Thursday, July 12, 2001

Kaneshiro considers
running for mayor

He would join 3 others
in their bids to replace
Mayor Jeremy Harris

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Former Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro says he is "seriously considering" a run for mayor next year.

If so, he would join a field that already features announced candidates Councilman Duke Bainum, former Mayor Frank Fasi and former Councilman Mufi Hannemann.

A vacancy is expected in the Honolulu mayor's seat because incumbent Jeremy Harris has announced that he will step down by July 2002 to run for governor. A special, winner-take-all election would need to be held to select a replacement to fill the remaining two years on Harris' four-year term.

Kaneshiro, 52, said he is forming an exploratory committee, having been approached by people from the Republican and Democratic parties. He said he will likely make a decision by the end of the year. Elected city offices are nonpartisan.

"I have a strong feeling about the need to have integrity in government," Kaneshiro said last night. "And we need to restore public confidence in our elected officials."

Kaneshiro has been the attorney for Jonn Serikawa, who testified in a recent kickback trial that he gave Councilman Andy Mirikitani cash after receiving a bonus.

"Unfortunately, I don't think the public is very happy with the performance of their government officials," he said. "We have to restore the public's confidence and get people involved again in government."

Kaneshiro said he garnered 97,000 votes in the 1992 prosecutor's race against Randal Yoshida. That race won him re-election to a seat he first won in 1988.

Kaneshiro declined to run for a third term in 1996 and instead became director of the state Department of Public Safety under Gov. Ben Cayetano.

He left that post in 1999 and has been in private legal practice since then. He also owns a security and investigation company.

Bainum said he is not surprised by Kaneshiro's interest but noted that "until someone declares, it's just speculation."

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