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Kobayashi wins support


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POSTED: Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mayoral candidate Ann Kobayashi plans to unveil a new mass-transit plan next week - a compromise she reached to receive the endorsement yesterday of former opponent Panos Prevedouros.

Kobayashi declined repeatedly yesterday to provide more details on her new transit plan, saying only that it is a hybrid of her preference of enhanced buses, or “;a rubber-tire system on concrete,”; and Prevedouros' plan of building more dedicated highway lanes and tolls.

The endorsement was expected and can give Kobayashi a boost in her race against incumbent Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Prevedouros and Kobayashi have remained friendly - almost supportive - on the campaign trail by appearing at most of the same community events and even sign-waving at the same spot the day before the Sept. 20 primary election.

“;I wholeheartedly endorse Ann Kobayashi for mayor,”; Prevedouros said yesterday afternoon at a news conference in Kobayashi's campaign headquarters in Manoa. “;Why am I doing this? Because we will work together to make Honolulu a better place. Ann and I both understand that there is cost-effective solutions for traffic.”;

After his primary-election loss with 17 percent of the vote, Prevedouros said he did not have any plans on endorsing Kobayashi because of their drastic differences on mass transit.

He said he changed his mind after meeting with Kobayashi during the past week to come up with a new transit plan.

Kobayashi has also named Prevedouros her “;chief adviser for infrastructure”; for her campaign. She declined to say whether she'd offer Prevedouros a job with the city if elected mayor.

“;I've always been against any system that requires rail in our roads,”; Kobayashi said.

Hannemann, who is in Miami for a conference, also hopes to capture some of Prevedouros' supporters and the nearly 29,000 votes he garnered in the primary election.

“;Panos did well in his first attempt at public office and we welcome his supporters to review our record of leadership and accomplishments,”; Hannemann said in a statement.

Hannemann criticized Kobayashi's plans for mass transit. Kobayashi supported the crucial 2006 bill approving construction of an elevated system, but differed from Hannemann's selection of a steel-rail system.

“;Ann has said she supports public transportation, but she has not provided any details to substantiate the dubious cost estimates and other questionable claims about the elevated bus system she recklessly touts,”; Hannemann said.

Kobayashi has only a few more weeks to tout her new plan before the Nov. 4 general election, which has a ballot question to determine the fate of Hannemann's proposed $4 billion rail transit system.

Kobayashi said if voters approve the City Charter amendment question on the rail system, she would throw her support behind building a rail system.

“;I listen to the voters,”; she said.