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To Our Readers

By John Flanagan

Saturday, September 9, 2000


I’d never be a politician

THERE are other jobs I'd have been good at if the smell of fresh ink on newsprint hadn't seduced me.

Someone told me once that I have an eye for space and an appreciation of form, and perhaps I could've been an architect. I love being on the water, shaping a boat through the current, wind and waves, so maybe I should've been a sailor -- but I know for sure I could never hack it in politics.

Standing on the curb in a windward-and-mauka drizzle trying to look cheerfully electable isn't a skill I'm hankering to develop. Each morning on the way to town I see the familiar faces -- including some I know and respect -- beaming, winking, head-bobbing and shaka flashing. I understand name recognition is important, but do we really want to elect people who look so, well, needy?

The mayoral race is shaping up along classic lines: a strong, if flawed, incumbent (Harris) beset by a media-savvy, if self-absorbed, challenger (Hannemann). Frank Fasi returns, of course, recast in his now-perennial role of spoiler.

If successful, Fasi will siphon off enough votes to force a general election runoff, thus robbing Harris of the majority he just missed in his first mayoral campaign. Denying either Jeremy or Mufi the chance to win the whole game in the primary -- how sweet that would be, eh, Frank?

Meanwhile, Harris has an admirable record of achievement -- one he doesn't need to oversell, but will anyway: automated garbage pickup, Chinatown cleanup, Kuhio Beach and Kapiolani Park improvements, doing more with fewer city employees, etc. He's accomplished a lot, which Mufi can't deny.

No, Hanneman agrees these were all fine programs -- in fact, he voted for them -- but he says he'd have done them slower and made no mistakes. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Where politics and I really part company, though, is on TV. If I'd made a commercial about putting my Harvard student ID card in my mother's coffin, I'd figure I ought to join her.



John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 525-8612, fax to 523-8509, send
e-mail to publisher@starbulletin.com or write to
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, Hawaii 96802.




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