January 11, 2009

Djou, of all people, feels ambition is a disqualifying trait for City service

Filed under: Honolulu Politics — Doug @ 9:55 am

How thick is the irony in this Star-Bulletin story?

Some City Council members praised his nomination while others question Caldwell’s political ambition.

“He has certainly served the state for a number of years,” said Councilman Duke Bainum. “I go in with an open mind. I’m more interested in how well-versed he is in city issues.”

At one point, it appeared that Bainum and Caldwell could have been opponents for the City Council seat representing Moiliili to Manoa.

Caldwell, with the help of several of Hannemann’s aides, filed to run for the City Council seat last year. He was later disqualified because of a procedural error in failing to drop out of the state race on time.

Oops, Ms. Au (or her editors) forgot to include a paragraph such as, “Bainum, with the help of then-Councilmember Kobayashi, returned to Oahu, established residency in the district and filed to run for his City Council seat last year as the filing deadline was nearly passed. Bainum ran without any credible opposition because of the procedural error attributed to Caldwell’s filing.” Haha.

It gets better, though:

“I think a big part of the focus of the confirmation hearing is what exactly kind of political deal did Mufi Hannemann cut with Kirk Caldwell,” Djou said.

Bainum disagreed with Djou, saying this is a past issue that shouldn’t be the focus of Caldwell’s confirmation.

“Bainum disagrees.” Heh. You had better believe Bainum disagrees! If people start asking about political deals, then Bainum is going to be the elephant in the Council chamber.

Djou said he also expects to explore Caldwell’s political ambition with Hannemann open to running for Congress or governor in 2010. In the past, politicians – such as former Mayor Jeremy Harris – have used the managing director position as a launching point to the mayor’s seat.

“The City Council is not looking at just confirming the managing director,” Djou said. “We’re also potentially looking at selecting the next mayor of Honolulu.”

Even though the story focuses on the mayoral implications, I would not rule out Caldwell for a run at Congress (against Djou, if Abercrombie were to run for Governor) or, less likely, for Governor (if Hanneman instead runs for Congress against Djou).

Could be a trainwreck of a confirmation hearing, indeed.

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