Retired Chief Donald Chang with Gov. Cayetano
Image: Courtesy of Cayetano Campaign

On Wed., May 30, as firefighters battled brush fires on the Windward side, Honolulu Fire Chief Kenneth Silva was answering questions from reporters on another hot topic: why the nonprofit Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) Retirees Association has recently been barred from using Fire Department facilities where they’ve been meeting for years.

Allegedly, the HFD and Hawaii Firefighters Association (HFFA)–which has endorsed Kirk Caldwell for mayor–excluded the kupuna group because of its recent endorsement of another candidate, former governor Ben Cayetano. “We retirees differ with HFFA over its endorsement for mayor,” said former Fire Chief Donald Chang, president of the retirees association. “We are very disappointed in the way HFFA and HFD have acted.”

Cayetano called the supposed retaliation “mind-boggling,” and likened it to “throwing one’s parents out of their own house.” But Silva defended the decision, saying the HFD remains neutral on all political happenings, and that it had nothing to do with the Cayetano endorsement. According to Silva, the retirees had previously been warned about conducting business of a political nature on the property, and HFFA representatives aren’t allowed to conduct any sort of political activities there, either.