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Thursday, June 24, 1999



City & County of Honolulu

Council wrangles
over resolution to limit
Natatorium work

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

A City Council resolution aimed at limiting restoration work at the Waikiki War Memorial and Natatorium has yet to be formally introduced, but is already causing waves.

Councilwoman Donna Mercado Kim, who opposes the $11.5 million natatorium project, has drafted a resolution that would restrict work to "the memorial arch and all other construction improvements and renovations permitted ... mauka of the memorial arch."

But Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura gave strong indications yesterday that he likely will send the resolution to a committee -- which would delay discussion on it until well into July -- rather than hearing it on the Council floor next week.

If Yoshimura does that, Kim said, he would be "bottling up" the issue.

Yoshimura has until the end of today to make a decision. A draft resolution was circulating yesterday, and Kim was to introduce her final version today, just before the posting of the Council calendar.

Kim said she was told by Yoshimura that the resolution would be heard on the Council floor Wednesday.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's still on the agenda," she said.

However, Councilman John DeSoto said he was told by Yoshimura that the resolution will be referred directly to the Zoning Committee, which he chairs.

DeSoto, who favors full restoration, said he doesn't intend to have the resolution heard until he sees valid reasons to discuss why the natatorium project should stopped.

The issue arose as Mayor Jeremy Harris yesterday announced he will back off on improvements to the pool until the state Health Department can come up with rules for saltwater pools.

Yoshimura, who has joined Kim and Council members Mufi Hannemann and Steve Holmes in opposing full restoration, said that takes away the urgency of Kim's resolution.

Further, he said, the Kaimana Beach Coalition has vowed to go back to court to seek a temporary restraining order barring the city from proceeding on any portion of the restoration project.

"We need some time to see it play itself out in court," Yoshimura said.

Restating his opposition to full restoration, Yoshimura said a vote by the Council right now would lead to the resolution's defeat.

"I do think there may be some change of heart on the Council with regard to support for the natatorium on the Council," he said.

An informal survey of the Council members shows Yoshimura may be correct.

Five of the Council's nine votes are needed to initiate a revocation of the permit for the project, and six votes are needed to approve a revocation.



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