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How long will Honolulu's APEC-inspired face lift last?

By David Shapiro

LAST UPDATED: 04:49 p.m. HST, Nov 09, 2011

Local leaders tout the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings as a chance for Hawaii to build business relationships, attract regional investment, increase trade and spotlight our state as an innovator in renewable energy.

The visitor industry sees APEC as an opportunity for Hawaii to shed a reputation as a place for frivolous junkets and step up in class as a host of meetings where important work gets done.

We'll have to achieve at least some of these lofty goals for APEC to be worth the huge expense, diversion of scarce resources and considerable inconvenience to local residents.

And the measure of success will be more in the follow-through than how well we pull off the logistics this week.

In 1980 I covered the two national political conventions: the Republicans in Detroit and the Democrats in New York City.

The Republican National Convention, which nominated Ronald Reagan, was a big deal for Detroit in its effort to repair its riot-torn image and gain respect as a city on the rise.

The city got a major sprucing up, and committees were formed to spotlight local industries, culture and leisure attractions.

A tight security net was thrown over the city, with a police officer on virtually every corner so conventioneers could safely go wherever they pleased.

Sound familiar?

Well, a month later a friend who returned to Detroit for another story was mugged outside the hotel where he had stayed during the convention.

When I visited Detroit a decade later, there was no sign of the improvements that had been made for the GOP, only abandoned buildings all over the city. The next civic restoration would start from a deeper hole than had existed before 1980.

The 1980 Democratic Convention in New York, where Jimmy Carter fought off a challenge from Ted Kennedy, was a different story.

New York is used to hosting big events and took the convention in stride. There were no obvious signs of sprucing up, the city's attractions spoke for themselves and police maintained security without locking residents out of the city.

Citizens went about their business without grumbling more than New Yorkers usually do; when the Democrats left, the city moved on to the next big event.

If APEC is to have long-term meaning for Honolulu, we can't squander the civic improvements we've made as Detroit did. Like New York, we must make big meetings a part of our business that we're always ready for without major disruption.

It would be a wonderful outcome of APEC if from now on our airport is always welcoming and well maintained, the route to Waikiki is always attractive, the Kalakaua-Kuhio visitor center is always spruced up and our parks and sidewalks are always clear of squatters' tents.

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

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Kapakahi wrote:
Thank you, David. The "touting" has been hard to bear. The repeated denials that the sweeps of the homeless were NOT because of APEC exposes so many people as dissemblers. (I am striving to remain polite). If our leaders cannot be honest in advance of this gathering, can we at least agree to have a frank post-mortem assessment of the costs and benefits afterwards? How much will this cost, both in direct costs and in lost business? How much money will have been made and by whom? How much will the city and state have brought in through taxes? How much did we NOT take in due to the exemption of "diplomats" (and their support staff?) from the GET and TAT taxes? Our "leaders" have been falling all over themselves to try to suck up to the Asia-Pacific fat cats and pushing the rest of us aside in order to ingratiate themselves. Not only are the short-term economic gains of this gathering questionable, so too is the purpose at the core of the APEC organization: making the Asia-Pacific region more open to economic control by multi-national corporations. The physical disrepair our leaders are trying to hide by "sprucing things up," is an (almost) inevitable consequence of the economic policies APEC and the WTO are promoting. So is increased homelessness. So the dishonesty in these clean up evidence is particularly disturbing. In a sense, they are trying to "destroy evidence."
on November 9,2011 | 07:27AM
jankenpo wrote:
Yes, after APEC, they will all pat themselves on the back and congratulate themselves. The visitors will say how beautiful and wonderful this place is. All this is good. But the Pali Highway and parts of Kalanianaole will still be pothole heaven, just to name two. I know other areas have the same issues. We will probably hear that the monies are gone. It would be nice to upkeep all that has been done. Will the State and City and County now fix the areas that have been neglected? Somehow I think not. One of the worst roads in the Nation....a distinction we will hold for how long?
on November 9,2011 | 09:13AM
LemonySnickets wrote:
"How long does a APEC injection last? You can expect the effect of your BOTOX® treatment to last anywhere from four to six months. As acetylcholine production returns to normal, your muscles will once again begin to contract and the wrinkles will reappear. That's the bad news. The good news is that your wrinkles may be less prominent after BOTOX® treatment because your muscles may be somewhat "trained" to be in the more relaxed state. As the wrinkles reappear, you will have to have repeat APEC treatments to get them to disappear again."
on November 9,2011 | 11:33AM
meathead wrote:
Once again David you are so on point. The way that the airport, roads, parks have been cleaned and maintained should be part of the regular maintenance. But we know the city can't maintain it in this fashion because all of our city taxes are going to the rail and all the "million dollar salaries" that go along with it.
on November 9,2011 | 01:47PM
CAHAOLE wrote:
on November 9,2011 | 04:51PM
localguy wrote:
We are our own worst enemy. Always failing to learn the lessons of history. Always failing to see how others have done it, thinking we have to be different. Just another example why the world sees Hawaii as the little forth world of Hawaii Nei.
on November 9,2011 | 11:11PM
CouchPotato wrote:
Funny how all these big events are suppose to be good for our economy but I don't see the improvements. So they justify spending millions because millions more will be brought into our local economy. It's like living behind a lie! Our roads and infrastructure is pitiful. All this spending only results in more shortfalls and more increased taxes. Hey, raise your hand if your house or business need a new roof, a new coat of paint, or is unsightly because you can barely afford to pay your taxes and fees. If we really open our eyes, we are only a few steps a head of looking like Detroit. The coconut and palm trees will be dead within a year and weeds grown all over .... like every place else. How many of our public schools look like trash, old termite buildings, everything neglected, broken restroom fixtures, and with dirt tracks. Hey, we can't even afford to water the grass at our parks. Nothings going to change with all the greed in government and everyone looking out for themselves. Our government, the unions, got too big, to powerful, and now they control us.
on November 11,2011 | 12:22PM
madeinhawaii wrote:
the trash that needs to be removed is at state and city levels... then maybe things would get done right
on June 3,2012 | 01:19PM
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