Thursday, February 25, 1999

Star-Bulletin, Hawaii News 8 Poll

Many rate mayor
Harris neutral

''s hard to say anything
about him,' says one

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


More people still like him than dislike him.

But even more people have no opinion of Mayor Jeremy Harris, according to the most recent Honolulu Star-Bulletin/Hawaii News 8 poll.

Of 428 people surveyed statewide, 35 percent gave him a favorable rating, the same percentage as Gov. Ben Cayetano. Margin of error on the poll is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Art That's a significant drop from the 47 percent favorable rating Harris got in a poll conducted in March 1998. In that poll, Cayetano got only a 29 percent favorable rating.

Still, Harris' unfavorable rating is 19 percent, only a slight increase from the 15 percent he got 11 months ago.

Harris, who has been the city's top gun since 1994, still elicits a 44 percent neutral rating.

Judy Fujimoto, a Palolo physician, probably sums it up for many people when asked to describe her feelings about Mayor Jeremy Harris.

"He's kind of quiet about what he does," said Fujimoto, 34. "He's kind of a likable guy, and it's hard to say anything bad about him."

Others interviewed at Ala Moana Center this week feel the same way.

"I think he's fair and he's done a decent job," said Wahiawa dietician Shirley Seeger, 43. "He hasn't gotten himself into a lot of scandals."

In terms of job performance, 9 percent of those polled said they felt Harris was doing an excellent job while 30 percent thought he was doing a good job. Forty-three percent said the mayor is doing a fair job while 15 percent called his performance poor.

Harris thinks his drop in popularity has a lot to do with the hard decisions he's had to make in the past year, particularly his trimmed down budget and mass reorganization of city government.

"I recognize that the past few years have been difficult," the mayor said.

Tracy Redoble, a downtown pizza delivery driver, thinks Harris has done a good job reallocating the city's resources during tough budget times.

"I know he's making some people mad, but you can't satisfy everybody," said Redoble, 34.

Wesley Grant, a 28-year-old medical assistant from Manoa, thinks of Harris as one of the Democratic Party's old boys.

"Hawaii's stayed Democratic for God knows how long," Grant said. "It's time to be getting new blood."

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