The (Honolulu) Mayor- (Hawaii) Legislature relationship conundrum

On Tuesday morning (8-27) I happened to be flipping through the radio stations, driving to work. On Rick Hamada’s show on AM 830, I came upon the tail end of Rick’s interview with potential Honolulu Mayoral candidate Colleen Hanabusa.

I say “potential” because, outside of outright declaring, she is looking very much like a candidate for Honolulu Mayor the way she talks. However, I digress.

In one of the last segments, in answering a question from a listener, she brought up the issue of how the Ala Wai Canal flood control issue is really one that really needs a partnership between the state and the county to make happen.

She then said, and this was an interesting statement, that the current city administration under Mayor Kirk Caldwell and the Legislature is not very strong. In fact, since the state had to twice “bail out”, fiscally, the Honolulu mass transit system, Mayor Caldwell and his relationship with the Hawaii State Legislature is, in one word, icy.

Which one of these four (declared) Honolulu Mayoral candidates has a good relationship with the Hawaii Legislature?
(L-R) Keith Amemiya, Kim Pine, Marissa Kerns, John Carroll

So it comes to mind that one of the key issues a mayoral candidate needs to answer is “how’s your relationship with the legislature?” It could be that an innovative candidate would even make that a keystone issue in the whole race. I think it is important to know that despite the tussle between entities, the State and the City and County of Honolulu are forced to work together due to the divisions of government on the island of Oahu.

For instance, the legislature dictates what counties can tax for revenue. If they want to get authorization to tap other sources for revenue generation, the mayors head to the Legislature every January. More times than not, their demeanor is that of “mommy may I” rather than “hand over the cash you sucka!”

Image result for Colleen hanabusa mayor
Or does Hanabusa, just as a potential, got the best relationship?

How this relationship conundrum plays out in the Honolulu Mayor’s race, and who can declare their relationship “the best” could very well dictate who our next Mayor of Honolulu is starting in 2020.

And in fact, and we’ll explore this question later, is whether the “relationship” will dictate who is our next Governor in 2022.