Ozawa leads Waters in close race

In one of the closest contests of the night, City Councilman Trevor Ozawa held a narrow lead over former state Rep. Tommy Waters in a rematch of their 2014 battle, according to early returns.

The two are competing to represent District 4 (East Honolulu) on the City Council.

In District 8 (Aiea to Waipahu), Councilman Brandon Elefante was ahead of political newcomer Kelly Kitashima, a hotel executive and 2016 Mrs. Hawaii.

If the results hold, it’s likely that Mayor Kirk Caldwell will continue to see a Council leadership team that will be less supportive of his administration’s policies during his final two years as Honolulu Hale’s top dog.

Ozawa has been among Caldwell’s most vocal critics on the nine-person Council and Waters is a political ally of the mayor’s stemming back to the early 2000s when both were in the state House of Representatives. Ozawa is chairman of the influential Budget Committee under current Council Chairman Ernie Martin.

“The administration could do things a lot more efficient,” Ozawa said tonight in an interview with KHON-TV.

Ozawa beat Waters in a one-on-one face-off in November 2014 by 41 votes. That’s after Waters finished first among a field of four in the August 2014 runoff, with 2,098 more votes than second-place finisher Ozawa.

Community advocate Natalie Iwasa, who finished third in this August’s runoff as well as the 2014 campaign, threw her support behind Waters’ candidacy this time and has been critical of Ozawa on several fronts. Golf pro Ricky Marumoto, the fourth-place finisher in the runoff, also endorsed Waters.

A single City Charter amendment that city leaders proposed to clear up a procedural issue regarding quorum for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board — which oversees the city’s controversial $8 billion-plus project — was being rejected decisively by Oahu voters.

The HART board, for the past year, has had difficulty holding votes or taking any other action during meetings because of an ongoing struggle to maintain a quorum.

The proposed amendment would state that six members are needed to constitute a quorum. The HA

The problem arose last fall when the number of HART board members was increased to 14 from 10 by the state Legislature as a condition of Act 1, which granted HART a $2.4 billion bailout package to deal with the project’s escalating costs.

In a move aimed at providing state lawmakers a seat at the HART table, Act 1 required that the board be expanded to include four additional, non-voting board members — two appointed by the state Senate president and two by the state House speaker.

City officials believe that it’s unclear if the four members added by Act 1, a state initiative, are legally on the board because HART and its board were formed under the Honolulu Charter. If the ballot question doesn’t pass, that ambiguity continues, they said.

The City Council, before placing the question on the ballot, added to the proposal a fourth, Council-appointed board member. So approval of the amendment would mean the now 10-member HART board (nine of them voting) would have 15 members (nine of them voting).

For full Honolulu Star-Advertiser coverage of the 2018 General Election, go to 808ne.ws/SA2018VOTE.


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