Unlike the Honolulu mayoral race in which neither candidate has ever worked a city budget, drafted a city ordinance or served even one term as a city council member, the prosecutor race this year offers us two candidates with a surplus of legal talent and ideas for the job.
I’ve left my mayor ballot blank as my way of saying “neither of you is competent for the work ahead as we deal with tax revenue loss, city services needed more than ever, and rail.
I won’t tell you who I voted for as prosecutor or suggest who you should vote for. You must come to that choice on your own.
I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. Both have been prosecutors. Taking them alphabetically:
Steve Alm, in addition to his time as a deputy prosecutor, has been a state judge and a deputy U.S. Attorney.
He may be best known as the instigator of our HOPE probation program — Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement. It handles offenders, including violent ones, who are likely to violate the conditions of probation. They get random drug tests and any misbehavior and they get a swift hearing and prison.
“We have to do justice, not just win cases,” Alm said in a Civil Beat interview. “We have to bring in the right supervisors, be an experienced leader of an office — I can hit the ground running.”
Kau has been both a civil litigator and a criminal attorney. She worked with federal prosecutors in the Katherine and Louis Kealoha probes. She claims there are still four deputy prosecutors at the office who helped Katherine Kealoha and sidelined city prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro in their misconduct.
“One of the main reasons why I ran is to end that corruption, and have those people terminated,” she said.
She’s represented criminals against prosecution, but that’s what lawyers are supposed to do — guarantee a fair trial. She’s been in the news as the lawyer for housekeepers in that Abigail Kawananakoa money mess.
Alm was born in Honolulu and raised in Manoa and Kaimuki. His law degree is from the University of the Pacific. He worked at the Dole Cannery and Charlie’s Taxi in his youth.
Kau was born on Oahu, raised in Kaneohe and her degree is from Santa Clara University Law. She says at age 15 she was living “on the streets” here with “no one to take care of my twin sister and me.”
Alm says we rely too much on incarceration of criminals. Kau says no we don’t. Alm is not a fan of our cash bail requirement. Kau is.
SHOPO, the police union, has endorsed Alm. Kau’s sole union endorsement is the ILWU Local 100.
Alm has consistently led Kau in both Star-Advertiser and Civil Beat polls so far.
There you have them in a nutshell.
The choice is yours to make.