"A tremendous amount of energy was being spent on accusations, and that 'them versus us' thinking was not getting us anywhere," says Sue Kanoho, the KEDB's executive director.
From the outset, KEDB decided that the conference would work best with the support of the mayor's office, and it therefore worked closely with Yukimura and her staff in organizing the event.
The mix of guests might have been less important if, at the outset of the November workshop, Orloff-Falk--who the KEDB chose to lead the session--had not required the participants to sit either with people they did not know or with those they had previously opposed on community issues.
The half-day follow-up session in May resulted in a single draft vision and mission statement, which KEDB officials hasten to point out are still in preliminary form pending further comments from the community.
In mid-May, the KEDB's Kauai 2000 steering committee was preparing to review the evaluations of the workshop participants and then consider possible next steps, which may include applying for grant funding to continue the project.
The KEDB also has invested in the island's blooming tropical flower industry, which has quadrupled to $2.4 million in the past two years.
Other KEDB accomplishments include assisting in the organization and marketing of the Kauai Products Council, which pulled the county's cottage industry of small-scale artisans and assorted manufacturers into a collective body.
But there are obstacles to what the KEDB can accomplish, according to Kanoho, the main one being an image problem.
The KEDB is moving to correct these misconceptions.
At the same time, as head of this year's membership drive, Kanoho has concentrated on spreading the word about the KEDB. Consequently, seven new member businesses jumped on the group's bandwagon, compared to roughly one or two new members annually in the recent past.
In January 1988, still hunting for a job, Sue Kanoho answered a help-wanted ad for an assistant to KEDB Executive Director Honma, although she had some initial misgivings about the position.