What Mayoral Election?

Adrienne LaFrance/Civil Beat

Fair enough. Most people don’t feel like having a stranger ask them questions about Honolulu’s mayoral race on their morning bus commute. But I wanted to hear from some of my fellow bus riders on my way to the first mayoral debate Friday. Had they started thinking about who they want our next mayor to be? Do they even know who’s in the running? The answer, even from those who were happy to chat with me as we rode TheBus from downtown to Waipahu, was “Nope.”

“Five people running for mayor?” asks Ernest Fain, who has driven buses for the city for 21 years, as we waited at the bus stop just past Beretania and Punchbowl streets. “That’s news to me.”

Three others at the bus stop don’t want to talk politics. One couple apologizes for not speaking English. A pair of girls in heavy eyeliner tell me they’re not of voting age.

Once we board the uncrowded express bus toward Waipahu, I move from seat to seat, asking passengers about the upcoming mayoral election.

One Honolulu woman says someone called her on behalf of one of the candidates, but she can’t remember which one. A 19-year-old who gives only his first name, Rodolf, takes out his earbuds to tell me with a smile that he knows nothing about the race, and has no plans to vote. Another woman laughs when I ask her. “I’m just a student,” she says. “I have no idea.”

Lee, a middle-aged man from Kalihi, also laughs when he tells me he doesn’t know who’s running for mayor.

“What about Hannemann?” he asks.

I tell him Hannemann’s expected to resign July 20 to run for governor.

“Running for governor?” He shrugs, then laughs again.

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