Much appreciation to everyone for supporting Hawaii for Hawaii and our visitor industry's efforts to reduce homelessness on Oahu! The concert and live telethon was a great success. Together, we helped raise nearly $750,000 that evening.
A huge mahalo goes out to the generous HLTA members who sponsored tables for the concert- some of them repeaters from the '15 Hawaii for Hawaii concert and others for the first time. We'd also like to express our gratitude to the many HLTA members who donated in person, online and over the phone during the live telethon. For instance, WIA's Rick Egged walked into our live telethon area and made a donation on the spot. Howard Higa of the Cab was so moved that he phoned in from home asked for me and contributed $3,000. New HLTA member and developer Stanford Carr did yeoman work by volunteering his time on the phone lines to the end and successfully challenged his business colleagues to donate to a great cause. And then there is the sterling example of hospitality consultant Drake Beil, who has made maximum contributions to the last two Hawaii for Hawaii fundraisers for homelessness.
Mahalo also to Rick Blangiardi and his Hawaii News Now staff for an exceptional job of promoting and televising the event to a state wide audience. No question they raised the awareness of the need for all of us to be part of the solution and we reaped tremendous results through the live telethon.
Finally kudos to HLTA members, who joined me and Karen by serving on the Hawaii for Hawaii Board to help Jerry, Diane Kadomoto, Debi Bishop, Cynthia Rankin, Lora Gallagher and the rest of the Hilton ohana with this fantastic event:
Harris Chan, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Matt Bailey, Aqua-Aston Hospitality
Barry Wallace, formerly with Outrigger Hotels
Chris Tatum, Marriott International
David Nadelman, Hyatt Regency Waikiki
Henry Perez, Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach
Kelly Hoen, The MODERN Honolulu
In closing, we humbly ask for your continued support on our fall Aloha United Way campaign. If you have any questions, please contact AUW's VP of fundraising and major gifts, Emily Mendez- Bryant, at 808-543-2204 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know our HLTA/AUW co-chairs Kelly Hoen and Teri Orton would appreciate that very much.
The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, the state’s largest private-sector hospitality trade organization, has donated and installed 32 room air-conditioners in 16 classrooms at Jefferson Elementary School in Waikiki.
Completion of this volunteer effort, dubbed “Project Cool,” was marked by a ceremony held at Jefferson School on Monday afternoon, October 17.
HLTA President and CEO Mufi Hannemann said, “We kicked off Project Cool many months ago when the Department of Education was pressing the Legislature to fund air-conditioning for overheated schools. It took a while for us to receive the necessary approvals, but once we did, we moved very quickly to purchase and install the air-conditioners, thanks to our HLTA Engineers Council and Principal Garret Zakahi of Jefferson Elementary.”
Project Cool was an HLTA partnership with Charity Buy Line, a beneficiary of the HLTA’s Charity Walk last year. The money was used to buy and retrofit 32 air-conditioning units for classrooms that had broken or malfunctioning units. In Synergy Engineering was also instrumental to the project, assisting with the design and approval process.
In the first phase of project, HLTA volunteers led by Dennis Maher, head of the HLTA Engineers Council and Director of Facilities and Security at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki, installed four units in two classrooms. Then, on Saturday, August 27, more than 20 volunteers from HLTA member-hotels and businesses removed the old units and installed 28 more new units in several classroom buildings. The final phase was the installation of fans, which was completed on October 1.
“We’re honored to give back to the Waikiki community and provide a more conducive classroom environment for our keiki. With summer temperatures at all-time highs, we recognized the need for these AC units, which directly impact students’ ability to learn and thrive in school,” said Maher.
The HLTA Engineers Council is a professional group of engineers, maintenance personnel, and trades and crafts workers who are employed at member hotels and allied businesses.
Before Project Cool, classrooms in Jefferson Elementary School had reached highs of 87 degrees, so the students were very grateful to learn about HLTA’s generous contribution. When the volunteers arrived on August 27, they found many colorful thank-you notes from grateful students.
“Jefferson Elementary School would like to thank Mufi Hannemann and our partners from the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association for their contributions of air-conditioning units and for taking time out from their busy weekend schedules to install the air-conditioning units and air intake fans in 16 of our classrooms. Thanks to our partnership with HLTA, we are now able to control the temperatures within our classrooms,” said Principal Zakahi.
Said Hannemann, "Project Cool enabled our visitor industry to collaborate with Jefferson Elementary to bring about a better learning environment for our youth and educators. We are so grateful to all of our members, especially our Engineers Advisory Council, for their time and kokua with this project, and it’s so heartwarming to feel the gratitude and aloha of the Jefferson ohana in appreciation for the work we did.”
The Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association's political action committee, HotelPAC, has announced its endorsements for the 2016 General Election. HLTA is the largest private-sector tourism organization in the state consisting of over 700 members with the mission of education and advocacy on behalf of the hospitality industry. HLTA also has active chapters in every county, and sponsors activities and events on all islands.
HLTA's political endorsement process included responding to tourism-based questionnaires that were sent to County and State candidates in contested races. Candidates who won in the primary without a general election were not included in the endorsement process.
HLTA received 74 completed questionnaires, which were then reviewed by a statewide political endorsement committee. To be eligible for consideration, candidates were required to complete and return the questionnaire to HLTA. Once reviewed by the committee, the candidates were either recommended for endorsement or marked as "open." Recommendations to suggest an open position were made where not all candidates submitted their questionnaires; where no candidates returned questionnaires; or where candidates were equally favorable. The slate was then reviewed and approved by the HLTA Executive Board. As a final step in the endorsement process, HLTA's Board of Directors held a special meeting to approve the slate.
Among the elections that were left open were the Honolulu mayoral race between incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell and former U.S. Congressman Charles Djou, as well as the Senate District 9 matchup between incumbent Senator Sam Slom and former Honolulu Councilmember Stanley Chang. Beyond their responses to the questionnaires, which all four returned, the committee felt that the candidates in both of these elections had worked closely with the hospitality industry and were equally deserving of an endorsement.
"We commend Mayor Caldwell for the dialogue and cooperation he has engaged in with the hospitality industry in building upon the track record of his predecessors. Two areas were noted in particular: his work with HLTA's initiatives on homelessness, and the city's support for ongoing revitalization projects in Waikiki. On the other hand, former U.S. Congressman Charles Djou was unequivocal in his support of HLTA's number-one legislative priority: pursuing uncollected taxes from transient vacation rentals to help ensure a level playing field. His endorsements from councilmembers who chair key committees also suggest a collaborative working relationship with the legislative body he was once a member of," said Mufi Hannemann, HLTA's President & CEO.
Hannemann also stated, "Sam Slom is a long-serving State Senator for East Honolulu and is the only Republican member and voice in that body. He has a record of being a solid advocate for small business. Stanley Chang showed promise as an up and coming leader in his interactions with the hospitality industry when he was a councilmember representing the Waikiki-Hawaii Kai district. He staunchly supports regulation and taxation parity between vacation rentals and traditional brick and mortar hotels. The recommendation to leave this race open was based on the premise that both candidates have a history of serving their constituency and supporting tourism "
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