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Hawaii News

Harimoto a lock among 4 rookies

A four-member freshman class will be part of the next Honolulu City Council, but there will be a further wait to determine its final makeup.

Voters yesterday elected former Board of Education member Breene Harimoto, who ran unopposed. The remaining three races will be decided in runoffs in the Nov. 2 general election.

Harimoto won the seat for District 8, which includes Aiea, Pearl City and Waipio Gentry.

Stanley Chang was the vote leader in District 4, and is headed for a runoff with Rich Turbin, who trailed by about 2.5 percentage points.

Chang said he was "extremely encouraged" by the lead in District 4, which was Charles Djou’s former seat and includes a swath of Honolulu, including Waikiki.

Djou gave up his seat when he was elected to fill the remainder of Neil Abercrombie’s congressional term. Former Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue, who is finishing Djou’s Council term, did not seek election, leaving the 4th District race to seven candidates.

Chang, a lawyer, said last night that the first thing he’d do on the Council is push for a master plan for Oahu’s infrastructure needs.

"It’s going to be very, very challenging," he said of the issues the new City Council members will face. "It’s the biggest election of my lifetime, and I think a big part of that is because we have some of the biggest challenges that Honolulu has faced in my lifetime."

Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, a former state representative and Hawaii National Guard member, was ahead in District 6. The next closest candidate, Sesnita Moepono, was about 10 percentage points behind. Tamayo and Moepono will compete in the Nov. 2 runoff.

A field of 10 candidates was on the ballot in District 6, which includes a portion of downtown Honolulu, Makiki, Nuuanu and Kalihi Valley.

In District 2, John White led Ernie Martin by about 7 percentage points. The two also will be in a runoff.

White is seeking office for the first time as a candidate in District 2, which includes Central Oahu and the North Shore. But he is no stranger to politics, having worked as a City Council aide to the late Duke Bainum and as U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono’s chief of staff.

Three candidates ran for the District 2 seat.

"Obviously, I’m pleased and I’m honored to be a front-runner," White said. "I’m grateful to the voters of Council District 2 who supported me and believe in the kind of leadership I hope to bring to the Council."

A priority for White is "watching what we spend, and I think it’s making sure we go through the budget and look to chop out areas we can’t afford."

"Long-term, though, my real passion is moving the city aggressively into clean energy and energy efficiency," he added.

The high turnover is taking place this year because Councilmen Donovan Dela Cruz (District 2), Gary Okino (8) and Rod Tam (6) could not run again because of term limits.

In addition, Council Chairman Todd Apo has announced he will leave office Nov. 8 to take a job as a public affairs manager in Hawaii for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Remaining Council members will include Ikaika Anderson, Romy Cachola, Nestor Garcia and Ann Kobayashi.

"The challenges will be big, but it also makes this an exciting opportunity," Apo said. "Obviously, we’ve got some big things ahead of us."


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