Councilman rips Hawaii GOP

Tom Berg
Tom Berg
Jonah Kaauwai
Jonah Kaauwai
Eric Ryan
Eric Ryan

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City Councilman Tom Berg doesn't hold back in city council meetings or as it turns out in voice mails.

"I think the GOP is a failure here in Hawaii. I'm setting the stage to wean myself from this party of the skin heads," he said in voice mail recordings.

The messages were played Sunday on the Carroll Cox Show, a radio talk program on KWAI.

On Monday Berg apologized for using the term "skin heads" to describe GOP leaders Jonah Kaauwai and Dylan Nonaka.

"Both persons I was referencing have shaved heads," he said. "It was nothing to do with race or religion or anything associated in that manner."

Berg said at the time the messages were made he was upset with Republican leaders for not backing his call to return to the city the fee the state charges to collect the rail tax.

"I want to do everything in my power to separate me in the 2012 election," he said in another voice mail. "We're gong to have somewhere down the line a 'Tom Berg tearing up his GOP card' as a piece."

"Everybody can have their own personal opinion. And the way he puts it is completely up to Tom," Kaauwai said.

The voice mails went to Berg's fired chief of staff Eric Ryan. He played the recordings to expose what he calls "the real Tom Berg."

"In the same series of phone calls he wants to take them (GOP) down. He also wants to take it over. He also wants to set them straight. He also wants to work with them. This is the kind of roller coaster operation that goes on in city hall in the office of Tom Berg," Ryan said.

He said Berg asked him to attack the Republican party and fight a political battle on taxpayer time.

But Berg said Ryan has over-stepped his bounds.

"It's not just what's on an answering machine. It goes above and beyond that," he said.

Berg said despite the voice mails, he has no intention of stepping away from the Republican party.

"If they would forgive me, I would welcome the association, absolutely welcome the association and continue to do the people's business. I'm a fighter. So are they. So we have a lot in common," he said.

"There's no ill-feeling or ill-will from me at all, whatsoever," Kaauwai said.

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