Monday, November 30, 2015         

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Inouye miffed at Cayetano's for calling him 'out of touch'

By B.J. Reyes


The race for Honolulu mayor has drawn U.S. Sen. Daniel Ino­uye into a verbal confrontation with former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who said the senator is "out of touch" on the issue of the city's planned $5.27 billion rail transit project.

Daniel Inouye:
Cayetano says his op-
ponents were fawning
over the senator

Inouye, who is in Las Vegas attending to business with the Demo­cratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a statement Thursday through a spokesman.

"I was deeply offended by the statements and negative tactics attributed to Gov. Caye­tano," Ino­uye said. "The race for Hono­lulu mayor should be about the issues facing our city, and in these serious times there is no need for personal attacks."

Cayetano made his remark Wednesday night in the first debate with other candidates, Mayor Peter Carlisle and former city Managing Director Kirk Caldwell.

Discussing whether Ino­uye could secure $1.55 billion in federal money for the proj­ect, Caye­tano spoke of how he reached out to Ino­uye's office seeking a face-to-face meeting but never received a response.

"Sen. Inouye is up at the 30,000-foot level dealing with national and international affairs," Caye­tano said. "The senator should take time to go down to McDonald's and talk to the retirees who go there to eat breakfast because it's cheap.

"He's out of touch, as far as I'm concerned. I respect Sen. Ino­uye — he's done a lot for our country and for our state — but we shouldn't defer to him."

Cayetano said Thursday he was "perplexed" by Ino­uye's reaction.

"When it comes to the rail issue, basically, he's not informed, and I don't know what's so offensive about that," Caye­tano said. "So we disagree on something."

Cayetano contends the rail system is more likely to cost about $7 billion and that the city will have to raise taxes or shortchange core services to make up the difference. Ino­uye has said the only thing that can stop the proj­ect is "World War III."

Carlisle and Caldwell both defended Ino­uye on Wednesday and put their full faith in his ability to get the funding. Both said they did not give credence to Caye­tano's "hypothetical" scenario of funds running out.

"The reason I brought it up was because the other two candidates, Caldwell and Carlisle, were fawning over him," Caye­tano said. "They were saying all these things about how he's guaranteeing he's going to get this and that, and my comments were in response to what they were saying."

Dante Carpenter, chairman of the Hawaii Demo­cratic Party, said he did not see the debate, but he understands the difference of opinion that Caye­tano has with Ino­uye on rail.

"I know he has a great deal of respect for Sen. Ino­uye," Carpenter said, "but he's entitled to his opinion and I'm sure he'll continue to expound on that which he feels is maybe on a different course."

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