Old Waikiki Beach Boy stand owners refuse to leave
A battle over the beach in Waikiki prevents the city's new concessionaire to set up shop, as old Beach Boy stands stay up.
Tuesday, a new Waikiki Beach Boy business was supposed to start up, but old Beach Boys stand owners refuse to leave.
Losing bidders for the Waikiki Beach Boy concessions also filed a TRO to stop the switch.
The city said it won't force out the old businesses until a decision is made on that TRO in court Thursday
Along with that legal maneuver, those against the change, gathered to protest.
"It's just not right. It's a shame. The city and county should be ashamed of themselves," said longtime Beach Boy Larry Akiyama.
As part of the new approved contract, the laid back beach boy business would modernize.
Turning the current contractors into employees of the new vendor, which means they would get health insurance and a regular paycheck.
"When you say paycheck, the beach boy never had a paycheck. We always worked on a contract hire situation, which says I pay you $100 and you are responsible to tell the tax person that you made a hundred dollars," said Surf Legend Clyde Aikau.
Now, beach boys will make just over ten dollars per hour, but will also make an additional ten dollars for every person they take out into the water for surf or canoe lessons. That could add up to more money then they are making now, according to Dive Oahu, the company who will run the two beach stands.
"Money is not the issue with the Beach Boys. It is the cultural heritage of the Beach Boy to continue. What is going on with the city? That cultural heritage will be lost and that is what we are very concerned about," added Aikau.
"I love the ocean and the kids surfing. All the tourists coming here, they love it here with us guys," stated Akiyama.
Many of the guys may still be around after the switch.
The new company has to hire beach boys that meet the city's blue card and lifesaving qualifications, as well as pass drug and TB tests. Those requirements come from the county and would be imposed on any vendor taking over the stands.
The same goes for the requirement that beach boys wear uniforms, and electronically record transactions.
It is a major difference from the way things are now, and some are upset those who will be most affected didn't have any say in the changes.
"The Beach Boys feel the city neglected asking us what the rules should be, what the qualifications should be on the new beach corporate services that come in. That's where we have a problem," stated Aikau.
Along with the protest, there is a petition against the changes, which has already gathered nearly 5,000 signatures.
According to the owner of Dive Oahu, there have also been physical threats made to employees of his company.