Further Proof Scummy Politics Works

Ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano,  Cliff Slater

Ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano (left) and Cliff Slater talk about hearing oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Honolulutraffic.com v. FTA last August CRAIG T. KOJIMA/STAR-ADVERTISER PHOTO

That release of the Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) emails by former governor and defeated mayoral candidate Ben Cayetano has roiled already ruffled political feathers this election year.

Why did Cayetano OK that? My guess is that 1) he wasn’t happy with that nearly grayed-out and not very apologetic PRP letter published in the Star-Advertiser and 2) he preempts any similar attacks on his preferred U.S. Senate candidate Colleen Hanabusa. He could call it “PRP-ing her.”

If you live in a cave and don’t know, the pro-train PRP tainted Cayetano as “corrupt” because his campaign (like many others of the time) accepted half-a-million dollars in unqualified contributions in an earlier governor’s race and later transferred them to Cayetano’s mayoral war chest.

It was pretty dirty pool (only the donors did anything illegal), but I liken it to the 1964 Johnson vs. Goldwater presidential campaign, when ads showed Goldwater with an atomic cloud. All’s fair in politics and war — especially if you win! Unless you get caught with nasty emails.

My main curiosity is why a political pro like Andy Winer and crack ex-journalists Barbara Tanabe and Jim Mccoy (then on the PRP team) would put in emails damning stuff all the rest of us veterans know to keep to phone calls, or better, quiet personal conversations?

Should U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz fire Andy Winer, his now-damaged chief of staff? No. It would make a bigger campaign issue out of something likely to fade in our minds by Primary Election time.

So will Cayetano’s recent Facebook posting about all this affect the senatorial election? Probably not. I’d say most minds were made up a long time ago between Schatz (the incumbent) and Hanabusa (seeking to move up from the U.S. House.) The two dogs in this fight have bigger bones to snarl over.

We’re building the train. The lawsuit cost Cayetano an unbroken string of election victories, Cliff Slater some money (Cayetano emailed me that Slater was the “heavy lifter” for the suit), and we’ll wonder why UH law professor Randy Roth agreed to back the suit going to the Appeals Court. Couldn’t he read the tea leaves better than that?

Here’s what I see as the thing most overlooked:

That relatively ugly elevated train is the necessary result of us not regulating population — by not building more housing projects, and limiting cars-on-roads by prohibiting car sales. (You buy one, you must ship one off island.) But you know how that would sit with our real estate and car sales economies.

Paris limited cars this year. Some homes in London are now by law offered only to buyers who live there, as government responds to so many going to rich overseas investors.

We allow unlimited cars and we keep building subdivisions and high-rises and allowing “Vacation Club” buildings — that’s time-share under a new name — being snapped up by (my Wyndham Resorts source tells me) Japanese and Australians.

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