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Monday, September 25, 2000

Campaign 2000



Harris breezes past
his rivals from
Waikiki to Waianae

Harris 'confident' but puzzled
about 39% Oahu turnout

More election coverage:
Bullet Harris won't discuss 2002
Bullet Hot races to watch Nov. 7
Bullet Legislators ponder leadership
Bullet City Council freshmen enthusiastic outsiders
Bullet Neighbor Island Council comeback bids.
Bullet Big Island voters want change
Bullet Full election results

By Richard Borreca

Down on a precinct level, where races are won, Jeremy Harris dominated the campaign for Honolulu mayor, winning 194 precincts, while challenger Mufi Hannemann was able to win only 20 precincts.

Former Mayor Frank Fasi did not win any precincts. In fact, the figures show that areas once considered "Fasi country," such as Waikiki and Kalihi, are now firmly in the Harris camp.

The voting results show the mayor was easily able to handle Hannemann's challenge.

"We were fairly confident, but only concerned about voter turnout. We couldn't figure out a low turnout," Harris said yesterday.

Oahu had only 39 percent turnout, but even so, Harris was able to hold the areas he needed to win. Included in Harris' win column were most of the heavily populated urban areas of Honolulu.

Harris said he was hoping to do well in the Ewa and Waipahu, Kailua, East Honolulu and North Shore areas.

A check of the vote returns by precinct shows that Harris accomplished much of his game plan.

Hannemann, a former City Council chairman, won only portions of his former Council district and the Hawaiian or Samoan voting areas of Papakolea and Laie.

One of Hannemann's supporters, former City Councilwoman Donna Mercado Kim, now a candidate for the state Senate, complained that Harris maximized his vote by staging park dedications and planning meetings to tie in with his campaign.

Harris strategists said the campaign expected to win support of Filipino-American and white voters, but the Japanese-American voter was not secure.

"He really courted the Filipino and Chinese voters," Kim said.

Harris and Hannemann, both Democrats although the race was nonpartisan, did well in traditional Democratic areas, such as Palolo and Kapahulu. Harris won the Crane Playground precinct by only 11 votes.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Mufi Hannemann and wife, Gail, wave to motorists
this morning on Kamehameha Highway near
McGrew Point.

One of Harris' biggest sources of strength was Waikiki, where he dominated Hannemann and Fasi. At Ala Wai Elementary School, Harris won with 462 votes, while Hannemann had 214 and Fasi just 98. In the district of Kapolei, Harris again was in control. At Makakilo Elementary School precinct, Harris had 512, while Hannemann had 299 votes and Fasi 180.

In Lanikai, a predominantly white area, Harris won with 414 votes compared to Hannemann's 131 and Fasi's 76.

In the predominantly Hawaiian areas of Waimanalo, Hannemann was a winner, picking up 685 votes to Harris' 605 votes.

But along the Leeward coast with the heavy Hawaiian population in Waianae, Harris had more votes than Fasi and Hannemann combined. The only exception was the Nanakuli Elementary School precinct, which Hannemann won.

By Craig T. Kojima, Star-Bulletin
Jeremy and Ramona Harris are jubilant after
hearing the election results at their campaign
headquarters at Nimitz and Merchant. Harris
did well in most of the heavily populated urban
areas of Honolulu, and despite a low voter
turnout on Oahu, he carried the key areas
he needed to win.

Mayor won’t discuss
2002 governor run

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Mayor Jeremy Harris says his primary night re-election victory does not bring him a step closer to announcing a candidacy for governor in 2002.

Political pundits, among them foes Mufi Hannemann and Frank Fasi, said that a primary win by Harris would propel him into the driver's seat in the 2002 gubernatorial election.

The pundits also said Harris troops were worried that being forced into a general election would leave his campaign war chest depleted, add to his political scars and stop his momentum.

But by a mere 1,312 votes, a fraction of a percentage point, Harris was able to collect more than 50 percent of the votes over his opponents combined.

It was a feat he could not accomplish in the 1996 primary when he fell 1,415 votes shy of besting a field headed by former Councilman Arnold Morgado.

The 49-year-old Honolulu mayor, however, disdained such talk as he looked ahead toward his seventh year as mayor.

"I feel good that the voters on this island chose to elect me outright in a primary election with eight candidates and to give me a majority of the votes," Harris said. "That's quite an honor and I intend to do my best to do a good job."

But what about 2002?

"The situation hasn't changed," Harris said. "I wasn't being disingenuous. The truth of the matter is I'm the mayor of this city, I enjoy being the mayor, and I have a number of things on my plate that I want to get accomplished."

During televised debates two weeks ago, Harris openly acknowledged that "I aspire to be governor." Whether he would try to reach that goal in two years, he said yesterday, will be decided "at the appropriate time."

He refused to discuss a timetable for making that decision, saying: "I'm not going to set a deadline."

Harris said the main focus of his administration in the coming term will be on five issues:

Bullet Finishing improvements in Waikiki to help restimulate the visitor industry.
Bullet Completing the new Kapolei civic center and other improvements in Oahu's second city.
Bullet Continuing expansion of recreation facilities such as the Waiola Central Park and other recreational facilities, including skate facilities and bikeways.
Bullet Completing an integrated transit system, conceived by the community-based Oahu Trans2K process, which includes a hub-and-spoke concept in rural areas and an electric trolley or bus through the center of town.
Bullet Continuing efforts to establish Honolulu as "the place for (technology and professional services) businesses to locate if they want to do business with Asia."

Harris said he's happy with the election of Romy Cachola and Gary Okino to replace longtime City Council foes Donna Mercado Kim and Mufi Hannemann.

The mayor has enjoyed tranquil relations with the nine-member Council since Jon Yoshimura ousted Hannemann as chairman in spring 1999 and Harris said he expects that to continue.

As for his cabinet, Harris said he and his advisors will sit down to "evaluate everybody's performance, make decisions on what kind of changes you want, see which people are interested in staying on and which people have other plans."

Harris declined to discuss talk that at least some department heads have told him they would not join him in another term. "No decisions have been made yet, but we have three months before the new term starts," he said.

Hannemann said that nearly half the voters chose not to vote for Harris and suggested that he heed issues brought up by his opponents - particularly if he intends to run for governor.

The former Councilman talked about his own call for better fiscal accountability in the wake of the Ewa Villages scandal and a need for a city auditor. Hannemann also reiterated his call to launch more economic initiatives and form more partnerships with the state Department of Education.

City Council

Bullet Chairman Yoshimura says the
working relationship with the
mayor is good so Cachola and Okino
will likely plug holes on committees

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Don't expect Romy Cachola and Gary Okino - the newest members of the nine-member Honolulu City Council -- to immediately take major leadership roles.

Even before the first returns were announced Saturday night, Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura said the two freshmen members would likely be plugging holes on committees, maybe taking on committee chairmanships, but not be assigned key posts.

"I don't see a major restructuring unfolding," Yoshimura said while taking in Mayor Jeremy Harris' election night festivities. "We have a nice working relationship now (with the mayor) and we just want to bring the new Council members into the fold."

The vacancies left by the recent departures of Mufi Hannemann and Donna Mercado Kim - who both resigned to run for other offices - meant a shuffling in committee chairmanships, Yoshimura noted.

The election means a new round of changes are coming. Yoshimura said he likely will relinquish his reins on the Policy Committee and assign one of the two rookies to chair it.

Additionally, the parks and recreation responsibilities of Steve Holmes' Public Works, Environment and Parks Committee will likely be spun off and merged with the public safety functions of John Henry Felix's Planning and Public Safety Committee, the chairman said.

"But nothing's been set in stone yet," Yoshimura said.

Both Cachola and Okino were too busy basking in the glow of victory at yesterday's Democratic Party Unity Breakfast to worry too much about what kind of immediate impact they would have on the Council.

Cachola, a 16-year veteran of the state House of Representatives, said he said he would take whatever assignment is given to him.

"Right now, I consider myself a rookie and I'm willing to learn," Cachola said. "I don't even know right now what the committees are on the Council, but that's the reason why I want to talk to the Council chair and the other members to see where I fit in."

He said his main concerns for his community are public safety and traffic, so he would like to serve on committees dealing with those issues.

Okino said given his 30-plus years as a city planner, he would not mind chairing either the Zoning or Planning committees.

But the first-time elected official also noted he wanted to have a say in budget and transportation matters as well.

"I don't know how many committees I can belong to but I have so many ideas, my mind's going crazy!" he said, noting that he'd gladly accept assignment to all eight Council committees.

Yoshimura noted that the two newcomers have very different backgrounds and personalities.

"I'm excited because it's going make things very interesting on the Council," he said. "Not that they aren't already."

Barring challenges to the election results, the two men will be sworn in Oct. 13. Okino (Aiea to Waipahu) and Cachola (Kalihi to Halawa) will serve out the two remaining years on the terms left by Hannemann and Kim.

Primary Election Results

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