Dela Cruz gets affirmation of leadership
The City Council chairman averts an apparent attempt to oust him from his role
City Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz has survived an apparent attempt to overthrow him as chairman -- spurred, some Council members said, by Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
"I am saddened by that fact. Now I'm always going to have to keep one eye open and an ear to the ground not for my sake, but because we have to maintain a strong legislative body," Dela Cruz said.
Dela Cruz circulated a resolution yesterday affirming the current Council leadership lineup. He said that a majority of the nine-member Council has signed on, although he would not confirm numbers or names.
"I'm humbled by the fact that members have expressed support, and I think it's crucial that we ensure that the legislative body stays strong and that we continue to do the people's business," Dela Cruz said.
"I think the current chair of the Council is doing an excellent job, and I have no interest in seeing that change," Councilwoman Barbara Marshall said.
At the same time, Council members said, the mayor was seeking a majority of Council members to sign on to a resolution calling for a special meeting to oust Dela Cruz.
The mayor could not be reached for comment yesterday, but has denied being involved in a reorganization of the Council, saying that the unhappiness he has heard has come from within the Council.
Councilman Rod Tam, chairman of the Public Works Committee, said at this time he supports the status quo, although he would like Dela Cruz to provide clear goals and objectives.
Tam said he has been "disappointed" with Dela Cruz's position on some issues in the past, including Dela Cruz's support of closing the Waimanalo Gulch landfill, because he did not think the city was prepared for the landfill closure.
But Tam said he believes that keeping the Council leadership intact is what is best for the city -- at least for now.
"Right now, people are approaching me, and I want to see what people have to offer," Tam said. "One thing I am worried about is the relationship between the Council and the administration. I want to bring the two together for the common good of the public."
Dela Cruz and Hannemann's administration have clashed publicly in recent weeks on issues such as stream clearing and how to protect the country lifestyle of Kahuku residents.
But Council Vice Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi said she does not think the relationship between the Council and the current administration has diminished to when there was constant animosity with the Harris administration.
"With this administration we haven't," she said. "I think we've been working together very well together."
Kobayashi also said Dela Cruz has been a good chairman who has defended the Council as an institution.
Dela Cruz said a reason he is saddened by the attempt to remove him as chairman is because "I'm a supporter of the mayor and that I supported him in the last election."