In a normal year I’d say there isn’t a chance in hell of any candidate in our August 8 mayoral primary getting the votes needed to be mayor-elect without having to go into the general election in November.
In a normal year I’d give the edge to Colleen Hanabusa because of her high name recognition as former State Senate president and congresswoman, second place to Keith Amemiya because of his community athletics work and very productive fund raising. Third to Kym Pine because she’s a hell-raiser in the City Council but not seen as a bring-us-together candidate.
But Hanabusa has been getting busted over her and her husband’s connections to people who deal in political influence. Amemiya’s major contributors (Ian Lind, www.ilind.net July 7) look like a friendship with those wanting more development and more tourism. Might those turn off voters this not-normal year?
Before Civil Beat exposed Rick Blangiardi’s involvement in a fraudulent real estate loan caper (he was a so-called “straw buyer” for a fee), I might have given near-equal odds for a 1st or 2nd place finish as new blood and a successful businessman. But the caper, while not making him a criminal, made him seem terribly dumb. I was offered money to be a “straw man” partner for a Honolulu condo project in the late 70s but my sniffer told me this smelled bad and I declined. Blangiardi obviously had put his sniffer on inactive mode.
This is a year when people are really p.o’d about the cost and 2026 completion date of the transit train, those windmills in Kahuku, the Sherwood Forest project in Waimanalo, the unending homeless camps in Honolulu, and the financial disturbance of the coronavirus.
It’s the kind of election year when voters could go against normal and give a shot at the job to someone like Laie community activist Choon James just for the hell of it. They are unlikely to be moved by Mufi Hannemann’s attempted revival because he’s the father of the train project that will put us billions in the hole without even considering future operating costs. So I tend to write him off.
(There’s also that complication that Hanabusa and Hannemann have lost recent races for office and that’s normally a gong of doom.)
Maybe people want a hell-raiser and will stampede to Pine after all. It’s not a normal year.
Then there’s the all-mail-in voting and whether sitting around with others at home and mulling over who to bless will make for a different result than when people dashed into a precinct and marked a ballot in private.
There are so many candidates this year. Would the popular minister Bud Stonebraker perhaps draw a chunk of votes from the Kahala-to-Hawaii Kai people? Might the gadfly John Carroll score some followers this time because he’s a known Republican while Hanabusa and Hannemann are known party-faithful Democrats?
If I had political ambitions like those running I’d not want to be mayor this year. All those budgetary problems caused by the virus would be falling into my lap. Who needs that in addition to the normal year issues of garbage collection and road repair? You can’t create money out of thin air like the Hindu magical ash vibhooti.
My guess this year is that maybe 35-40 percent of the primary votes will favor the top candidate. Maybe 20 for #2, 15% for #3 and 4, and a single digit scattering for others.
But that would be normal and this is not a normal year.
Hawaii New Now (KGMB) will grill the candidates at 9 p.m.
********** ********* **********
Speaking of not normal, CBS has fired one of its biggest money makers, Hawaii Five-O, MacGyver, and Magnum executive producer Peter Lenkov for creating a “toxic workplace” on his popular shows for employees.
I’ve felt the man’s intemperate temper. I once wrote that Alex O’Loughlin should have considered expanding his acting on something more difficult than the Hawaii police show. Lenkov went bonkers. Called me to complain. Threatened to have me fired by MidWeek, said MidWeek would get no more access to the show filming, and that he’d sue over me using a CBS Studio photo with my column — which was totally permissible. On he went with a long rant like you used to see in old Hollywood studio films in which the producer makes life miserable for others.
I guess this qualifies for the oft-misused word “ironic” — the guy who dispensed toxicity gets a taste of it himself.