The Issues



Ben Cayetano’s Platform

It’s time to get our city on the road to a better future

Let’s take the city government back and let’s return power to where it rightfully belongs… with you, the people.


Bringing experience and
common sense to City Hall

Since I retired as Governor in 2002, I’ve watched with growing concern how the cost of living has been increasingly elevated by reckless spending and costly politically motivated capital projects.

I’ve waited patiently for someone to emerge and restore common sense to City Hall. No one has. And so I feel duty-bound to come out of retirement to run for Mayor. Most politicians who run for Mayor do so as a stepping stone to Governor. I’ve been there, done that. I am running to be Mayor – period.

I bring with me 28 years of experience in public service. I’ve made tough decisions during hard times. And at times you may not have liked it but I always told you the truth and will continue to do so. I am proud of what my administration accomplished while I served as your governor. I have a very long track record – check it out – and compare it to that of my opponent.

My advisory group of experts on city issues:
I have assembled an outstanding group of former City cabinet members, administrators and experts to advice me on city issues:

  • Sam Callejo, Director and Chief Engineer, Department of Public Works under Mayor Fasi
  • Toy Arre, Director of Finance under Mayor Fasi
  • Ron Lim, cabinet member of the Harris Administration
  • Malcolm Tom, cabinet member of the Harris Administration
  • Stanley Shiraki, member of the Eileen Anderson, Cayetano and Lingle administrations
  • Eric S. Takamura, member of the Hannemann administration
  • Patrick H. McCain, liaison to the city council under Mayor Harris
  • Panos Prevedouros, professor of civil engineering at UH Manoa and a nationally renown expert on traffic and energy
  • Janice Teramae, attorney
  • Ann Kobayashi, City Council member
  • Romy Cachola, City Council member


Restoring fiscal sanity and responsibility

The following are actual costs facing our city – not exaggerations:
$5 billion – Federally mandated consent decree upgrades and regular maintenance costs for sewer system;
$5 billion – Upgrade water system;
$1.6 billion – Repave roads;
$800 million – Repair and upgrade storm drains.

I was shocked when on top of all of these costs and obligations, then-Mayor Mufi Hannemann proposed to build a $5.3 billion elevated heavy rail system!

Oahu taxpayers are experiencing large increases in sewer and water fees — and it’s just the beginning. Our gasoline is the most expensive in America. And Hawaiian Electric is telling us to expect dramatic hikes in the already-highest electricity rates in the nation.

So is it wise to build a $5.3 billion ($7 billion according to a state and federal study) heavy rail system the City admits in its Environmental Impact Statement wouldn’t reduce traffic congestion below current levels and for which our Mayor has already called for a tax increase?

Do we want to pass that crushing debt onto future generations? We certainly don’t – and that’s why I’m running for Mayor.


Stop Rail and its out-of-control costs

If we don’t stop it, rail will blight our beautiful city and its out-of-control costs will bankrupt us.

It’s vital to understand the visual impact of the 20-mile elevated, concrete railway on the City’s waterfront and along Farrington Highway in Waipahu. See Before and After Rail.

Thirty-five to sixty feet high, the elevated, massive concrete structure will tower over the waterfront, destroying forever the view planes of our beautiful city and changing its character for the worse.

Almost weekly, we see new headlines of the growing cost of the rail project. It is more likely to cost $7 billion, according to state and federal studies, and will plow through the hundreds of ancient burial sites and unearth the iwi we all know now rest in Kaka’ako.

And – according to the City’s own EIS – it will not reduce current levels of traffic congestion. In other words, traffic congestion in the future will be worse than today – even with rail!

This is not the legacy I want left to future generations. It is irresponsible for us to burden them with huge debt and leave behind a city whose beauty is scarred by a wall of concrete snaking along its waterfront, destroying and disrespecting our ancient burial sites.

Our future generations deserve better.


A better transportation solution that serves all of Oahu and makes our city better — visually, economically and environmentally

Honolulu’s bus system is rated best in America. I would improve our system by developing dedicated freeway lanes for express buses. (My administration established “Zipper Lanes” when I was Governor). This requires working with the state, which neither of my opponents explored. I’ve already discussed my plan with Governor Abercrombie.

Buses have far greater flexibility than rail. They could pick up passengers in numerous communities and speed them to and from downtown nonstop on dedicated lanes — avoiding the need for transfers as required for rail. Dedicated bus lanes are far less expensive than elevated rail and could be in operation much faster and without digging up streets, disrupting businesses, blocking view planes, damaging historical sites and unearthing ancient burial grounds. And when the bus system needs adjustment, it’s easy to make changes to routes or reduce the number of buses — this cannot be done with rail.

I have even more innovative ways to solve our transportation needs… my FAST-Flexible, Affordable, Smart Transportation solution will make transit better at a fraction of the cost of rail.


Fix our aging sewers, water pipes, roads, and public parks

Like most people, I’ve been alarmed by the dramatic increases in sewer and water fees and electricity rates. I’m shocked by the huge costs the City faces in upgrading and maintaining its sewer and water systems, the lack of funding to repave our roads too many of which are so filled with potholes they could pass for streets in Third World Countries.

Many of our city parks are deteriorating with filthy toilets, leaking faucets and, shamefully, no toilet paper for lack of maintenance.

I have a plan to address the huge costs to upgrade and maintain our sewer and water systems and our substandard roads. My administration will focus on maintaining our parks so that we can all enjoy using them.


We are Hawaii… we need to create jobs and develop solutions that are right for our culture and our environment

I believe strongly that projects built by our city or state should be designed so they are consistent with our core values – our relationship to our land and environment, to each other and to the culture that binds us together as a people.

We are not New York, we are not Los Angeles. We are Hawaii. I was born and raised in Kalihi. I watched Hawaii mature as a state and, at age 72, I know what a unique and special place we have become. We know who we are. We do not have to emulate anyone or any place. This is my creed and it will be the basis on which I, as your Mayor, will work with you to create jobs, develop solutions to our problems – as well as a great vision for our City now and in the future.

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