Charles Djou’s Seven Biggest Whoppers

Through the course of the mayoral campaign, Charles Djou has filled the airwaves and our mailboxes with an impressive quantity of misinformation, distortions and false claims. We challenged ourselves to sift through this mountain of prevarication and narrow it down to the seven biggest falsehoods.

Picking only seven pants-on-fire untruths wasn’t easy, but here are our top picks:

WHOPPER #1: Charles Djou has repeatedly said he didn’t vote against the bill providing needed medical coverage to 9/11 First Responders.
The Facts Say:  Djou voted against the bill TWICE, on July 29, 2010 and September 29, 2010. 
The Proof:  Hawaii Public Radio reporter Wayne Yoshioka played the answer Djou gave to this question at a forum when asked directly if it was true Djou had voted ’No’ against medical coverage for 9/11 First Responders. Djou was videotaped answering, “That’s false. Absolutely, 100 percent false.” Yoshioka then reported that the Congressional Record clearly showed Djou was indeed one of 155 House Republicans who voted against the measure.

Whopper #2:  Djou says he can finish building the rail system without extending the GET surcharge.”
The Facts Say:  Djou’s “dubious” plan raises just a fraction of what’s needed to get to Ala Moana. 
The Proof:  Charles Djou says he will finance the final portion of the rail project by raising the funds from developers building projects near rail stations and cutting the state “skim” of the GET surcharge. However, the minimum cost to complete the system is $2 billion, and the most generous estimates Djou’s plan is less than a quarter of that. The Star-Advertiser confirms the financing plan Djou has “cobbled together” doesn’t add up, and calls it “dubious”. Where is Charles going to get the remaining $1.5 billion? Apparently it’s more important to Charles to stick to his Tea Party tax pledge than to finish a project that Honolulu residents want completed all the way to Ala Moana.

WHOPPER #3: Djou says he supports working and middle class families.
The Facts Say: While in Congress Djou repeatedly voted against funding programs aimed to help the middle class, while supporting massive tax cuts for the wealthy. 
The Proof: During his brief time in Congress Charles Djou voted against:
-Funding supplemental payments for social security recipients during the recession,
-Funding to help states rehire furloughed and laid-off teachers,
-Extending unemployment benefits for job-seekers laid off during the great recession,
-Wall Street reforms and consumer protections to regulate the too-big-to-fail banks that caused the recession.
-Financing the Small Business Lending Fund,
-Passing the largest middle-class tax cut in history. and
-Funding repairs to the nation’s aging roads and bridges.
-But at the same time, Djou supported the Republican plans for a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest 3%.

WHOPPER #4: Djou asserts homelessness is best handled by the non-profit sector.
The Facts Say: Despite valiant efforts the non-profit organizations working to end homelessness were overwhelmed and begged for City and State help. 
The Proof: Since Kirk established parnerships with the City, State and non-profits, we’ve housed nearly 900 homeless veterans, housed more than 1,000 homeless in the last year, achieved a 97% long-term success rate for his Housing First initiative, and built new shelters and service centers from Kaka‘ako to Waianae. Data shows the increase of new homeless people has slowed dramatically, with an increase of only 37 new homeless residents, less than 1%, in a year-over-year count. And the Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Poll shows the public felt the homeless problem was getting better. Honolulu’s homeless initiatives are being praised by national experts as innovative and effective.

WHOPPER #5: Djou says Rail is going to bankrupt the city.
The Facts Say: There is no long-term debt on the rail project in the financial plan submitted to the Federal Transit Administration. 
The Proof: Civil Beat has reported: “It’s true that rail is paid for by federal funds and a temporary increase of the general excise tax, which is “independent” of city finances . . . It’s true as well that, according to a March 2016 report from the city’s Department of Budget and Fiscal Services, Fitch and Moody’s are cited as giving Honolulu AA+ and AA1 bond ratings, respectively. . . . Djou has it wrong on rail and ruin.” The truth is that the rail project is pay as you go, using federal funds and a surcharge on the state general excise tax (GET), along with short-term bonds that will be paid off by the GET before the surcharge ends.

WHOPPER #6: Djou believes shrinking government is good for the city
The Facts Say: The job of the City is to provide essential services, including roads, water, sewer service, parks, and housing to the residents of our island. Djou’s record clearly shows he will cut the programs and services residents need to maintain an acceptable quality of life. 
The Proof: On the City Council, he consistently voted “No” on every City and County budget – earning him a nickname “Dr. No” – and he attempted to slash city services, bus routes and upkeep of infrastructure, such as road repairs, flood control and park maintenance. He called for “deep and painful” cuts that would have even closed police and fire stations, and reduced 911 emergency services. And what happened to all of his dire predictions of pending economic doom? Nothing…just like his dire predictions of President Obama’s economic recovery plan, or his dire predictions of today.

WHOPPER #7: Djou says he is a fiscal conservative.
The Facts Say: Charles Djou voted to add billions of dollars to the federal deficit, supporting $1 trillion tax cuts for the wealthiest 3% of Americans…so much for his claim to be a fiscal conservative. 
The Proof: Djou’s Republican and Tea Party views are well-established when it comes to tax cuts for the rich and trickle-down economics, the proven single largest culprit when it comes to our national debt. In politics, your record provides the strongest proof of how you will perform in the future. It’s where your actions speak far louder than words. Charles Djou’s record speaks for itself.