Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


Mayoral Candidate Breakdown by grassroothawaii
September 16, 2010, 8:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Hideo Hikida
(New intern Paul Harleman also contributed to this post)

Summary of Honolulu mayoral election debate, September 14th, 2010:

Background on Mayoral Candidates:

  • Kirk Caldwell (30% votes – latest poll)
    • Currently serves as the acting mayor, and former managing director of Honolulu. Main campaign points are: strong support for the transit rail project, recreating neighborhoods around rail stations, combating homelessness by providing affordable housing. His main selling point is his extensive experience in public office.
  • Peter Carlisle (37% votes – latest poll)
    • Currently serves as the prosecuting attorney of Honolulu. Main campaign points are: strong support for the transit rail project, smaller and more accountable government. His main selling points are his decision making ability, and contribution to the city’s relatively low crime rates.
  • Panos Prevedouros (20% votes- latest poll)
    • Has a civil engineering background, currently serves as a professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UH. His main campaign points are: opposition to the transit rail project, rebuilding infrastructure, and fighting homelessness. He uses his engineering background as his main selling point.
  • Rod Tam (2% votes – latest poll)
    • Has 32 years of public experience as a state legislator. His main campaign point is community engagement in the political process, as well as affordable housing. His main selling point is his local family background.

Discussed Issues:

Transit Rail Project

Panos Prevendouros:

Strongly opposes the project. Instead he proposed to develop high and hot occupancy transit lanes, and synchronized traffic lights. One question how that would relate to Hawaii’s dependency on fossil fuels, he answered that cars will be electric in the future.

According to his perspective, people were sold different facts in that the project was supposed to be relatively small, cost less than 4.6 billion, and was intended to reduce congestion, while as now, research has shown that it will only remove 1% of cars from traffic. He also refers to the fact that 67% of the people voted in favor of more bikeways; however, the legislature has not yet extended any bikeways. He also argues that the project is a bad deal, since Hawaii received 80% of federal funds for the H-3 highway construction project, and now only received 20% for the railway.

Kirk Caldwell:

Strongly favors the transit rail project. He mentioned that the timetable and budget appropriations are realistic, and that the project should be finished by 2019. The project is funded through excessive tax funding (3,5 billion in 20 years; 0,5 already collected) and federal support (1,5 billion collected in 15 years).

Peter Carlisle:

Agrees with Kirk Caldwell. He does add that the project will increase jobs in the private sector.

Rod Tam:

Was confronted about his altering position with regards to the rail project. Mentions that he does support the intent of the project, but has severe concerns about the sustainability of the funding part.

Affordable Housing & Homelessness

Peter Carlisle:

Intends to provide grants and other ways of funding to encourage the private developers and non-profit organizations to build affordable housing, shelters and transitional housing opportunities.

Rod Tam:

Intends to work with other communities to find appropriate housing opportunities for the housing and homelessness problem in Chinatown.

Panos Prevendouros:

Intends to take steps to limit the migration from Micronesia, and intends to take measures to stop the migration of homeless individuals from the mainland. His main point is to give priority to the homeless individuals who are local, and limit the migration from non-local homeless individuals.

Government Transparency and Accountability:

Peter Carlisle:

After accusations from Kirk Caldwell about inappropriate demands for pay increases in 2008, he argues that his pay actually decreased in comparison with other public servants. He argues that his pay increased with 3.49 % in comparison with 14.7% for police, bus drivers and firefighters. Does believe in a smaller government, and he proposes pay cuts and lay offs in government in order to prevent any future tax increases.

Kirk Caldwell:

He argues that the relative high growth of the public sector in comparison with the private sector (5% increase, 32% salary increase) is correct, given the outstanding performance of the city’s police, firefighters. He refers to the fact that the city is ranked among the safest in the country, mainly because of their efforts. He does mention that he intends to restrict funding for new positions. Up to now he argues that he has already frozen 860 vacant positions.

Rod Tam:

When he was confronted with the current criminal investigation against his 12,000 dollars of unrelated reimbursements, he argues that reimbursements are subjected to one’s personal interpretation.

Panos Prevendouros:

Maintains his argument that engineers are more capable of solving the current political problems than politicians or lawyers.

Environmental Sustainability

Kirk Caldwell:

Intends to continue and further expand the current curbside-recycling project. The burning of trash generates green electricity. With the recently established third burner, around 80 million is saved annually on reductions in oil dependency. As far as the proposed sewer improvement projects, funding will be created based on issuing long-term bonds (25 years) and possibly federal funding opportunities.

Panos Prevendouros:

Believes that it would be more efficient to export Hawaii’s trash to the mainland, instead of burning it in Hawaii, which costs 20 million dollars.

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