April 1st is for foolishness. Like me foolishly thinking after some celebratory retirement-from-TV drinks in 1994 that I could run for mayor. I envisioned Vote Bob signs on every lawn!
But back then, voters demanded some political experience before a person tackled City Hall, 8,500 employees and a $2 billion operating budget.
Not now. Political neophytes Choon James, Rick Blangiardi, Keith Amemiya, John McLeod and Marissa Kerns are on the ballot (she says she’s also running for governor in ’22, and she ran on the GOP ticket for lieutenant governor in the last election.)
My momentary foolish run-for-mayor thought (at the old Byron II Steak House’s bar) ignored how terrible I would have been at the job.
I had issues with the late mayor Frank Fasi, but he gave us TheBus, the grass around City Hall, Satellite City Halls, and our farmers’ markets without asking for the City Council’s okay. Voters elected him six times.
Eileen Anderson was very different and in her one term mainly listened to what people wanted or didn’t want. She accomplished zilch, and was quickly shown the door by impatient voters.
What we need from our current mayor (and this governor) is some flamboyant inspiration. Like New Yorkers got from Fiorello La Guardia from 1934 to 1945.
He rode the city fire trucks, personally raided city speakeasies, took entire orphanages to baseball games, and when the New York newspapers went on strike, he got on the radio and read the Sunday funnies to the kids.
One night in January of 1935, mayor La Guardia turned up at a night court he didn’t like for its harsh sentences against poor people. LaGuardia dismissed the judge for the evening and took over the bench himself.
We’ve had too much diddling over Ala Moana Park, Sherwood Forest in Waimanalo, a refuse landfill and of course when the train will start and how much it will cost to operate.
(On the governor side, it’s the inability to get a permitted telescope built because some people are blocking the public road to the site.)
Most of us worry mainly about property taxes, job opportunities and the homeless. Now we have this economically-devastating virus attack.
All demanding exceptional, inspirational leaders.
Especially inspirational. Voters will be the judges of that.
Here are some interesting historical facts:
No mayor ever went directly to the presidency, and only three ex-mayors became president: Johnson, Cleveland and Coolidge. Maybe it’s because of something Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1800: “I view cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man.”
Sam Yorty and John Lindsay – mayors of Los Angeles and New York – failed to gain any traction in a 1972 presidential primary. Rudy Giuliani of New York, proclaimed as “America’s Mayor” in the wake of 9/11, entered the 2008 GOP presidential primary as the polling front runner but finished third in his first primary (Florida), and dropped out. Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley tried in 2016 but never polled above five percent.
Former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams claims this was their main obstruction: “Cities were dangerous and broke. Cities were poorly governed and corrupt. None of this added up to a recipe for a mayor’s broader political success.”
This year, it was adiós to Mayor Pete of South Bend. His city’s violent crime had surged 70% compared to about 10% Indiana-wide. The high school graduation rate declined to 77% — about 11 points lower than statewide.
Next Bob Jones Report: Why no Honolulu mayor ever makes it to Hawaii governor.