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Tuesday, October 24, 2000

Campaign 2000

A Look At Hot Legislative Races


Fukunaga takes aim at
traffic, transit issues

North Shore contenders

Richard Borreca

SAYING he thought Hawaii needed more of a choice, Republican Aaron Peterson, a self-employed economist, decided to run against state Sen. Carol Fukunaga, a Democrat who has been in the legislature since 1979.

"I watched and saw no one was filing to run, so I decided someone has to step up," said Peterson, who came to Hawaii nine years ago from Minnesota.

"I came here right out of high school. I went to college here, and then worked at the University of Hawaii," he said.

Peterson is running a low-budget campaign, consisting of walking door-to-door in the district that runs from Round Top through Sheridan Tract to Ala Moana.

"I'm not actively raising funds for the campaign, I'm out in the community, stopping people in parks, just talking," he said.

In contrast, Fukunaga, co-chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee, is setting up community meetings to discuss issues ranging from traffic congestion along the H-1 corridor to repairing Roosevelt High School.

Fukunaga also is co-sponsoring informational briefings about the city's plans for an expanded bus transit system.

"There's been a lot of improvements since the city's original plans," she said.

Unresolved, however, is how the district will finally judge Fukunaga's votes not to confirm former Attorney General Margery Bronster and state budget director Earl Anzai for a second term.

Fukunaga said she didn't think Bronster was a good manager, but the high number of blank votes in her primary election, 2,290 or 35 percent of the Democratic primary vote, indicates that there are concerns.

"Some people have brought up the issue," Fukunaga said.

"I hope the voters will be looking at all of what I have done over the years," she added.

Peterson said he has heard from others who will vote against Fukunaga because of her vote against Bronster, adding that he also didn't approve of the vote.


Tantalus, Makiki

Carol Fukunaga (D)
Background: Elected to 1978 Constitutional Convention; to state House in 1978; to state Senate in 1982

Aaron Peterson (R)
Economist, private consultant
Background: Raised in Minnesota; degrees in economics and math from University of Hawaii

North Shore contenders
address land use

Mary Adamski

WHAT the contenders for the North Shore House seat hear on the campaign trail is that familiar bumper sticker refrain: "Keep the country country."

"A lot of residents would like to see moderate development that enhances the country atmosphere," said Democrat Michael Magaoay, 47. "I use the analogy of taking care of your lawn. You need to allow some growth, but basically, you must maintain what you already have."

Magaoay was campaign chairman for outgoing district Rep. Alex Santiago, who chose not to run for re-election.

Helmut "Kalani" Aki, 53, a lifelong North Shore resident, said the state government could do much more to encourage agricultural business to replace the defunct sugar plantation.

"One of the biggest concerns in our district is there is so much dormant agriculture land. People are concerned about whether it goes into construction or stays agriculture," said Aki.

"I have already looked at some alternative uses. I have visited a friend in Illinois, where corn and soy beans are major cash crops, both processed into meal and oil. Why doesn't this state go into production with a cash crop?"

Aki said: "This area is the surfing capital of world. Tourists come to engage in ocean activities, in sky-diving. With more bed-and-breakfast type of accommodations, rather than hotels, we could lure them to stay longer on the North Shore."

Aki grew up in Pupukea and now lives in Waialua. He said he grew up in a family of Democrats, but he switched to the Republican Party two years ago, when his Hawaiian music group was booked for appearances during Linda Lingle's gubernatorial campaign. "I listened to what she was saying and it made a lot of sense."

Magaoay said two of his priorities are supporting education and finding funding for activity centers for youth and for seniors. "My third is keeping the country with the sense of values of its plantation roots, but at the same time finding a way to generate jobs."

Magaoay's father worked at Waialua plantation and, after living elsewhere, he and his wife made the decision to bring their children back to live in Waialua.

"A big problem out here is that our health facilities are limited," said Magaoay. "I'd like to find some state funding for Kahuku Hospital, some kind of grant. For the community to grow, it needs a good medical facility."

The North Shore's lure as a laid-back escape from the urban and suburban elements of the island can also work against it, he said. "People want to just live here and relax, so there's not always the energy to be volunteers in the community and there is the attitude to oppose anything that changes how good it is for them."



Helmut 'Kalani' Aki (R)
Occupation: Heavy equipment operator
Background: Musician with Island Harmony; deacon, Sunset Beach Church of Christ

Michael Magaoay (D)
Occupation: Electrical engineer
Background: Chairman, North Shore Neighborhood Board; member, Catholic Charities board of directors

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