Since I retired as governor in 2002, I’ve watched with growing concern how the cost of living has been increasingly elevated by reckless spending and costly politically motivated capital projects.
Like most people, I’ve been concerned by the dramatic increases in sewer and water fees, electricity rates. I’ve learned about the huge costs the City faces in upgrading its sewer and water systems, the lack of funding to repave our roads of which too many are so filled with potholes they could pass for streets in Third World Countries, our city parks too many which are deteriorating with filthy toilets and leaking faucets for lack of maintenance.
…with required upgrades to the sewer system at $5 billion, water system at $4-5 billion and street system at $1.6 billion… a $5.3 billion rail project doesn’t cut it.
To upgrade and maintain the sewer system will cost an estimated $5 billion, the water system $4-5 billion and to repave the streets and roads approximately $1.6 billion – I was shocked when on top of all of this costs, then Mayor Mufi Hannemann proposed to build a $5.3 billion elevated heavy rail system!
I believe that projects built by our city or state should be designed so they are consistent with our core values – our relationship to our environment, to each other and to the culture that binds us together as a people.
The $5.3 billion rail project does not cut it. Thirty-five to sixty feet high, the elevated, massive concrete structure will run along the waterfront, blocking the view planes of our beautiful city and changing its character for the worse, is more likely to cost $7 billion according to state and federal studies, will plow through and unearth the hundreds of ancient burial sites we all know exist in Kakaako and – according to the City’s own EIS – it will not reduce traffic congestion!
This is not the legacy I want left to future generations. It is irresponsible for us to burden them with huge debt and a city whose beauty is scarred by a wall of concrete snaking along its waterfront, running over ancient burial sites. Our future generations deserve better.
I’ve waited patiently for someone to emerge and restore common sense to City Hall. No one has. And so I have decided to come out of retirement and today I announce my candidacy for Mayor. Most politicians who run for Mayor to later run for Governor. I’ve been there, done that. I am running to be Mayor – period. I bring with me 28 years of experience in government including eight years as your governor. I’ve made tough decisions during hard times. And at times you may not have liked it but I told you the truth and will continue to do so. I am proud of what my administration accomplished while I served as governor. I have a very long track record – check it out – and compare it to that of my opponents.
Over the next week or so, I will unveil a plan to deal with huge costs to upgrade and maintain our sewer and water system. I have formed an advisory committee of former City cabinet members and administrators headed by Sam Callejo, who was Deputy Managing Director under Frank Fasi, Toy Arre former Director of Finance under Frank Fasi, Ron Lim and Malcom Tom both cabinet members of the Harris Administration. These men will advise me on City issues.
I was born and raised in Kalihi. I watched Hawaii mature as a state and, at age 72, I think I finally grasp fully what a unique and special place we have become. We know who we are. We do not have to emulate anyone or any place. We are not New York, we are not Los Angeles. We are Hawaii. This is my creed and it will be part of the basis on which as your Mayor I will develop solutions to our problems – and a vision for our City now and in the future.
~ Ben Cayetano, Candidate for Honolulu Mayor, January 19, 2012