HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City Council on Thursday met to decide whether Oahu voters should select their new mayor on the same day as the September primary, or the November general election.
Two of the nine city councilmembers have already said they are running for the job. Some of the discussion focused on whether Councilmembers Donovan Dela Cruz and Rod Tam should recuse themselves from vote.
"Calling the meeting to order," Todd Apo, City Council chair, announced. "Good morning, everyone."
There are those who believe that voters should choose a replacement mayor as soon as possible, in conjunction with the September 18th primary election.
"I think that we all know the candidates at this point in time," Bill Balfour, Oahu resident, said. "If we don't, we'll certainly know them by September and their positions on the issues."
Others say holding the special race for mayor with the general election in November will give people more time to learn about the candidates, particularly those who are lesser-known, and offer military personnel overseas a better chance to get involved.
"Don't be stampeded by any incumbents and high-powered people who would love to have you take September," Arvid Youngquist, Oahu resident, said.
The winner-take-all contest will determine who will serve the remaining two years of the term left by gubernatorial hopeful Mufi Hannemann.
Councilmembers Donovan Dela Cruz and Rod Tam are seeking the mayor's job and could benefit from a later date. The city charter does not require them to recuse themselves from this vote.
"It doesn't really pass the stink test," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu mayoral candidate, said. "These people should not be voting on it when there's an obvious conflict of interest."
"Because of political, yes political, perceptions that I may have a conflict, I have decided to excuse myself from voting for the specific date of the election for mayor," Tam said.
Dela Cruz followed suit and recused himself.
"Noting two objections, the resolution is adopted," Apo announced.
The council selected September 18th by a vote of five to two, with Councilmembers Ikaika Anderson and Lee Donohue objecting.
"We have lots of volunteers. We're hitting the ground," Dela Cruz said. "We just want the public to win. That's the main thing is that they hear us, they compare all the candidates to see who really has the experience."
The council also voted to hold the special election for city prosecutor on September 18th. The candidate filing deadline for both races is July 30th.
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