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Tuesday, October 31, 2000

Outdoor Circle
says candidate broke
yard-sign pledge

By Crystal Kua

State Rep. Iris Ikeda Catalani -- running for re-election in a hotly contested Windward House race -- broke her pledge to the Outdoor Circle by posting campaign yard signs when she promised not to, the organization said.

"We're very disappointed," Outdoor Circle Executive Director Mary Steiner said yesterday.

Steiner said Catalani is the only candidate that she knows of to break the pledge this year.

The determination by the nonprofit organization came after Steiner received about a dozen phone calls about Catalani's signs and after Steiner talked to Catalani.

Catalani, however, contended that she didn't break the pledge because she received the blessing of the organization through an Outdoor Circle Windward representative to go ahead and put up the signs.

Steiner said she has not yet heard from the volunteer who spoke to Catalani but the volunteer doesn't have the authority to speak on behalf of the entire organization on this subject.

Catalani's predicament became political fodder early yesterday for her Republican opponent, Charles Djou.

"Over and over the public is frustrated with two-faced politicians," Djou said.

Djou said the signs began appearing in Kaneohe yards over the weekend.

Djou said the issue is not so much the signs but the perception that incumbents "say one thing and do another. This is another evidence of the same thing."

Djou didn't sign the Outdoor Circle's pledge. "I didn't agree with it," he said.

Catalani said when she first signed the pledge, she asked a representative what would happen if her opponent ended up putting out more than 100 signs. She said she was told she could then disregard the pledge.

Last week, she called the Outdoor Circle again before she put out any signs and the person she talked to gave her the go-ahead, Catalani said.

This is the second time these two candidates are challenging each other for the House District 47 seat which covers Kaneohe, Heeia and Ahuimanu.

In 1998, Catalani beat Djou by 190 votes. Observers said this year's race also is expected to be close.

Steiner said she realizes that some of the races this year are tight, but many candidates have taken the pledge to heart and look to it as a serious part of their campaigns.

The Outdoor Circle also believes that candidates don't need to clutter island yards to win their races.

"To win an effective campaign, you don't really need the signs," Steiner said. "There are other ways."

Catalani's name has appeared in two announcements by the organization listing the names of candidates who have taken the pledge, but her name will not appear in another one scheduled to be released after the general election, Steiner said.

Even though the final announcement won't come out until after the election, Catalani could feel a backlash from those unhappy with a littering of campaign signs, Steiner said.

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