Bainum pushes to end
Honolulu mayoral candidate Duke Bainum unveiled his plan for fixing city government yesterday but he avoided criticizing the Harris administration.
He said his seven-step plan, which he presented at a luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club of Honolulu, includes taking the politics out of decision-making and reinvesting in the city's infrastructure.
Bainum said he would eliminate the influence of campaign contributions in the awarding of city contracts. But he made no reference to the city contractors being prosecuted for making illegal contributions to Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.
Instead, Bainum described contributions-for-contracts as a 50-year-old practice that needs to end.
And he said the city needs to spend its money on hiring police officers, filling potholes and fixing the sewer system instead of building more soccer fields and tennis courts. He said the Waipio Soccer Complex and Central Oahu Regional Park "are great projects but we gotta make sure that we can maintain that project once we build it."
Bainum's chief opponent, Mufi Hannemann, said, "You can't have it both ways."
He said Bainum was a member of a City Council that approved spending on those and other Harris projects that diverted money from basic services. But now Bainum is trying to distance himself from Harris, Hannemann said.
Honesty in government and focusing on basic services are also major themes of Hannemann's campaign.
When a Rotary member asked Bainum how is he different from Hannemann, Bainum described their leadership styles. "I'm a consensus builder. My opponent's reputation is not as consensus builder."
He said that is why Hannemann's tenure as council chairman was so short.
Hannemann said Bainum "exemplified political opportunism. He sided with a popular mayor. Now he can't run fast enough away from the mayor."
Hannemann said he has the ability to lead by consensus and did, for the right reasons, "To stand up for the people. I always opposed wasteful spending."