BY MUFI HANNEMANN – With the General Election a little less than three weeks away, and with many of you taking advantage of absentee voting, I want to share some of my thoughts with you on this election.
Most important of all, please exercise your right and responsibility as a citizen to vote. Having been through many elections, I continue to be amazed at the number of people who express regret that they did not cast their ballots. I trust you will not be one of them.
There are important decisions to be made that will determine the direction and course of our county, state, and nation well into the future. One race that will have a tremendous impact on our future is for mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, where three-quarters of the state’s population resides.
As one who was elected twice to the position and who put together a team that led, shaped, and enhanced the county’s finances, public safety, wastewater, refuse, environment, tourism, intergovernmental, and transportation responsibilities, it’s important to note that Kirk Caldwell was a key member of that team. He not only proved to be an effective leader but he brought people together to focus on solutions.
Kirk’s experience as managing director and acting mayor, coupled with his plans and goals to take Honolulu, the nation’s 13th largest municipality, to the next level are both credible and achievable.
During any campaign, be wary of candidates’ who spew pie-in-the-sky, feel-good rhetoric that has little hope for success. They twist or disregard the facts to make their case believable. For example, when it comes to our rail system, if expanding Honolulu’s highly successful bus system or implementing a bus rapid transit program would have been cheaper, more efficient, and accompanied by federal funding, I would have pushed that proposal instead of rail.
The fact of the matter is that all the studies and expert advice, including from those who operate Honolulu’s bus system, have all affirmed that buses cannot replace rail as an effective transportation solution. Rather, rail is a complement to the bus, with both working in tandem to alleviate our mounting traffic congestion problems and reduce our dependence on our personal vehicles.
The bottom line is this is going to be a close election for Honolulu mayor and Kirk Caldwell needs our help. As there are still undecided voters or some leaning toward Kirk’s opponent, those of you who live outside Oahu can help Kirk’s cause by encouraging your family and friends to support Kirk like you do.
Yes, the job of mayor is one of the most difficult in government. It requires leading by example, having a clear vision for the future, a collaborative management style, and the courage and fortitude to make principled decisions that benefit those you serve today and ensure a better future for those who come tomorrow.
I am confident Kirk Caldwell is that leader and I urge your vote and support for him.
Mufi Hannemann is the former Mayor of Honolulu (2004-2010)