Forget About Kailua

Gloria Garvey
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Gloria Garvey

BY GLORIA GARVEY – The Hawaii Tourism Authority has announced that it will take steps to permanently erase all references to Kailua in its visitor information, including all print, broadcast and social media.

The HTA’s effort is in response to the Kailua Neighborhood Board’s resolution requesting that the State’s leading promotional organization abandon its efforts to tell people about Kailua.


The Kailua Neighborhood Board has been working towards this goal ever since the First Tourist showed up by accident in the small town on the windward side of O`ahu.  At the time, Kailua was a broken down little town which offered its residents no real place to shop, forcing them to go over the mountain to the “other side,” to procure anything but groceries.

Although the Kailua Neighborhood Board thinks of Kailua as an independent entity, the town is actually a throwback to plantation days, with most of the commercial space owned by a single landlord since time began.  That landlord, the Castle Family and its avatar Kaneohe Ranch, has developed the town into a successful, bustling place since the First Tourist’s accidental arrival at the intersection of Kailua Road and Kailua Road.

“After years of resident complaints about the pathetic retail and restaurant offerings in Kailua,” said a Castle family spokesperson, ” We got sick of it and decided to show them what their whining would mean.”

As part of its effort to drive Kailua from the collective visitor memory, the Kailua Neighborhood Board will demand that small businesses which serve the visitor trade close their doors.  This will allow Kailua to revert to the bleak little burg discovered by the First Tourist.  Additionally, the Kailua Neighborhood Board will ask The President and his family not to take their usual Christmas vacation in Kailua.  Talk is afoot about taking advantage of the disappearing shoreline to eliminate Kailu’s popular beach altogether.  ”After all,” said one Board member, “Residents don’t go there because there are too many visitors.”  The Neighborhood Board, it turns out, is responsible for the bumper stickers which say “I Liked Kailua Before You Came.”

Other solutions to this most egregious situation are being explored by the Kailua Neighborhood Board, which is actually powerless to do anything:  its members were baffled that the Hawaii Tourism Authority agreed to their request to stop promoting Kailua.

This move by the Kailua Neighborhood Board and the Hawai`i Tourism Authority is receiving broad press coverage here in Hawai`i, across the nation and throughout the world.  Word has it that Foder’s will feature Kailua as Hawai`i’s best kept secret in its 2014 Guide to Hawai`i.





  1. False, your analysis of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) promotion of illegal vacation rentals is false!

    The HTA marketing material states "If you’re planning a family vacation or you’re traveling with a large group to Oahu , a Kailua vacation rental can be the perfect solution. Located on Oahu’s lush Windward Coast, the Kailua area offers a peaceful alternative to lively Waikiki". What the HTA fails to do is INFORM visitors that staying less than 30 days in Kailua’s residential-zoned neighborhoods requires properties to have a "non-conforming use" certificate. The HTA is well aware that over 80% of the vacation rentals in Kailua DO NOT have a "non-conforming use" certificate. They also know that over 95% of all visitors (non-residents) STAY less than 30 days in the same lodging accommodations. Just because the HTA is not using the word “illegal” in their promotional material does not get them off the hook. If there was only one or two illegal vacation rentals in Kailua that would be another issue. Those who have researched the issue believe there are approximately 1500 “illegal” lodging units (rooms) in Kailua. That is the same as having the Royal Hawaiian hotel, the Kahala Hotel, Turtle Bay Resort and Ko Olina resort being located in Kailua and Lanikai.

    The HTA has a fiduciary, moral and ethical duty to be telling visitors the zoning laws regarding vacation rentals in residential zoned neighborhoods, advise visitors to not stay in illegal lodging and inform them on how to determine if their accommodations are legitimate. At the moment, they are not doing so and that is the issue!

  2. In regards to enforcing the law against illegal vacation rentals, having a City inspector knock on the doors of illegal vacation rentals is a standard procedure, but there is numerous other ways for the City and neighbors to gather evidence against the law breakers. Since HTA is part of the problem, maybe they should give some funding to assist in those efforts.

  3. Kailua changed. It's crowded, the traffic is bad. The stores all cater to visitors and not the people who live there. People are always partying next door. Maybe it's time to rent my house out and go buy a different one in a place that suits my lifestyle better. I can do that instead of pretending that the visitors will go away and not want to stay in Kailua. Instead of beating my head against the wall until Hawaii doesn't depend on visitor revenue, maybe I should make the change by moving somewhere else where I am not so unhappy.

  4. The “residential character” of a neighborhood is threatened when a significant number of homes are occupied not by permanent residents but by a stream of tenants staying a weekend, a week, or even 29 days. Such rentals undoubtedly affect the essential character and social fabric of a neighborhood and the stability of a community. Short-term tenants have little interest in public agencies or in the welfare of the citizenry. They do not participate in local government, coach little league, or join civic clubs. They do not lead a scout troop, volunteer at the library, or keep an eye on an elderly neighbor. Literally they are here today and gone tomorrow – without engaging in the sort of activities that weld and strengthen a community. That's why we have residential zoning. That's why Kailua must resist the greed.

  5. Gloria Garvey may have lived 40 years in Kailua, but she has never been "of" Kailua, which she describes as a broken down little town. She came to Hawaii from the East and obviously brought a lot of baggage with her. Garvey is happy to toss brickbats at the Kailua Neighborhood Board, whose members care deeply about the community, a place made up of much more than upscale shops and restaurants. I liked our "broken down little town" before Garvey and her ilk got here.

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