The Silly Signs Of The Season

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - February 17, 2010
| Del.icio.us

Politicians have their signs up early this campaign season - congressional politicians, that is. The special election to fill the congressional seat that Neil Abercrombie’s vacating to run for governor has resulted in Colleen Hanabusa, Ed Case and Charles Djou banners appearing on chainlink fences and cement walls throughout the 1st District.

I saw a couple of Hanabusa signs go up almost a month ago in Pearl City. Less than a week later, three Case signs joined them. A couple of days passed, and three Djou signs went up.

Neither Hanabusa, Case nor Djou indicate their party affiliation on their signs. Nor do they indicate what district they’re running in. It’s just their names and, in Hanabusa’s case, “Congress.”

Perhaps they’re confused. The last time Hanabusa ran for Congress, four short years ago, she was running for the 2nd District in which she lives. And the last time Case ran for Congress, it was in 2004 for re-election in the 2nd District in which - the last I knew - he still lives.


 

Djou has lived in the 1st District for the last eight years, in which he’s represented East Honolulu on the City Council. Prior to that he represented Kaneohe, where he then lived, in the state Legislature. Eight years makes Djou, in comparison with the other two, a virtual 1st District kamaaina.

Hawaii congressional candidates don’t seem to care much about where they live or from whence they run. Second District Rep. Mazie Hirono, the last time I spoke to her, still resided in the 1st District and had no intention of moving.

“Why should they?” you ask. I suppose urban Honolulu in the 1st District and Neighbor Island Kula or the Hamakua Coast have the same problems. Really?

Ed Case also ran an early television commercial. It didn’t say much save that “We’ve done this before.” It did show him being embraced by supporter and former Gov. Ben Cayetano and waving at passing traffic with the lovely Mrs. Case.

City managing director Kirk Caldwell has been running a good-looking television ad as well. It emphasizes - as Case and every haole candidate does, if he can - that he is a locally born, kamaaina haole. In Caldwell’s case, that he was born in Waipahu and brought up in Hilo.

Caldwell’s TV spot does not mention the office he seeks: the mayoralty. There’s a nonsensical water cooler rumor going that Caldwell’s boss, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, may not, in fact, decide to run for governor. If that be the case, Hannemann sure has his managing director fooled.

Silly season and campaign seasons seem to run congruently. Consider, for another example, the crowded contest to become Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor.


It’s a well-paid, well-housed job with no - I repeat, no - constitutional duties. That said, state Sens. Norman Sakamoto, Gary Hooser and Bobby Bunda want it. So, too, do state Reps. Jon Riki Karamatsu and Lyla Berg, and former state Rep. Brian Schatz. And even attorney Adrienne King wants it.

Why? Perhaps they’re lazy and are looking for a well-paid, well-housed cruise job that comes with a state car and security. (No. No. Shame on me for such cynicism. Some, no doubt most, want it as a stepping stone to the governorship. After all, three LGs have moved across the atrium to the governor’s digs).

Look for lots, lots more signs - silly and otherwise - this campaign season.

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