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The State Of Local Political Promises

Well, we survived another round of State of the State, State of the City, and State of Local Political Promises. You could guess it was an election year with so many promises flying around: Gov. Abercrombie with promises to spend our state surplus wisely by investing it in improving the education system, and Mayor Caldwell promising to fix some of the worst roads in America.

It’s enough to blur a taxpayer’s vision.

It was almost funny the way the mayor promised to improve the parks while at the same time discussing the problem of homelessness. If the solution to our homelessness problem is affordable housing or the vaunted “Housing First” program, then improving the parks will be a welcomed change for the homeless segment of our population. It gets really complicated because many homeless people don’t like the structure at most shelters. But forget that thought – we are talking about getting votes without any concern for where they come from or who casts them.

Mayor Caldwell used a new tactic by soliciting the aid of Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa to convince the legislators to lift the cap on the counties’ share of hotel room taxes. How creative of the mayor of Honolulu to ask help from the Maui County mayor. At first glance, it looks like political bullying, but on second glance, it’s pretty smart.

As it turns out, the proposal was sponsored by the smiling House Speaker Joseph Souki, a longtime representative from Maui County. Having someone of the Speaker’s influence sponsor a bill of this magnitude is good politics in Hawaii, because there aren’t many representatives at the Capitol, House or Senate who will do anything to anger the Speaker of the House.

Example: The proposal moved out of the House Finance Committee in one week. With this kind of legislative expertise being applied, you might want to get ready to see the cap on the counties’ share of the hotel room taxes get lifted.

Hopefully, Mayor Caldwell will be the last mayor of Honolulu to promise to fix the potholes problem and “some of the worst roads in the entire country” (Star-Advertiser, Feb. 25). Admitting this to the entire world doesn’t seem like the smart thing to do. In fact, mentioning solutions for homelessness and fixing potholes and rough roads in the same speech seems almost arrogant.

Well, it is the election season, and it all will be over before you know it. So, to protect your interests, remember it is an election environment and give generously to the cause – no, not you, taxpayers. Political supporters. Taxpayers already have given too much.