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Mayor deflects criticism


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POSTED: Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mayor Mufi Hannemann reiterated criticism that his opponent Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi entered the race in a back-room deal, as he tried to deflect her attacks that he would not serve a full term if re-elected.

Hannemann has repeatedly raised his suspicions that a deal was cut between Kobayashi and his 2004 mayoral opponent, Duke Bainum, in which she entered the mayor's race and dropped out of her City Council re-election race at the last minute, thus allowing Bainum to run for her seat uncontested.

His comments came after Kobayashi again criticized him for not ruling out a run for higher office halfway through a second term.

“;If I in fact do leave, there will be a lot of notification, not like Ann, with back-room deals,”; Hannemann said yesterday. “;She said she wanted to run to give people a choice. She should look at the mirror and look at herself and ask, Did she give her people a choice?”;

Kobayashi responded by saying Hannemann “;always expresses his opinion”; and that “;he should just pick up the phone and call Duke Bainum himself.”;

Hannemann has declined to commit to serving out a four-year term if re-elected, while Kobayashi emphasizes to voters that she would be mayor for the full term.

“;I commit to four years of open and honest government,”; Kobayashi said Tuesday at a mayoral forum at Leeward Community College. “;We are working on a four-year plan.”;

Meanwhile, with less than two weeks left until the Nov. 4 general election, both candidates are aggressively pushing their own mass transit plan while criticizing their opponent's plan.

Hannemann's campaign launched a newspaper advertisement yesterday calling Kobayashi's transit plan a “;half-baked manapua,”; and has frequently referred to it as a “;slogan.”;

“;You don't put together a plan to spend $3 billion in three weeks,”; Hannemann said. “;Our plan has been around for four years. Ann's vision, slogan, will take us back to day one.”;

Both candidates have been loose with the estimated figures for their opponent's transit plans. In speeches and public comments, Hannemann says Kobayashi's “;EZWay”; transit plan, a 40-mile line that includes an elevated three-lane highway, would cost $3 billion, although her campaign estimates it to be $2.5 billion. Those figures have not been scrutinized by state or federal transportation agencies.

Kobayashi has said Hannemann's rail transit system will cost $6.5 billion, but the city estimates it at $3.7 billion, or $5 billion after inflation.

Kobayashi notes that these figures are for an initial planned 20-mile segment, but a future expansion to Manoa and the airport adds up to more.

“;I don't talk about slogans because this is a serious matter,”; Kobayashi said. “;We stand by our EZWay plan. We're standing by those numbers, and I'd like to know the actual numbers for his numbers for his plan. I think the citizens deserve to know before they vote on Nov. 4th.”;