THE COUNTIES - KAUAI
STAR-BULLETIN / 2002
Four years ago, Bryan Baptiste, left, defeated Ron Kouchi to become Kauai mayor. In the Sept. 23 primary, four candidates will make a run against the incumbent.
Kauai mayor's rivals mostly newcomers
The four criticize Baptiste's handling of development and the strain on infrastructure
LIHUE » Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste will square off against four challengers in the Sept. 23 primary election: three with no political experience and Jesse Fukushima, who has been out of politics since 1996.
Baptiste said he was most proud of progress made in the war on drugs, traffic relief in the Kapaa area, expanding public transportation and supporting perpetual access and responsible development.
But it is a lack of leadership in areas such as responsible development and the overburdening of Kauai's infrastructure that his opponents mention as their reasons for getting in the race.
Fukushima, who was a councilman from 1980 to 1996, said he is running to provide Kauai with a "strong sense of direction on where it needs to be going." A landscape designer who has put his business on hold to campaign, Fukushima said he has strong leadership skills.
John Hoff, a substitute teacher and general contractor, said he is strictly for fixing Kauai's solid-waste and property tax problems, and putting more money into Kauai residents' pockets through property tax reform.
Janee Marie Taylor said her extremely strong leadership skills would bring the Hawaiian concept of pono -- balance and righteousness -- back to Kauai government. Taylor said, "Over the years, I've seen the quality of life go down."
Bruce Pleas said he had spent more time in county meetings, especially for planning, than most people on the boards over the past eight years. Pleas said that he would run a more open, effective, transparent county that allowed the community to present its ideas.