CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
The three front-runners for the mayor's race appeared yesterday on KHNL News 8's morning show. Panos Prevedouros sat in a back room while clips of his campaign aired.
Candidates stand ground in TV forum
The front-runners include personal jabs while discussing rail and city infrastructure
The three front-runners for the mayor's race made their final appearance together yesterday on a local morning news show two days before tomorrow's primary.
The late entrance of Mayor Mufi Hannemann's opponents - City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and University of Hawaii at Manoa engineering professor Panos Prevedouros - allowed for only two months of campaigning and few public appearances with all three candidates.
Speaking separately to KHNL News 8's morning show anchor Kristine Uyeno, the candidates reiterated their stances on the largest issues of the race: Hannemann's proposed $4 billion rail transit system, the declining economy and Oahu's aging infrastructure system.
Hannemann, appearing last of the three during a 30-minute live segment, said, "This is not the time for on-the-job training," referring to the recent meltdown on Wall Street.
Prevedouros, a first-time political candidate and a staunch rail critic, said he would help boost the economy by prioritizing and staggering major projects in Honolulu, such as fixing the sewers and major water mains.
"That's the No. 1 solution of generating jobs," Prevedouros said.
Kobayashi has been a constant critic of Hannemann's rail transit plan, saying that information on the multibillion-dollar rail plans is cloaked in secrecy.
The candidates also took jabs at each other.
Responding to a question by Uyeno on why there isn't a planned stop at the airport for the rail system, Hannemann placed some of the blame on Kobayashi.
"Ann could have been the fifth vote but she chose not to," Hannemann said referring to a critical 5-4 vote by the City Council in 2005 for the alignment to go to Salt Lake instead of the airport.
Kobayashi has remained critical of Hannemann's repeated dismissals to commit to stay in office four years if re-elected.
"I promise four years of open, honest government," Kobayashi said. "I'm not using this as a stepping stone. I'm not trying to leave a legacy behind."
The campaign was relatively quiet over the past two months. Hannemann ran the most advertisements and had the largest campaign fund: more than $2.5 million raised. The candidates appeared together in events reported by the media only twice - at a mayoral forum at the Filipino Community Center and a live televised debate last week.
"The personal insults, the attacks and the distortion of my record are not working," Hannemann said after yesterday's TV appearance. "You can't answer every petty criticism that they put up there."
At yesterday's taping, the three were friendly to each other but had little interaction. Hannemann said a quick "Good morning, Ann," and told Prevedouros good luck on the birth of his child expected just a week after the primary election.