At Wednesday’s Honolulu City Council meeting, Council Member Romy Cachola reported on a series of emails he obtained that were sent to the Filipino community by a public relations contractor that the city hired with taxpayer funds to help promote the rail project.
In the emails, which were sent to a group calling themselves Filipinos for Rail, Bennette Misalucha is directing the group as to how to lobby Cachola to “make sure he is for rail.” (See the Emails Targeting Romy Cachola)
Misalucha lists herself on Linked In as President of Red Monarch Strategies Inc., a public relations and advertising firm.
She told the email recipients to tell Cachola that he needs to support the Filipino community and he can do that by supporting rail.
In the emails, Misalucha tells the Filipinos for Rail group that advertisements targeting Cachola would be running on two radio stations and a local Filipino news magazine.
They also were organizing an outreach at the farmers market where they would lobby Cachola if he showed up.
Cachola asked Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation director Daniel Grabauskas if he knew city taxpayer funds were being used to lobby and target council members in that manner.
Grabauskas denied any knowledge but promised to look into the emails and report back to the council.
Council Budget Chair Ann Kobyashi, who was clearly offended by the tactics, said the city has sunk to an all time low.
She reminded Grabauskas that he is responsible for monitoring the city contracts and funds going to as many as 10 public relations firms and 23 public relations officials hired to promote the rail project.