The Prosecutor Seeks To Be Mayor

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - August 18, 2010

On a warm August morning two Saturdays ago, three-term Honolulu Prosecutor Peter Carlisle wheeled his Mustang into a parking lot adjacent to the Kalihi-Waena Elementary School cafeteria. A group of 30 Kalihi residents, many of Filipino ethnicity, gathered to hear the former prosecutor-turned-mayoral-aspirant who claims the highest name recognition in the race. Carlisle shook hands, was introduced by Cha Thompson and reported on the state of his campaign.

“We have people sign-waving all across the island this morning,” Carlisle said. “The unions are coming out for us. The most recent poll run by the Republicans has me at 43 percent, 17 percent for Panos and 10 for Caldwell.”

As Carlisle spoke, sweating supporters just in from sign-waving filed into the back of the room. Carlisle’s crimson face showed signs of his own recent road-side duty.

“My first priority as mayor will be to get Honolulu’s fiscal house in order,” he told the crowd. “It’s a huge problem, and we put our children and their children in a deep financial hole if we don’t deal with it.” He promises transparency in telling Honolulu residents how their money is being spent.


Then he turns to rail. “Rail is very important. It will take government funding into the private sector and provide us with jobs. Fifty percent of the members of the Hawaii Carpenters Union (which recently endorsed Carlisle) are unemployed. They’re taking piecemeal work in order to feed their families.

“The more we delay rail, the more we’ll have to pay in the future. It gives us a golden opportunity. I’m of the baby boomer generation. Our parents made the world a better place for us. But now we have to think beyond ourselves - not allow ourselves to become known as the selfish generation. Rail gives us an opportunity to create a more modern, more vital city for ourselves and future generations.”

Carlisle boasted of his accomplishments as prosecutor - that on his watch “crime rates were cut to historic lows. For the past three years, Honolulu has been the safest big city in the country.”

Carlisle answered a query about how rail riders will get to the stations: “Buses will get you there. We need to improve the present bus system. Buses do short hauls well; long hauls are what buses don’t do well. We need an integrated transit system of which the spinal column is rail.”

A representative from the sheet metal union asked about homelessness. “Homelessness is like the common cold,” Carlisle replied. “You can control it, but you can’t cure it.” He prescribed temporary shelters, assistance for homeless children, retraining for the unemployed and intervention for the addicted.

“We have to get the homeless or mentally ill on meds and keep them on them.”

Carlisle also endorses the creation of safe zones for the homeless, but he warns that ACLU types may push back, claiming that safe zones constitute an infringement on the rights of the homeless. Carlisle dodged a question on civil unions as “not on my agenda, not a priority of the city.” On a fireworks ban, he opined that “we won’t get rid of all of them, but that we should head in that direction.”

He also feels that politicians become too enamored with “sexy projects. I did TheBus. I did TheRail. They want to name them. But maintenance is necessary, and we haven’t devoted enough of our effort to it. Maintenance isn’t sexy. It’s not the pyramid that I built.”

But, Carlisle would argue, they’re pyramids that must be maintained.

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