Hawaii Theatre Mayoral Debate Brings Out True Candidate Colors
The Courage To Raise Taxes, Song and Dance Leadership, and Four More Years* of Mufi
By Daniel de Gracia, II
Last night’s mayoral debate at the Hawaii Theatre was not so much a lesson in election politics as it was a case study in Freudian psychology. It’s not uncommon in an election year for candidates to be derided by their opponents as doing a song and dance for the people while secretly planning to raise taxes when elected to office. Yet just when some of us thought we’ve seen it all, Mayor Mufi Hannemann actually boasted during the debate that a good mayor “needs to be able to sing and dance” and that he had “the courage to go back and raise fees.” And to add final insult to injury, those watching the debate learned that the office of Honolulu Mayor is not a four year term, but a four year term with an asterisk, as Hannemann said to cheers and shouts that his talents may be needed elsewhere in 2010. As Hannemann’s every word was rewarded by the roaring praise of dozens of supporters dressed in brilliant red – save for one that always wears purple – amidst the deafening cacophony of praise many Kobayashi and Prevedouros backers had wonder in their minds: “So this is how democracy ends: with applause?”
Undoubtedly for the next ten days leading up to the Primary, people will be talking about who won tonight’s debate. I think it’s more important that we talk about who lost tonight’s debate: the people of Oahu. Only from the Hannemann Administration could we possibly expect such high handed arrogance as to freely admit all those things and then tell opponent Ann Kobayashi that her calling him a “bully” has caused him much personal disappointment and dishonored his parents. Let’s ask candidate for State Representative Tom Berg who was fired by Rep. Rida Cabanilla because his name was featured on the Draft Panos For Mayor website if he thinks that Mayor Hannemann is a bully. If Kobayashi calling Hannemann a bully dishonors his parents, what does Rep. Cabanilla’s firing of Tom Berg do for his parents, let alone his personal economic situation? Let’s ask Panos Prevedouros whose reputation was burned in effigy at the Fire Panos! website – along with the reputations of several individuals who were known associates of his – if he thinks that Mayor Hannemann is a bully. Let’s ask the homeowners and business owners who agreed to host Kobayashi for Mayor signs on their properties only to wake up one morning and discover them missing if they think that Hannemann is a bully.
Hannemann’s supporters truly showed great magnanimity as they mockingly cackled and scornfully laughed when Prevedouros attempted to explain that Oahu simply didn’t have enough roads. And like a thirteenth century scientist attempting to explain before a forum of “experts” that the Earth is actually round, not flat, Prevedouros was given a heretic’s reward by Hannemann supporters when he explained that Kapolei’s development as “the second city” was a failure in terms of its infrastructure , economic prosperity, and business opportunities. “And I’m sorry,” Prevedouros responded as he was booed by Hannemann supporters, “but it is.” Surprisingly, throughout the entire debate, Prevedouros never once gave in to verbally retaliate against Hannemann’s barrage of condescending invectives and his phalanx of ululating supporters, perhaps proving that maybe he really is the nicest and most self controlled candidate in all of Honolulu. “I am not going to get into name calling,” Prevedouros said. “I am an engineer, not a politician.”
So, there you have it, dear friends. If you want a mayor with the courage to raise taxes who will give you a song and dance for the next four years* then re-elect Mayor Mufi Hannemann. But if you agree that Honolulu is still worth your faith, then its time we elected a soft spoken, soft hearted leader with solid knowledge to turn this city around. I used to tell people that Prevedouros was Honolulu’s best choice for Mayor. Now, after seeing this debate, I’m convinced of something else: Prevedouros is Honolulu’s best choice for freedom.