A desire to kick Kirk Caldwell out of office brought three top Hawaii Democrats together Wednesday at a press conference to voice their support for Charles Djou for mayor.

Sure, the Honolulu mayor’s office is a nonpartisan contest, but Djou served as a Republican in the U.S. Congress and Hawaii Legislature.

No matter.

Walter Heen, a retired judge with a long history as an elected Democrat — it includes a stint as party chair — said Djou is “the best man for the job.”

Walter Heen, Charles Djou, Ben Cayetano and Ann Kobayashi at Honolulu Hale Wednesday.
From left, Walter Heen, Charles Djou, Ben Cayetano and Ann Kobayashi at Honolulu Hale on Wednesday. Chad Blair/Civil Beat

City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi said she always served well with Djou when he was a member of the Council. Djou is all about “fiscal responsibility,” she said, adding that she and the candidate always saw “eye to eye” on rail.

And Ben Cayetano, former governor and lieutenant governor, said Djou is the only mayoral candidate who is open to alternatives for the troubled rail project — a project mired in “madness” and “a fiasco,” in Cayetano’s view.

Cayetano finished second to Caldwell four years ago in a bitter campaign that centered on rail.

Djou said he wanted to restore “integrity,” “honesty” and “trust” at City Hall.

While he supports other causes, such as addressing homelessness, maintaining city infrastructure and improving ethics, Djou argued that rail would consume all financial resources unless kept in check.

Asked for comment, Caldwell campaign spokesperson Glenna Wong said, “Honesty, trust and integrity were not lost under Mayor Kirk Caldwell.”

The press conference was held outside Honolulu Hale. Jesse Broder Van Dyke, the mayor’s communications director, attended the event and appeared to record it with a smart phone.

Deputy Managing Director Georgette Deemer said Broder Van Dyke was on his lunch hour at the time and not using city time.

In a related matter Wednesday, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Hawaii Longshore Division endorsed Caldwell.

During his term, he has proven to be a solid leader,” said William Haole, Hawaii Longshore Division director and a representative of the statewide Longshore Political Action Campaign Committee.

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