California lawmakers, lobbyists mingle on Maui at getaway, pandemic or no pandemic

UntitledImageAnd this from the San Francisco Chronicle

SACRAMENTO — Although the coronavirus pandemic has largely grounded the global travel industry, it did not stop the annual political conference that brings California lawmakers to Hawaii for five days of policy discussions and schmoozing with corporate sponsors.

The conference, which has been hosted by the Independent Voter Project every November for more than a decade, is taking place this week at the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui’s southwest shore.

“Somebody has to be first to say, ‘OK, we’re going to do a group event safely,’” Dan Howle, chairman and executive director of the Independent Voter Project, said in a phone interview from Maui.

The event is smaller this year, only a third of its usual size, Howle said. Organizers booked about 50 rooms at the Fairmont and have about 120 people staying there this week, including legislators from California, Texas and Washington state.

The Independent Voter Project paid $550 for their airfare, Howle said, as well a five-night stay at the hotel, where rooms now run $600 or more per day.

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