Mayor Kirk Caldwell earned another four year term on election day – but it was far from a mandate. He got less than 51 percent of the vote in a two-man race. His opponent, Charles Djou, did well in a year in which Hawaii voters embraced other Democratic incumbents.
We assume the voters' lack of enthusiasm stems from unresolved big problems -- like the delayed and bloated rail project and still rampant homelessness. Voters have given Caldwell a second chance on those issues…and he knows it.
But if he is looking for other direction from voters – he should study the votes for the Honolulu charter amendments. Three of them got nearly 80 percent approval. That's extraordinary.
Voters gave the police commission more power to fire the chief…ordered city departments to make long term plans…and eliminate unnecessary boards and commissions. In simple terms: end the turmoil at HPD, streamline city hall, and plan ahead.
Along with rail and homelessness, that gives Mayor Caldwell a clear agenda to tackle -- after a very brief sigh of relief.