Councilman ruled a resident of Lanai


POSTED: Sunday, November 01, 2009

Maui County Clerk Jeffrey Kuwada has ruled that County Councilman Sol Kaho'ohalahala is now a resident of Lanai and is registered to vote there.

The ruling Friday came in response to a Hawaii Supreme Court decision on Oct. 20 that Kaho'ohalahala was not a resident of the district he represents when he ran for the County Council.

Kaho'ohalahala, who said after the decision that he will not step down from office, submitted a voter registration form to the clerk's office on Oct. 20.

In a letter Friday, Kuwada said based on the evidence of residency Kaho'ohalahala submitted, the councilman is now registered to vote on Lanai.

Kuwada also dismissed a challenge to Kaho'ohalahala's voter registration application by Michael Dupree, one of 20 Lanai residents who challenged Kaho'ohalahala's residency and eligibility to represent Lanai in Circuit Court.

In another case pending before the state Supreme Court, the Lanai residents are appealing Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza's ruling that impeachment or recall procedures provided in the Maui County Charter are the appropriate route to challenge an election, not a civil suit.

The Charter process requires that at least 5 percent of voters in Maui County petition for impeachment. All Maui voters may vote for candidates in the Maui County Council at-large election.

Kaho'ohalahala said the county Charter says that once elected, the council member shall forfeit office if the member is no longer a resident of the area he was elected to represent.

Kaho'ohalahala, born and raised on Lanai, said his primary residence “;unequivocally is on Lanai,”; although he worked for three years as executive director of the Kaho'olawe Island Reserve Commission in Wailuku.