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Carlisle appointees win initial approval

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Three more of Mayor Peter Carlisle’s Cabinet appointees — holdovers from the previous administration — received initial approval from the City Council yesterday as the chamber completed its business for 2010.

Nominations of Customer Services Director Gail Haraguchi, Emergency Services Director James Ireland and Design and Construction Director Collins Lam now go to committee for confirmation hearings followed by a final vote of the full Council.

That vote will fall to the new Council, which will be sworn in Jan. 3 with four new members and a fifth joining it soon after.

Meanwhile, the four departing members of the Council bade goodbye to their colleagues.

Those members included Rod Tam, who will find out Jan. 27 whether he faces prison time after pleading guilty last month to 26 misdemeanor counts of theft and falsifying documents stemming from his misuse of city funds for meals unrelated to his Council work.

Tam did not raise the issue of his sentencing in closing remarks, saying only that he planned to spend more time with his family and continue to "volunteer and assist people in voicing their concerns and interests in our democratic process for government."

Also leaving is Gary Okino, who lost a bid for the state House and then resigned from the Democratic Party of Hawaii after his endorsement of Republican candidates in this year’s elections. The party’s Oahu Committee then expelled him and banned him from rejoining for at least five years.

Both men had completed their second terms and were barred from running again due to term limits.

Two other departing members — Councilmen Lee Donohue and Reed Matsuura — were appointed to fill vacancies created by the election of members to higher office. Donohue was appointed in June to fill the seat of U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, and Matsuura was filling out the term of Donovan Dela Cruz, who was elected to the state Senate last month.

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

Newly elected members are Stanley Chang, Breene Harimoto, Ernie Martin and Tulsi Gabbard-Tamayo.

The ninth member of the Council, representing District 1, Leeward Coast-Ewa, is being decided by a special mail-in election that ends Dec. 29.

About 47,000 ballots were mailed yesterday to voters in the district, the City Clerk’s Office said, and walk-in absentee voting begins Monday at City Hall and Kapolei Hale. The winner will be sworn in by mid-January, after the results are certified.

Fourteen candidates are running for the seat formerly held by Todd Apo, who resigned Nov. 8 to take a job with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts in Hawaii.

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