Honolulu city council chair resigning his role - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Honolulu city council chair resigning his role

Nestor Garcia Nestor Garcia
Ernie Martin Ernie Martin
Ikaika Anderson Ikaika Anderson

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There's a shakeup at the Honolulu City Council amid talk of a coup.  The council chair steps down on his own paving the way for new leadership.

The year 2011 began with five new city council members.  Nestor Garcia stepped up to lead them, but today he announced he's stepping down as the council chair.

Speaking with council members some wanted to move in a different direction and were looking to re-organize the council leadership.  But Garcia beat them to it saying it's the first time someone has voluntarily left the council chair midterm.

Garcia says his conflict of interest with pro rail companies has nothing to do with his decision.  Although other members say that did hurt the image of the council.

Garcia also says he accomplished his goals of seeing the new council through the transitional period and getting a budget passed during difficult economic conditions. 

"I did this as an obligation and as a duty. I've done it. I've fulfilled it. I'm happy that I could do this," said Garcia. 

He also admits he never truly sought out the chairmanship and is proud to be leaving with what he called an orderly, peaceful transition without any cloak and dagger drama.

"I'm going to put that all to rest. None of that happened behind the scenes. I'm ok with it.  I'm happy I'm actually relieved that I can talk with you about this and say I initiated this I want this to happen," said Garcia.

Budget committee chair Ernie Martin, who represents the North Shore, is now set to become the new council leader.  Ikaika Anderson, from Windward Oahu, would be the vice chair. That is if five of the nine members go along with the resolution, which all indications say they will. 

"I have the utmost respect for Council Chair Garcia and I am humbled by his confidence in my ability to succeed him.  If given the opportunity by a vote of confidence from my colleagues, I will continue to do my best to meet the needs of our communities and stand with all of my colleagues to meet the challenges that lie ahead of us.   I am grateful to Chairman Garcia for his leadership and his continued friendship.  I will continue to seek his wisdom as a key member of the new leadership team at the Council," said Ernie Martin, in a written statement after Garcia's announcement.

There could also be some political maneuvering in order for members to get new committee assignments.  Tom Berg, from Leeward Oahu, who admits being disgruntled early on in his term, is open to new leadership discussions if it will get him on the transportation committee.

Veteran councilmember Ann Kobayashi says Garcia is a big person and is sure he's stepping down to help the council run smoothly.

"It seemed like there was dissent but we were moving along as we always have. Rail the bad economy all those things really make it difficult to lead the council," said Kobayashi.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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