Siren Song of Kauai

SUBHEAD: County scam to milk Kauai residents so as to increase visitor traffic to our island is a pathetic farce.

By Andy Parx on 4 June 2010 in Parx Daily News - 

Image above: Dickie Chang holding court at Duke's Barefoot Grill on Kalipaki Beach on 8/2/09. Photo by Juan Wilson.

 [Editor's [IB Publisher's Note: In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous bird-women, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island.]  

Just take a gander at the hook, line and sinker swallowed by “government beat” reporter Leo Azambuja in regurgitating statistics purporting a wondrous job in using the second half-million-dollar county tourism stimulus toilet-flush presented by Sue Kanoho of the Kaua`i Visitors Bureau and the county economic development director George Costa. The story of the “amazing success” Kanoho claimed at Wednesday’s council meeting in bringing more visitors to the island was an example of the worst of the worst in covering government- the unabashed unquestioning rote re-recital of governmental double-talking bulls—t.

Anyone who has been following the story knows that, as we wrote about here, here and here last year, accountability and actually being able to correlate the dollars spent to any increase- if there was one- in tourists and the resulting dollars spent was deemed essential, if not by the council by the many taxpayers who spoke out at the time .

 But of course when Kanoho’s presentation didn’t include one verified example of anyone who came as a result of any promotion- with one exception: the $30,000 spent on the “South Pacific” Mitzi Gaynor appearance- the council just sat and applauded like the trained seals they are.

Seemingly Kanoho and Costa just pulled any-kine numbers and plugged them in to show their self-declared “success”, even admitting in the case of the so-called “radio blitz” that the only thing they could report as “attributable” to the money spent is through an anecdote Chamber of Commerce honcho Randy Francisco reported after talking to someone in a bar who said they came as a result of the promotion The worst waste was in using half the money to bribe the “top six producers” of “on-line bookings”- sites like Orbitz and Priceline.

The problem is that these sites don’t actually report how many bookings were made as a result of our money being spent or provide any proof that it was a successful “buy” because, as the council knew last year when they approved the money, that information is “proprietary”. What a scam. Kanoho admitted that their “coupon book”- one of those pseudo-discount buy a thousand dollar item and get a two cent piece of crap for free promotions- was disastrously unsuccessful... something that many told the council in no uncertain terms would happen last year.

One of the most ridiculous parts of the presentation- one of course unquestioned in the newspaper article along with all of these examples- was the “Northwest media blitz” and trade show appearance by Kanoho and a slew of other Kaua`i people.

Kanoho actually said that although it was “hard to track” Francisco “put 1200” as the number of attributable tourist trips with apparently no real reason to think it was correct. As a matter of fact each item was “hard” or “impossible” to track according to Kanoho although that little fact was distinctly missing from the newspaper coverage. What we saw happening at Wednesday’s meeting- something those who read the “newspaper of record” will never know- was a presentation of a series of made-up, pulled-from-their-asses numbers that had absolutely no verified, documented correlation to the money spent.

The real shibai though wasn’t Kanoho prevarications or Azambuja’s incompetence but the council’s attempt to justify the million they spent in making sure the business community and CofC crowd will fill their campaign coffers this year, and wasting (read: stealing) a cool million (half was spent last year in the same manner) taxpayer dollars to do it. Their performance Wednesday- especially that of tourism industry shill Dickie Chang who engineered the whole debacle- in oohing and ahing at Kanoho’s faux success was just what you’d expect on Kaua`i.

Did anyone really think councilmembers were going to aggressively seek answers that they didn’t want to hear, specifically regarding their use of a million dollars that didn’t do a damn thing- and do it at a time when they just furloughed county employees for two days a month? It’s open season for the council lies and secrecy and with no one to call them on it. And they know it. Don’t ya just love this town?


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