Hannemann’s demise – Part 4

13 Aug

Mufi Hannemann should have been a shoe-in.

He has all the traditional things voters supposedly look for:
– local boy who did well
– great education
– political experience at the highest levels in Hawaii
– very well-known

He should have been a shoe-in.

If anything, his second crushing defeat in a row for a major political election only shows how deeply unpopular he is.

He’s not the first politician to be accused of not being a nice person, so let’s look elsewhere for what might have hurt him.

There’s something about people who have been Honolulu Mayor that keeps them from moving higher up the political ladder.

Even the revered late Mayor Frank Fasi never could make the climb to governor, although he tried several times.

Voters gave Peter Carlisle 20 months and threw him out Saturday night.

Being Mayor of a big city like Honolulu is not easy.

The job is bigger then the resources it requires.

Years of cutting budgets and people have left our roads a mess, our parks looking shabby and the public restrooms something no one wants to enter.

A well-known rule is “all politics is local”.

We’ve long-held that politics is more local than most politicians realize.

For the average voter, what’s important is their garbage is picked up on time, the potholes and roads in their neighborhood be fixed on timely basis, and there’s enough police to make them feel safe in their homes.

Other than that, they don’t much care what happens in another community miles away.

Look at Jeremy Harris, the 10-year mayor from 1994 to 2004.

For some reason he is also unpopular, although he did a lot to better most communities while battling severe budget problems every year he was in office.

During Harris’ 2 1/2 terms as Mayor, Waikiki was reinvigorated, the soccer fields built in Waipahu, the Central Oahu park designed and built, the Kapiolani Bandstand renovated, the immensely popular Sunset on the Beach started.

The city’s list of national awards during his term fills two pages.

That’s just the short list and thousands of people a day benefit from those projects.

Like just about every top-level politician there were charges of campaign abuse.
One staffer was convicted, but Harris was cleared.

Didn’t make a difference.

People remember the charges and never the vindication.

So how does this apply to Mufi Hannemann?

He started off his 1 1/2 terms by trying to undo or marginalize most of what Harris had accomplished.

That can bother people in the communities that enjoy the fruits of Harris’ projects.

It got so bad at one point that reporters used to joke about the “whining from the Mayor’s Office”.

Mix in with Hannemann’s history of not being a very nice person (here, here and here), understaffed levels in the Parks and Road Maintenance Departments and you have a recipe for never catching a break.

Honolulu is the 12th largest city in the nation.

Don’t go by the US Census, which measures only our urban core.

The city limits of Honolulu is the entire island and we are big, with 200+ parks and a lot of roads.

Not matter how successful a Honolulu mayor is, voters don’t seem to see that position as a stepping stone to bigger things.

Case in point is the voting for Saturday’s 2nd Congressional District.

In the 27 House districts throughout the state, Hannemann lost in everyone one but Kahului, Maui, where he barely squeezed out a win.

This is astonishing when you consider Tulsi Garrard was a new Honolulu Councilmember is very little name recognition when the race started.

This is the second major political race where Hannemann has been literally trounced by the opposition and it’s fair to say he’s now branded as a political loser if he wants to run again.

It’s hard not to draw the conclusion that being Honolulu Mayor is a dead-end job.

2 Responses to “Hannemann’s demise – Part 4”

  1. Anonymous August 13, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Hmmm, “immensely popular” Sunset on the Beach…yes, just like the gladiator games. Indeed, Harris was the bread-and-circuses mayor who put off the billion-dollar sewage upgrade we needed for those movies and other diversions. Who can forget his vanity coffee-table book on sustainability that cost us 110 grand [most copies of which are now mildewing] or the million-dollar signs announcing Nu’uanu [thank you, we knew where it was]. To my mind he was one of our WORST mayors ever. But Gufi was worse because now we are left trying to stab to death what he thought would ride him into Washington Place…the ill-advised, multi-billion dollar fiasco known as rail.

    • Honolulu Notes August 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      You left out Frank Fasi. How does he rate with you, and why?

      Honolulu Notes.

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