Slew of changes ahead for City Council

Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo
Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo
Ernie Martin
Ernie Martin
Ann Kobayashi
Ann Kobayashi
Nestor Garcia
Nestor Garcia

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Political candidates talk about change a lot. But change will be coming at a furious pace at the Honolulu City Council after last night's election and resignations.

Five of the nine seats will have new members.

Here's the story of the City Council, but these faces are ready to be changed.

There's attorney Stanley Chang, just 28 years old, replacing Lee Donohue.

"The people really sensed the energy that we brought, the new ideas that we brought and responded to that," Chang said.

Former police chief Donohue himself was appointed last May to replace Charles Djou.

In the downtown area, new member Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo replaces Rod Tam, who reached his two term limit.

"People have spoken. They're ready for fresh ideas. They're ready for new energy. And most of all, results," Tamayo said.

She's already been a state representative and her parents are former Board of Education member Carol Gabbard and state Senator Mike Gabbard -- himself, a former councilmember.

Also newly elected, longtime city employee Ernie Martin, replacing Donovan Dela Cruz.

"Our district has been shortchanged. That we haven't gotten our fair share of resources toward meeting our needs," Martin said.

Board of Education member Breene Harimoto was unopposed in the primary, and will replace Gary Okino, also term limited out.

Veteran councilmember Ann Kobayashi says the incoming members will have a full plate.

"Because there's lots to do. We're gonna have a big budget shortfall, about a hundred million. No one wants to raise property taxes, so we just have to pull together and get through this," Kobayashi said.

But even before the four new elected members take their seats in January, there's more change, and one more election.

A fifth seat will open, as council chair Todd Apo leaves Monday to take a job with the new Disney resort, with two years left in his term.

Nestor Garcia will become acting chair.

"We're not only looking to proclaim a special election because of Todd Apo, who will resign, but we will be naming a new councilmember for the interim for district," Garcia said.

That's because Donovan Dela Cruz has already resigned to take a seat he won in the state Senate.

The temporary leadership will take over and determine the special election date and Dela Cruz's interim replacement on Monday.

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