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Friday, January 21, 2000

City & County of Honolulu

Mayor pays
$18,000 to re-air
his speech

Mufi Hannemann calls it 'a
campaign documentary,' but
Harris says the money came
from private sources

Waianae project unveiled

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


The medium caused a greater stir than the message for Mayor Jeremy Harris' 2000 State-of-the-City address.

At issue was the prime-time television rebroadcast of the speech last night. The Harris administration raised $18,000 in private funds to buy air time on two television stations.

City Councilman Mufi Hannemann, who may run against Harris for mayor, yesterday accused Harris of obtaining questionable funding for what he called "a campaign documentary."

Robert Watada, executive director of the state Campaign Spending Commission, said that after reviewing the issue, the funding for the prime-time television airings does not appear to be subject to campaign donation rules.

Watada said the key issue was whether administration officials or Harris campaign workers solicited the donations. He said he learned that the solicitations were made by city Managing Director Ben Lee on behalf of the city.

Three private corporations -- ADWorks, Campbell Estate and Outrigger Hotels and Resorts -- provided the funding for the State-of-the-City to be shown on KFVE and KHON last night.

David Rae, manager of public affairs for Campbell Estate, said Lee approached him last week about having the estate fund the program.

Watada said Peter Char, a member of Harris' campaign staff, "assured me that these contributions are gifts to the city and, per the City Charter, will be approved by the City Council."

Harris said his desire to put the program on network channels during prime time was not politically motivated. He said his staff asked for the corporate sponsorship to educate a larger portion of the public.

The mayor said a recent Star-Bulletin poll showed less than half the public understands his position on transit so he feels a need to go outside traditional means to tell people about the city's programs.

Rae said he agreed to help fund the program partly because it offered good exposure for the "Second City" of Kapolei, which Campbell has developed.

Darrel Kloninger, president of ADWorks, said he thought the speech deserved to be broadcast to a bigger audience on commercial stations. But Hannemann said Harris should have used campaign funds to have the speech re-broadcast.

"Let's call a spade a spade," he said. "This is a speech he wants broadcast for election year purposes."

Hannemann also thought it disconcerting that Char appeared to represent both the city and the Harris campaign committee in his discussions with Watada.

Carol Costa, the mayor's spokeswoman, said Char queried Watada about the issue because he is most versed in campaign-spending rules.

Costa said the cost to run the two programs totaled $8,000. The remaining $10,000 went to production costs, including "editing, renderings and B-roll tape" to enhance the speech, she said.

Waianae Coast project unveiled

Star-Bulletin staff


A plan to create the city's longest stretch of beach park along the Leeward Coast was one of the few new wrinkles introduced by Mayor Jeremy Harris in his State-of-the-City address yesterday.

Info Box The project, to cost $3.2 million, would link several existing beach sites in the Nanakuli area to form what would be known as an expanded Ulehawa Beach Park. Construction is to start next month and end in late summer.

"It's that entire stretch of coastline that right now is sand dunes, keawe and litter," Harris said. Improvements would include parking, irrigation, landscaping and restroom facilities.

"It's going to be great for fishing, for beach-going and for families."

Also introduced yesterday by Harris was the concept of a hula mound at Kuhio Beach with a musical sound system built into the landscape along the beach.

Speakers in different areas could be turned on and off to accommodate parades or other situations where sound needs to be directed, the mayor said.

"The idea is to turn Kuhio Beach into an area where performances can occur and people can come to really enjoy the Hawaiian culture, the Hawaiian dance and the Hawaiian music."

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