Big island mayor
COURTESY OF HADLEY CATALANO
Big Island mayoral candidate Angel Pilago, center with lei, and his supporters were all smiles, flashing shakas early last night. Pilago was headed for a runoff spot in the Nov. 4 general election.
Kenoi, beating rumors, advances
HILO » Big Island mayoral candidate Billy Kenoi, a former aide to Mayor Harry Kim, took an early, commanding lead over his seven competitors and never lost it.
Kenoi flirted with the 50 percent mark in the nonpartisan primary race, which would have given him an outright win, but he couldn't quite reach it.
State Sen. Lorraine Inouye, trying for a comeback to the mayor's post she held in the early 1990s, and County Councilman Angel Pilago ran neck-and-neck for the second spot much of the night. But in the final tally, Pilagro pulled ahead and now moves on to the general election runoff against Kenoi.
Councilman Stacy Higa was a distant fourth.
Trailing still further were lesser known candidates Randy Riley, Jasper Moore, Sam Masilomoney and Joseph Barrozo Jr.
ROD THOMPSON / RTHOMPSON@STARBULLETIN.COM
Big Island mayoral candidate Lorraine Inouye was enthusiastic moments after seeing a report on KITV4. The state senator was trying to return to the mayor's post.
The results gave mixed answers one area of pre-election speculation - whether personal difficulties would hurt Higa and Kenoi.
They might have affected Higa. He was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint, although he was not named as a defendant in a federal case against the county. The county lost.
Higa repeatedly and vigorously said he did no wrong.
Kenoi, on the other hand, was hammered in anonymous e-mails and on a Web site after an anonymous person circulated a police report about his alleged involvement in a 2004 bar fight.
But court proceedings did not find Kenoi guilty of wrongdoing.
Determining real policy differences among the top four was difficult.
For example, they all promised to solve a growing solid-waste crisis.
Kenoi said a high priority would be improving county bus transportation between Hilo and West Hawaii for resort workers.
Pilago, from West Hawaii, said he wants to implement equal services islandwide, a reference to the fact that many West Hawaii residents feel they generate the majority of property tax income for the county, but don't get their fair share in projects.
A former aide to Mayor Kim and former aide to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, Kenoi repeatedly showed detailed knowledge of issues.
Inouye countered with detailed lists of her accomplishments as mayor from 1990 to 1992.
Kim could not run for re-election because of term limits.
Big Island Mayor
Puna, Big Island
"I think he represents a fresh new start for the island of Hawaii."
"I think she's a really caring person."
Puna, Big Island
He was undecided until the last minute. "I was at a friend's house. He said this guy's honest. He talked me into voting for him."