Campaign to save Hawaii troops hits 10,000 signatures

Published: Jan. 8, 2015 at 11:28 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 9, 2015 at 12:54 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is in a stretch run for signatures. With two weeks left in the Chamber's "Keep Hawaii's Heroes" petition drive, there is an all-out effort to reach the goal of 40,000.

"Right now it's approximately 10,000 signatures. That's so far through our web site, as well as going to the different organizations and obtaining signatures there," executive director Sherry Menor-McNamara said.

The Chamber is trying to spare Hawaii from the Pentagons's downsizing plan for the Army. The battle has been over the placement of the sign-up sheets in Satellite City Halls.

Retired Army Col. Al Frenzel is pro-military and pro-troop reduction. He filed a complaint with the Honolulu Ethics Commission, saying the petition drive isn't city business, so it shouldn't be done in a Satellite City Hall.

"When they should be servicing these customers with other types of government functions, they're actually servicing the Chamber of Commerce in its personal agenda, and not the business of the City and the County," he said.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's communications director Jesse Broder Van Dyke said it's at the city's discretion to allow or not allow non-profits to use Satellite City Halls for petition drives.

"The administration received approval from Corporation Council and the Ethics Committee to make them available at those locations," he said.

The Chamber is using posters and placards, sign-up sheets and on-line petitions. It's collecting signatures at restaurants and businesses.

"This is a really important initiative for the Chamber's Military Affairs Council, as well as for our communities and our state" Menor-McNamara said.

Frenzel also takes exception to the petition's title that labels Hawai's troops "Hawaii's Heroes."

"They're not Hawaii's heroes," he said. "The heroes that are up there, that performed heroically in battle, they're the nation's heroes."

"Whether or not they perceive themselves as heroes, we perceive them as heroes," Menor-McNamara said.

The Chamber will present the signatures it collects to Army officials on January 27.

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