Know Your Candidates!
October 26, 2006
The 2006 General Election is less than two weeks away. And what a
campaign it's been—full of cheerful, smiling candidates who waved at
you as they stood on the roadside and stayed true to their promise not
to sling any mud or talk any trash about their opponents.
Thank God it's nearly over. Seriously, I can't remember another
election this dull. Other states and counties have more than their fair
share of mud-slinging and sleazy ads. Why can't we?
Anyway, here's our guide to the federal, state and local races that
most affect you Maui voters (Councilmembers Michelle Anderson, Riki
Hokama and Danny Mateo are absent because they ran unopposed and are
pretty much already reelected). Our hope is that you'll read through
it, find some folks you like, and then go out and vote for them. But
failing that, you can always zero in on the candidates you hate and
then vote for their opponents. Either way, it's all part of the magic
we call Democracy.
Voting takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 7, but from now until Nov. 4 you
can vote early at the County Clerk's office, which is located on the
7th floor of the Kalana O Maui Building, 200 S. High Street, Wailuku.
For more information call 270-7749.
(The political party abbreviations listed below are as follows:
D=Democrat; R=Republican; L=Libertarian; G=Green; N=Nonpartisan;
AKAKA, Daniel K. (D)
Very kind, very personable, with political friends and allies from
here to eternity, Akaka—like fellow Senator Dan Inouye—can basically
hold onto his seat until he dies. On most issues a solid progressive,
Akaka did anger the environmental crowd by voting to allow oil drilling
in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Fresh from beating back
insurgent Congressman Ed Case in the Primary Election, Akaka is
extremely well funded and supported.
MALLAN, Lloyd Jeffrey (L)
This 63-year-old Libertarian candidate from Pittsburgh who now lives
in Kapa`a wants an end to what he calls the "militarization" of both
Hawai`i and the U.S. "The military owns twenty-five percent of Hawaiian
land," he wrote in his official candidate statement. "Our Congressional
delegation supports the militarization of Hawai`i, proclaiming that
military presence promotes economic growth. Instead, cost of living
escalates and the ecology becomes destroyed… Militarism devalues the
individual and glorifies the State. Our consciousness must reverse this
THIELEN, Cynthia (R)
Drafted by Governor Lingle and the Republican Machine hours after
incapacitated candidate Jerry Coffee won the nomination, Thielen, 73,
has represented Windward Oahu in the state House since 1990. She
apparently feels the way to beat Akaka is to run to the left of him:
opposing oil drilling in Alaska, asking for a rewrite of Bush
Administration baby No Child Left Behind and demanding more affordable
housing. She currently has virtually no campaign money and about the
same chance of beating Akaka.
U.S. Representative Congressional District 11
HIRONO, Mazie K. (D)
A former state legislator and Lieutenant Governor, Hirono isn't
afraid to label herself a "liberal." She's pro-environment, pro-choice,
wants a hike in the minimum wage and an end to the War in Iraq and tax
breaks for "the top two percent richest people." And she considers the
Bush Administration to be "flat Earth people" who "need to have more
checks and balances."
HOGUE, Bob (R)
Hogue parrots Bush Administration policies, which the last time I
checked included the assertion that the CIA should be able to torture
whoever it sees fit. He also supports continuing the War in Iraq
indefinitely. Do you really need to know more?
WILCOX, Robert K., IV (N)
Wilcox has kept very quiet during the campaign, refusing to talk
with any reporters. But in an exclusive interview with Maui
Time—spurred, he said, by our joke that he was "probably in the race
just to get chicks" ("The Fighting Second," Sept. 14, 2006)—Wilcox said
he was a 65-year-old unemployed Hawaiian "minister of Jesus Christ" who
had been working security at various Westside hotels but had been let
go following the closure of the Kapalua Bay Hotel and now lived at the
Ukumehame campgrounds. "I'm running for the poor people, the homeless,"
he said. "We need to build all new public housing. Development has
gotten out of hand. I'm strictly for the poor." (NOTE: Wilcox didn't
make it onto the ballot, but if you like, write him in!)
BREWER, Jim (G)
Perennial candidate Brewer is a public access television producer
and a Green Party member, which means he wants environmental issues
addressed in a forceful manner and corporate money banned from public
office. It's hard to argue with that, though it would be nice if the
Greens in Hawai`i—or anywhere else in the U.S., for that matter—put
forward stronger campaigns. As it is, Brewer has little money,
organization or chance.
DANIEL, Ozell (L)
Daniel is the kind of guy the American people always say they want
in public office, but rarely ever vote for. Raised in Detroit,
35-year-old Daniel is a comedian, auto mechanic and Honolulu resident
who's running on his experience in both the U.S. Army and jail. "My
life has been start and go, including a tough urban childhood and
unfortunately, like many of our citizens, a stint in jail," he says on
his official campaign statement. "I turned that around and now joke
that [at] least I have gotten my time in jail out of the way before
serving in elective office." As a Libertarian, Daniel wants "a
streamlined government that doesn't waste taxpayer money" or "impose
itself on citizens." Now that's funny.
IWASE, Randy (D)
Far more popular with labor unions than environmentalists, Iwase is
a former Deputy Attorney General, Honolulu City Councilman, state
Senator and Hawai`i Labor and Industrial Relations Appeals Board
chairman. He also personifies the "Democratic Machine" the Republicans
love to rail against. Old Boy or not, Iwase is currently starving for
campaign money in his bid to topple incumbent Linda Lingle.
LINGLE, Linda (R)
The $6 million incumbent. Really, if you don't know anything about
her by now, after more than a year of me writing those little Cunning
Lingle columns, then you're hopeless.
AIONA, James R., Jr. (Duke) (R)
Duke says he's been a "hands-on" lieutenant governor, which I think
is one step above a "pro-active First Lady" in terms of power and
authority. After four years in office, his greatest achievement remains
the time he spent back in 1996 as the state's first Drug Court judge.
ING, Renee (G)
Like Green Party running mate Jim Brewer, this former Honolulu Parks
and Recreation director is a public access TV producer. "Every other
modern, industrialized country has universal healthcare—for
everyone—because it's a more efficient, cost-effective, humane way to
deliver healthcare," she says in her official candidate statement about
an important issue that's gotten little play this election. "Their
average per person healthcare cost is almost $3,000 compared to our
almost $6,000 per person. And though they pay half per person what we
pay, they get better healthcare overall."
SOLOMON, Malama (D)
Consider Solomon the choice of the Hawai`i Democratic Party's old
guard. She's pro-labor—and thus pro-development. She was a state
Senator for 16 years and an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee for two.
ZHAO, Li (L)
Born in China but now living in Waipahu, Zhao has an interesting
approach to running for office: "God created the perfect world and He
created us in his own image and gave us freedom and rights," she wrote
in her official campaign statement. "He even allows us to choose not to
believe in Him. But the government is acting as a replacement for God
and taking our natural rights away."
State Representative – District 8
CERIZO, Tom (R)
Cerizo's owned an insurance agency for 31 years. He's also a family
man. "My wife Claire and I raised 4 children who eventually all
graduated from mainland universities with college degrees," he wrote in
his official candidate statement. "It was a painful ordeal." That
probably explains a lot about why he wants tax cuts and more affordable
SOUKI, Joe (D)
You want Old Boy Maui Democrat? Look no further than Joe, who's been
in the state House since 1982. His current roster of campaign
contributors includes some old names as well: Dowling Co. ($1,875);
Hawai`i Superferry ($1,000); Pacific Rim Land Co. ($1,500); Alexander
& Baldwin PAC ($650); Maui Land & Pineapple ($500).
State Representative – District 9
KAHULA, Henry P., Jr. (R)
Kahula has a virtually non-existent campaign, but he's passionate
about Hawaiian rights. "When the hippies took our opihi and sold the
shells to make money, laws were made after they left to tell us what
opihi we can pick," he wrote in a letter to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
published July 26 of this year. "There are windsurf, kitesurf and every
other kind of surf boards out there scaring all the fishes away but
they blame our nets, and now they are trying to make it so that we have
to go and register all our nets with the Department of Land and Natural
Resources… This is our island home. This doesn't belong to the
transplanted surfers from all over the world. Why not register all
their surfboards too? Don't forget who took what from whom!"
NAKASONE, Bob (D)
Nakasone's held this seat since 1992. Before that he was a five-term
Maui County Councilmember. Today's he's the House Majority Whip, a
pretty powerful job requiring him to get the backbenchers in line
before votes. When he's not scaring the hell out of rookie legislators,
Nakasone runs Ameritone-Maui, a paint distributor with stores in
Lahaina and Kahului.
State Representative – District 10
AZMAN, Ben (R)
A Lahaina medical doctor, Azman wants wacky things like a widened
Honoapi`ilani Highway "so that we are not isolated whenever the present
road is closed due to fires or accidents."
MCKELVEY, Angus (D)
Son of longtime Republican activist and Lahaina News founder Joan
McKelvey and husband of failed 2004 10th District candidate Greta "Mo
Bettah" McKelvey, Angus wants the state to declare a State of Emergency
concerning West Maui traffic. Good luck getting that one past Lingle's
State Representative – District 11
BERTRAM, Joe III (D)
This represents perennial candidate, former Maui Planning
Commissioner and local gadfly Joe Bertram's best shot at getting
elected. Bertram heads Greenways Maui, which promotes more open space
and bikeways throughout the island, and he's pushed the Greenways line
at just about every County Council and Planning Commission hearing he
can get into.
FISHER, Tony (R)
Fisher, 73, has written the proposed COMET charter amendment on
property tax reform, and that's a good thing, and he's come out in
favor of a Kihei High School, and that's probably a good thing as well.
He's also a retired computer industry exec and former president of the
AARP's South Maui chapter. But more important than any of that is the
fact that Fisher used to play minor league ball for the Boston Celtics.
State Representative – District 12
GOODIN, Wesley (R)
A former federal bureaucrat and current account exec with The Gas
Company, Goodin believes that only a "true upcountry boy"—that would be
Goodin, I'm assuming—can represent the 12th District.
YAMASHITA, Kyle T. (D)
Just finishing up his first term in office, Yamashita's big claim to
fame is "securing $12 million for the widening of Haleakala Highway."
Does anyone on this island really think that of all the roads and
highways on Maui, Haleakala is the one that needs widening?
State Representative – District 13
CARROLL, Mele (D)
Appointed by Governor Lingle in January 2005 when
then-Representative Sol Kaho`ohalahala became executive director of the
Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, Carroll is just finishing up her
first term. A former assistant to both Mayor Alan Arakawa and state
Senator J. Kalani English, Carroll has bipartisan support that's pretty
hard to come by.
DAVIS, Ron (R)
Davis spent 32 years as a Maui County firefighter, including eight
as Molokai's fire chief. He actually won this seat (when it was the old
7th District) back in 2000 in a surprise upset over Kaho`ohalahala, who
promptly took it back in 2002. He wants Republican stuff and a chance
to give a voice to Molokai in the state House.
Maui County Mayor
ARAKAWA, Alan M. (NS)
Arakawa's a rarity—an intelligent technocrat who managed to get
himself elected mayor. He's thoughtful and efficient and has
methodically and scientifically addressed numerous environmental
concerns facing the island that his predecessors preferred to ignore.
The problem with such an approach is that it sometimes misses the
intangible, gut reactions from voters that smooth-talking back-slappers
seem to feel instinctively. Arakawa's reaction to the County Council's
move to ban any use of the pesticide-contaminated Hamakuapoko Wells is
a perfect example. Arakawa repeatedly said that treatment methods made
the well water perfectly safe to drink, and produced three scientists
to back up his claim. But the council—led on this issue by Michelle
Anderson—insisted that the County's Water Department explore other
options. Public opinion lay largely with the council and Arakawa
ultimately backed down—sometimes, scientific evidence isn't enough to
soothe worried nerves.
TAVARES, Charmaine (NS)
Consider Tavares a big question mark. The top vote-winner in the
September Primary, Tavares is a five-term Council Member representing
Upcountry, a former County Parks official and the daughter of former
Mayor Hannibal Tavares. A nominal Republican, Tavares has nonetheless
won the endorsements of five labor unions and U.S. Senator Daniel
Inouye (D, Hawai`i). A lot of her campaign promises include pledges to
"work with the council," though no one is quite sure what that means.
When asked by The Maui News why she thought she was better than
incumbent Arakawa, her answer was a model of ambiguity: "I don't know
that I can do a better job," she said. "I just want to put myself out
there and if the people think I can do it, it's up to them." If she
loses, look for her to open a new bowling alley.
Maui County Council – East Maui
KALALAU, Sam (NS)
A 25-year county employee, Kalalau is currently a Highway Supervisor
as well as chairman of the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission.
He's also a "part time farmer," Vietnam Vet and former member of the
Maui County Board of Variances and Appeals, which I hear was
party-central when Kalalau sat there.
MEDEIROS, Bill (Kauakea) (NS)
Endorsed by organized labor and retiring Councilmember Bob Carroll,
Medeiros will probably be a lot like Carroll if he gets elected:
someone eminently gracious and agreeable, but who will ultimately do
what the land developers want.
Maui County Council – West Maui
JOHNSON, Jo Anne (NS)
One of the most popular elected officials on the island, Johnson
wants slow growth, clean water and honest government. Local developers
despise her, which is rarely a bad sign. She doesn't accept campaign
contributions and has also gone out of her way to refuse even
consideration for a Chamber of Commerce endorsement.
ROCKETT, Deidre (NS)
A very nice and well-meaning but politically naive 28-year-old
Lahainaluna/Concordia University graduate, Rockett runs a coffee cart
with her husband and sister in the Mahana Resort on the Westside. She
said she's running for office to bring attention to the fact that the
island's lack of affordable housing is forcing her generation to take
two and three jobs. "I think [incumbent] Jo Anne Johnson is a great
lady," she said when I asked her to name her opponent's biggest
failing. "I think she does a great job. I'm not going to say anything
negative about her."
Maui County Council – Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu
CABEBE, Rogelio Sr. (Rudy) (NS)
A t-shirt screener, golfer and guitarist with no previous political
experience. He wants to bring a "Chinatown atmosphere" (that could be
good or bad, I suppose) to Wailuku Town and affordable housing to
VICTORINO, Mike (NS)
A former Maui County Fair Director, current chairman of the Board of
Water Supply and father of Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Shane
Victorino, Mike won more than 18,000 votes in the Primary Election,
which ended up being nearly 15,000 more votes than Kalalau, his nearest
competitor. He also somehow managed to score an `Ohana Coalition
endorsement despite his accepting big money contributions from
developers like Dowling Co. ($1,000) and Alexander & Baldwin's PAC
Maui County Council – Kahului
COLLINS, Lance D. (NS)
As a private attorney, Collins has represented the pro-Akaku faction
of the Akaku board members in their big legal dispute, various
residents outraged at the county Planning Department's waivers for the
big Maui Lani development and that one woman who sued her South Maui
homeowners association for fining her because she posted an Ed Case
sign inside her front window. Collins also sat on the Liquor Control
Adjudication Board for nearly a year, loudly—but often
fruitlessly—complaining against what he saw as the department's
"unfair" treatment of liquor licensees.
PONTANILLA, Joe (NS)
A Maui County Councilman since 2002, Pontanilla exemplifies the
go-along, get-along guy the big land developers love to have sit on the
council. One of his biggest accomplishments? A two-cent per gallon
reduction in the county fuel tax. Yup, Pontanilla's one of the guys who
cut the price of a gallon of Maui gas from $3.69 to $3.67.
Maui County Council – Makwao-Haiku-Paia
BORGE, Pat (NS)
Makawao cowboy Borge runs Makena Stables and wants developers to
build more affordable homes and pay higher traffic mitigation fees.
"Long time residents are being forced to move away," he wrote in his
candidate statement. "It's time for the people of Maui to get their
fair share and benefit from the development."
MOLINA, Mike (NS)
Except for authoring County Charter Amendment 2 (which is good, I'll
give you that), I can't think of a single thing this guy has done in
office except cash lots of campaign checks from all the big landowners
and developers who have business before the council.
Maui County Council – Upcountry
BAISA, Gladys Coelho (NS)
Executive director of Maui Economic Opportunity for 37 years until
her retirement last December, Baisa also boasts membership in more than
75 community service organizations. Extremely popular with virtually
everyone on the island, she's grabbed both an `Ohana Coalition
endorsement as well as big developer money: Dowling Company, Maui Land
& Pineapple, Alexander & Baldwin's PAC and the
Ukumehame-developing Pacific Rim Land Co have all stepped in with $500
and $1,000 checks. In fact, longtime A&B consultant Mercer "Chubby"
Vicens has been running her campaign. Such a background suggests that,
if elected, she'll be fair but also quite friendly to the land
FASI, Paul F. (NS)
The son of former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi, Paul is a Kula
resident, Maui County planner and father of four boys. He's refused all
endorsements and campaign contributions. "Don't give me money, give me
your vote," he says. He also wants a moratorium on all "million dollar
residences" until enough affordable housing is constructed to meet
demand, a building moratorium in Kula until water capacity is
increased, fixing the road to Kahakaloa instead of widening
Honapi'ilani Highway to alleviate Westside traffic and expanding our
current bus system. "I just scratch my head when I read the paper," he
said when I asked him why he's running. "What are these guys thinking?"
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