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Super PAC Be Change Now Spends $62K to Oppose Honolulu City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga

Wayne Yoshioka

An Independent Political Action Committee is financing a negative campaign against an incumbent Honolulu City Councilwoman.


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Honolulu City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga (center) was joined by Councilmember Ann Kobayashi and Council Chair, Ernie Martin, to show media the mailers being sent out by super PAC Be Change Now

Super PAC, Be Change Now, has spent over 62-thousand dollars on a direct mail campaign opposing Honolulu City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga.  That, according to the Hawai’i Campaign Spending Commission report ending July 27th.  Fukunaga says the smear tactics are malicious and misrepresent facts.


“I think it’s very disturbing and distressing that the employer of one of my opponents has resorted to these kinds of materials which include up to four mailers that have been distributed to spread really very misleading and inaccurate information.”


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Tyler Dos Santos-Tam is running against Fukunaga for Honolulu City Council to represent District 6

That opponent Fukunaga refers to is Tyler Dos Santos Tam, who is running against her for the Honolulu City Council District 6 seat.  He says he is no longer affiliated with the organization funding super PAC Be Change Now or its direct mail campaign which would be illegal.


“The Hawai’i Construction Alliance, which I was executive director of, so my successor came on board recently and I’ve been out on the campaign trail full-time.  From the time the very first mailer came out, we decried and denounced these attack mailers.  There’s no place for mudslinging in Hawai’i politics.”


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
The mailers are going out to residents of Council District VI

But, Honolulu City Council Chair, Ernie Martin, supports Fukunaga and spoke out against Be Change Now.

 "You know, Hawai’i, unfortunately, already has a reputation of low voter turnout and these types of smear tactics only serve and adverse purpose, to keep people away from the polls.”


Honolulu Councilmember Ann Kobayashi also supports Fukunaga, a former colleague in the state senate.


“We’ve never had this kind of campaigning before.  I mean, there’s  been negative campaigning in which you talked about a person’s voting record.  But this is dirty campaigning and it’s lies and distortions.  It’s really uncalled for.”


Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Carol Fukunaga is the incumbent in the District VI race

Fukunaga has spent 42-thousand dollars on her re-election campaign since January.  Dos-Santos Tam, 40-thousand dollars.  And both incumbent and challenger say the mailings are a distraction.

(Fukunaga) “Be Change Now is the new face of what’s been some of the dirtiest campaign tactics that we’ve ever seen in Honolulu.  They really detract from what we are trying to do which is to provide for more affordable housing for Honolulu residents.”

(Dos Santos-Tam) “It’s really unfortunate that this sort of thing’s happening.  We absolutely do not condone it and have no part in it.  We’re focused on talking about issues like homelessness and affordable housing and our roads and crime in our neighborhoods and these mailers distract from that.”


The two top vote-getters in the City Council District 6 race will advance to the general election, unless one of them receives 50 percent plus one vote to win outright.  Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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