By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, May 23, 1998

Harris won't challenge
Cayetano in primary

Honolulu's mayor joins a chorus of other
voices calling for Democratic Party unity

By Mike Yuen


Stressing the theme of Democratic Party unity, Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris Saturday said he will remain in his office and not challenge Gov. Ben Cayetano in November.

"It's no secret that the governor and I have had our differences," Harris said to the 1,000 delegates and 300 alternates at the party's biennial state convention.

"On some major issues, we've disagreed. But the Democratic Party is a big tent. It has room for differences of opinion. That's what makes our party strong."

The announcement ends months of speculation over Harris' intentions. The mayor explained that he's not running for governor because he shares common values with Cayetano, who he is endorsing, and believes the Democratic Party is the only one that can lead the state through tough times.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye urged his fellow Democrats to dedicate themselves to the re-election of the embattled governor and to end internal fighting "before we destroy ourselves."

"To you, Ben Cayetano, I pledge my support. You are a tough man for these tough times. (You're) short on protocol but tall on courage and integrity," Inouye said.

"During these tough economic times, Ben has been forced to make painful decisions. I do not envy him, but I respect him for his leadership and his spirit," Inouye said

Cayetano said in his address, "We continue to be the best hope for Hawaii's future - and we can only win through unity."

He acknowledged Harris, saying, "I'd like to say here and now how much I appreciate the support of my friend and colleague, the mayor of Honolulu."

The calls for solidarity echoing throughout the convention come at a time when public-opinion polls reveal widespread public disenchantment with Cayetano and the Democratic-dominated Legislature.

Republicans believe they can make major gains, including winning the governorship for the first time since 1959.

Inside the 25,000-member Hawaii Democratic Party, there's tension between liberals, who since 1994 have controlled the party apparatus and who want elected Democrats to more closely follow the party platform, and moderates, who see the liberals as ideologues.

Fearing their race for party chairman could splinter the party, former Lt. Gov. Tom Gill, who draws his support from the party's liberal wing, and retired state appellate Judge Walter Heen, a moderate, sent a joint open letter to convention delegates that said both have pledged "undiminished support" for whoever wins tomorrow. Gill and Heen stressed that it is "critical that we remain unified."

This weekend tops fatal holidays-courtesy of drivers who drink

Memorial Day weekend has replaced New Year's Eve as the deadliest holiday for drunken driving, according to national statistics and local police.

Oahu now has more drunken-driving arrests and accidents during the Memorial Day weekend than any other holiday, said Officer Robert Medeiros of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Division.

Nationwide, 245 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes over Memorial Day in 1997, according to preliminary statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"We're getting close to graduation and proms," Medeiros said.

"More people are out of school and on the road. More people are going to picnics and drinking. It starts early too, around 6 p.m. People begin drinking right away."

To further emphasize the danger, the day before Memorial Day - Sunday - historically has been the worst day in Hawaii for drunken-driving collisions, said Karl Kim, a professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Hawaii, who has done a study on the subject.

There are 2.7 times more alcohol-related accidents on the day preceding Memorial Day than on a typical weekday, said Kim, who looked at state statistics from 1986 to 1993.

Mighty Mo heads to Hawaii

Residents of Bremerton, Wash., bid a reluctant farewell to the USS Missouri Saturday as the historic battleship began a month-long journey to its final resting place at Pearl Harbor.

"We are forging ahead," said Roy Yee, president of the USS Missouri Memorial Association, which won a bid to have the Mighty Mo brought to Hawaii, over the objections of people in Bremerton, its home for 36 years.

The site of Japan's formal surrender at the end of World War II, the ship will be moored near the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, in a poignant juxtaposition that marks the beginning and the end of U.S. involvement in World War II.

A Bremerton, Wash., group called Missouri on the Mainland filed a lawsuit Wednesday in a federal court in Tacoma, Wash., but failed to stop the ship's departure.

Symphony dispute nears resolution

The heat no longer is on "Miss Saigon," with the city expected to announce an agreement next week resolving a scheduling conflict with the Honolulu Symphony.

The national touring company of "Miss Saigon" wants to use the Blaisdell Concert Hall for eight to 12 weeks, beginning in September 1999. That conflicted with the symphony's Classical and Pops openings.

City and symphony officials reportedly have reached an agreement that lets the orchestra use the concert hall for 10 concerts through Sept. 28, then vacate the venue until early January.

One of the obstacles in reaching an agreement was getting January weekend dates for the symphony because the concert hall is reserved.

But the Hawaii Opera Theatre has agreed verbally to let the symphony use the hall Jan. 16-17 when the opera company would only be loading in equipment and not performing, sources said.

City officials yesterday said they are "hopeful" and "confident" the dispute would be resolved next week.

See expanded coverage in Saturday's Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
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