Having won a special election in 2010 to replace recently departed Mufi Hannemann, Mr. Carlisle is seeking a four-year term and will face former city managing director Kirk Caldwell, who also supports rail, and former governor Ben Cayetano, who vows to kill it.
Unless a candidate receives 50 percent of the votes cast plus 1 additional vote in the August “primary” election, the two top finishers in that election will face off in November’s General Election.
Mr. Carlisle devoted a significant section of his speech to a defense of the Honolulu rail project and issued a challenge to “naysayers and critics,” chief among them Mr. Cayetano and his anti-rail Svengali, Cliff Slater.
The mayor presumably was mindful that in the five weeks between Mr. Cayetano’s official entry into the race and yesterday’s address, the chief anti-rail candidate had not issued a plan to address Honolulu’s severe traffic congestion, which the Texas Transportation Institute called the second worst in the nation.
Mr. Carlisle recalled a recent visit to Manila and his ride on the city’s elevated rail transit system.
Mr. Carlisle’s emphasis on safety is another challenge to rail opponents, some of whom have expressed a preference for an at-grade light rail system – Mr. Cayetano among them. A quick scan of the photographs in Yes2Rail’s right-hand column shows what Honolulu could anticipate if the city’s elevated project were replaced with at-grade transit.
Predictably, rail opponents avoid any discussion of the safety issue, and when they do dare to approach it, they’ve managed to trip themselves up. A representative of the local architect chapter appeared on public TV two years ago yesterday and claimed at-grade transit is as safe as elevated – a preposterous assertion on its face.
Anti-rail Mr. Cayetano apparently did not respond to the open invitation in Mr. Carlisle’s speech to tell the public what he’d do to make the morning and afternoon commute better for west side residents.
It’s now five weeks and a day since Mr. Cayetano formally announced his candidacy, and as far as we can tell, he still hasn’t proposed anything resembling a plan. His post-speech comments didn't, so we’re left with knowing what he doesn’t like but nothing about what he does.
The mayor said yesterday, “It’s not time to get cold feet while you’re walking down (to) the altar” after all the years of planning and preparation for rail. Like some would-be grooms who have second thoughts about the institution of marriage, maybe Mr. Cayetano just doesn’t like public transportation and simply can't walk down that aisle. Whether he'll offer any kind of proposal is still anybody's guess.