Kobayashi will run for mayor
The council member says she will serve four years and opposes a steel-rail transit system
By Richard Borreca
Manoa City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi is running for mayor against Mufi Hannemann.
She becomes the most recognized opponent to Hannemann, 54, who before today faced only token opposition from fringe candidates and opponents to his plans for a steel- rail transit plan.
Kobayashi has also been an opponent to Hannemann's plans, although she says she is in favor of other transit plans.
This is Kobayashi's second attempt at mayor. She ran in 1994, after serving in the state legislature for 14 years. She was elected to the council in 2002 and has been representing the Manoa-Moiliili area for eight years.
Her plans to run for mayor mean her council seat will be open and she said it is likely there will be several candidates filing today.
Hannemann was in meetings this morning and unable to react to Kobayashi's last minute announcement.
Kobayashi, 71, has tried to change the city's transit plans to include a rubber-tire bus system instead of the steel wheel on rail system that Hannemann has pushed.
Kobayashi said this morning she had two major issues fueling her campaign: Including the public in a rail decision and controlling city spending.
"I feel people are afraid to talk, people say no one is listening to them and they don't have a chance to be heard," Kobayashi said today.
"Also I am concerned about saving money for the taxpayer, I am working on several plans — and all my plans are four-year plans, I will be mayor for all four years," Kobayashi said, drawing attention to Hannemann's reluctance to say if he will remain mayor for the entire four-year term, if he wins re-election.
Kobayashi admits that her campaign faces an immediate disadvantage because Hannemann has raised more than $2 million.
"The problem will be in getting our message out, but money isn't everything.
"I have been in politics for many years and hopefully the people I have dealt with will be people I can call on to help," Kobayashi said.
Also running for mayor is Panos Prevedouros, a University of Hawaii civil engineer professor who has been a critic of the city transit plans.