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White, Turbin and Lavoie rise to top in Council races

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The Honolulu City Council, already set for major turnover with four open seats, will be in wholesale upheaval once its chairman, Todd Apo, fulfills his intent to resign in November.

This turmoil can only underscore the importance of voters’ selection in the elections to fill three contested seats Sept. 18. Experience and connection with the community are key factors in our endorsements:

» District 2 (Central Oahu-North Shore): John White is seeking office for the first time but is no stranger to politics, working as a City Council aide to the late Duke Bainum and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono’s chief of staff.

White, also executive director of the Atherton YMCA, advocates a "live within our means" approach to city government. He pledges to push sewer and wastewater system repairs and seek green solutions, such as converting trash to reusable products.


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» District 4 (East Honolulu): The two leading candidates emerging here are Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board veteran Rich Turbin and Stanley Chang, both lawyers.

At a time of so much Council churn, however, the endorsement must go to Turbin, who has much broader experience from which to draw as the city grapples with budgetary and planning issues.

A cautionary note: Turbin, who has been a plaintiff’s attorney in cases of property violations by Kahala investor Genshiro Kawamoto, has vowed to use his office as a "bully pulpit" to impose harsher fines.

If elected, Turbin should instead put distance between his private legal work and his duties to his constituents, to remove the appearance of conflict.

» District 6 (Makiki-Downtown-Kalihi): Frank Lavoie has never run for office other than the Downtown Neighborhood Board. However, he is in its third term as chairman, owns an Alakea Street restaurant and has earned a reputation for being a strong voice on community issues.

A fiscal conservative and anti-rail, Lavoie says he would work to keep taxes down and cut city spending while focusing expenditures on maintaining basic services such as roads, solid waste disposal and sewers.


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