Vote for Council seat comes down this week


POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2009

A sprint to fill the City Council vacancy in Windward Oahu comes to an end this week.

Voters will learn Thursday which one of 11 candidates will serve out the term of Barbara Marshall, who died Feb. 22 of colon cancer just months after overwhelmingly winning re-election to the seat representing parts of Kaneohe, Kailua and Waimanalo.






        A total of 11 candidates are vying to fill the vacancy on the City Council in District 3.

» Paul Akau
        » J. Ikaika Anderson
        » Tracy Nakano Bean
        » John Henry Felix
        » Wilson Kekoa Ho
        » Steve Holmes
        » Leona Mapuana Kalima
        » Keoki Leong
        » Sol Nalua'i
        » Tom Pico Jr.
        » Pohai Ryan




Ballots Due


        The deadline for voters in District 3 to return ballots in the special mail-in election is Thursday. About 54,000 ballots were mailed on April 1 to registered voters in the district.

Ballots must be received by the City Clerk's office no later than 6 p.m. Absentee walk-in voting continues at City Hall and Pali Golf Course today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ballots also may be dropped off at these sites.


Acting City Clerk Bernice Mau expects her office to have a first printout available around 6:15 p.m. with as much as 98 percent of the vote counted.

About 54,000 ballots were mailed to voters in the district. As of Friday, about 20,000 had been returned, Mau said.

With more than half of the ballots still out, candidates are continuing campaigns to win those who have not yet sent in their votes.

So far, three appear to have separated themselves from the pack through name recognition and some big campaign dollars spent on the race.

Former Council members John Henry Felix and Steve Holmes, along with J. Ikaika Anderson, Marshall's longtime aide, have raised and spent the most in the race, saturating local media with print, radio and television ads.

Felix leads all candidates, having spent nearly all of the $128,482 raised for the campaign. That total includes $70,000 he loaned himself.

Anderson began the race with about $3,700 left over from his failed bid for the state House, and had spent $98,827 on the Council race. He raised $99,982 in the campaign period, which included $15,000 in loans from family members.

Holmes took in about $46,101—loaning himself all but about $3,000—and spent $43,101.

The rest of the field combined has spent about $45,147, according to campaign spending reports.

The field includes past political candidates Wilson Kekoa Ho, Leona Mapuana Kalima, Keoki Leong and Tom Pico Jr. Rounding out the race are first-timers Paul Akau, Tracy Nakano Bean, Sol Nalua'i and Pohai Ryan.

The relatively shortened election period has left little time for the traditional “;silly season”; of a campaign—when discussion of issues breaks down and personal attacks take over—but some have surfaced in recent days.

Anderson has been criticized by groups accusing his campaign of accepting excessive amounts of money from operators of bed-and-breakfast and transient vacation rentals. Expansion of such businesses in the community has been a divisive issue.

“;The reason why these good people are supporting me is because I've promised to listen to them and not shut the door in their face,”; Anderson said. “;I think you've got to listen with an open mind and an open heart, the same way that Council member Marshall did.”;

Holmes also has faced familiar allegations about his resume, with critics questioning whether he attended and graduated from the University of Iowa. Holmes has repeatedly defended his credentials, arguing that his degrees are genuine and that the university has told him that records were lost during a restructuring of one of its departments.

“;It's an old issue,”; Holmes said. “;You know when you've been attacked before, politically, that it's going to happen again.”;