Five new members of the Honolulu City Council took their oaths of office today, signaling a new era at Honolulu Hale where new Mayor Rick Blangiardi was also scheduled to take his office a short time later.
New members Radiant Cordero, Esther Kiaaina, Calvin Say, Augie Tulba and Andria Tupola will play major roles at City Hall the next four years by virtue of simple math.
The Council is comprised of nine members. So the four holdovers — incoming Chairman Tommy Waters and members Brandon Elefante, Carol Fukunaga and Heidi Tsuneyoshi — will need to depend on the new members to get anything done.
For the first time in the city’s history, a majority of the Council is comprised of women.
There were fewer-than-normal witnesses and well-wishers at today’s Council swearing-in ceremonies as organizers stressed social distancing as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc both inside and outside City Hall.
Each Council member was allowed to have two family members or guests and one staff aide in the audience as Hawaii Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald administered the oaths of office.
Because he was vice chairman of the previous Council, Waters presided as today’s proceedings began.
After the oaths were taken, Waters was elected Council chairman by a 9-0 vote.
Kiaaina was selected vice chairwoman and Tupola as floor leader.
Longtime Council observer Choon James urged the new Council to hold more meetings rather than pack too many hot-button issues into a limited number of meetings.