Profs Like Cayetano On Rail, But Not Ready To 'Forgive and Forget'?

University of Hawaii Professional Assembly

Mayoral hopeful Ben Cayetano got a warm welcome from University of Hawaii professors sympathetic to his objections to the Honolulu rail project, but rail alone might not be enough to score this union endorsement.

"I think that was very well received and accepted in terms of that particular issue," University of Hawaii Professional Assembly Executive Director JN Musto told Civil Beat about Cayetano's Saturday appeal to the professors' union for support. "He believes he's on a mission. Even if we agree with the mission, that does not necessarily mean we agree with the assertion that he should be the mayor. That's different, and it's one we haven't discussed. We'll see."

Musto said the UHPA board of directors will discuss the possibility of wading into the mayoral race at its next meeting, scheduled for this coming Saturday. He said county politics is "not something we've normally done."

Cayetano, who famously battled with professors when he was governor, said they seemed "open and even receptive to my thoughts" at the closed-door forum, using words like "professional" and "very cordial" to describe his hosts.

"Basically, the point that I was making was how I thought that the rail project and all of this other debt would actually hurt public workers, in terms of their collective bargaining interests," he said.

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