Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, September 24, 2001

Anonymous mail calls
Rep. Espero a cheater

The first shots of the 2002 state elections were apparently fired recently after state Rep. Willie Espero (D, Ewa Beach) complained about a smear campaign against him.

Espero complained on Friday about an anonymous flier mailed to Ewa Beach residents that called him a cheater for buying $39.12 in food at a military-only commissary although he is not a member of any armed service.

"He cheats the commissary. Who else is he willing to cheat?" the mailer said.

Espero said the purchase was made by his mother, a military dependent. He said his campaign committee authorized his mother to buy food to cook at his home for his campaign volunteers during last November's general elections.

"As far as I am concerned, this flier represents an evil smear against an elected official by evil, timid cowards who hide behind the secret shadows of anonymity, and I hope this is not an indication of things to come in the next election cycle," Espero said.

Health audit: The state Health Department's adult Mental Health Division will be the subject of a state House Health Committee audit scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. today in the state Capitol, Conference Room 329.

State Auditor Marion Higa, state Health Director Bruce Anderson and Public Safety Director Ted Sakai will be among those scheduled to appear before the committee.

The audit cited patient safety, treatment and management problems at the State Hospital, problems that state officials say they are already addressing.

Committee Chairman Dennis Arakaki called the audit a blueprint for improving safety and services.

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