Monthly Archives: July 2003

Senate Committee on Tourism (TSM) and House Committee on Tourism & Culture (TAC) Informational Brief


The Senate and House Tourism committees have been having informational briefings regarding the way the Hawaii Visitor and Convention Bureau (HVCB) has been managing itself and spending state monies. The next briefing will be Friday, July 18, 2003. In addition, the Governor is being investigated for arranging a state paid trip for a KITV News crew to report on the Governor in Japan. The following are some of the issues being discussed:

1. HVCB's violation of generally accepted accounting principles to circumvent contract limitations.
2. HVCB's state-funded personnel expenditures dramatically increased over the past three years despite level state contract funding.
3. HVCB employees received exorbitant state-funded bonuses and unnecessary severance packages.
4. HVCB's Honolulu corporate office approved a plethora of inappropriate state-funded expenditures.
5. The salary structure for a Japan office executive creates a potential conflict of interest.
6. The process by which subcontractors are procured, monitored, and evaluated is inconsistent.
7. Some subcontractors were procured to perform state-funded services beyond the scope of the bureau's leisure contract.
8. Conflict of interest in HVCB rewarding a former HVCB vice president's company a state-funded contract.
9. Legal services provided by a state-funded subcontractor (law firm) sought to undermine state interests.
10. HVCB contract files are disorganized and incomplete.
11. The Hawaii Tourism Authority failed to monitor and enforce its marketing contracts with the bureau.

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Tourism Joint Hearing Regarding State Audit on HVCB


Last Friday, the Senate and House Tourism committees met to discuss the State Auditor's report regarding the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB). The report mentioned that HVCB was mismanaging state funds. In addition, the committee discussed the Governor's responsibility in using state funds to pay for a trip for a KITV news team to cover the Governor in Japan.

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2003 Special Session


On Tuesday, July 8, 2003, the Legislature went into special session to override six of the Governor's fifty vetoes. The Democratic legislators restored cuts to programs affecting the elderly, poor, and abused.

I believe that if help is not provided for certain vulnerable members in the community, problems will compound and government costs will increase. For example, statistics show that sexually abused survivors have a higher probability of using drugs than the general population.

I have supported safety and survivors of abuse since my days as student body Vice President at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where I pushed for safety on campus and served on the Sexual Harassment Policy Committee. My friends who survived sexual assault and abuse motivated me to take action on these issues. During my period as a college student leader, an acquaintance who claimed to have psychic powers told me, “When you become a politician, never forget why you entered politics.” I have not forgotten.

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