Djou loses 2 committee
assignments in reshuffle

Outspoken City Councilman Charles Djou could be left out in the political cold when the new council takes office on Jan. 2.

City & County of Honolulu Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz has retained the chairman's seat in the latest Council reorganization, but Djou has lost the chairmanship of the powerful Zoning Committee to Councilwoman Barbara Marshall.

Fellow councilmembers also removed Djou from the budget committee, replacing him with incoming Councilman Todd Apo. Djou's wife was Apo's campaign manager.

Djou has been relegated to head of the Parks Committee, an assignment previously held by outgoing Councilman Mike Gabbard. Gabbard also was on the outs with the Council majority, which includes Ann Kobayashi, Romy Cachola, Dela Cruz and Rod Tam.

"That seems to be the consensus," Dela Cruz said of the new Council lineup. "(Djou's) still is going to be a very effective councilmember."

Djou said he plans to hold a news conference today to talk about the reorganization.

The actions were apparently taken against Djou after he criticized Public Works Committee chairman Tam's landfill selection process, at one point calling it "irresponsible."

Djou was not happy to see Koko Crater included as a possible landfill site, and he didn't like the Campbell Industrial Park alternative. The Council on Dec. 1 voted to keep the landfill at Waimanalo Gulch on Leeward Oahu.

In other appointments, Tam will retain his Public Works Committee chairmanship, and Councilman Gary Okino will continue as Public Safety Committee chairman. Apo will head a new committee called Housing and Enterprise Services.

"It really puts housing on the forefront," Dela Cruz said, adding that the Council will focus on the affordable housing crisis.

Councilman Nestor Garcia will head a committee that will combine his current Transportation Committee with planning issues.

Dela Cruz said the combination will likely mean a concerted effort by the Council to get rail transit up and running.

The lineup was formalized yesterday. The five Councilmembers who were elected or re-elected in September will be sworn in Jan. 2 at noon at the Council Chambers on the third floor of Honolulu Hale.

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