Filipino PR Flap Enflames Rail Talks

Flickr: zt_kw

Honolulu City Council member Romy Cachola is questioning whether a public relations consultant hired by a city contractor to promote Honolulu rail inappropriately used public money to lobby him to support the controversial $5.2 billion project.

The consultant, Bennette Misalucha, pushed Filipino rail supporters to track down Cachola, who is also Filipino, at the Kalihi Open Market last week and pressure him about rail, raising concerns about racial politicking.

Misalucha even included directions to the "outreach event," a map and instructions for members to wear their "Filipinos for Rail" shirts.

"This is the largest open market on Oahu and draws a lot of our kababayans within that vicinity," Misalucha said, using the Tagalog word for fellow Filipinos. "We are also hoping to see Council Member Romy Cachola there and impress upon him — in a nice way — how we expect him to support our community by voting for rail on June 6th during the Council meeting."

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