Fasi's imprint made permanent
By Robert Shikina
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Robert Shikina
Frank Fasi spent years improving Honolulu. His influence can be seen today in TheBus, satellite city halls, open markets and even the Honolulu City Lights celebration — all of which the former mayor helped bring to the city.
Yesterday, the city thanked Fasi for his years of service by renaming the Honolulu Municipal Building and the Civic Center in his honor.
The building and grounds are now the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building and the Frank F. Fasi Civic Center.
"You were the individual who brought together a city task force that said you have to house more city employees together, build another building for them, and this is what we have," Mayor Mufi Hannemann told Fasi at the dedication ceremony. "Today we're going to name it in your honor."
Fasi, 85, served six terms lasting 22 years in all — from 1968 to 1980 and 1984 to 1994 — the longest of any mayor here. To honor him, the City Council amended an ordinance that prevented naming a city property after a living politician. It was changed in February.
Fasi, adorned with many lei and wearing a bright orange shirt and white pants, thanked his supporters.
"We got a great city here, a great state, a great country," he said. "This is why I thank everybody here for having been friends, supporters, helping me when I needed help."
Earlier this year, Fasi was named one of the 100 most influential people in Honolulu's history at the city's centennial celebration.
"I think it's great that we can honor a man who made such a huge impact on the city and county, and he's here to be a part of it," said City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz.
As mayor, Fasi was known for his fiery personality and aggressive leadership style.
Nearly a hundred onlookers and former colleagues applauded as Hannemann and Fasi unveiled two new signs on the Municipal Building that said: "Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building."
There were many Fasi stories to tell. Ed Hirata, the city's managing director under Fasi and his first transportation director, remembered when Fasi had the city council's parking lot next to city hall bulldozed as part of a city beautification project.
"When the councilmen came to work, they didn't know what to do because they had lost their parking," Hirata said.
Another time, Fasi brought in Marine helicopters to plant trees in the center circle on the municipal grounds, because no civilian helicopter was large enough do to the job.
"If there's anything I take from Frank Fasi it is that you need to treat everybody equally fairly," Hannemann said. "You always need to look out for that little person."
Asked how he is similar to Fasi, Hannemann said he is people-oriented.
"We just have a passion for getting the job done. If you feel in your gut that's the right thing, then do it. Don't be afraid to lead," he said.
Fasi liked to be called "Fearless Frank."
Reach Robert Shikina at firstname.lastname@example.org.