Saturday, March 17, 2012

Kahala Post Office Now Carries Cec Heftel’s Name

Mrs. Rebecca Heftel and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa unveiled the plaque at renaming ceremonies.
Broadcaster and Congressman Cec Heftel (D-HI), who died in February 2010, received an honor yesterday that will last as long as there’s a US Postal Service facility at 4354 Pahoa Avenue in Honolulu.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who represents Hawaii's 1st Congressional District in Congress as Mr. Heftel did from 1977 to 1986, and Rebecca Heftel, Mr. Heftel’s widow, were the honored guests in ceremonies held within the building to rename the facility the Cecil L. Heftel Post Office Building. Rep. Hanabusa introduced the renaming legislation last summer, and the act became law when it was signed by President Barack Obama in November.

Hawaii’s three other members of Congress – Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka and Rep. Mazie Hirono – were represented at the ceremony and sent messages that were read by USPS Acting District Manager Frank Santos.

Rep. Hanabusa told the audience of the respect with which Mr. Heftel is still regarded in Congress more than a quarter century after he last served there. She also recalled Mr. Heftel’s broadcasting career and his leadership of KGMB-TV and the KSSK radio stations and his decades of service to the people of Hawaii.

The plaque shown above will be prominently displayed inside the building next to the inner doors leading to the counter and will be visible to all visitors. Additional details on the ceremony and Mr. Heftel’s congressional and broadcasting careers can be found in earlier posts to this website and in the numerous media stories linked below.

HawaiiNewsNow.com covered the event; its report is available at YouTube (the "live" action of the ceremony begins at the 22-second mark).

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Nearly two years after the Celebration of Life honoring former Hawaii Congressman Cecil Heftel that’s detailed in the March 27, 2010 entry below, the U.S. Postal Service facility in Mr. Heftel’s Kahala neighborhood of Honolulu will be dedicated in his name tomorrow.

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, who represents Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District that Mr. Heftel represented from 1977 to 1986, introduced legislation that was passed by both houses of Congress last year and signed by President Obama. Rep. Hanabusa and Rebecca Heftel, Mr. Heftel's widow, will deliver remarks at tomorrow's ceremony.

It's fitting that Mr. Heftel's name will be forever associated with a postal facility. During his first term in Congress, Mr. Heftel brought a House committee with jurisdiction over the Postal Service to Honolulu for a hearing on the proposed elimination of Saturday mail delivery.

The photograph in the March 27, 2010 post below was taken at that hearing. Mr. Heftel had polled his constituents on the issue, and the piles of returned questionnaires that Mr. Heftel displayed at the hearing reflected both his and his constituents' sentiments.

Hawaii News Now carried a preview story on the ceremony.

 The Postal Service issued a press release for the event:

Postal Service Hosts Heftel Ceremonies
Renaming Event Scheduled March 16 at Kahala Post Office

HONOLULU – The U.S. Postal Service will dedicate the building housing its Waialae Kahala Station in honor of the late Cecil L. Heftel at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 16.

The event will be hosted by USPS Acting District Manager Frank Santos and feature remarks by U.S. Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and Mr. Heftel’s widow, Rebecca Heftel.

The dedication will culminate in the unveiling of a plaque that will designate the postal building at 4354 Pahoa Avenue as the “Cecil. L. Heftel Post Office Building.”

Hanabusa introduced legislation to dedicate the building in honor of Heftel in July 2011; it was signed into law (PL 112-50) by President Barack Obama on Nov. 7, 2011.

Cecil Landau Heftel was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 30, 1924. He attended Chicago public schools and served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1946. Heftel received a B.S. degree in 1951 from Arizona State University, and did graduate work at the University of Utah and New York University.

He soon entered the broadcasting industry as the owner of several radio stations across the continental United States. As president of Heftel Broadcasting in Honolulu, Heftel developed and guided the KGMB radio and television stations to their years of market dominance under his ownership.

He ran unsuccessfully in 1970 to represent Hawaii in the United States Senate and was elected in 1976 as a Democrat to the Ninety-Fifth Congress and to the four succeeding Congresses, serving from January 3, 1977. He resigned on July 11, 1986, when he sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. At the age of 80, Heftel was elected to the Hawaii Board of Education and served a four-year term.

He died on February 4, 2010, in San Diego, California.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cec Heftel -- One of the Good Things about Hawaii


November 7, 2011 Update: President Barack Obama signs legislation to honor former congressman and broadcasting executive Cecil Heftel by attaching his name to the United States Postal Service facility at 4354 Pahoa Avenue in Honolulu, HI. The dedication ceremony will be held on March 16, 2012.
July 28, 2011 Update: The U.S. House of Representatives this evening passed H.R.2149 -- To designate the "Cecil l. Heftel Post Office Building" in Honolulu, Hawaii. 
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This blog has been created as a repository of remembrances, stories and accounts of good times regarding former congressman and broadcasting great Cec Heftel, who passed away on February 4, 2010.

We'll add to this site and hope visitors will, too, by clicking on "comments" below and recording your recollections of the man who left his mark on broadcasting coast to coast, and most particularly in his adopted home of Hawaii.

A Celebration of the Life of Cec Heftel was held in Honolulu on March 28, 2010 and resulted in expanding "the Heftel story" to an even greater audience due to television and newspaper coverage. The Honolulu Advertiser and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin carried photographs and stories, and all Honolulu television news stations had extensive coverage: Hawaii News Now (combined KGMB and KHNL), KITV and KHON.

Speakers included US Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and former US representatives from Hawaii Neil Abercrombie, Ed Case and Pat Saiki. Major General Timonthy Haake (US Army, ret) flew in from Washington, DC to recall working with Cec when the congressman was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

US Senator Daniel Akaka and current Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta, a fellow member with Mr. Heftel in the 95th Congress's freshman class, sent messages that were read to the gathering.

Radio and TV personality George "Granny Goose" Groves had the house laughing long and hard during his excessively prolonged recollections that prompted video producer Phil Arnone to step on-stage with an exaggerated "cut" sign. Honolulu attorney Rick Fried, a pilot and Cec's long-time friend, told the generally unknown fact that two aviation checkpoints offshore from Honolulu International Airport are named for the honoree -- one called "Cec" and the other "Heftel."

Tributes to Cec's commitment to excellence by many former employees, business associates and friends were included in a remarkable video presentation spanning Mr. Heftel's career.

Hundreds attended the event, which brought many of them together again for the first time in decades. To a person, they all said they were honored to have known and worked for Cec Heftel.

YouTube -- interviewed on his call for a Hawaii Constitutional Convention
Mr. Heftel on Congress's habit of "spending money that didn't exist."
Broadcast Professionals of Colorado 
Volcanic Ash Column -- on Mrs. Heftel's rejection of a Republican congressman's premature proposal to name a post office after Mr. Heftel, a Democrat whose politics were diametrically opposed to the member of the party, who was defeated for re-election by Colleen Hanabusa (see top photograph). Ms. Hanabusa initiated the legislation that ultimately was passed and signed into law by President Obama.
Another take on the "naming flap"
Congressional Record -- Hawaii Representatives Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono on the naming of a Honolulu post office in Mr. Heftel's honor.
The back story on how Cec Heftel broke the Tea Party logjam in Congress after his death.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie's Statement on Mr. Heftel's passing
MidWeek columnist Bob Jones -- without pulling punches about Mr. Heftel's "dark side," the column nevertheless honors the memory of a pull-no-punches competitive broadcaster.
Another former KGMB-TV staffer before and after Mr. Heftel's memorial
Honolulu columnist Burl Burlingame -- on Mr. Heftel's interest in purchasing the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Star-Bulletin's "100 Who Made a Difference"
Honolulu Media Council Lunch with Cec Heftel -- "How Money Bought American Broadcasting"
March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award

Capturing Cec's Spirit


Mr. Heftel at a 1977 congressional hearing in Honolulu. Cec was the first member of Congress to use pre-paid return-mail questionnaires to poll his constituents. Their sentiments on Saturday mail delivery were obvious in this photograph. Now that the U.S. Postal Service is proposing the elimination of Saturday mail delivery again and closing more than 3,600 post offices, we could use more of Cec's initiative and drive.