Yukimura takes out papers for council race

JoAnn Yukimura, a former mayor of Kaua’i County from 1988 to 1994 and a former councilwoman, took out nomination papers Tuesday to run for a Kaua’i County Council seat in this election year.

On the same day, Kaipo Asing, a current councilman and an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in 1998, also took out papers to run for mayor and the council. Asing is a long-time member of the council, and noted for spending very little in funds during his campaigns for office.

A one-time political ally of Asing, Yukimura, a Democrat, was mayor when Hurricane ‘Iniki devastated Kaua’i in 1992. She won recognition from federal agencies for her efforts in helping with the island’s recovery following the hurricane, which caused about $1.6 billion in damages on Kaua’i.

In the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s, Yukimura was a leader in the protests against the development of a resort along a stretch of coastline north of Hanama’ulu known as Nukoli’i, challenging the rezoning of the agricultural lands for resort use.

Yukimura ran unsuccessfully for mayor against former Mayor Eduardo Malapit, and later against former Mayor Tony T. Kunimura, in the 1980s.

She ran for mayor a third time in 1988 and won by a two-thirds margin against incumbent Kunimura.

Yukimura is married to John Wehrheim. They have a grown daughter, Maile.

In recent months, Asing has criticized Mayor Maryanne Kusaka’s administration for failing to act more quickly against cases of unpermitted grading at Pila’a.

Asing’s blistering criticism over delayed action by the county came after runoff and mud from landowner James Pflueger, allegedly through unpermitted grading, covered areas around a home in Pila’a Bay last November and flowed into offshore waters.

The mud and runoff allegedly caused severe damage to the property. A University of Hawaii marine specialist also determined the runoff caused damage to the shoreline.

In the latest filing of nomination papers for public office, Joe Munechika, a former councilman, filed Tuesday to run for a council seat, as did Ray Chuan of Hanalei on Wednesday.

Chuan is a watchdog of government and head of the Limu Coalition, which successfully fought for the removal of most commercial tour boats from Hanalei Bay.

On Tuesday, Eduardo Valenciana, who operated a Spanish-language newspaper on the island, also filed papers to run for a council seat.

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