HTA Schedules Special Administrative Meeting

Board to decide on future of President Rex Johnson

Civil rights groups have been calling for the firing of Rex Johnson as Hawaii Tourism Authority president, and they recently staged a one-day protest march in Waikiki to emphasize their position. In late August, after discovering that Johnson forwarded emails containing adult-oriented material from his state computer, the HTA board voted to retain Johnson but cut his salary and reduce his four-year contract to one year. More recently, the situation worsened after Johnson's e-mails were shown to also include racist and sexist material, at which point Hawaii governor Linda Lingle called for Johnson to step down or be fired. Johnson has admitted to receiving the e-mails and forwarding them to friends, issuing a statement of regret. “While it is not a reflection of my character or beliefs, I understand the seriousness of my actions,” he said. ”I am truly sorry for offending anyone as this was not my intent." HTA has scheduled a meeting for Oct. 8 to decide whether Johnson should stay or go.