Difference between mayoral candidates ‘distinct’
Editor’s Note: See an upcoming edition of The Garden Island for an article on how Carvalho hopes to ride his significant primary election victory to the mayorship.
by Michael Levine – The Garden Island
Not even a full day had passed since JoAnn Yukimura finished second in the primary election to fill Kaua‘i’s special mayoral vacancy, but by yesterday she had put the triumph behind her and had begun preparations for the six-week sprint to the general election on Nov. 4.
“What we want to do is extend our outreach and let people know why I’m running and what I’m offering so they know what choice they have,” said Yukimura, who discussed plans to further her agenda through the media, one-on-one meetings, group gatherings with voters and candidate forums.
Yukimura expressed confidence when asked how she felt about her chances to make up the gap between herself and Bernard Carvalho, who pulled in 7,143 votes, or 39.8 percent of the primary ballots cast for the race, to her 5,372 votes, or 29.9 percent.
“I’m totally committed to this community and this island,” she said. “I have faith that we will make the decision that’s in our best interest and that’s why I’m running, to give people that choice. I hope people are asking and discussing amongst themselves, ‘who can lead best?’ The choice is more distinct than ever.”
Yukimura, who is currently working full-time as a member of the Kaua‘i County Council, bristled at the suggestion that Carvalho, the director of the county Parks and Recreation Department, was a candidate of change.
“I don’t see any change being proposed,” she said. “It’s the status quo. He is part of the existing machine. I don’t see any real innovation even in the area he worked, which is just parks.”
Yukimura elaborated on the change that is critical to the island’s future.
“We cannot continue to be 90 percent dependent on fossil fuels,” she said. “We cannot continue to subprime ag lands into resorts. We cannot continue to be, I’m not certain on the number, but near 90 percent dependent on outside imported food sources. We need to find an outside source of transportation besides personal cars. We have to provide more affordable housing. We can’t just buy, use and throw away. We have to get into more sustainable way of disposing of our solid waste.”
Yukimura, who served as Kaua‘i’s mayor from 1988 until 1994, said she has what it takes to accomplish these goals.
“I have demonstrated leadership in all those issues over the years,” she said. “Where has Bernard been on any of those issues? What kind of solution do (the voters) want? Do they want someone who hasn’t shown leadership, or someone who has been advising the right solutions?”
Yukimura highlighted the landfill dilemma now facing the island.
“We were in a good place when I left office in 1994 … but because of lack of leadership, we’re back in a corner again,” she said.
“Bernard was part of the administration in place for six years that hadn’t addressed that problem. That’s an example of how far-sighted leadership can make a difference.”
Attempts to reach Carvalho for comment were unsuccessful.
The next mayor will serve a two-year term which starts Dec. 1.
• Michael Levine, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at email@example.com