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Monday, September 25, 2000

Campaign 2000

By Rod Thompson, Star-Bulletin
Former Big Island Civil Defense chief Harry Kim answers
one of the many calls he received at his home on election
night. Kim beat out former state Rep. Harvey Tajiri to
become the Republican candidate for mayor.

Big Island Mayor

Bullet It's clear that voters are
ready for a change, and
now the question is, whose
version of change will it be?

Big Isle had biggest turnout
Ex-Council members seek comebacks

By Rod Thompson

HILO -- Saturday's mayoral results show Big Island voters want a change. But whose version of change?

Two veteran politicians, Democrat Bob Herkes and Republican Harvey Tajiri, were roundly drubbed.

"The sound you heard (on election night) was the death of the machine on the island," said Ken Fischer, campaign chairman for Democratic mayoral candidate Fred Holschuh.

Those who remain in the mayor's race are outsiders:

Bullet Holschuh, as the head of a group of emergency room physicians, has lobbied in the Legislature but has never been elected to public office.
Bullet Republican Harry Kim spent a quarter century in government, most of it as the Big Island's Civil Defense chief, but he also has never been elected to office.
Bullet Green Keiko Bonk served two terms on the Hawaii County Council, including a period as its chairperson, but her party affiliation places her with a group that has mostly been outside trying to get in.

During the primary race, voters were shown more image than substance.

Kim, who refuses to take more than $10 in contributions from any one person, said he didn't have the money needed to buy ads and tell details.

Fischer said Holschuh had to tell voters who he is: "His biggest concern was to get his name known."

Bonk has detailed brochures describing her agenda. But with no primary election opponent, she has been able to save her full efforts for the general election.

The style of the race will now change, with a lot more specifics, Fischer said.

The candidates pretty much agree that the big issues in West Hawaii are infrastructure and the preservation of lifestyle.

For example, they agree on opposition to a large, upscale gated community proposed for Keopuka, South Kona.

"As a general principle, I'm opposed to gated communities," said Kim.

Holschuh said, "I don't know enough about it, but if I had to make a decision right now, I'd stop it."

Bonk also opposes it.

East Hawaii is still suffering from the death of sugar in the '90s. "It's the economy, stupid," said Fischer, echoing Democrats in the 1992 presidential race.

But Kim warns that sugar took a decade or more to die, and recovery will take another decade. People who hope for a quick fix "don't understand economics," he said.

Still, he said the Big Island could be building on its strengths, such as ecotourism and educational attractions such as study tours of volcanism and tsunamis.

Holschuh said he has held talks with a developer of technology minicenters -- single buildings crammed with the equipment that would allow people to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of the Big Island, while staying in contact with the frenzy of Silicon Valley.

Bonk has detailed plans to divide the island into seven geographically similar "resource" areas. Each area would get a county team to help it decide what it wants, and a grant writer to go after money to turn those wants into reality.

Ailing Kim's campaign
aided by hot doggin'

Star-Bulletin staff

HILO -- With Big Island mayoral candidate Harry Kim suffering the lingering effects of hepatitis, his campaign went to the dogs.

At least to one specific dog. Kim's niece, Donna Carey, had her award-winning Newfoundland retriever Shaquille carry the banner for Kim during his illness.

When Carey walked Shaquille around Hilo, the dog wore a blanket with the words "Kim for Mayor" on it. The dog knew how to stand and walk in a way that got people's attention because he's a show dog, she said.

Shaquille's campaigning became so well known that when he went out without his blanket, drivers would shout, "Where's the sign?" Carey said.

 | | |



Big Island election
draws largest
voter turnout

By Richard Borreca

Two men who have never held office are dominating the Republican and Democratic races for mayor on the Big Island.

Emergency room physician Fred Holschuh easily beat former state representative Bob Herkes in the Democratic primary by winning most of the island's Democratic precincts, including portions of Hilo and the Hamakua coast.

Herkes was strong in parts of his old district, but while the area is vast in acres, there are few votes.

For instance, in the desolate Milolii area, Herkes and Holschuh battled for a total of 30 votes, which they split evenly -- 15 each.

On the Republican side, another newcomer beat another political veteran, as Harry Kim completely wiped out former state house member Harvey Tajiri.

Kim beat Tajiri in every precinct on the Big Island.

The former county civil service director picked up two votes for every one gathered by Tajiri.

Herkes, a Kona businessman, had been a Republican, but switched to the Democratic party eight years ago. But he never made inroads along the traditional Hilo side of the island.

The area Herkes represented is actually larger than all of Oahu, but was worth only about 1,000 votes for him. In the same area, Holschuh got slightly more than 1,200 votes.

The Big Island had the highest voter turnout among the islands.

But even that at 43 percent was below the halfway mark, so both Democrats were unable to get out any large sustained vote.

The third major candidate in the general election mayor's race is Green Party candidate Keiko Bonk, who picked up only 1,315 votes in a minor primary.

But in the general election race, Bonk, a former county councilwoman, is expected to provide a strong challenge to both Kim and Holschuh.

Neighbor Island

Bullet Several former members
are trying to win back seats in
the general election

By Gary Kubota,
Anthony Sommer
and Rod Thompson
Neighbor island correspondents

Former County Council members are making bids to regain their seats on the neighbor islands.

On Maui, Councilman Michael Davis, 56, appears in jeopardy of losing his seat in Kahului to former Councilman Alan Arakawa.

Arakawa, 49, a small businessman, received 56 percent of the votes cast in the nonpartisan primary election, compared to Davis with 31.6 percent.

Arakawa plans to make a second run for mayor in 2002, if he wins the Council seat.

Councilman John W. Enriques, 66, is again in a close race with Michael Molina for the Makawao-Haiku-Paia seat.

Enriques defeated Molina in 1998 but has been criticized by environmentalists for his vote in favor of a Spreckelsville development.

At least one unsuccessful primary challenger, Robert Parsons, plans to support Molina in the general election.

On Kauai, two former Council members who quit in the past to run losing races for mayor advanced to the general election.

Of the seven top vote-getters Saturday, six were incumbents and one was Bill (Kaipo) Asing, who served 18 years on the Council before stepping down in 1998. Asing finished third. The ninth-place finisher was John Barretto, the other ex-Council member.

Both Asing and Barretto, along with incumbent Gary Hooser, are vocal critics of Mayor Maryanne Kusaka. The other six incumbents have supported most of Kusaka's programs.

The primary trimmed the list of hopefuls for the seven Council seats from 16 to 14. There were 17 names on the ballot, but Bob Meyers died shortly after filing his nominating papers. He still received 509 votes on Saturday.

All seven incumbents on the Council are seeking re-election.

Voters in the partisan county election on the Big Island did oust Puna Councilman Al Smith in favor of another Democrat, businessman Gary Safarik. Safarik's Green opponent, teacher Steve Hirakami, is under no illusion he will have an easy time beating Safarik; the Republican in the race, retiree Roger Evans, has run often without success.

Another Council race to watch is in Kau, where Republican and former Councilman John Santangelo is trying for a comeback against the state's only elected Green, Julie Jacobson.

Primary Election Results

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