Senator Breene Harimoto
Last night, Hawai‘i lost one of its hardest working and most compassionate servant leaders in Senator Breene Harimoto, who I have known and worked with as a City Councilman for more than 25 years. As a man of faith, my friend Breene epitomized what it means to live a life of service in one’s community. His door was always open, and I will treasure our conversations on how to make our community a better place.
My deepest condolences and prayers to Cheryl and the Harimoto ‘ohana during this difficult time.
It is worth noting that Senator Harimoto was among our industry's most ardent champions at the Legislature. When the GET and TAT were being discussed, he differed from the majority of his colleagues by voting against using the TAT as a funding mechanism for rail.
The Honolulu City Council is currently considering Bill 44 (2020), CD1 which will increase nonresident entrance fees and parking fees as well as establish an entrance fee for licensed motor carriers at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Reviewing this bill reminded me of the work that my colleagues and I on the City Council did back in the 90's to establish the regulations needed to effectively manage the impact that tourism was having on a treasured natural resource like Hanauma Bay.
It also serves as an example as we start re-opening our doors safely to travelers that branding Hawai'i as a sustainable and resilient place to visit is the type of thing that we need to engage in on behalf of our residents and visitors.
By the late 1980's Hanauma Bay was on the brink of ecological disaster. The park averaged roughly 3 million visitors per year and the stress being placed on the coral reefs and resident wildlife was immense. Drastic changes were necessary and there was no shortage of ideas.
Then-Mayor Jeremy Harris initially proposed limiting access to the bay by instituting an entry fee for all park users. While this seemed like a step in the right direction, I personally felt that the Council had an opportunity to not only save the bay but also protect it for the next generation as well. In addition to an entry fee for nonresidents, I proposed the following:
These policies were enacted in 1995 and have made it possible for the bay to enjoy relatively stable health for the past 25 years. However, it is imperative that City officials keep close watch over this resource. Lax oversight and complacency have allowed sections of the park's facilities to fall into disrepair in the past and have left park users where, exactly, their fees are being applied. By keeping the reserve, the education center, and all park facilities in excellent working order, we can continue to share this amazing natural resource with visitors and residents alike.
Honolulu Live Music Ban
Earlier this week, Mayor Caldwell announced that, pursuant to Emergency Order No. 2020-15, live music would be banned at indoor restaurants and bars for the time being. Earlier today, I issued a statement urging the mayor to reconsider this action.
My statement noted that Honolulu has such a variety of eating and drinking establishments that could be safely utilized by performers that it would be unwise to issue a blanket ban on this facet of our industry. Many of Hawai'i's regular performers rely on regular gigs as their main source of income. They have already been hurt by the COVID-19 epidemic and continuing to make it difficult for them to earn a living is unnecessary.
HLTA Member Scholarships
Mufi is pictured above with 2019 HLTA Member Scholarship Active Member Recipient Abigail Yagi. Abigail's mother, Pam, is the general manager of Hilton Grand Vacations Club
The Hawai'i Lodging & Tourism Association and the Hawai'i Hotel Industry Foundation are pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications for the HLTA Member Scholarship. As we have in years past, we will be awarding two $2,500 scholarships this year- one to the child of an Allied Member and one to the child of a ActiveMember.
This scholarship is open to the children of HLTA members who graduated from high school in 2020 and have been accepted to a university, college, vocational, or technical school.
The application can be downloaded at this link and is due no later than Friday, July 10 at 5:00 p.m.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call the HLTA offices at (808) 923-0407 at any time. Applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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