Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson is being stripped of his positions as the Council’s second-in-command and chairman of the influential Zoning and Planning Committee following a shake-up at Honolulu Hale.
Anderson is expected to relinquish the title of Council vice chairman to Councilman Joey Manahan at Wednesday’s Council meeting in West Oahu. On the agenda is a resolution that names Manahan the Council’s vice chairman.
Meanwhile, Anderson said to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Friday, Council Chairman Ernie Martin has told him Councilman Trevor Ozawa will replace him as Zoning chairman. Committee assignments are the purview of the Council chairman.
Anderson has been second-in-command at the Council since he and Martin took over from then-Chairman Nestor Garcia and Vice Chairman Breene Harimoto in June 2011. He has been chairman of the Zoning and Planning Committee since it was created, merging the former Zoning and Planning committees, also in mid-2011. Before that, Anderson had served as either Zoning or Planning committee chairman since arriving on the Council in mid-2009.
Two separate resolutions were introduced Thursday to name the next vice chairman of the Council. And while the role of a vice chairman is largely ceremonial, the dueling resolutions signaled a behind-the-scenes conflict among Council members.
On Thursday morning, Anderson introduced Resolution 16-165, calling for Councilwoman Kymberly Pine to replace him. A few hours later, Councilman Trevor Ozawa introduced Resolution 16-167, calling for Manahan to be vice chairman. In both resolutions, Martin remains as the chairman while Ron Menor retains his title as floor leader.
“I understand that some members of the Council support a change in leadership in the vice chairman’s position, which I’m OK with,” Anderson said Thursday. “I’m unsure about the reasoning, but I’m OK with it.”
Several hours after
Ozawa’s resolution was made public, the chairman’s office released the agenda for July’s monthly meeting, which takes place Wednesday at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu campus.
The agenda includes Ozawa’s proposal, but not Anderson’s, leaving only Manahan’s appointment formally under consideration.
Martin declined to be interviewed or answer specific questions about the shuffling, but issued a statement late Thursday that said: “Council member Anderson is a valuable, experienced member of this body and he will continue to be an important part of the work we do for the city. We appreciate all of his hard work and commitment to his constituents.”
Anderson said that he introduced his resolution because “Kymberly Pine is one of the most senior members of our Council, and she attends meetings of committees she’s not even a member of.”
Additionally, he said, it’s been a while since a woman has held one of the top two positions at the Council. He acknowledged that he did not consult Pine before placing her name up for consideration.
Ozawa did not respond to requests for comment.
Manahan declined to answer specific questions but said he is grateful to be considered as Council vice chairman. He referred other questions to Martin.
Pine also declined to answer questions, but, in an email, confirmed that she was not consulted before Anderson introduced his resolution. “I’ll wait till the boys at the Council figure out who has what title,” she said. “Right now, I’m focused on making sure the Council does everything we can to build the entire rail system without raising taxes and making sure that we continue to take care of the people first.”
On Friday, Anderson said he met with Martin and was told that he was being replaced as Zoning and Planning chairman by Ozawa. Martin suggested that other committees might be in need of a chairman, but he was not offered any job and he did not promise anything to Martin, Anderson said.
There appears to have been growing tension between Anderson and Ozawa, both Kamehameha Schools graduates, in recent weeks.
At the June 16 meeting of the Zoning and Planning Committee, a meeting that Anderson led, Ozawa was questioning a testifier about a controversial Waikiki project in which people from both sides were giving their views.
When Ozawa, the committee vice chairman, said he wanted to ask “another question,” Anderson quickly said “Brief, please.” Ozawa paused, turned to look at Anderson, said “I’ll pass,” and got up to leave. As he walked behind Anderson to leave the committee room, the television microphone picked him up stating he was “going to use the restroom.”
When he did not return, the committee did not have a quorum of three members to continue the meeting. The meeting was then recessed until midafternoon when Anderson, Ozawa and others joined in to make quorum.
Several Council sources pointed to the meeting as the flashpoint that led to the rift between Anderson and Ozawa.
Anderson said he had followed Ozawa out of the committee room and asked him to return to meet quorum but Ozawa refused. “The man hasn’t talked to me since then,” he said.
“I’ve never had a personality conflict with Trevor,” Anderson said, adding that he suggested to Martin that Ozawa be his vice chairman of Zoning and Planning. “There’s no animosity from me toward him. If he has any animosity toward me, I’m unaware of it.”
Anderson said he was not trying to be rude or insulting to Ozawa. “I was just trying to end a very contentious discussion. … It didn’t seem to me that they were going to come up to any agreement other than to agree to disagree.”