Natatorium repairs on hold

Honolulu Advertiser
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Mayor Mufi Hannemann, in one of his first acts in office, suspended repair work at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium yesterday.

Hanneman

The move signals a major shift in the city’s policy on the memorial built to honor Hawai’i soldiers killed in World War I. During 10 years in office that ended Sunday, former Mayor Jeremy Harris succeeded in restoring the Natatorium’s facade and bleachers but was stymied in attempts to fix its deteriorating pool.

Tim Steinberger, acting director for the Department of Design and Construction, yesterday sent a two-paragraph letter to contractor Healy Tibbits Builders stating, “You are directed to suspend all activities and expenditures for this project until further notice.”

Hannemann could not be reached late yesterday but was expected to comment on the issue today, a spokesman for the mayor said.

Last month, Hannemann promised to halt the emergency repair work initiated by Harris. He has also said he hopes to remove the pool and deck while preserving at least the major arch of the facade and possibly the restrooms, and favors more recreational space at the site.

Peter Apo, a spokesman for the Friends of the Natatorium and one-time Waikiki development director under Harris, said his group is disappointed but not surprised by Hannemann’s decision to suspend work, particularly since a majority of City Council members have also gone on record opposing full restoration.

“We will do everything we can under the law to stop demolition and (attempts) to create a new use at that site,” Apo said.

The city would not need to discuss demolishing the Natatorium because of its poor conditions if government officials had provided the funding to properly maintain it through the years, Apo said.

The Friends group believes the city cannot demolish the pool without the permission of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Legislature, Apo said. What’s more, it will cost $20 million to establish the groins to save the beaches in the area — more than it would take to restore the pool, he said.

Jim Bickerton, attorney for the Save Kaimana Beach Coalition which has opposed full restoration, said his group was pleased by Hannemann’s decision. “We look forward to working with everyone on the next phase which is to make a functional memorial that will expand the beach space available to Honolulu’s public,” he said.

Bickerton said the Harris administration could not provide documents justifying the $20 million estimate for removing the pool and keeping the groins. “We believe Mayor Harris made that up out of whole cloth, it was pure fabrication,” he said.

Bickerton said students at the University of Hawai’i’s College of Engineering recently estimated it would cost “under $3 million” to put a beach at the site of the Natatorium.

He also disagreed that the city would need permission to tear down the pool. “The important thing is to have some form of memorial that Honolulu can afford,” he said.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8070.

Mayor stops all Natatorium work

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
By Crystal Kua
ckua@starbulletin.com

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mayor Mufi Hannemann and wife, Gail, attended a prayer service yesterday at Kawaiahao Church.

Hannemann makes good on his promise to halt repairs on the WWI memorial pool

Opponents pledge legal challenges if the city moves to demolish the structure

Carlisle sworn in to third term

On his first full day at the helm of the city, Mayor Mufi Hannemann carried out his threat to stop repair work on the deteriorating Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium.

“This is to inform you that … you are directed to suspend all activities and expenditures for this project until further notice,” acting city Design and Construction Director Tim Steinberger said in a letter sent yesterday to Healy-Tibbits Builders Inc. President Rick Heltzel. The company could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Hannemann had vowed that one of his first acts as mayor would be to halt $6.1 million in remedial work.

“He’s making good on a campaign promise,” said Peter Apo, spokesman for Friends of the Natatorium, the group that wanted the structure restored. “We’re disappointed but it’s not unexpected.”

But critics of the Natatorium restoration were pleased with the mayor’s decision.

“We are very pleased with the sensible approach of our new mayor. We support his decision completely,” said Rick Bernstein, of the Kaimana Beach Coalition. “There’s finally responsible action being taken, and we celebrate the wisdom of Mufi Hannemann and this action.”

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
After a prayer session yesterday morning, Mayor Mufi Hannemann and wife Gail gathered with religious leaders on the steps of Kawaiahao Church. They included the Revs. Romeo Gorospe, left, Curt Kekuna, Dan Chun, Ralph Morse (hidden), Wayne Cordeiro and Art Sepulveda.

Former Mayor Jeremy Harris wanted to restore the 80-year-old memorial to World War I veterans, but legal wrangling, including formulation of rules governing the saltwater pool, brought the $11 million restoration project to a standstill.

A section of the pool deck collapsed in May, leaving a crater at the edge of the bleachers on the mauka wall. After the incident, the city hired a contractor to begin work to stabilize the structure.

But the structure’s future remains in question.

Hannemann contends it would be too expensive for the city to continue to maintain the Natatorium and instead wants to keep its arch as a tribute to the veterans. But he wants the rest of the structure — including the pool — scrapped in favor of expanding the beach, a plan endorsed by Bernstein’s group.

Bernstein said he is gathering a group of experts to volunteer to make that happen and, as much as possible, stay with the $6.1 million that has already been set aside for Natatorium work.

He said the pool needs to be dredged, the structure demolished, the groins stabilized, new sand brought in and bathrooms built.

Apo said that if the city proceeds with demolishing the Natatorium, they should expect legal challenges from his group and others, as well as permit approvals that could tie up the project for years.

“It’s not a threat. We will do everything we can to protect the Natatorium, and we’ll see where it falls,” Apo said.

Hannemann was expected to answer questions on the Natatorium at a news conference today.

Also at that news conference, he is expected to name the former chairman of the Hawaii Tourism Authority and former chief executive office of a national teeth-brightening company as his managing director, the person who will run the city in Hannemann’s absence.

John Reed is the retired CEO of the BriteSmile company. According to the San Francisco Business Times, Reed retired as CEO in April and stepped down from the company’s board of directors on Oct. 14.

Prior to joining BriteSmile, he was chairman of Pacific retail development for international duty-free operator DFS Group Ltd.

Reed was also the first chairman of the HTA after the panel was formed by the 1998 Legislature.

Hannemann is also expected to name former state Deputy Comptroller Mary Pat Waterhouse as director of Budget and Fiscal Services, who will be charged with formulating the city’s operating and capital improvement budgets.

Friends fight demolition

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
By Crystal Kua
ckua@starbulletin.com

The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium now more than ever is under threat of being demolished because of the changing political climate at City Hall.

CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Peter Apo, spokesman for Friends of the Natatorium, talked yesterday at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium about why the memorial should remain.

“It’s gotten to the point now where we really feel seriously threatened by this attempt to demolish,” said Peter Apo, a spokesman for Friends of the Natatorium. “Today launches the day when we’re going to seriously try to do something.”

Apo and several other supporters who gathered at the Natatorium yesterday fear the days may be numbered for the deteriorating monument to World War I veterans.

Mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann has vowed to stop emergency repair work at the Natatorium. And a majority in the City Council is not eager to spend any more money to restore it.

“We don’t go tearing down war memorials,” said David Scott, executive director of Historic Hawaii Foundation. “We don’t go convert the Arizona Memorial into a volleyball venue.”

Natatorium restoration advocates said they are banding together to muster public support for full restoration.

“God bless them. They’re all good-intentioned people,” said Rick Bernstein of the Kaimana Beach Coalition, which wants to save the Natatorium arches but not the saltwater pool.

“But their information is inaccurate,” Bernstein said. “We don’t wish to destroy the war memorial. We simply wish to adaptively recreate a war memorial, making it a functional memorial beach as compared to a dysfunctional memorial swimming pool.”

Councilman Charles Djou said his district, which includes the Natatorium, is divided, but he can see both arguments. His biggest concern is the cost to taxpayers.

Supporters claim it will be more expensive to tear the structure down to create a new beach. Beach supporters say it will cost more in the long run to maintain an aging structure.

“If we had stayed on track with the construction with the original appropriation, we would be swimming in that pool right now. There’s no question,” said Friends’ member Donna Ching.

But Bernstein said engineers have told him that creating the beach would cost about $6 million to $7 million.

Djou said while it may be less expensive in the short-term to complete the restoration started by Mayor Jeremy Harris than to destroy the pool and make a beach, the city would be hit with untold maintenance costs for an aging facility for years.

Djou said Natatorium supporters have read the political tea leaves correctly because “I think the logjam is going to get broken … in favor of tearing this down.”

The emergency repair work to shore up the Natatorium came after the pool deck collapsed in May. City spokeswoman Carol Costa said a contractor will be installing a perimeter fencing before proceeding with other work.

Natatorium: Time for Harris to let go

Honolulu Advertiser
EDITORIAL

“It seems completely illogical,” says the director of the Waikiki Aquarium in what may be the understatement of the year.

Dr. Andrew Rossiter was referring to the obduracy of outgoing Mayor Jeremy Harris in the matter of the crumbling Natatorium.

Harris insists he’s going to move ahead with a plan to shore up the sagging structure, even though the City Council and the incoming mayor, Mufi Hannemann, have indicated their opposition to the project.

Hannemann says he’ll halt the project as soon as he takes office.

Given that Harris’ plan involves driving more than 80 pilings into the reef below the Natatorium, it simply doesn’t make sense to undertake this project when it’s sure to be abandoned three weeks later.

Rossiter, meanwhile, warns that the pile-driving will be detrimental to the fish in his charge, and possibly to the structure that houses them.

We’re disturbed by the notion of pile-driving on the reef, and the ecological damage that’s sure to do.

Citing a consultant, Harris says the structure could collapse if it isn’t shored up. But it’s the pool and deck structure that Harris is rushing to save, and it’s the pool and deck structure that likely will be removed in the end, leaving the memorial and bathrooms — and a restored stretch of beach.

Throwing $6 million at this project at this time is “completely illogical” — to say the least.

Harris, Hannemann spar over Natatorium

Honolulu Advertiser
By Johnny Brannon
Advertiser Staff Writer

The long fight over the crumbling Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium is triggering a mayoral showdown.

Mayor Jeremy Harris’ administration intends to move ahead with a plan to shore up the sagging structure, but Mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann said he would immediately cancel the work after being sworn into office next month.

“We’re talking about millions of taxpayer dollars that are going to be wastefully put out there when in fact the next mayor does not have any intention to go forward with that,” Hannemann said.

He said he hopes to tear down the structure’s pool and deck, but preserve its unique archway and public restrooms.

“This is what I believe the taxpayers want, this is what I know the majority of the City Council will support, and obviously this is what my preference is,” he said.

Harris was not immediately available, but city Managing Director Ben Lee said the work must begin soon, because the structure is at risk of collapsing. The plan includes driving more than 80 pilings into the reef below the Natatorium.

“We’re going forward with the repairs so we don’t endanger the health and safety of our residents and the general public,” Lee said. “If we don’t move forward, we’re subject to liability, and I don’t think that would be responsible. The responsible thing to do is stabilize the structure so it’s safe.”

Hannemann can evaluate the situation after he is sworn in next month, and consider the consequences of not making the repairs, Lee said.

Meanwhile, the director of the nearby Waikiki Aquarium said he remains very concerned that the pile-driving would cause serious problems for the aquarium’s collection of rare fish.

Dr. Andrew Rossiter said city officials had assured him in a meeting last week that the work would not begin if Hannemann made it clear he did not sanction it.

“They stated unequivocally that if Mayor-elect Hannemann indicated he would stop the project when he came into office, they would not pursue it any further from the time he said so, which means they wouldn’t go ahead with anything,” Rossiter said.

City spokeswoman Carol Costa could not confirm that, but said officials had agreed to halt the work immediately if it disrupts the fish, and to not resume it until the aquarium had moved any fish endangered by the work.

Rossiter said many fish and other creatures are extremely sensitive to vibrations, and that the pile-driving could also cause problems for the aquarium structure.

“This is a resource for the entire community, and to jeopardize it for the sake of political pride is, I think, rather foolish,” he said. “When one person says go for it, and another says it’s going to stop in three weeks, I honestly don’t understand it. It seems completely illogical.”

Reach Johnny Brannon at jbrannon@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8070.

Hannemann plans to scrap Natatorium restoration project

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
By Crystal Kua
ckua@starbulletin.com

But Mayor Harris’ office says it still intends to proceed with the repairs

Mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann has promised that one of his first acts in office will be to kill a proposed $6.1 million construction project to repair the aging Waikiki War Memorial.

“I plan to send a letter to (Mayor Jeremy Harris’ administration) in writing to say in effect that I will cancel the contract, I will cancel the work on the Natatorium when I become the mayor,” Hannemann said yesterday. “So I’m asking (the Harris) administration to think about not proceeding.”

It is the most forceful declaration yet by Hannemann on his plans for the crumbling memorial to World War I veterans. The memorial has been at the center of a controversy over whether the structure, with its saltwater pool, should be fully restored.

But Harris administration officials said they will not back down.

“We’re going forward with the repairs to stabilize the structure so we don’t endanger health, life, safety of our residents and the general public,” Managing Director Ben Lee said. “We’re hoping that Mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann will read the technical report and our engineering report and get all the facts.”

A Circuit Court judge allowed the city in 1999 to continue with part of an $11 million restoration that included renovating the facility’s restrooms but not restoring the saltwater pool until the city abides by state rules for such pools, a requirement that has stalled the project.

In May a section on the pool deck collapsed, leaving a large hole at the edge of the bleachers on the mauka wall. After the incident, the city hired a contractor to begin work to stabilize the nearly 80-year-old structure.

“I just want to let the public know that it’s clear in my mind that this is not the prudent use of taxpayers’ dollars,” Hannemann said. He decided to make his feelings public, he explained, so Harris’ administration will reconsider and “maybe not proceed forward,” he said.

Hannemann has not been a fan of full restoration of the Natatorium and instead wants to save its arch as a tribute to the veterans. He also wants to expand the beach in that area.

Hannemann said he expects his decision could lead to a lawsuit but that it would be far more expensive to maintain the Natatorium in the long run.

Critics of the project applauded Hannemann’s stance.

“He’s showing a great deal of responsibility. He’s setting a tone on what he plans to do, which is to make the area into a functional memorial rather than a dysfunctional memorial,” said Rick Bernstein, of the Kaimana Beach Coalition, which is in court to stop restoration of the memorial.

But Peter Apo, spokesman for the Friends of the Natatorium, said that if Hannemann is not going to fix the structural problems, “it’s a huge accident waiting to happen.”

City sued over plans to restore Natatorium

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
By Debra Barayuga
dbarayuga@starbulletin.com

A suit says repairs are set to begin without necessary state health permits

The city is violating state law by going ahead with restoration of the crumbling Waikiki Natatorium without the proper permits, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in Circuit Court.

The complaint filed by the Kaimana Beach Coalition and Richard S. Bernstein lists the defendants as the city, outgoing Mayor Jeremy Harris and other city officials.

The group, which opposes restoration of the Natatorium, is asking the court to stop the city from doing any work until it obtains the proper permits for the altered project.

The plaintiffs claim that city officials are going ahead with plans that are substantially different than what they received permits for in 1998.

The suit claims city officials intend to implement a different plan that involves driving 90 concrete piles into the reef outside the Natatorium and replacing the concrete pool deck and ocean seawalls to create a noncirculating ornamental pool.

City spokeswoman Carol Costa said although officials have mentioned Nov. 29 as a possible “mobilization date” for construction, they have no exact starting date because they are waiting for materials to arrive from the mainland.

But, she said, mobilization does not mean “pile driving.”

City attorneys have not yet seen the complaint so they cannot respond, Costa said.

The complaint supplements one the group filed in 1999 seeking to halt the Natatorium’s restoration.

In 2000, the court granted an injunction as part of a settlement in which the city agreed not to construct, restore or repair the swimming pool unless it was necessary to protect the public’s health and safety or until they come up with a plan that meets state health requirements for swimming pools.

In May, the city closed the restrooms after a section on the pool deck collapsed and were told by two firms that work should be done to shore up the pool deck. City officials have argued that there is an immediate health and safety concern and delaying repairs could expose the city to lawsuits.

But James Bickerton, attorney for the coalition, questions why the sudden rush in the last month of Harris’ administration to drive 90 piles.

“We contend there is no danger as long as the Natatorium remains closed and there are adequate signs and fencing to keep people from wandering in or getting hit by a piece of rock,” he said. “We’re saying they’re using the claim of danger to basically try and avoid the injunction.”

The project design presented to the City Council for permit approval in 1998 is still unacceptable because it doesn’t comply with state health regulations, he said. The group plans to ask the court next week to enforce the injunction.

Natatorium legal woes grow

Honolulu Advertiser
By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A group that wants the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium torn down filed a lawsuit yesterday to halt any city work on facility.

The Kaimana Beach Coalition’s petition filed in Circuit Court contends that city officials altered plans that were approved in 1998 so much that the work should be halted until the city gets new permits.

City officials could not be reached for comment, but the suit could lead to more problems for the controversial project to restore the deteriorating facility and saltwater pool built in 1927 to honor World War I veterans from Hawai’i.

Mayor Jeremy Harris had planned to restore the entire structure and the city spent $4 million in 1998 to repair the bleachers and adjoining wall before a lawsuit halted the work. Both Mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann and his opponent Duke Bainum pledged during the campaign to halt the city work.

But city officials last month said they planned to start emergency repairs to shore up the pool and deck for public safety reasons.

James Bickerton, lawyer for the coalition, said the group had planned to ask for a halt to any work as a violation of a settlement of the earlier lawsuit. He said yesterday’s lawsuit is an another reason why the city should stop the restoration.

According to the suit, the city obtained a shoreline management permit approved by the City Council in 1998 based on plans calling for the restoration of the salt water pool for public use. But the suit alleges the city has not taken any steps to comply with Department of Health regulations for public saltwater pools.

Instead, the city plans to create what the lawsuit said is “a non-circulating ornamental pool” that won’t be usable by the public.

City officials, the suit said, “materially and substantially” altered the project.

“The permit is no longer valid if they’re doing a different project,” Bickerton said.

The coalition includes about 300 members who use the nearby public beaches and parks, Bickerton said. The members oppose commercial activity in the area and fear the restoration will lead to that outcome.

Reach Ken Kobayashi at kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8030.

Hannemann vows to build administration with unity

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
By Crystal Kua
ckua@starbulletin.com

RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mufi Hannemann greeted supporters at his Dole Cannery Square headquarters late Tuesday after the third election printout showed him winning the mayoral election.

The mayor-elect will soon select a new Cabinet

E Komo Mai. Welcome.

As Mufi Hannemann begins the transition of becoming Honolulu’s next mayor, he says: “The philosophy is going to be exactly what I said in the campaign. I say, ‘Komo mai,’ welcome to anyone who wants to be part of our administration.

Text excerpted from below:
Hannemann said he will talk to Harris about not moving forward with the planned construction at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium project, which he brought up during the campaign.

“I think there are a lot of issues that Mayor Harris and I will have discussion on. I’m sure that’ll come up,” Hannemann said.

“It doesn’t matter to me what party you belong to, whether you voted for me or not. I just want to know that you’re competent, you’re qualified, your heart’s in the right place and you’re ethical.”

In his first news conference as Honolulu’s mayor-elect, Hannemann also talked about the issues that he and Mayor Jeremy Harris will likely discuss in the transition process and how he will bring supporters of challenger Duke Bainum into the fold of his administration.

Hannemann said he will set up a formal process to begin selecting a new Cabinet.

He is hoping to get an office at City Hall to begin the transition process, but if not, he will handle the transition out of his campaign headquarters at Dole Cannery in Iwilei.

He is asking people not to call until the process is set up, but they are welcome.

Harris called Hannemann yesterday to congratulate him and to arrange for transitional meetings.

Harris said he will arrange for briefings by key departments for Hannemann’s new appointees.

Harris said one of the biggest hurdles for Hannemann will be to find qualified appointees willing to give up high-paying jobs in the private sector and undergo the scrutiny of public service with the city.

“The key challenge he’s going to face is being able to attract the very best to the government, with all of the drawbacks,” Harris said.

Hannemann said he will also reach out to those who supported Bainum during the campaign.

“(Bainum) got a significant amount of votes, and he campaigned on some themes that people obviously wanted to hear about, so I believe it behooves me to reach out to them and I will,” Hannemann said. “I want to be a leader who unites rather than divides.”

That includes also reaching out to those on the City Council who supported Bainum, including Councilman Gary Okino.

“I don’t think I’ll have a problem working with Gary Okino. I’m going to respect the fact that he was elected in a Council district that I represented,” Hannemann said. “I’m sure Mr. Okino will have good ideas, like (Councilwoman) Ann Kobayashi has good ideas. I’m all about wanting to work with the Council.”

Okino said he will also work toward that goal.

“If it’s actually coming to the middle and working together, of course, but it has to be a cooperative kind of thing,” he said.

Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said that because Hannemann is a former councilman and Council chairman, he will be able to understand the position of the Council. “It’s refreshing that the mayor-elect will respect and appreciate the legislative function.”

Harris said he hopes that Hannemann continues with the curbside recycling project that the mayor has already started.

Hannemann said he will talk to Harris about not moving forward with the planned construction at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium project, which he brought up during the campaign.

“I think there are a lot of issues that Mayor Harris and I will have discussion on. I’m sure that’ll come up,” Hannemann said.

About 3 a.m. yesterday at a Waikiki restaurant, Hannemann was eating breakfast when he got word that he was elected the new mayor of Honolulu.

A ballot-counting snafu — more than 5,000 uncounted absentee ballots — resulted in Hannemann waiting several hours to find out if the results that put him on top in the mayor’s race would stand.

Heavy turnout pushed Hannemann to victory

Honolulu Advertiser
By Johnny Brannon
Advertiser Staff Writer

Honolulu mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann shook hands early yesterday morning with every one of the supporters crowding his campaign headquarters before he went home to await the final vote tally.
Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

After his rally ended yesterday morning at Dole Cannery, Mufi Hannemann, his shirt stained with sweat, stayed behind to help campaign workers rearrange chairs. Hannemann credits his volunteers for helping to build momentum for his campaign.
Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

Mufi Hannemann, with his wife, Gail, said he would reach out to the opposition. “I want to be a leader who unites, rather than divides.”
Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Duke Bainum, who had been favored to win the mayoral race, said a negative rumor spread via the Internet “left a cloud over our island.”
Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Mufi Hannemann, shown on his way to a press conference yesterday, said he remained committed to stopping Mayor Jeremy Harris’ project to drive piles into the beach to shore up the Waikiki Natatorium.
Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Mufi Hannemann’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over Duke Bainum triggered jubilation, sighs of relief, and anguished post-mortems among the candidates and their supporters a day after the polls closed.

Text excerpted from below:

He said he remained committed to stopping Harris’ plan to shore up the crumbling Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. He said he favors creating an open beach that preserves the Natatorium’s distinctive archway.

Mufi Hannemann, shown on his way to a press conference yesterday, said he remained committed to stopping Mayor Jeremy Harris’ project to drive piles into the beach to shore up the Waikiki Natatorium.

Both campaigns agreed yesterday that the presidential race greatly increased voter turnout, which benefited Hannemann. Both candidates also said O’ahu must not remain divided over the mayor’s race, which Hannemann won by just 1,355 votes.

Hannemann said he believed his vow to bring strong and experienced leadership to City Hall had made a big impact on voters, and that hard work by committed volunteers created unstoppable momentum.

“They never gave up, they were never willing to give up the fight,” Hannemann said. “It was truly a situation where I found great energy and enthusiasm, and I fed on that type of spirit, and that’s what I believe pulled us through in the end.”

But Bainum said he believed that allegations spread over the Internet about an inheritance dispute that involved his wife, Jennifer, had taken a heavy toll.

“This election has left a cloud over our island,” Bainum said.

He called the reports “vicious attacks” but stressed that he was not directly accusing Hannemann of starting them. He called the spread of the allegations a deliberate smear, however, and said that’s a bad sign for Hawai’i politics.

“You’ve got to ask yourself what kind of qualified person is going to want to put themselves and their family through this,” he said. “The Internet and good-old bad whispering campaigns are not good for this island. They’re not good for Hawai’i. … When these smear campaigns occur, and if they work, and if they’re a factor, that just motivates people to use them again and again.”

Innuendos denounced

Hannemann said he had nothing to do with the allegations, but that he believed Bainum supporters had unfairly tried to blame him for spreading them.

“I know there was an organized effort on their part to pin it on my campaign,” he said.

Hannemann had trailed Bainum in the primary election by nearly 6,000 votes, and was behind in polls published weeks before Tuesday’s election.

Bainum adviser Andy Winer said it was clear that the increase in voter turnout helped Hannemann. But the allegations about Bainum’s wife, and other damaging information spread anonymously, also played a significant role, he said.

“This campaign, in my view, was probably one of the most negative and vicious campaigns that this state has ever seen,” he said. “It was more than just one factor, and I think the people of Honolulu have got to understand that if they’re going to be affected by these kinds of innuendo and attacks, they’re going to be fed up with these kinds of campaigns time and time again.”

Brooms backfired

Mayor Jeremy Harris said Bainum may have shot himself in the foot with his own negative campaigning, however.

Harris, who beat Hannemann in the 2000 election and did not publicly support either candidate this time, said advertisements in which Bainum and supporters toted brooms and pledged to sweep out City Hall had backfired with many people he knew.

“I think thousands of city employees resented it greatly, and certainly all my appointees greatly resented it,” Harris said. “It was opportunistic politics.”

Negativity ignored

Peter Pulido, an 18-year-old mechanic from Mililani said negative tactics, including e-mail messages on Bainum’s wife, did not play into his decision to support Hannemann.

“I heard something about that Internet thing,” Pulido said. “But (Bainum) was the one running for mayor — not his wife.”

Pulido cited Hannemann’s performance in the debate as among the factors that attracted his vote.

“I think he just had better opinions,” Pulido. “He’s a smart person who will do a good job.”

Robert Rivera, a 51-year-old entrepreneur from Kailua, said Hannemann comes across as honest. “He seems to be sincere, and that appeals to me,” Rivera said.

Money may have hurt

Bainum pumped more than $2.2 million of his personal money into his campaign, and spent nearly twice as much as Hannemann. Harris said Bainum’s money probably helped him early in the race but may have hurt him later.

“I don’t think anyone wants to feel like the mayor’s office is for sale,” Harris said. “I think while it helped him initially overwhelm the airwaves with TV ads and build up huge name recognition in the primary (election), I think ultimately the more ads he ran, it was a case of diminishing returns and actually when people would see an ad, they would simply think of how much of a personal fortune was being invested in the race.”

And endorsements of Hannemann by some high-profile Republicans probably eroded Bainum’s support in key areas, such as East Honolulu, Harris said.

Debbie Mena, a 50-year-old elementary school employee, said familiarity with candidate records accounted for her vote.

“I voted for Duke,” she said. “I’ve already seen what Mufi could do, and I wasn’t impressed.”

Ready to reach out

Hannemann said he wanted to make it clear that he does not consider Bainum supporters his enemies.

“I believe it behooves me to reach out to them, and I will,” he said. “I want to be a leader who unites, rather than divides. During the course of the campaign, Duke and I stressed many of the same things. In fact, sometimes people thought we were tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee.”

He said he would form a blue-ribbon committee to help screen potential cabinet appointees, and had begun working with Harris to plan the transition.

Hannemann said one of his first priorities will be to improve the way the city picks up bulky items that residents throw away. The job is currently split between two city departments, and Hannemann said that leaves some neighborhoods poorly served.

He said he remained committed to stopping Harris’ plan to shore up the crumbling Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. He said he favors creating an open beach that preserves the Natatorium’s distinctive archway.

Harris said he was committed to ensuring a smooth transition, despite their differences over such issues.

“We look forward to working with the mayor-elect and his new team as he puts it together to have a smooth transition so that the public and public services don’t suffer in any way,” he said.

Staff writer Karen Blakeman contributed to this report. Reach Johnny Brannon at jbrannon@honoluluadvertiser.com, or 525-8070.