WAIPAHU, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Voters got their first chance to see the candidates for Honolulu mayor, side by side.
The five hopefuls faced off for the first time, but it was hardly heated. The mayoral candidates stuck to a handful of issues.
Specifically, they dealt with problems facing Leeward Oahu, since the forum was hosted by leaders in the community.
It was standing room only at the Filipino Community Center Friday afternoon.
All five candidates squared off answering questions about issues that ranged from trash to transit.
The September 18 primary may seem like a long time away, but the candidates for Honolulu mayor are already hitting the issues hard, especially the ones facing Oahu's west side.
Development and traffic were the main issues covered in this forum. Everyone but UH Engineering professor Panos Prevedouros supports rail transit.
"We can curb urban sprawl, keep the country, country, focus development along the rail line," Honolulu mayoral candidate Donovan Dela Cruz said.
City prosecutor Peter Carlisle addressed the concerns about the permitting process that's currently under a lot of scrutiny.
"If you have permitting that needs to be done more in this area, because the growth is here, then that needs to be put out here, but if you put everybody under one roof, then you don't have to keep on going around dozens of times figuring out where you need to go," he said.
While recycling seemed to be the "catch word" when it comes to Oahu's trash problem, Prevedouros says it's much more than that.
"Waimanalo Gulch basically needs to close or remain open only for the fly ash from the H-Power plant, no more trash," he said.
As far as budgeting concerns go, City managing director Kirk Caldwell says Honolulu needs to do more with less.
"We have cut many vacant funding positions, we have a hiring freeze in place and we're going to be restricting spending even further," he said.
Another hot-button issue, the fireworks ban, was also brought up. Only Caldwell and City councilman Rod Tam are against it.
"In my culture and heritage, we have used fireworks at the cemeteries to honor and worship our ancestors," Tam said.
West Oahu leaders thought the forum was a chance to hear from the candidates in their own words
"There was no more rumors, I no longer think what the candidate knows, it came from their mouth, we filmed them and we're going to use it to our advantage and their disadvantage," West Oahu activist Maeda Timson said.
West Oahu leaders will host a gubernatorial forum on August 13 at the JW Marriot Ihilani Resort and Spa.
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