Businessman Rick Blangiardi joined Spotlight Hawaii to talk about his bid for Honolulu mayor. The former media executive is a political newcomer, but he says his business acumen make him the best person for the job.
“I’m running for mayor because we’ve elected a lot of people in the past and we still have the same problems. Experience without success is meaningless, “ he said. “We were at a crossroads before COVID-19 and the pandemic has just amplified everything, whether it’s our homeless crisis, the uncertainty of rail, and of course our economy, which we’ll need to rebuild.”
Blangiardi said given the financial realities facing the rail project, he would seriously consider ending the route at Middle Street.
“I think there’s a lot of possibilities at Middle Street, it’s a huge area, probably a better hub than Ala Moana Center would be,” he said, “If we had express buses that could take people to where they wanted to go from there, including the university, Waikiki, downtown business section, Ala Moana, we could establish something very different.”
Throughout the interview, Blangiardi emphasized his “tough love” leadership style. “I would have a tendency, for example, to operate here with a sense of urgency and not necessarily patience,” he explained. “This whole thing about it’s government and not business kind of mystifies me. And I don’t think we’re in a position when we want to be perpetuating the status quo.”
Watch the full interview above or on our Facebook page.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. This month, Yunji de Nies and Ryan Kalei Tsuji conduct one-on-one interviews with Honolulu mayoral candidates. Here is the lineup:
July 6 – Colleen Hanabusa
July 8 – Mufi Hannemann
July 13 – Rick Blangiardi
July 15 – Choon James
July 20 – Keith Amemiya
July 22 – Kym Pine