Harris gubernatorialHarris scores higher in poll By Gordon Y.K. Pang
haziness puts opponents
on the offensive
Mayor Jeremy Harris once again is refusing to commit to finishing a four-year term if re-elected this fall, stirring heat from political opponents who say he'll run for governor in 2002.
"I don't intend to make that pledge," Harris said this week when asked if he would promise to serve the four years of a mayoral term.
"Right now, I'm running for mayor," he said. "We've got a lot of things going and I want to keep working on them. But does that mean I will rule out running for governor at some future point? No, I won't do it now any more than I did it four years ago."
Councilman Mufi Hannemann and former mayor Frank Fasi, who are both challenging Harris this year, said the incumbent should be forthright about his plans.
"The fact is Harris is not being truthful," Hannemann said. "He wants and is planning to run for governor. He's told a number of people who have reported it to me."
Fasi said: "You've got to be awfully naive if you think he's not going to run -- he's a cinch to run for governor."
Fasi believes Harris should "get a million-dollar bond and have that bond say that if he should run for governor he would forfeit the million dollars."
Reporters this week also questioned Harris' latest blue-and-white bumper stickers that sport only the word "HARRIS."
"It's so you can see the name well from a long distance," Harris said.
"It's just a true reflection of what his intentions are about the 2000 race," Hannemann said. "It's just a pit stop on his way to the governor's race."
The reason for the vaguely worded bumper stickers this year is that "with a standard-size bumper sticker, there's just so much info you can squeeze," said Rick Tsujimura, a spokesman for the Harris camp.
During the 1996 mayoral campaign, talk that Harris would be bolting in 1998 to run for governor was rampant. Then-opponents Arnold Morgado and Fasi did their best to keep such talk in the forefront when Harris refused to answer the question.
Harris said Hannemann and Fasi are "hypocritical" for demanding that he say if he will run for governor or not.
Hannemann will be resigning in July, halfway through a four-year term, to challenge him, Harris said, while Fasi perennially ran for governor during his many terms as mayor.
"For them to be the ones criticizing me for something I have not done is hypocrisy."