Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach

BY URSULA RETHERFORD – The Oahu mayoral election is about far more than rail. Many other things hang in the balance, not least the future of Kailua.

For years, our community has fought hard to counter Kaneohe Ranch’s continuing efforts to turn our residential town into a major tourist destination. Mayoral candidate Kirk Caldwell is not on Kailua’s side of this fight, as indicated by the following:

• Caldwell supports short-term vacation rentals in residentially zoned neighborhoods;
• Caldwell opposes the recently passed city ordinance that bans commercial activities at Kailua and Kalama beach parks;
• Caldwell’s candidacy has strong support from Kaneohe Ranch and other development interests;
• Caldwell’s wife, Donna Tanoue, sits on the Board of Kaneohe Ranch.

None of this bodes well for our efforts to prevent the turning of Kailua into another Waikiki, should Caldwell be elected mayor.

Former Gov. and Mayoral Candidate Ben Cayetano, on the other hand, wants to protect the residential character of Kailua and long-term affordable rentals and housing for our local residents. He is opposed to legislation that would permit more short- term vacation rentals in residential zoning. He strongly agrees that Kailua and Kalama beach parks should provide for safe and enjoyable recreation for local residents and visitors, free of commercial activities. He is in full support of the recently passed city ordinance that bans commercial exploitation of our beach parks.

If we are to stop the selling out of Kailua as a major tourist destination and preserve the residential quality of life of our town, it is of critical importance that we elect Ben Cayetano as our next mayor.

As Cayetano indicated early on, this election is not primarily about rail, it is about money and power controlling our lives and the future of our island.  We should not let the lies and attacks on Cayetano by the PRP Hawaii and the development interests determine the future of Kailua, and of our island.

Ursula Retherford is a Kailua resident.