Two Big Wins For Mayors With Sustainable Transpo Cred

On the local level, the night’s biggest win for sustainable transportation was the victory of Kirk Caldwell over Ben Cayetano to be mayor of Honolulu. Caldwell had won just 29 percent of the vote in the three-way primary race, facing a steep uphill battle in the general election versus Cayetano, a popular former governor who had pulled in 44 percent of the primary vote.

Former Gov. Ben Cayetano failed to convince Honolulu to join him in killing a long-awaited transit project. Photo: KHON2/Facebook

Cayetano had come out of retirement and joined the race for the explicit purpose of stopping construction of a rail line that’s been decades in the making. Caldwell remains a staunch supporter of the transit line and promised to see the project through. He won 54 to 46 percent — handing Cayetano the first loss of his political career.

Meanwhile, Republican Carl DeMaio has just conceded the San Diego mayor’s race, which was still too close to call just a couple of hours ago. DeMaio held a slim lead through most of last night, but the balance flipped early this morning and U.S. Rep. Bob Filner pulled off a narrow victory.

As we mentioned in our story on the race, San Diego bike/walk groups did an impressive job getting the two candidates to fight over who could be the most supportive of active transportation. While DeMaio put together an admirable plan for making San Diego a top-50 bicycling city and creating an environment more conducive to walking, Filner has a decades-long record of supporting sustainability. His passion for active transportation and the need to reduce car dependency in San Diego came through in his at times acerbic debate with DeMaio on transportation issues.

It appears Filner’s offer to settle the mayor’s contest with a bicycle race won’t be necessary.