Race for Manoa House seat is showdown over UH, Paradise Park - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Race for Manoa House seat is showdown over UH, Paradise Park

State. Rep. Isaac Choy, chairman on the House Higher Education Committee, is facing a primary election challenge for his seat. (Image: Hawaii News Now) State. Rep. Isaac Choy, chairman on the House Higher Education Committee, is facing a primary election challenge for his seat. (Image: Hawaii News Now)
Political newcomer Dale Kobayashi says he disagrees with Choy on key issues. (Image: Hawaii News Now). Political newcomer Dale Kobayashi says he disagrees with Choy on key issues. (Image: Hawaii News Now).
MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Drive through Manoa and you''ll see election signs for political newcomer Dale Kobayashi everywhere.

"I got about 150 in different areas, mostly on the main roads," he said.

Kobayashi, 56, is trying to unseat Isaac Choy, the representative for the district that stretches from Manoa to Moiliili since 2009.

Choy is nonplussed.

"Why should you vote for me? Because I get things done," Choy said.

Two issues define this winner-take-all contest. One is the University of Hawaii.

"The University of Hawaii has built itself to a point where it's not sustainable. And once it became unsustainable they turned to look for a funding source called tuition," Choy said.

As House Higher Education Committee chairman, Choy has repeatedly criticized UH's money management.

Kobayashi also feels UH has been irresponsible with some spending, but he believes Choy is too critical and it's hurting the university's reputation.

"I feel we can be constructive on research and education and still address some of the fiscal mismanagement issues," he said.

The UH faculty union has endorsed Kobayashi, contributed $2,000 to his campaign, and encouraged constituents to attend his fundraiser.

Choy, meanwhile, has the support of the Hawaii Government Employees Association, the Hawaii State Teachers Association and other big unions.

The other hot topic in District 23 is redevelopment of Paradise Park.

"They plan for 430,000 visitors a year, 24 tour buses a day. It's a bit much for a residential area in sleepy Manoa Valley," Kobayashi said.

Choy disagrees.

"He should be saying no to faculty housing. It wasn't there. Manoa Gardens, he should say no to that. All those projects came after Paradise Park," Choy said.

Choy, 63, is a full-time lawmaker and a certified public accountant. Kobayashi is chairman of the Manoa Neighborhood Board and son of City Council member Ann Kobayshi.

The latest campaign spending report shows Choy has spent about $78,000 on the election. Kobayashi has spent about $37,000.

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