First Samoan Governor Questions

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - May 03, 2006
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With a little imagination, you could see where things were going.

We had our Mainland haole governor, Bill Quinn; our local haole governor, Jack Burns; our AJA governor, George Ariyoshi; our Hawaiian governor, John Waihee; our Filipino-American governor, Ben Cayetano, and our woman governor, Linda Lingle.

Halfway through his second mayoral term, in 2010, Mufi Hannemann could resign and pitch himself to be our first governor of Samoan ancestry.

But things have started to unravel.

There was the blue-refuse-bin embarrassment and admission that things hadn’t been worked out with the UPW union. Citizens got edgy about those car-crushing potholes. The rains came and the City made Ala Wai canal a primary sewer as a memo surfaced that the mayor’s top garbage-and-sewer man had not followed through on getting emergency repairs OK’d for old, pressurized mains.

The rain flooded homes and blocked roads and, oddly, the mayor wasn’t seen on TV on the front lines of despair, wading the waters, consoling people and promising help. It was the governor who toured flooded Kahala Mall.

KITV News discovered that for at least a year the City had not been recycling green waste for 47,000 urban Honolulu houses. Hannemann was, nonetheless, urging residents to bundle separately for separate pickup and disposal at a mulch plant that wasn’t happening.

No, the green waste was being tossed into the Keehi Transfer pile with all other garbage and hauled either to a landfill or the H-Power plant. Hannemann said he didn’t know about that problem. But five days after the KITV report, the city said it has rectified the problem the mayor didn’t know was a problem.

Also, the delay in posting adequate signage along Waikiki that the water was contaminated. Hannemann’s emergency services chief said at the mayor’s news conference that you’d have to “live in a cave” not to know the water was polluted with sewage, even if there were no signs.

You have to live in a cave not to recognize lawsuit potential, sir.

You cannot blame those of us who voted for the man if we say “oops!”

Hannemann may feel I’m unfairly ragging on him. I am ragging on him, but not unfairly.

He’s diminished himself. All the letters to the editors by his press secretary Bill Brennan and his current employee and old campaign strategist Keith Rollman won’t turn things around. Citizens have developed pretty smart noses for sewage, garbage and horse manure.

Maybe Hannemann will start all over with a new persona and erase the current perception of City affairs moving faster than he’s capable of juggling them.

Or maybe he’s halfway through his one term of office.

three star

“I love Hilo people,” said Big Island mayor Harry Kim in an aside to this writer as he made his annual solo walk of the whole route of the Merrie Monarch parade.

A day earlier, I’d asked him about his indecision on running for governor. Was it doubts that he can win?

“When I make my decision,” Kim told me, “it won’t be based on whether I can win. It will depend on how I feel about running.”

I hope he feels bad. He does-n’t have the statewide name or the money to beat the Lingle juggernaut, and I’d like to see this very decent man leave public life as a winner.

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