Honolulu City Council to get new chairman as part of reorganization plan

Published: Dec. 5, 2016 at 2:01 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 5, 2016 at 5:57 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu City Council will undergo new organizational changes in the new year.

Councilman Ron Menor will replace Ernie Martin, who has headed the council for more than five years.

Sources told Hawaii News Now that Councilmember Joey Manahan will take over the powerful budget committee, replacing Ann Kobayashi.

Councilmember Ikaika Anderson will head of the new Transportation and Planning Committee, which will oversee the rail project. Kymberly Pine will chair the Zoning and Housing committee, replacing Trevor Ozawa.

"I'm hopeful that a new council structure will lead to a more low-keyed and collaborative leadership style," Menor said.

Martin called Menor a "dedicated public servant" and said he looked forward to working with him. He issued this statement today:

"It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the Chair and Presiding Officer of the Honolulu City Council. The job comes with a lot more than a gavel and a larger office," said Martin.

"I am grateful that my colleagues have trusted me with the leadership of this body since June 2011.

Anderson called outgoing chair Martin "an honorable man" and a friend.

The new council leadership replaced a group that often clashed with Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration. Several also supported his opponent Charles Djou, who lost the mayor's race last month.

"If you back a losing candidate, it obviously makes you a bit weaker. It shows you have a little bit less political pull," said University of Hawaii Political Science Professor Colin Moore.

"I think the mayor should be happy with the outcome. He will have a council that has signaled they want to work more closely with him."

Hawaii News Now has learned that personal disagreements such as a recent flare-up between Councilmembers Pine and Ozawa also played a key role in the reorganization.

Pine accused Ozawa of rushing through a rezoning request by developer Haseko for its Ewa Marina project, despite opposition from residents.

"The only thing they want today -- and why you're siding with them -- is they want to build more million-dollar homes to increase their profit," Pine told Ozawa back on Sept. 6.

Ozawa shot back: "Your statement about me creating an advantageous rushed meeting here. It's just not true."

Menor says he hopes to finalize the reorganization at the council's next meeting on January third.

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