19 candidates nominated to temporarily fill Honolulu City Council seat
The Honolulu City Council has received nominations for 19 candidates to fill its Council District 4 seat for the next few months.
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As of Friday, the Honolulu City Council has received nominations for 19 candidates to fill its Council District 4 seat for the next few months while the latest Trevor Ozawa-vs.-Tommy Waters contest goes into overtime.
The Hawaii Supreme Court last month invalidated Ozawa’s 22-vote victory over Waters, who challenged the Office of Elections’ results, alleging impropriety in the collection of ballots on Election Day Nov. 6.
The list of those who nominated themselves or were nominated by others includes several high-profile names, including former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, who also served on the City Council and in the state Legislature; former state Sen. Sam Slom; former state Rep. Barbara Marumoto; Michael Formby, chief of staff for former U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa; and attorney Richard Turbin.
Also on the list are Natalie Iwasa, who placed third behind Ozawa and Waters in the 2018 primary for the District 4 seat; Kathryn Henski- Stark, who twice challenged Tom Brower for the state House District 22 seat; Nicola Perez-Garreaud, who also vied for the District 22 seat in 2016; Yvonne Perry, who ran in the U.S. House District 1 special election to replace the late Mark Takai in 2016; Oahu Parks Conservancy President Michelle Matson; community activist David Moskowitz; and attorneys Jo-Ann Adams and Emmanuel Tipon.
Ozawa himself was nominated by three of his District 4 constituents.
Rounding out the list of hopefuls are: David Kimo Frankel, activist and attorney; planner and Waikiki Neighborhood Board member Jeff Merz; Kahi Pacarro, co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii; City Council staff member Marc Witter; and attorney and CPA Randall Yee.
Formby’s and Turbin’s nominations were accompanied by numerous letters of support.
The Council Legislative Matters Committee, led by Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and comprising all eight current members, will meet Monday with the hope of selecting the temporary member. A final vote is expected by the full Council at a special meeting Tuesday. Public testimony will be accepted at both meetings, although Kobayashi expects most of the discussion to take place Monday.
Kobayashi said Thursday that while interested applicants could show up Monday, they would be at a major disadvantage because Council members would not have had time to review their credentials.
City Clerk Glen Takahashi said a mail-in election between Ozawa and Waters will be held from late March, when ballots will be mailed to the district’s roughly 66,000 registered voters, until 6 p.m. April 13. A winner is expected to be announced that night.
Takahashi said the special election between Ozawa and Waters will cost taxpayers about $250,000.
Although the temporary post will be for only about three months, the person who takes the seat is expected to play a critical role at Honolulu Hale.
Kobayashi pointed out that a key reason she and her seven colleagues want a temporary appointment is because the Council is about to begin its annual budget deliberations and is also in the middle of discussions on broad-based measures that would set rules for residential vacation rentals and so-called “monster” houses.
The discussion on the latter issue has been driven largely by residents in Kaimuki, Palolo and other parts of East Honolulu frustrated by the growing number of large-scale homes and the negative impacts they can bring to a neighborhood.
The selection also is being closely watched because Council members acknowledge an even split among themselves between those more critical of Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s policies and those more receptive.
That split is also part of the drama tied to the Ozawa-Waters battle. Ozawa is among mayor’s staunchest critics while Waters is a Caldwell ally going back to when both served in the state House in the early 2000s.
Caldwell said Thursday that he supports the selection of a temporary Council member. “I think they need a representative for East Honolulu,” he said. “And I appreciate the chair, Ann Kobayashi, doing this quickly.”
The mayor said he agreed with Kobayashi’s preference that neither Ozawa nor Waters be considered for the temporary post.