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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, June 30, 2002

Run positive campaigns despite past scandals

Another day, another politician is in trouble with the law.

Wednesday, it was Honolulu City Councilwoman Rene Mansho, who was sentenced to one year in prison and five years probation on felony theft charges for misusing campaign funds and city staff.

Thursday, state Rep. Nathan Suzuki was indicted by a federal grand jury for failing to disclose his interest in foreign bank accounts and filing false income tax returns.

In Sukuki's case, at this point it is still an allegation. But the seriousness of that allegation, coming on the heels of City Councilman Andy Mirikitani's conviction of receiving kickbacks from staff members and state Sen. Marshall Ige's conviction for obtaining money under false pretenses, doesn't look pretty.

And if you want more and are willing to look a little further back in time, there was former House Speaker Danny Kihano, convicted of money laundering and obstruction of justice, and former Sen. Milton Holt, convicted of mail fraud in a campaign contribution case.

And there are others. So let's be appalled and move on.

For starters, the sins of a few don't prove anything about the majority of our elected officials, most of whom are honorable, hard-working and worthy of our trust.

But more importantly, while we condemn the criminal antics of some of our politicians, we don't want the 2002 election to fixate on them.

What we want is for the candidates to focus on the future. What are they going to do and how are they going to do it? We want specifics, the sooner the better. Sure it's fun to point to disgraced incumbents (and it won't escape the notice of some that all the recent ones have been Democrats). But that's not what you build a campaign upon.

Gubernatorial candidates Linda Lingle, Mazie Hirono, Ed Case, Andy Anderson and John Carroll (and whoever else joins the race) will promise to boost the economy, improve our public education and healthcare systems, streamline government, protect the environment, make our neighborhoods safer and our roads and highways less congested. We want to know how.

The same goes for wannabe lieutenant governors, lawmakers and City Council members.

As the election season heats up, we implore all those seeking office to run positive campaigns and hold back on the mudslinging. Sure, there are numerous things wrong with the current picture, but it's Hawai'i's future that gives us the greatest concern.