Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Friday, October 22, 1999

Felix weds poor taste
and hypocrisy

CITY Councilman John Henry Felix has set a new standard for both high living and hypocrisy.

I mean, the man has a live-in vocalist. I've known a lot of rich people but Felix is the first rich guy I've ever heard of who had his own live-in vocalist.

Presumably, the vocalist lives at Felix's Aina Haina waterfront home to sing "Here Comes the Bride" or "Feelings" to the parade of Japanese tourists who get married there. But who knows? Maybe the vocalist sings "Wakey Wakey, Eggs 'N Bakey" to him in the morning, like a living alarm clock.

Also living the good life at the Felix spread is a photographer and a "domestic staff assistant." Personally, I think I'd go with a full-time yard guy before I hired a live-in photographer. Photographs are great, but someone's got to pick up the dog poop.

I have a feeling "domestic staff assistant" probably refers to his maid. When you look at the crowd that hangs out at the Felix hacienda, there doesn't seem to be anyone doing the heavy lifting. So he probably has a maid and he calls her a "domestic staff assistant" so he doesn't have to pay her so much.

I'm just guessing. I don't know how much Felix pays his help. But money apparently is a big deal to him. Why else would the millionaire businessman run a cheesy wedding business out of his own living room? The old money around Felix's neighborhood appropriately turn their noses up at such a vulgar display of rapacity. Running tourists through your house just to make a few bucks is one of the tackiest things I've ever heard of and I just wish I had thought of it first.

That covers the tasteless nature of Felix enterprise. Now we come to the hypocritical aspects of this odious venture.

RUNNING a wedding business out of his house is against the law. That's what the city says. And it plans to fine Felix if he keeps doing it. Felix also was nabbed for doing construction work on the house without a permit. He claims he didn't need a permit and that the wedding business is legal.

Now this is a guy who, with his fellow Council members, has written laws that have made Honolulu one of the worst cities in the country in which to do business. Once Felix even proposed forcing business owners to pay for the removal of graffiti from their own property, something akin to forcing a mugging victim pay to have his blood cleaned off the sidewalk.

Over the years, the City Council, with Felix on board, has proposed every type of fee and tax imaginable. It has set out simply to run certain businesses out of business, such as hostess bars and adult entertainment stores that operate in completely legal fashion. One way the Council micromanages business is to manipulate the zoning process. Right now some Aiea small business owners -- accused of violating zoning restrictions -- are pleading for their financial lives before Felix and company.

Zoning restrictions apparently are for peons, not millionaire councilmen.

(A further detestable element of this affair is that a councilman and community leader who should be promoting business actually is taking business away from the legitimate wedding industry.)

Trolling for sympathy after being confronted with his shabby money grab, Felix told a reporter he's just a single man who works hard and leads what some would call a lonely life.

Cue the violins. Cue the vocalist. Cry me a river.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to or

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