Ex-legislator Rudy Pacarro dead at 74
By Vicki Viotti
Advertiser Staff Writer
Rudy Pacarro, the former City Council member and state legislator who was no stranger to controversy during his tenure in public life, died Monday night at The Queen's Medical Center. He was 74.
Advertiser library photo
Rudy Pacarro served in the City Council and in the state House.
Advertiser library photo
The politician represented the Kalihi, Salt Lake and Moanalua areas for 23 years, a career ended in 1985 when he was ousted from the council in a recall vote.
In that election, Pacarro was removed from office along with fellow council members George Akahane and Toraki Matsumoto.
The three, elected as Democrats, had drawn the wrath of voters because of their decision to switch parties in mid-term, following in the footsteps of Frank Fasi, the longtime Democratic mayor who also was newly baptized as a Republican.
Pacarro never shied away from the front lines of battle, said his younger brother, Franklin, who cited as an example his campaign in the state House of Representatives for the construction of the airport reef runway, the focus of a major controversy in the early 1970s.
"His biggest project was the reef runway project," he said. "Everyone was fighting him. He's the fighter."
Akahane, his council cohort, agreed with that assessment.
"Rudy was one of the last of the old soldiers," he said. "He was not afraid to take on things. He kind of knew the ropes, he knew how to do things. He wasn't always popular for doing them.
"We had our differences in the council. But when time came down, we usually pulled together. Hey, the council is so small, nine guys, you had to get along."
One who didn't always "get along" with the "guys" was Marilyn Bornhorst, who also occupied the council chair and opposed Pacarro and others on key development issues.
"We had different attitudes about development," said Bornhorst, who often thought Pacarro sped through approval for projects without enough attention to planning concerns.
Yesterday, however, Bornhorst preferred to remember the colorful days in council, when then-chairman Pacarro proposed starting each meeting with a song.
"All of a sudden, he and I were out dancing on the council floor," she said with a laugh. "He was fun, a good party guy. He played a wonderful piano.
"We had all those fights, and I still feel sad."
He and his wife Jean had four sons by birth and then adopted two more from the Philippines.
Pacarro also was active in various community and sports organizations.
Johnson said the family was delighted by his piano talents at Christmas, before he fell ill.
"He was a caring guy, that's how I know my brother," Franklin Pacarro said.
Rudy Pacarro is survived by his wife, Jean; sons Rudy Jr., William, Clarence, Randolph, Hiro and Rudy III; brothers Clarence, Samuel, Franklin, and Harry; eight grandchildren; nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements are pending.