Sparks still flying over Lingle-Iwase debate
The debate between richly funded Republican Gov. Linda Lingle and underdog Democratic challenger Randy Iwase has triggered the first aggressive attacks of the general election campaign.
Before Friday's debate was even over, Lingle's campaign had sent several mass e-mails to discredit statements Iwase was making during the debate, calling them "Iwase's Myths."
Democratic Party leaders responded after the debate, saying the governor's statements were "misrepresentations, misleading and erroneous."
"My opponent made so many misstatements," Lingle said after the debate. "Mr. Iwase wants to try and rewrite our history now, and the people of Hawaii are well aware of what's been achieved." She said Iwase's inexperience showed during the debate.
E-mails sent to supporters and news media even as the debate was still under way claimed Iwase spread untruths about the state's sex offender registry, sending prisoners to the mainland and building a detention facility on the islands. But the Democratic Party responded Saturday in a statement assailing Lingle's record on homelessness, tax cuts and education. Iwase repeatedly criticized her big campaign budget.
"If you get $6 million, you can have a lot of people with a lot of computers creating fiction," Iwase said. "I tried to answer questions to the best of my ability, as honestly as possible. What I did here was not scripted."
Lingle pointed out Iwase's votes to increase the state's gas tax by 45 percent as a state senator and to raise gas taxes by 4 cents per gallon as a Honolulu councilman. She pressured him to name the community where he would prefer to build a prison in Hawaii for state inmates rather than sending them to privately run detention centers in Arizona.
She also countered his claim that the designation of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a national monument was granted by the Bush administration to compensate for its lack of support on federal recognition for native Hawaiians, which was shot down in the Senate in June.
"There's absolutely no connection that I'm aware of, and I don't know how he would know something like this," Lingle said. "Mr. Iwase said things that simply were not true."
Democrats blamed Lingle for inaction on listing known sex offenders on the Internet, fighting high gas prices and reducing homelessness on Hawaii's beaches.
State Democratic Party Chairman Mike McCartney said Lingle was distorting her record and spreading mistruths about the issues discussed during the debate.
"Once again, Gov. Lingle and her advisers have done what they've always done best: spin, spin, spin," McCartney said in a statement.
Hannemann plans nine-day trip to Asia
Mayor Mufi Hannemann leaves today for Okinawa and South Korea, where he will inspect rail transit systems and promote Honolulu tourism and economic development.
"These are ancestral homelands for sizable segments of Honolulu's populace," Hannemann said in a news release about the nine-day trip. "On this trip we hope to not only strengthen cultural bonds, but also invite and seek greater economic interaction between Honolulu and both Okinawa and Korea."
In Okinawa the mayor will attend the 4th Worldwide Uchinanchu (people of Okinawan descent) Festival with more than 1,100 members of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association. Hannemann will meet with government officials, including the mayor of Naha, which has been a sister city to Honolulu since 1960, and visit the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, where he will present a floral offering in memory of those who died in the World War II Battle of Okinawa.
In Korea, Hannemann will visit the cities of Seoul, Pusan and Incheon. The trip is being underwritten by POSCO Engineering and Construction and Younglim Engineering and Construction, the mayor's office said. Hannemann also is expected to meet with the mayors of Incheon, which has been a sister city with Honolulu since 2003, and Seoul, which has been a sister city with Honolulu since 1973.
Until Hannemann returns Oct. 18, Managing Director Wayne Hashiro will be acting mayor.
Associated Press and Star-Bulletin staff