Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Friday, October 13, 2000

City & County of Honolulu

accuses Council
of retaliation

He says his questioning of Ewa
Villages led to his diminished
Council duties

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

The exclusive nine-member "club" known as the Honolulu City Council hasn't had any new members since 1994.

That was to change at 6 tonight, when newly elected Council members Romy Cachola and Gary Okino are to take the oath of office administered by Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Steven Levinson in Council chambers at Honolulu Hale.

The ceremonies come to the forefront following yesterday's day-long exchange of barbs between Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura and Councilman Andy Mirikitani.

Yoshimura announced a reorganized committee structure, with Okino becoming chairman of the new Community Services and Parks Committee and Cachola taking over the Policy Committee.

The moves left Mirikitani with the Cultural Affairs Committee, and stripped him of oversight of the Community Services Department and the controversial Ewa Villages project.

Mirikitani said his authority is being diminished because he has continued to question the Harris administration's handling of the Ewa Villages scandal.

The charge was denied by both Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura and a spokeswoman for Mayor Jeremy Harris.

Mirikitani said that when he asked Yoshimura why community services functions were being handed to Okino, "I was told that when my committee was holding hearings on Ewa Villages ... people in the administration were asking him (Yoshimura) to talk to me."

Yoshimura, told of Mirikitani's comments, said Ewa Villages had nothing to do with the change in committee functions. He noted that Okino's new committee also includes park functions, previously with Councilman Steve Holmes' committee, while he handed over his own reins from the Policy Committee to Cachola.

"The administration did not tell me how to reorganize the Council," Yoshimura said.

Carol Costa, Harris' spokeswoman, also said Harris had no influence on the Council's changes, adding that the mayor learned of the actions from Yoshimura after reporters did.

A resolution on the committee changes was signed by six of the seven holdover Council members, the sole exception being Mirikitani. It will be heard by the Council next Wednesday.

In July, Mirikitani was stripped of the chairmanship of the Planning Committee, removed as majority floor leader and taken off the Budget Committee.

Yoshimura said it's unfortunate that attention is being diverted from the fact that eight of nine Council members agree with the reorganizational changes.

Both Okino and Cachola said they are happy with their assignments.

The two won elections last month to fill the two remaining years on the terms of Donna Mercado Kim and Mufi Hannemann, respectively, who each resigned to run for other offices.

City & County of Honolulu

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin