is Done!!!
on January 26,2012 | 09:26PM