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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Federal APEC funds could be 'tens of millions'

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Kurt Tong

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Having next year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Honolulu declared a "national special security event" would mean getting "tens of millions of dollars" from the federal government to defray security and other costs of staging the meeting of world leaders, Gov. Linda Lingle said yesterday.

Lingle yesterday noted that she already has put in the declaration request, the granting of which would help the city recoup some of the $28 million it anticipates spending just on police, emergency response and other security needs.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann said the summit's cost will be well worth it, given the accompanying media exposure, even if the city is not reimbursed by the federal or state governments.

At a gathering yesterday at the Hawai'i Convention Center to introduce the 2011 APEC Host Committee members, the mayor and Lingle talked about what holding the APEC Leaders Meeting here will mean for the state.

"It's the opportunity of a lifetime to showcase the state," Lingle said.

Participants will go home convinced the Honolulu version "was the best one ever," Lingle vowed.

At last year's APEC conference in Singapore, President Obama announced that Honolulu will host the annual event in 2011.

"We want to make the president proud that his home state and his hometown can deliver for the country," Lingle said.

The meeting is set for Nov. 12 to 20, with an estimated 10,000 participants, including heads of state, government ministers, economic advisers, business leaders, security personnel, global media and others, expected to attend.

Hannemann called the meeting "an opportunity we plan to maximize and take advantage of. I have no doubt the hospitality aspect will be first-rate and world-class," he said.

Preparations include "ramping up" beautification efforts on O'ahu, along Nimitz Highway and Wai-kīkī sidewalks in particular.

"We look at this as a way to change the perceptions Hawai'i is not just a great place to visit, it's a great place to do business," Hannemann said.

In addition to Lingle and Hannemann, other members of the host committee are: chairman Peter Ho, president of Bank of Hawaii; vice chairman Tim Johns, president, director and CEO of Bishop Museum; Adm. Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command; M.R.C. Greenwood, president of the University of Hawai'i; Mike McCartney, president of the Hawai'i Tourism Authority; Corbet Kalama, incoming chairman of Kamehameha Schools and senior vice president of First Hawaiian Bank; Patricia Loui, president of Omnitrak; Stanley Kuriyama, president and CEO of Alexander & Baldwin; and Bert "BJ" Koba-yashi Jr., president and CEO of the Kobayashi Group.

Ex-officio members of the host committee are U.S. Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel Akaka, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono and Charles Morrison, president of the East-West Center.

Ho said at least 21 heads of state and their finance ministers are expected at the APEC Honolulu meeting, with the participating countries representing 2.7 billion people, 55 percent of the world's gross domestic product and 43 percent of world trade.

The APEC Leaders Meeting was last held in the United States in 1993.

Kurt Tong, U.S. State Department senior official for APEC, who attended the meeting in Honolulu yesterday, described the summits as a "locomotive of economic change."

"Member economies take the lessons learned back to their home economy," Tong said.

"There's no better place to do this other than right smack in the middle of the Pacific Ocean."

Inouye described planning for the event as "a challenge of the greatest magnitude ever experienced by the state of Hawai'i."

He said host committee members now have "19 months to ensure success."