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Washington DC—Mayor Mufi Hannemann said he was very pleased by President Barack Obama’s call today for the nation’s mayors to be transparent and accountable in spending money from the $787 billion federal economic stimulus package.


            “As Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, I’m held accountable every day,” Mayor Hannemann said after he and other mayors met with President Obama in the White House today. “My administration has proven itself to be fiscally prudent and accountable, whether the source of the money is local, state or federal. I’m very pleased that President Obama is placing a strong emphasis on fiscal accountability, transparency and openness regarding the stimulus package. It’s the same philosophy that we employ locally.”


Mayor Hannemann and other leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors also met today with Obama Administration Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and five of the president’s Cabinet members: Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and Education Secretary Arne Duncan.


Mayor Hannemann said he applauded their desire to work towards ensuring that a wide range of federal funding programs, such as Community Development Block Grants and the newly created Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants, reach the cities quickly and effectively.


            He said he was very impressed with the $1.5 billion federal Emergency Shelter Grants program that Secretary Donovan announced, which is designed to prevent homelessness by assisting the needy with rent and utility assistance. He was also encouraged to hear from Secretary LaHood about the opportunities for $1.5 billion in discretionary funding for transportation that could be applied toward a wide variety of transportation projects in Honolulu.


He also found a sympathetic ear in Attorney General Holder when Mayor Hannemann voiced his concern about state matching fund requirements for the Community Oriented Policing and Justice Assistance Grant programs.


At a luncheon with other senior Obama administration officials, Mayor Hannemann spoke directly with newly appointed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson regarding the wastewater challenges Honolulu faces.


Mayor Hannemann said he was also pleased that President Obama had demonstrated his commitment to urban America—where 80 percent of the nation’s population lives and works—through his two recent appointments regarding urban policy. The president has named Adolfo Carrión as White House Director of Urban Affairs, and Derek Douglas as Special Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs.


“I commend President Obama for fulfilling his promise to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, when campaigning for office, that he would lead a new commitment to cities and counties throughout America,” Mayor Hannemann said. “Many of my colleagues have remarked that they can’t remember the last time they were invited to the White House to focus strictly on the needs of cities and counties. I assured the president when I spoke with him that I and my fellow members of the Hawaii Council of Mayors (Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares) will do everything we can to ensure the success of the stimulus package.”


            “All this is good news for Honolulu and other cities,” Mayor Hannemann said. “We are building a strong partnership with the federal government to work together at a time when our nation badly needs such leadership and collaboration.”





Media contact: Bill Brennan, Mayor’s Office, 527-6928