Rick Blangiardi has been criticized by his opponent in the Honolulu mayor’s race, Keith Amemiya, for having little to say about how exactly he would address Honolulu’s most pressing problems.

Last month, the Blangiardi campaign released “Rick’s Roadmap to Recovery,” which attempts to flesh out those details. Few voters will probably read it.

But many voters will see or have already seen Blangiardi’s latest television advertisement, titled “It’s Time To Get It Done.” Watch the ad:

“This is not the time for politics. This is the time to get it done,” the ad concludes.

Blangiardi certainly understands what the top issues are: Rebuild the economy by responding to COVID-19. Tackle the root cause of homelessness, which is lack of affordable housing. Increase transparency and accountability on the rail project.

But this 30-second clip has nothing to say on how the former television executive will “get it done.” It’s just another spot from this candidate wearing a nice aloha shirt and staring straight into the camera. Yawn.

Somewhat more effective is another ad from Blangiardi featuring entertainers Danny Kaleikini and Mihana Souza. Watch the ad, titled “No Job Too Big”:

I believe Kaleikini attempts an Italian accent when he says Blangiardi’s last name before the singer intones his signature “aloooooha” with Souza.

There is nothing special about the ad, but it’s pleasant enough and may appeal to voters of a certain generation. Still, Kaleikini does not give any example of when Blangiardi turned around “so many tough situations” — another ad from this campaign light on detail.

The best of the bunch is “Key to Execution,” which does not feature any local stars but rather jus’ local folks. Watch the ad:

“He has the same values as any local kid I know,” vouches Naomi Nakashima-Carter, a City and County employee of some 40 years who says her first mayor was Neal Blaisdell (1955-1969).

Amemiya has made a point in his campaign of saying the Massachusetts-born Blangiardi has “different values” than the Honolulu-born Amemiya.

And speaking of values, the Amemiya campaign has a new ad titled “A New Generation Of Leadership.” Watch the ad:

The 30-second spot opens with Blangiardi telling two Civil Beat reporters that he voted for Donald Trump in 2016. The ad closes with the same clip.

In between there is a compelling series of images of people in the islands and a voiceover that says in part “Here, we won’t let hate and division take hold … Here, we’ll beat COVID by embracing science and caring about each other.”

There is mention of “the values that make us special,” but it’s clear they are not shared by Trump — and, by implication, Blangiardi.

Is the ad fair? You betcha.

Judgment is a big part of politics, and four years ago Blangiardi voted for a man who has become perhaps the most polarizing president in modern times. The ad does not include Blangiardi acknowledging he was wrong, but still.

Trump is also unpopular in the islands, according to recent polls, and Democratic Party voters who are still on the fence in the mayor’s race might be persuaded to lean left and fall on the green grass of Amemiya’s camp after seeing this ad.

The ad also makes a generational dig in its title. Amemiya is 54 but looks much younger, while Blangiardi is 20 years his senior.

Amemiya has another good ad in “Why I Began This Campaign.” Watch the ad:

As I’ve said before in this space, most of us are suckers for old photos of candidates and their families, and the Amemiya campaign has used its share in its media efforts.

“I decided to build a campaign for mayor because we need things to change,” says the candidate. “We must put aside our ego and work together.”

To be fair, Amemiya does not mention what needs to change, or how to change them. But this ad leaves viewers feeling warm and fuzzy about a Honolulu run by Keith Amemiya.

I checked with both campaigns on whether there would be a “closer” ad in advance of Election Day, Nov. 3. No word on that just yet.

But both campaigns are spending big time on their latest TV commercials.


Blangiardi paid more than $72,000 to run ads from Monday through Sunday on KGMB (“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Undercover Boss”), KHNL (“Today” and “The Tonight Show”), KHON (“Wheel of Fortune”) and KITV (local news).

The campaign also bought a lot of ad time during college and professional football games. Blangiardi has a background in football.

Amemiya spent about the same amount of money to buy airtime beginning Oct. 6 and running through next Monday. It includes KGMB (“The Price Is Right”), KHNL (“Modern Family”), KHON (“Rachael Ray”) and KITV (“Jimmy Kimmel Live!”).

The campaign also bought a lot of ad time during news programs like “60 Minutes,” “Meet the Press” and “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

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