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Name recognition is key in education board race

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Pamela Young is not THE Pamela Young. Larry Price is not THE Larry Price.


Try this one: Larry Price gave Pamela Young $1,200 for her campaign.

OK, now an attempt to straighten this out.

Pamela Young is an accountant with the city. She is also running for the state Board of Education.

She has a website and Facebook page and a clearly developed set of issues and concerns about the problems facing education in Hawaii.

She is a CPA, a 13-year veteran of the Mililani Mauka-Launani Valley Neighborhood Board and heads the city’s accounting section.

Finally, she is president of the Hawaii Government Employees Association professional and scientific unit and was endorsed by HGEA.

Her real claim to fame, however, is that after spending $1,801 for her campaign, Pamela Young picked up 70,436 votes, coming in first in the Sept. 18 primary election school board vote.

She goes on to the general election, but she is still not THE Pamela Young. I know Pamela Young, the 10 Emmy-winning, KITV news anchor and reporter. We worked together at KHON. She is a stone-cold serious journalist with the gift of mugging for the camera and producing those award-winning travelogues and video essays.

School board elections are the forgotten part of the ballot. In this primary election, 265,000 voters, 43 percent, left the school board ballot blank. The races blur together and name identification sometimes makes the difference.

There was a school board candidate several decades ago named John Mirikitani, who was mistaken by voters for some other Mirikitani, a well-known surname in the community at the time. Mirikitani came in first in the primary election but voters rejected him in the general election.

Now to the rest of the confusion. Also running is Larry Price. He is a political unknown, but he is running against Hawaii Kai Republican Sen. Sam Slom, who has made a career out of tweaking the nose of organized labor in Hawaii — so Price has won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, HGEA, Hawaii Teamsters, Hawaii State Teachers Association and the United Public Workers.

Still Larry Price, the candidate, is not Larry Price the former football coach, MidWeek columnist and morning radio personality. That’s THE Larry Price.

THE Larry Price is also the one who donated $1,200 to Pamela — not THE Pamela — Young’s campaign.

If Andy Warhol’s dictum that in the future everyone would be world-famous for 15 minutes, here in this small island state we have at least two candidates asking for more time.

Richard Borreca writes on politics every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. Reach him at


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