Frank Fasi

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Frank Fasi
Frank Fasi.jpg
9th & 11th Mayor of Honolulu
In office
1984–1994
Preceded by Eileen Anderson
Succeeded by Jeremy Harris
In office
1969–1981
Preceded by Neal Blaisdell
Succeeded by Eileen Anderson
Personal details
Born (1920-08-27)August 27, 1920
Hartford, Connecticut
Died February 3, 2010(2010-02-03) (aged 89)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Political party Best Party
Republican
Democratic
Spouse(s)
Children
Residence Hawaii
Profession Businessman
Religion Catholic

Frank Francis Fasi (August 27, 1920 – February 3, 2010) was a United States politician having the distinction as the longest serving Mayor of Honolulu in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. He also served as a territorial senator and member of the Honolulu City Council. A perennial candidate for Hawaiʻi offices, Fasi was popularly credited for having built the foundations on which Honolulu now thrives as one of the largest modern municipalities in the nation.

Early years[edit]

Frank Francis Fasi was born on 27 August 1920 in Hartford, Connecticut, to Sicilian immigrants [1] Carmelo and Josephine Lupo Fasi. Carmelo owned an ice business,[2] and Frank began working for his father at age 11. An athletic youth, he finished 7th out of class of 476 in high school, and graduated from Trinity College[3] where he had been a history major on an academic scholarship.

Fasi tried to join the United States Marine Corps after graduation from Trinity. The Marines turned him down because of his color blindness. Going back for a second try, he hired a friend to take the eye test for him,[2] and Frank Fasi became a Marine. He served in the Pacific Theatre of World War II and was briefly stationed on Kauai. He was discharged as a First Lieutenant in Boston, Massachusetts in 1946, and immediately returned to Hawaii.

Fasi settled in Honolulu where he became an entrepreneur, opening his own contracting, building demolition and salvage company.

Political career[edit]

In 1958,[4] Fasi entered into politics, winning his first race to represent his district in the senate of the Territory of Hawaiʻi. His term was cut short when Hawaiʻi achieved statehood and the territorial legislature was dissolved in 1959.[4] After returning to his business, Fasi once again ran for office in 1965 winning a seat on the Honolulu City Council where he served as a councilman through 1968.

Frank F. Fasi Election Summary
Year Race Election Party Outcome
1958 Territorial Senator General Democrat Won
1965 Honolulu City Councilman General Democrat Won
1967 Honolulu City Councilman General Democrat Won
1968 Mayor of Honolulu General Democrat Won
1972 Mayor of Honolulu General Democrat Won
1974 Governor of Hawaiʻi Primary Democrat Lost to George R. Ariyoshi (D)
1976 Mayor of Honolulu General Democrat Won
1978 Governor of Hawaiʻi Primary Democrat Lost to George R. Ariyoshi (D)
1980 Mayor of Honolulu Primary Democrat Lost to Eileen Anderson (D)
1982 Governor of Hawaiʻi General Independent Democrat Lost to George R. Ariyoshi (D)
1984 Mayor of Honolulu General Republican Won
1988 Mayor of Honolulu General Republican Won
1992 Mayor of Honolulu General Republican Won
1994 Governor of Hawaiʻi General Best Lost to Benjamin J. Cayetano (D)
1996 Mayor of Honolulu General Nonpartisan Lost to Jeremy Harris (N-P)
2000 Mayor of Honolulu General Nonpartisan Lost to Jeremy Harris (N-P)
2003 Congress 2nd District Special Nonpartisan Lost to Ed Case (D)
2004 Mayor of Honolulu General Nonpartisan Lost to Mufi Hannemann (N-P)

After losing his 2004 bid for the office of mayor, Fasi, then 84 years old, announced that he would not run for office again.

Mayor of Honolulu[edit]

By the late 1960s, Fasi had gained a colorful reputation. The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspapers were using the words "firebrand," "trailblazer" and "maverick" to describe him. In 1969, Fasi was elected Mayor of Honolulu and served through 1981 when he was defeated for the first time for re-election by [5]Eileen Anderson. He staged a comeback and defeated Anderson in the 1984 election, returning to Honolulu Hale once again and serving as mayor through 1994,[4] when he resigned to seek the Hawaiʻi governorship.

In all, Fasi served 22 years as the mayor of Honolulu, the longest cumulative tenure of any Honolulu mayor.

Best Party[edit]

Fasi rose through the ranks of the Democratic Party in his early years. In 1984, he was persuaded by D. G. Anderson to quit and join the Republican Party. He rose through the Republican Party ranks with ease. In 1994, both parties pushed him away in favor of younger, more popular candidates. In retaliation, Fasi established the Best Party of Hawaiʻi[6] and ran for Governor of Hawaiʻi against Patricia F. Saiki and Benjamin J. Cayetano. Dr. John Craven ran against Fasi in the Primary. Fasi lost but his party lives on as the Aloha ʻĀina Party of Hawaiʻi with which it merged in 1997.

Legacy[edit]

Much of Honolulu today retains reminders of Honolulu's Fasi Era. He opened the Neal S. Blaisdell Center, and established TheBus,[7][8] the national award-winning public transportation system. Fasi also invented and built the Satellite City Hall system, established one of the nation's largest elected neighborhood board systems, and pushed for the construction of the H-POWER waste-to-energy plant.

Fasi created the popular Summer Fun[9] recreational program for children and the annual Honolulu City Lights[9] winter festival. Fasi popularized a local hand gesture called the shaka when he ordered it to become the city's signature logo and printed on all city signs and publications.

He is also credited with transforming the Capitol District by bulldozing[10] massive parking structures near the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, ʻIolani Palace and Kawaiahaʻo Church to create large parcels of green space known as the Honolulu Civic Center. He also created a central office building for many of the city's departments.

In recognition of his service to Honolulu, Mayor Mufi Hannemann renamed both the Civic Center and the Municipal Building in July 2006. In order to do so, the Honolulu City Council amended its charter with the passage of Bill 76 (2005) CD 1, FD 1, which bypassed a ban on naming city and county sites in honor of living persons. The Mayor Frank F. Fasi Civic Center[11][12] and Mayor Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building now stand as memorials to him.

Death[edit]

Fasi died[13] at his home of natural causes on February 3, 2010.[14] He was 89.

Organization membership[edit]

Frank Fasi was a member[1] of the following organizations:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kestenbaum, Lawrence. "Fasi, Frank Francis". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Tswei, Suzanne (20 September 2000). "Flamboyant and Combative". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 
  3. ^ "Frank Fasi Dies". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 4 February 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c Dye, Bob (1997). Hawai'i Chronicles II: Contemporary Island History from the Pages of Honolulu Magazine. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 276–281. ISBN 978-0-8248-1984-2. 
  5. ^ Essoyan, Susan; Borreca, Richard (5 February 2010). "Hizzoner Was One of a Kind". Honolulu Star-bulletin. 
  6. ^ Martin, Douglas (15 February 2010). "Frank Fasi; led Honolulu for six terms as mayor; 89". The Boston Globe. 
  7. ^ "Hawaii Eyes Tourist-Tax Subsidy". Spokane Daily Chronicle. 4 September 1970. 
  8. ^ Adamski, Mary (24 August 2003). "1971 Strike Prompted City to Create Public Fleet". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 
  9. ^ a b Munatones, Steve (6 February 2010). "The Can-do Spirit of Mayor Frank Fasi". The Water is Open. 
  10. ^ "Frank Fasi: Through the Years". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. 6 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Priva, Derek (13 Mday 2010). "Hawaii Book & Music Festival". Hawaii Magazine. 
  12. ^ Hannemann, Mufi (8 February 2006). "Hanneman Proposes Renaming Civic Center, Municipal Center in Honor of Former Mayor Frank Fasi". Press release. City and County of Honolulu. 
  13. ^ "Former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi Dies". KITV. 4 February 2010. 
  14. ^ Advertiser Staff (4 February 2010). "Former Mayor F Fasi Dies". Honolulu Advertiser. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Neal Blaisdell
Mayor of Honolulu
1969–1981
Succeeded by
Eileen Anderson
Preceded by
Eileen Anderson
Mayor of Honolulu
1984–1994
Succeeded by
Jeremy Harris