Special election face-off for City Council seat enters final week

Special election face-off for City Council seat nears its final days

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s the final week of campaigning for candidates Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters as they prepare for a City Council special election.

Walk-in polling at Honolulu Hale continues through Friday ― from 8 a.m. til 4 p.m.

On Saturday, the final day to cast a ballot, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

That 6 p.m. deadline is crucial.

The City Clerk’s Office is stressing that mailed ballots must be received by 6 p.m. Saturday, too. Voters also may drop off their completed, mail-in ballot envelopes at Honolulu Hale by 6 p.m.

Why the focus on the 6 p.m. deadline?

Because it was the city’s failure to comply with it in November that prompted the state Supreme Court to side with Waters in a challenge to Ozawa’s narrow win.

The special election, which is costing the city $250,000, is for the District 4 seat that runs from Hawaii Kai to Ala Moana Park.

All 65,000-plus registered voters in the East Honolulu district were mailed ballots the last week of March. But walk-in polling is also allowed, and some 243 have already opted to do that.

Hawaii News Now asked both candidates what they believe their district’s top issues are and what solutions they recommend. Here’s what they said:

Ozawa: “Number one: homelessness. We’ve got three types of homeless. The mentally ill that need more health services. We need to invest more in the nonprofit sector to help them on a one-to-one basis so that we can identify these people and help them out because they all have their own individual issues. Second of all, let’s face it — we’ve got bums, and they could be working and they should be working. It’s unfortunate for those who are breaking the law as well. And third, those who I think are among the most vulnerable and relatable to the everyday person. They’re just one paycheck away, one bad illness away from being on the streets on in their car in a park. So those people we should be supporting with shallow rent subsidies, and other services working in conjunction with non-profits to get them off the street.

"Number two: infrastructure. You look at the flood from April 13 of last year and what these residents want is for the city government to be there when they really need them and infrastructure upgrades that have been ignored for decades — people are nervous on a daily basis about when there’s going to be the next flood. The third thing is making sure our spending is curbed at the city. It’s standing up against rail at all costs — whether it’s standing up and opposing fee increases and property tax assessments and giving people a property tax exemption for homeowners here and taking care of the local people that are trying to survive here.”

Tommy Waters: “Homelessness, cost of living and crime. Crime is a big deal, especially in Waikiki and one of the big things that I talk about is extending the weed and seed program to not only include prostitutes and it has worked. But how about including all crimes? What weed and seed does is it has a geographical restriction on people who are arrested in the Waikiki area and then you’re prohibited from going back into that area while you’re on probation or pending trial. and it really works.

"Waikiki, I think, would really benefit from a Weed and Seed program against crime. Patrolling officers are also a really big deal. We need another ambulance in East Honolulu. We have one in Waimanalo, one by Aina Haina but let’s put one in Hawaii Kai. We have a lot of seniors living out here. Let’s take care of them.

"And speaking of the cost of living. they’re paying a lot of property taxes let’s try to give that money back. I would have voted against raising the vehicle registration tax. We didn’t need to raise that. I voted against allowing counties to raise taxes for rail. And my opponent actually voted twice in support of rail.”

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