Friday, November 27, 2015         


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Many incumbents lose in neighbor isle races

By Gary T. Kubota


Anti-incumbent sentiment appeared to be strong in several county council races on the neighbor islands, as some challengers campaigned on change and open government.

Losing by fairly wide margins were Kauai Council Chairman Bill "Kaipo" Asing, longtime Maui Councilman Wayne Nishiki, and Big Island Councilmembers Guy Enriques of Kau and Emily Naeole-Beason of Puna.

Asing, who served on the Kauai County Council for 28 years, held a high-profile position for the past eight years as Council chairman.

With Kauai voters able to view meetings on cable TV, his spats with a couple of Council members became well-known, including disagreements with Councilman Tim Bynum.

Bynum said yesterday that when he was elected to the Council four years ago, he found Asing resisted changing procedures that would enable the public to view agenda items in detail on the council's website.

Bynum, who was elected to his third term, said he himself started posting documents related to agenda items on his Web page, including letters supporting bills and petitions.

"The public had a difficult time accessing public documents and still does to this day," he said. "I just put forward basic fundamental principles in a democratic society. ... I know the community is tired over us bickering about these issues."

Asing was unavailable for comment.

Maui Councilman Nishiki, elected several times and known as an environmentalist, was defeated by Don Couch, who emphasized his public accessibility and "openness."

"My office would be open to everybody, not just one side of the story," Couch said.

Couch said that unlike Nishiki, he would not "badger" those testifying.

Nishiki was criticized by some in 2008 for his late filing of a campaign disclosure of a $100,000 loan from developer Everett Dowling.

To prevent similar late filings, more than 80 percent of Maui County voters overwhelmingly approved a County Charter amendment on Tuesday requiring candidates to file their financial disclosure at the time they file as council candidates.

Regarding the Big Isle's Enriques, Brittany Smart, 27, an office manager for a green waste processing company, said she felt he wasn't listening to his constituents in Kau.

Smart said with high unemployment and a continuing drought, the Council should not have increased property taxes.

Fred Blas, a retired businessman, defeated Naeole-Beason, who was elected twice but was the subject of published accusations by her husband that she beat him and encouraged him to smoke marijuana.

Enriques and Naeole-Beason were unavailable for comment.

On the Valley Isle, incumbent Bill Medeiros of Hana lost in a close race to former Councilman Robert Carroll by 59 votes, according to an uncertified final report by the state Office of Elections.

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