POLITICIANS are schizophrenics -- a truly two-faced bunch. Many do good deeds but are upset if they don't get the credit. Most claim to hate the media while kissing up for front-page coverage. And notice how everybody becomes extremely nice and way more responsive during re-election season?
Their absolute worst character trait, though, is the overblown campaign promise. How often have we heard vows to deliver the moon, stars and sun -- but all we get is a bunch of Mars rocks?
But wait, World Wide Web enthusiasts! Hold on, scrutinizers of government at work!
A recently updated report by the civic-minded POP Accountability Group (PAG) should provide hours of scintillating summer reading, especially if you've ever wanted to ask Governor Cayetano, "What have you done for me lately?"
Find out in this newspaper's online edition (http://star-bulletin.com). Starting today, Cayetano's new and improved campaign-promise fulfillment report will be available for public review on the Internet.
Actually, this project started two years ago, when PAG members first met with Cayetano and Mayor Harris. They asked both leaders to explain in writing whether they had indeed delivered on their pre-election promises since coming into office and, if so, how.
Let's set the scene. It was mid-1996.
Harris was in the midst of a tough re-election run against Arnold Morgado. When PAG came knocking, it was handed 63 pages of data from the mayor's office detailing everything that Harris had done in his first two-year term. It's been online ever since.
Meanwhile, Cayetano also had been in office since 1994 but was busy taming the lion known as the state budget deficit. Thus, Gladiator Ben's responses to PAG's inquiries were sparse and half-hearted.
Not anymore. With 1998 just around the bend, Cayetano & Co. (including prolific speech writer Peter Rosegg, no doubt) have been diligently detailing exactly what the incumbent has accomplished during the past three years.
The result comes to 86 typewritten pages, versus the mayor's 63. You win, Gov!
Actually, it's an impressive roster of achievements, covering such concerns as the economy, environment, Hawaiian issues, health care, housing and ethics.
The online version has links for readers to comment instantly by e-mail. To receive a printed version, call PAG's Dolores Foley at 956-2780 or write to her at the Public Administration Program, College of Social Sciences, UH-Manoa, 2550 Campus Road, Crawford 209F, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.
THE purpose of holding Cayetano and Harris accountable for their campaign promises is not to make them look good, although Lord knows they could use the PR help these days.
PAG and the Star-Bulletin want public feedback. Do the deeds match the words or are they mere self-congratulations?
Don't let the sheer volume of their responses intimidate you. Take it one section at a time. For example, concerned parents, students and teachers should zip to the education portion of the governor's online responses. See if all those things Cayetano says he has done to help the schools are true. If not or if so, let us know -- either way.
Not that we don't believe them, or anything like that. In fact, they are both undoubtedly about as trustworthy as politicians come.