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Aloha, dude!

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Hawaii Reporter

28 May 2006



New Hawaii Tourism Slogan: We Promise You A Vacation Unlike Any You Can Imagine


by Malia Zimmerman



The Hawaii Visitor Industry spends millions of taxpayer dollars promoting the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands all around the world, but any visitor who gives up a life savings to come to Hawaii, especially over these last few weeks, could definitely have a case against the state for false advertising.


A more honest, realistic visitor campaign would go something like this:


Aloha and welcome to Hawaii where we have the highest property crime in the nation, the highest overall taxes and one of the worst illegal drug problems.


Don't worry, our criminals rarely violently attack visitors -- they just steal your wallet, your video cameras and your suitcases any time you pull over to look at the view or go for a quick swim. No, it is not part of the visitor industry's plan to get visitors to spend more per trip -- it is the criminals who need your stuff more than you do so they can subsidize Hawaii -- worst in the nation crystal meth habit. Don't worry -- the state will make sure when you buy replacements for your stolen goods that you are taxed -- and taxed really thoroughly. Hawaii has the highest overall tax burden in the nation and the tax is even higher if you are a visitor who stays in a hotel or rents a car.


But no doubt, especially this Spring, you will have a memorable trip in Hawaii and see things you won't see anywhere else in the world, (unless you are in a third world country).


There is the six straight weeks of rain, the flooding throughout the state that is sending mudslides and up to three feet of water through people's homes and even into Kauai's hotels, and signs throughout the windward side of Oahu and Kauai closing parks and beaches. There is the recent tornado, albeit rare, that hit Lanai, and the hail that smashed into the Big Island last week, but these weather conditions should only help mainlanders feel at home.


Spring isn't in the air here -- it is more like a combination of the stench of raw sewage and ocean water. That is because there are the millions upon millions of gallons of sewage pouring every day over the last several days right into the Ala Wai Canal with city crews expecting this to continue for at least the next four days. The aging sewer system finally blew up, thanks to a combination of all the rain and rusted pipes, sending the raw untreated sewage into the canal and subsequently into Waikiki's once stunning sapphire ocean. (The last mayor, Jeremy Harris, didn't believe in basic maintenance and enjoyed raiding the sewer fund, so you, like the residents of the state, can reap the benefits.) The Ala Wai Canal, which stretches through the heart of Waikiki, is not normally clean enough to swim in, but it doesn't reek like sewage or have millions of pieces of human feces floating in it either. But there is an upside -- visitors can go home knowing what it is like to live on the windward side of Oahu where sewage spilling from the canals into the ocean by the hundreds of thousands of gallons every time it floods, and subsequent beach closures, are common occurrences.


Want to protest the conditions here and file a complaint with the government? March down to City Hall and get in line behind around a dozen homeless people who up until Sunday when they were forced to leave, camped illegally and defecated openly in one of Oahu's most beautiful parks. Or you can walk across the street to the state Capitol where lawmakers are deciding which taxes to increase for 2007 and get a preview for your next trip.


Yes, we live in paradise, where the Aloha Spirit is prevalent. You too can enjoy this tropical experience if you just hand over a large chunk of your life savings, plug your nose, travel light with insurance for your personal effects or with pepper spray -- since Hawaii doesn't have a conceal carry law -- and dress appropriately for muddy, flooding conditions. And if a shark doesn't take a bite out of your hide while swimming amidst the garbage and sewage, the government will certainly take a bite out of your wallet.




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