Political File

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Judge delays hearing on
Big Island term limits

HILO » The issue of when term limits approved by Big Island voters went into effect will not be decided until after the Sept. 18 primary election.

A hearing on the matter originally set for last Friday was rescheduled for Oct. 3 by Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

When the term limits took effect is the key issue in a lawsuit filed by three residents challenging the re-election bid of County Councilman James Arakaki, who is seeking an eighth consecutive term.

Ollie Fulks, Arakaki's only opponent in the nonpartisan Council election, and residents Edward Clark and Matthew Binder contend Arakaki cannot run again because of limits approved by voters in 1996.

Brian De Lima, an attorney for Arakaki, argues that the amendment is invalid because it does not specify when the term limits take effect.

County Clerk Al Konishi, an attorney, and Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida already have issued legal opinions saying the term limits started in 1998, the first election after they were approved, meaning Arakaki can seek one more term.

Meanwhile, Fulks and the other plaintiffs are seeking to prevent Arakaki's name from appearing on the ballot, and have filed for a temporary restraining order. The state has opposed the request because the ballots are already printed.

Hara scheduled a hearing for Friday to hear arguments on that motion.

Bennett honors Bombers

Last Wednesday was New York Yankees Day in Hawaii.

Attorney General Mark Bennett, a Brooklyn native who has lived in the islands for 25 years, took advantage of his being acting governor last week to give his favorite baseball team some recognition.

Bennett was acting governor while Gov. Linda Lingle and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona attended the Republican National Convention in, where else, New York City.

On Monday he signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 1 in honor of the Bronx Bombers and sent a copy to the Yankees. New York Yankees Day in Hawaii came a day after the team's worst loss in its 101-year history, a 22-0 thumping by the Cleveland Indians.

In putting together the proclamation, Bennett said he learned that Hawaii does have an important historical connection to the game. Alexander Cartwright, who is credited with defining baseball's rules, moved to Hawaii in the mid-1800s and became Honolulu's first fire chief. A neighborhood baseball field in Makiki is named for Cartwright, who died here in 1892.

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