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Arakawa takes charge on Maui

The mayor-elect credits endorsements in ousting Tavares after a single term

By Gary T. Kubota

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:44 a.m. HST, Nov 03, 2010


WAILUKU » After waiting four years, Alan Arakawa won back his former job as Maui County mayor from incumbent Charmaine Tavares.

Arakawa said endorsements by some environmentalists and construction industry supporters contributed to his victory.

"Any time you have people come in and endorse you, it helps," he said.

The loss by Tavares marked the third time in a row that Maui County voters sent their first-term mayor packing.

Tavares, 67, elected in 2006, was running for re-election during a period when the county faced the worst unemployment in decades.

Several candidates in the mayoral primary said the Tavares administration was taking too long in processing construction permits and was too heavy-handed in enforcing illegal vacation rentals.

Tavares' popularity among business people in West Maui also waned when the annual Halloween celebration in Lahaina failed to receive an events permit a few years ago.

Arakawa, 59, who was defeated by Tavares in 2006, trailed Tavares in the 11-person primary by less than 1 percent. He then picked up endorsements from former Maui Contractors Association board member Randy Piltz and former Councilman Sol Kahoohalahala.

Both Piltz and Kahoohalahala had a combined 30 percent of the primary vote.

Maui County Councilman Wayne Nishiki, who has served 22 years on the Council, trailed challenger Don Couch. Incumbent Bill Medeiros was narrowly behind challenger Robert Carroll.

On Kauai, Councilman Bill "Kaipo" Asing was in danger of losing the seat he has held for 28 years. Asing, who has also been acting mayor, was running eighth in the race for seven Council seats.

On the Big Island, incumbent Council members Emily Naeole-Beason and Guy Enriques were running behind their challengers.






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