Thank You Very Much, Mayor Fasi

Thank You Very Much, Mayor Fasi

A most remarkable man, father, husband and politician peacefully passed away in his sleep this week and we salute him.

Mayor Frank Fasi was described as a firebrand, a trailblazer and a maverick – in a positively provocative, profound way.

Throughout his long political career, including 22 years as the Mayor of the City & County of Honolulu, Mayor Fasi had a compassion for the ‘little guy’ and did a whole lotta good for Honolulu and the people of Oahu.

Besides the tangibles such as the municipal facilities, the national award-winning bus system, the Satellite City Hall system, neighborhood board systems, the H-POWER waste-to-energy plant, the children’s Summer Fun recreational program and the Honolulu City Lights winter festival, Mayor Fasi very importantly also brought intangibles to his office. He uniquely combined compassion and vision with a ‘can-do’ mentality and a ‘get-up-and-go’ message to the oasis in the middle of the Pacific.

This ‘can-do’ and ‘get-up-and-go’ ambience enabled open water events like the world-renowned Waikiki Roughwater Swim to more easily come into existence. While visionary and passionate swimmers like Jim Cotton and Fred Trask did the heavy leg work, focused on the logistics and founded the Waikiki Roughwater Swim in 1970 when 34 men and 2 women swam across Waikiki Beach, Mayor Fasi was instrumental in indirect ways.

Mayor Fasi encouraged and enabled his Parks and Recreation staff and the City’s venerable Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services Division to cooperate and support the early pioneers of open water swimming – and many other marine sports – on Oahu.

Past race directors recall how easy it was to work with the city staff and different departments and how Honolulu’s municipal services were in synch with providing support for sporting events and race directors. “We asked the lifeguards for their help on numerous occasions and they not only willingly did it, but they did it with a smile and suggestions on how to better improve the safety of the swim,” said Steven Munatones, a race director in the 1980’s. “We needed more parking and bus support and the city staff would always ask, ‘What more can we do?'”

And, as every triathlete knows, the influence of the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim has been significant on their own sport, where the ‘can-do’ and ‘get-up-and-go’ mentality is an absolute necessity.

So from the bottom of our hearts, we salute the Mayor for his leadership, inspiration and vision. May he rest in peace.

Photo above by Life Magazine shows Mayor Fasi running for office in 1959. Photo below is of the Waikiki Roughwater Swim start by the Virginia Masters Swimming and Triathlon Team.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones