Star Advertiser Endorses Kirk Caldwell For Re-Election

October 30, 2016

For the second time, the Honolulu Star Advertiser has endorsed Mayor Kirk Caldwell for re-election.

Their endorsement begins by noting: “The mayor’s job involves myriad municipal duties, from managing roads, parks and sewers to grappling with Honolulu’s crushing homelessness crisis. The city’s top executive is to be judged on how well he juggles these objectives that compete for city revenue.”

“Despite the persistence of problems, the current administration has shown a willingness to dig into basic city concerns. Caldwell has used a range of strategies in his homelessness initiatives, from “compassionate disruption” to “Housing First” and the auxiliary dwelling unit program to add rentals. The roads and sewers are getting fixed.”

The Star Advertiser says that “the dominant concern in this election is the completion of Honolulu’s rail project, which has been stymied with skyrocketing costs, delays and engineering problems. And it’s on the basis that the sitting mayor shows the most resolve and the more realistic plan to finish the project that he should be returned to office for a second term.”

As for his opponent, the Star Advertiser states: “For his part, Djou has cobbled together a financing strategy that seems dubious. Djou has strenuously opposed any new taxation for rail. Given that reticence, it’s hard to imagine FTA officials feeling confident giving Honolulu a larger share of federal dollars. His other proposed revenue sources primarily include impact fees from developers building around the rail stations. But that kind of revenue will be hard to secure before the rail alignment itself has its financing lined up.”

“Djou’s basic theory that downsizing government would solve these problems is ill-founded.”

The Star Advertiser therefore concludes: “Increasing the pace of progress is essential, but the mayor is moving in the right direction.”