Politics, Hawaiian Style.
Politics at the local level produces some remarkable characters and I think probably Hawaii has at least our fair share.
For instance, there was Frank Loo, who served on the Honolulu City Council for a number of years and is remembered primarily for an incident that occurred during a Council hearing for an ordinance that would allow people—women, in particular— to carry pepper spray for self-protection.
When one of the witnesses, a middle-aged woman, testified in favor of the proposal, Councilman Loo expressed skepticism that pepper spray could effectively ward off a determined attacker. The lady suggested that Loo could see for himself by trying to attack her. Eager to meet the challenge, Loo rose from his seat and rushed the lady. She snatched a can of the pepper spray from her purse and, to the absolute delight of everyone present, gave Councilman Loo a snoot full, leaving him choking and gasping on the floor of the Council Chambers. How’s that for a political legacy?
Richard Kageyama, who was known as a bit of an eccentric, served on the Honolulu Board of Supervisors, the City Council, and in the state legislature on and off for many years. When appearing before any kind of a public gathering, he would often begin his remarks with a resounding “Fellow students . . .” He thought it was funny and would relax his audience, but the few times I saw him use that opening line, the reaction was just confusion.
Kageyama did have a remarkably effective tactic he used whenever he was campaigning for re-election. He would get a schedule for all the street repairs in his Council district and, the day before a resurfacing was scheduled, he would go up and down that very street knocking on doors. When a resident appeared, Kageyama would introduce himself and say he had been walking through the district and couldn’t help but notice that there were quite a few potholes on the street.
“Would you like me to get those fixed for you?” he would ask.
The startled homeowner would, of course, say yes, whereupon Kageyama would scribble something on a little notepad and say, “I’ll have them here first thing tomorrow morning!”
Frank Loo and Richard Kageyama … they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.