Pictured above from left: Rick Egged of the Waikiki Improvement Association, Lisa Tamashiro of Adult Friends for Youth, Prosecutor Steve Alm, Visitor Aloha Society’s Jessica Lani Rich, HLTA’s Mufi Hannemann, Tina Yamaki of the Retail Merchants of Hawai‘i, Bob Finley of the Waikiki Neighborhood Board, and Jerry Dolak of HHVISA.
After holding our latest Visitor Public Safety Conference at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, the partnering stakeholders have worked to develop an action plan to hone in on and address the issues raised by the groups in attendance. Being that several of these required the input and expertise of City Prosecutor Steven Alm, we met with him last week.
One critical topic of discussion was learning more about how Weed & Seed locations are established. This is a program that was started by the U.S. Department of Justice that works to weed out crime and seed neighborhoods with critical programs and services. It has been highly successful in several neighborhoods throughout the City & County of Honolulu, and I witnessed a lot of benefits from it during my public service tenure with the City. In addition to DOJ, it entails a collaborative partnership with City government, HPD, the judicial system, businesses, and numerous community groups and volunteers. Prosecutor Alm has been a vocal proponent of the program throughout his career.
The Prosecutor's Office is currently taking the lead in working with the Blangiardi administration and the City Council on establishing a Weed & Seed site in the Chinatown area and laying the groundwork on also revamping Weed & Seed sites in Waipahu and Ewa Beach. That being said, we look forward to Waikiki also eventually being a prime candidate for a future Weed & Seed initiative.
We also discussed the viability of introducing residency requirements for homeless individuals to access services in Hawai'i. This is a policy that has been implemented in numerous municipalities across the country and ultimately reduces the need for repatriation while ensuring that critical services are being utilized by locals who are experiencing homelessness. We will explore before the next legislative session whether there is support from our State elected official for such a measure here in Hawai'i.
Sunday's edition of the Star-Advertiser had a great article from Waikiki Bureau Chief Allison Schaefers that accurately described the pressure the tourism industry is undergoing as a result of the state’s request for nonessential travel to halt. The article took a wide-ranging look at the issue, speaking or quoting from folks from our industry including Highgate Hawai'i's Kelly Sanders, Hawai'i Convention Center General Manager Teri Orton, Pleasant Hawaiian Holiday’s Jack Richards, VASH’s Jessica Lani Rich and myself, as well as Maui Mayor Mike Victorino and individuals who have had major challenges with the State’s current travel policy.
The article can be read in its entirety here.
Yesterday, the federal government indicated that it will be working to reestablish international travel for vaccinated travelers in the coming months. The announcement noted a November 1 target date and the fact that pre-arrival testing within 72 hours of departure will most likely be required.
While there are still countless details that have to be finalized, this was a welcome announcement that bodes well for a worldwide travel industry that has been depressed for more than a year. International travelers to our state has always a major component and contributor to our travel and tourism industry.
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