Hoping to set an example, the majority and minority leaders of the state House of Representatives are calling for peace and aloha following any outcome of tonight’s divisive presidential election.
“We are the Aloha State,” state Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai-Kalama Valley) told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Monday. “This is going to be a real test if it’s real or if it’s phony.”
Ward, the House minority leader, came up with the idea last weekend to issue a joint statement and reached across the political aisle to state Rep. Della Au Belatti (D, Moiliili-McCully-Tantalus), who gave Ward full credit and readily agreed to the statement.
“I do think working across party lines is important, and this is an example of it,” Belatti said. “There’s a lot of ugliness being revealed about our country now, but I don’t think that defines us. America is better than that.”
Like Ward and Bellati, neither Mayor Kirk Caldwell nor the Honolulu Police Department expects any local violence following the outcomes of today’s election.
Nonetheless, extra officers are being asked to work today, and Honolulu Police Department commanders will be monitoring developments across the United States, HPD spokeswoman Sarah Yoro said. “As of now I haven’t heard of any indications, in terms of riots or any type of violence, that would occur here on Oahu. But we’re constantly monitoring the situation.”
Yoro added, “We’re really fortunate here in the islands that we’ve had a long history here of peaceful protests, and we’ve shown in the past that we can be respectful of each other even if we disagree on key issues. We’re hoping and we expect people here will continue that type of peaceful behavior.”
HPD leaders “see no evidence of any form of civil unrest on the island of Oahu,” Caldwell said. “I’m not surprised … because I do think that we are very different than other places, that we come from a very small type of community. We may … have differences on who we’re going to vote for president or other elections, but we don’t resort to civil unrest.”
Caldwell said he believes Oahu will be free from the civil unrest that many across the nation are bracing for. “In the coming days we’ll see how the presidential election unfolds, and I hope we’re nowhere near where what some people are saying might occur through the rest of the United States.”
Asked by reporters about reports of intimidation of voters in other cities, City Clerk Glen Takahashi said HPD will “have some presence” at the island’s two voter service centers, at Honolulu Hale and Kapolei Hale, “so they’ll be able to respond quickly just in case something were to come up.”
Caldwell said HPD is also keeping watchful eyes on the 12 designated ballot drop boxes through the day.
Mufi Hannemann — chief executive officer and president of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association — said he has heard no reports of any Waikiki businesses boarding up windows or taking any additional security precautions.
“We practice, preach and advocate aloha every day,” Hannemann said. “This (joint statement) is something we support. Obviously, we showed this year in how we — the City and County of Honolulu — handled the Black Lives Matter issue. It came right through Waikiki. We respected people’s right to protest, exercise their freedom of speech, and we were fine. We didn’t see the type of uproar that we saw on the mainland.”
Major retailers from New York to Beverly Hill’s Rodeo Drive are boarding up their windows with plywood, while the White House reportedly is erecting another fence.
In Texas the FBI is investigating a caravan of apparent supporters of President Donald Trump surrounding a bus supporting former Vice President Joe Biden.
Locally, Edwin Boyette, vice chairman for communications of the Hawaii Republican Party, posted a video on his Twitter account over the weekend of what he said were college students outside of Aloha Tower screaming and yelling at a group of Trump supporters.
Boyette claimed that one of the students “appears to assault a Trump supporter,” an apparent reference to a woman knocking something out of the hand of another woman waving a blue “Trump 2020” flag in the video. The Trump supporter immediately swings the flag at the first woman in response, before Honolulu police separate the two groups.
In another video posted by Boyette, the first woman runs from police toward Aloha Tower and is pinned to the ground in the parking lot by three officers while repeatedly screaming, “They’re going to kill me! They’re going to kill me!”
Boyette wrote on Twitter, “Local and national media have created an irrational sense of fear. @OahuDemocrats tell your folks to keep their hands to themselves.”