Mayor chastises Djou over transit
The councilman is called an enemy of mass transit over his latest legal challenge
Mayor Mufi Hannemann blasted City Councilman Charles Djou yesterday, echoing criticism from U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie that Djou is trying to sabotage the city's mass-transit bid.
Hannemann singled out Djou as the only government official trying to stand in the way of the proposed mass-transit project.
"I'm still wondering, where's the beef? Where are the specifics on Councilmember Djou's allegations?" Hannemann said at a news conference. "Congressman Abercrombie is right on. If you've got major concerns from the federal standpoint, he should've touched bases with our congressional delegation.
"It's time to put up, or he's going to be standing out there as the person trying to derail this thing, and I'm not going to let that happen. There's too much momentum for this project."
Djou filed a complaint this week with U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General Kenneth Mead, requesting an investigation into the city's award of a $9.7 million contract to examine transit alternatives.
The request comes after the city failed to adequately explain to him how a political supporter of Hannemann became a subcontractor, at the expense of other companies.
Djou said his main concern with the contract award is that taxpayer funds not be wasted and that all laws are followed. While he has not offered specifics, Djou noted that it is the job of the inspector general to look at such matters and determine whether there is a need to pursue criminal charges.
"It really baffles me why in the world people want to be so defensive in a review to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed," Djou said yesterday.
On Thursday, Abercrombie accused Djou of grandstanding, saying he does not have proof of wrongdoing and that his complaint is "sour grapes" because the councilman failed to kill the transit tax increase that the city approved this year to fund the transit project.
Hannemann called it "disingenuous" for Djou to say he supports a mass transit system, most likely light rail, but not the tax increase needed to fund it.
"That's the most disingenuous statement I've heard in the halls of City Hall since I've been here," Hannemann said. "He's trying to stop rail, and I won't allow that to happen."
Djou noted that he has opposed all tax increases since becoming a councilman, and previously as a member of the state House.
"To say it is disingenuous for me to continue opposing the excise tax increase -- I don't know where the mayor's getting that from," Djou said. "I think my record has been pretty clear."