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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Community ties give Rod Tam a slim edge

Honolulu's District 6 is the vibrant heart of the city: Kaka'ako, Downtown, Chinatown, Liliha, Punchbowl and Nu'uanu, as well as Kalihi Valley, Makiki, Pacific Heights and Tantalus.

Representing constituents of such a diverse district is no easy task, and perhaps that's the reason few have stepped up to challenge City Council incumbent Rod Tam.

Tam, a former state senator whose family has lived in the district for five generations, deserves a nod on the basis of his activism within the community, something his opponent, newcomer Michael Wilcox, has not yet demonstrated.

Although Tam's 24 years in government have produced earnest efforts, they've hardly established a stellar political record. He should focus on prioritizing his district's concerns, rather than continuing his scattershot approach to key issues.

He's also had run-ins with the state Ethics Commission and other lapses of judgment over the years.

But his supporters put all that aside and insist Tam works hard for the needs of constituents. That's good, but Tam owes it to his district to produce tangible results.

Wilcox was driven into politics by his passion around the drive to save Oa'hu's race track. With seasoning, he could be a viable contender.

Meanwhile, Tam should get one more opportunity to prove that his experience counts, and that he's capable of producing real results.