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If Cariffe made council, mosquitoes beware

Most people have heard of the parable encouraging adversaries to walk a mile in each other’s shoes to learn where the other is coming from. In the case of seven-time Kaua‘i County Council candidate Bob Cariffe, that distance is much longer than a mile.

Cariffe, who said his last name is pronounced like “I care if you vote for me” and listed his date of birth as June 1957 but asked that the reader be forced to do the math to determine his age, walked a 9-mile loop from his Hanama‘ulu home to the Wailua Bridge and back, picking up bottles and cans along both sides of Kuhio Highway while carrying a hand-written “Bob Cariffe for Council” sign yesterday after voting.

“I only make a buck-fifty an hour, and after sorting, it’s even less than that, so it’s a psychological thing,” he said of his recycling in a road-side interview just south of the Wailua Bridge that was interrupted by the occasional honking of a horn. “I just pick it up and weigh it and give it to them.”

The quirky candidate said his original plan for election day exercise also included a 17-mile walk from his house to the junction of Kaumualii Highway and Maluhia Road and back, which would have made the total distance covered on foot roughly equivalent to a full 26-mile marathon, but he felt exhausted after sleeping less than an hour Friday night.

“That’s because of all the tension from the election,” he said. “I finally got to sleep at around 5:10 (a.m.) and was up again before 6.”

After failing to get past the Primary Election during his 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006 campaigns, he had higher hopes for this go around.

“I keep losing in the primary, I’d like to win the primary. … I think I maybe have a chance,” he said. “I don’t expect to come in better than 10th place, so in looking at the history from the last five elections, nobody that’s come in 10th place or worse (in the primary) has won (in the General Election). The newspaper’s against me (even though he admits he doesn’t read it), I don’t have much money I spend, I say things that people get wacko about, but a lot of people like me because I’m a good joke.”

Cariffe said that he already has plans in place for a scenario in which he doesn’t advance past the primary.

“If I lose the primary, I’ll walk with a sign for John Hoff if he wants me to, but maybe he won’t because he figures he’d lose too many votes,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt his chances.”

Attempts to reach Hoff for comment were unsuccessful.

Cariffe, who said that he does not partake in alcohol or drugs because “I do enough stupid things sober,” described “an island free of mosquitoes” when asked about his 10-year vision for Kaua‘i in a series of questions posed by The Garden Island to all candidates last month.

Yesterday, he explained how he hoped to accomplish the seemingly impossible goal.

“The female mosquito only makes sex one time, and the male mosquitoes only get it from the girl once. If there’s a guy who gets it from two female mosquitoes, then there’s a poor guy who stays a virgin his whole life. That’s how we can exterminate them,” he said.

“My thought is to get a lot of male mosquitoes, give them some radiation, sterilize them, let them out into society and then they’ll (mate with) the female mosquitoes and through attrition, we’ll wipe them out. We’ll exterminate them.

“It won’t be done in a day, but it can be done. Look at the size of the island. You’re talking about years, but through attrition, you’ll get less and less mosquitoes. When I’m in the Council, that would be one of the main things I’d work on.”

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