FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 15, 2005
MAYOR PLANS TRIP TO WASHINGTON AND LONG BEACH
Mayor Mufi Hannemann will be in Washington, D.C., next week to help lobby the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) to save Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and to discuss mass transit for Honolulu.
The mayor is going to the capital at the request of Senator Daniel Inouye. He will meet with members of the BRAC as part of a joint effort to convince the panel not to place Pearl Harbor Shipyard on the list of military bases earmarked for closure. Hannemann has already written about that to BRAC Chairman Anthony Principi. (Letter attached)
“Pearl Harbor is a cornerstone of our nation’s security,” said Hannemann. “The technology of warfare has changed over the years, but geography has not. Pearl Harbor is still 2,300 miles closer to Asian hotspots than the West Coast.
“As the state’s largest single industrial employer, the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard plays a vital role in Hawaii’s economy,” he added. “The City and County of Honolulu looks forward to the continued presence of the shipyard for years to come.”
While he is in Washington, Hannemann also will:
· Discuss Honolulu’s progress on mass transit with U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
· Meet with U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to discuss, among other thing, the Labor Department’s Labor Advisory Council on Apprenticeship, of which Hannemann is a member.
· Help Sen. Daniel Akaka and the rest of Hawaii’s congressional delegation lobby Congress for passage of the Akaka Bill for native Hawaiian recognition.
· Meet with Congressional leaders on Capitol Hill, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reed, D-Nevada, to discuss the Akaka Bill, funding for mass transit and other matters of import for Oahu.
On his way to Washington, Hannemann will be in Long Beach, Calif., this weekend to help start the biennial Transpacific Yacht Race (Transpac), at the invitation of Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill.
Together, Hannemann and O’Neill, who is hosting him, will start the fastest of the Transpac racers on Sunday. Slower boats have already begun the 2,300-mile race to Oahu.
O’Neill is the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and Hannemann said he looks forward to meeting her. He cancelled plans to travel to Utah for a U.S. Conference of Mayors environmental summit this week in order to help salvage the county option excise tax for transit.
Recalling the Pan Am Clipper Cup and Kenwood Cup series that used to be held off Oahu, Hannemann will also look into the prospects of reviving world-class yacht-racing in Honolulu.
The Pentagon closed the Long Beach Naval Yard a decade ago, and Mayor Hannemann plans to discuss with O’Neill her efforts to transform Long Beach from a Navy town into a tourist destination and international trade hub.
Mark Matsunaga, 352-1528
Bill Brennan, 228-1526
Contact in Washington (from July 18):
Brian Woo, executive assistant to the mayor, (808) 520-4482
July 14, 2005
The Honorable Anthony J. Principi
Defense Base Closure and
2521 South Clark Street, Ste. 600
Arlington, Virginia 22202
Dear Chairman Principi:
Even before Japan’s attack on Hawaii, Pearl Harbor was America’s Gibraltar of the Pacific, a strategic port for our armed forces and a cornerstone of our nation’s defense. Pearl Harbor’s importance has not diminished since.
At a time when the United States is actively bolstering its forces to meet challenges in Asia and Southeast Asia, it is vitally important that the U.S. Navy have the capability to repair and maintain all classes of ships, including aircraft carriers, at a secure, efficient shipyard on American soil in the heart of the Pacific. The Department of Defense, U.S. Navy, and frontline commanders all agree that Pearl offers the rare combination of readiness, efficiency, and quality of life that make it an essential, and welcome, homeport for the Pacific Fleet. In addition, the shipyard services ships of our allies in the region, an advantage that should not be overlooked as we seek to expand our military partnerships.
If the Navy decides to assign another carrier group to the Pacific, Pearl Harbor’s capabilities can only gain in strategic value. The shipyard’s forward presence will give the military an accessible outpost sufficiently distant from regional hotspots for safety, yet offer the full repair and maintenance services otherwise available only at West Coast facilities 2,500 miles farther away.
The people of the City and County of Honolulu recognize the vital role Pearl Harbor plays in our nation’s security, and we are eager to have it continue to enjoy this prominence for many years to come.