Fasi faults ChinatownBy Mary Adamski
block party invitations
Thousands of people went to the public block party to inaugurate the $3.5 million Chinatown Police Station last night.
Some of them received mailed invitations, including mayoral candidate Frank Fasi, who was not pleased at that distinction.
"Who's paying for it?" said Fasi, charging that the announcement sent to area residents is more of a re-election campaign tool by Mayor Jeremy Harris than a legitimate use of government funds.
The invitation, addressed to Chinatown and downtown Honolulu community members, was sent on the mayor's office stationery and signed by Harris, City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura and Police Chief Lee Donohue.
The invitation list extended beyond the downtown area, said Fasi, who distributed a copy received by a Booth Road resident in Pauoa Valley. An invitation came to a Kukui Plaza apartment.
"The letter's got to cost over a dollar apiece," said Fasi, who estimated it may have gone to more than 50,000 people, which he said is the approximate population in the area.
It was unnecessary because the grand opening of the station in renovated buildings at Maunakea and Hotel streets was well-publicized in the media, said Fasi.
Harris administration spokeswoman Carol Costa said letters were mailed with city economic development funds. "This is an economic development issue, a part of plans revitalizing the whole area," she said. "Chinatown is a safer place because of the police. That's what this whole thing is about, to get people to support the police."
Costa said the city routinely sends announcements to residents to publicize city events. She said a few thousand announcements were sent out to businesses and residents and she did not know the exact cost.
Chinatown merchants paid the tab for the block party, she said. It began with a Taoist blessing and Chinese lion and dragon dances and wound up with rock music and the crowd dancing in the street.