See original article here: 2012 Hawaii Tribune Herald Endorsement
Published October 21, 2012 – 10:41am
COUNTY OF HAWAII MAYOR
In 2008, we narrowly endorsed Billy Kenoi for mayor. We have to admit some buyer’s remorse.
Kenoi has been a disappointment on many levels. He raised tax rates during the economic downturn, spent money on ill-advised projects, cut an expensive side deal with labor, and sometimes has misrepresented to the public how his administration has spent our money. He also has a history of failing to respond to requests from the news media — an important point of distinction for this newspaper.
Perhaps most disappointing, however, is how fiercely political Kenoi appears to be. We get the impression that every single word, shaka and decision is 100 percent of the time motivated by politics. His aggressive fund-raising efforts also underscore this point.
Kenoi has accepted an obscene amount of campaign donations — nearly $500,000, about half of which came from interests outside Hawaii County. You cannot tell us that pile of money doesn’t come without a lot of strings attached. We shudder to think what will happen when all those off-island donors come to collect their favors.
Harry Kim made some lousy decisions as mayor, and he certainly spent too much of our tax money during his two terms in office. But we always believed his intentions were good and that he was looking out for the interests of the people. He was not beholden to outsiders, and, of course, the media could always get him on the phone to comment about public business.
So while Kenoi will win the war of T-shirts, signs and sign-wavers — and certainly the fund-raising battle — we believe Kim has the edge in the areas that matter most: honesty, integrity and experience.
In the end, though, this decision comes down to a simple question: Whom do you trust?
The Tribune-Herald endorses Kim.