Four Councilmembers Endorse Mayor Caldwell
Mayor’s achievements, commitment and vision cited as reasons
Councilmembers Joey Manahan, Ikaika Anderson, Kymberly Pine and Brandon Elefante participated in a press conference at the Caldwell for Mayor Headquarters to deliver their support for the re-election of Kirk Caldwell as the mayor of the City and County of Honolulu.
Several praised his spirit of collaboration and willingness to listen to and work with the members of the City Council. Ikaika Anderson noted, “To have the four of us standing here with the mayor sends the message that the Honolulu City Council can work with this mayor. And when the mayor says I can work with the City Council, he means what he says. The mayor is a man of his word and we have worked well with him and can continue to work with him.”
Council Transportation Chair Joey Mahanan, the Council’s expert on the Honolulu Rail Transit Project, said, “When I see the commitment from Mayor Caldwell to get the GET extension for rail, I know he’s on the same page as me. We both know how important it is to build out the full 20 miles and 21 stations. If we don’t go to the legislature and get the GET surcharge extension, I don’t know how we’re going to make up a shortfall of between one and two billion dollars needed to complete the project. And if we don’t complete the project, we won’t have a functional system.
“I just watched the mayor’s opponent this morning. And to be honest with you, I still haven’t seen him make the commitment to get an extension of the GET surcharge from the legislature, which is the major part of the financial plan. I only hear him say he wants to get the 10 percent that’s being withheld by the state. That’s just about $220 million, but we may need $2 billion. If you don’t want to raise property taxes, you have to have the GET extension to complete the project.“
Councilmember Anderson added, “The mayor has been steadfast on rail. His opponent on the other hand hasn’t been clear about what he would do. He started by saying, maybe we should stop short at Middle Street and look at other options. Now, after Mayor Caldwell has said we need to build rail all the way to Ala Moana and he’s met with the federal government and it’s been made clear that’s exactly what we have to do, his opponent is shifting his position. The mayor has been strong all along in his commitment to mass transit. That’s extremely important for the future of this city. This mayor has a clear vision for that future.
The mayor noted, “When rail succeeds, we all succeed. More tax revenue is created because of construction — rail and other construction. The city is helping the state through tax revenues generated by construction on Oahu, which contributes significantly to the amount of GET the legislature has to work with.
The infrastructure projects this city council is supporting and funding — $11 billion worth between rail, sewer repairs and road repaving — are generating funds that enable legislators do what they need to do. That’s the city’s skin in the game.
Brandon Elefante agreed, “I am supporting the mayor because I want to see him finish the projects he has started and the new projects he’s proposing. I’m also supporting him because of his cabinet members. The intelligence, the knowledge and the caliber of the department heads on his team are phenomenal. That’s what I appreciate, as well as the mayor’s vision for the future.”
Kymberly Pine explained, “We are experiencing the most difficult time in memory for the City and County of Honolulu, with the homeless problem, the lack of affordable housing and building the rail project, a project bigger than anything the city has done before. We are making gains on these difficult issues. Good things are happening. It’s the wrong time to bring on an entirely new cabinet and a new mayor and start all over again. We would lose the momentum needed to finish the jobs that urgently need to get done.”
Ikaika Anderson recalled, “After the big storm this year, we had serious issues with Ke‘ehi Lagoon. The paddling community called me and said, ‘Ikaika, we’ve got a regatta here in a week. We have to get this cleaned up.’ I called Mayor Caldwell, and he got on the phone with his managing director, his chief of staff and his parks director. They deployed City front-end loaders, City bulldozers, and City refuse bins. And the mayor got the place cleaned up in time for the event.”
Anderson continued, “My constituents in Kailua wanted the City to do something about their traffic issues at Kailua Beach. The mayor sent out Mike Formby, his Department of Transportation Services director. The director gave his personal cell phone number to my constituents and helped them solve the problem. This administration has been really good to the people of Windward Oahu.
The mayor concluded the press conference by stating, “If I am re-elected, I look forward to working with these councilmembers and all the members of the City Council, to achieve great things for the people of our island.”