Election 2002


Expect a close race
for Maui mayor

The key election may be votes from
supporters of an environmentalist
who came in third in the primary

Maui charter amendments

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> The race for Maui County mayor is expected to be close, as a result of environmentalist Robert Parsons endorsing challenger Councilman Alan Arakawa.

Arakawa trailed incumbent Mayor James "Kimo" Apana in the primary but would have had the most votes if combined with ballots cast for Parsons.

Apana received 44.3 percent of the votes in the primary, followed by Arakawa with 36.4 percent, Parsons with 13.7 percent and Bill Riddick with 1.1 percent. Blank votes totaled 4.5 percent.

Parsons said he believes the election will be close and that the majority of people who voted for him in the primary will vote for Arakawa in the general election.

"I don't think they're going to stay home," he said.

Parsons, who lives in Kihei, said he felt there was a need for better planning in the county, including South Maui, where there are five major building projects along Piilani Highway.

Both Maui mayoral candidates believe that protecting Maui's environment is one of the keys to winning on election day.

Arakawa said he believes he will be the victor in the general election if the voter turnout is large, especially in West and South Maui regions.

Both candidates say their environmental record is better than their opponent's.

Apana, 41, said his administration initiated a proposed charter amendment to set aside 1 percent of property tax revenues for purchasing land for open space, including parks.

Apana said he also kept the emergency environmental work force active to fight miconia, then dengue fever and later an outbreak of typhus, after there was no state funding.

Arakawa, 51, said he was an early supporter of funding to fight alien species on Maui and pushed for greenways, bikeways and sedimentation basins to control stream runoff.

Arakawa ran as a Republican in the last mayoral race in 1998 and lost to Democratic candidate Apana, 22,350 to 20,301.

A county charter change required nonpartisan mayoral elections this year.

While the number of registered voters has increased in the last four years by more than 10,000 to 77,946 in Maui County, voter turnout in the recent primary was 35.9 percent.

The primary turnout was 47.4 percent four years ago and swelled to 65 percent in the succeeding general election.

The Council race is expected to be close on Molokai between Dennis "Danny" Mateo, aide to the late Council Chairman Patrick Kawano, and former Molokai Main Street Chairwoman Beverly Pauole-Moore.

Another close Council race is expected in Arakawa's Kahului seat between Diana Melehaulani Carroll, who has served as chief of staff for state Sen. J. Kalani English, and Maui Planning Commissioner Joseph Pontanilla.

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