New councilmember sworn in

Daryl Kaneshiro, clad in lei and with his nameplate back on the table, took the oath of office yesterday morning at the Historic County Building to start his 18-week stint on the Kaua‘i County Council.

The special reorganization meeting included some unexpected shifts among committees after Councilman Jay Furfaro, also sporting layers of lei, was unanimously confirmed as the new council chair.

The local lawmaking body on July 17 appointed Kaneshiro, a rancher and former councilman, to fill the empty seat created when Council Chair Bill “Kaipo” Asing resigned to serve as interim mayor.

Voters on Nov. 4 will pick seven council members and a new mayor who will serve the remaining two years in the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste’s term. Those elected officials will assume office on Dec. 1.

Kaneshiro served on the council from 1998 to 2006. He was the eighth highest vote-getter when he sought another term last election.

He said after the meeting that he appreciated the opportunity to return to a position to serve the people of Kaua‘i.

“Many of the issues that came up today have been ongoing issues and discussed for a really long time, like county attorney opinions,” he said. “I’m very familiar with a lot of those, I just want to catch up on public testimony. As time goes by, public opinion changes.”

As with the other two succession appointments this month, there was only one nomination for council chair.

“(Furfaro’s) administrative and management background will bring real benefits to the body here and the work we do on behalf of the people of Kaua‘i,” Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura said.

Furfaro said he appreciated the show of support and confidence from his colleagues in nominating and electing him as chair for the next 4.5 months.

“I promise you I will work diligently,” he said. “My primary responsibility will be to facilitate the business of the council.”

After confirming that Kaneshiro had the proper credentials to rejoin the council, Furfaro nominated Councilman Mel Rapozo to continue his service as vice chair. The council unanimously backed the recommendation.

Rapozo then asked if he could return to the Parks and Recreation Committee.

He said he discussed the possibility of shuffling committee memberships with Kaneshiro, who was later picked to take over Furfaro’s role as Finance Committee chair.

Councilman Tim Bynum, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee, did not object to Rapozo’s request but said the resolution came as a surprise.

The council unanimously approved the changes to the committees.

Rapozo has been an outspoken critic of a bill Tim Bynum has proposed to allow leashed dogs on the county’s coastal path. The addition of Rapozo as a voting member of the committee — which also includes Council members Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, Ron Kouchi and JoAnn Yukimura — could impact the shaping of the legislation.

However, the proposed ordinance must pass out of committee and be approved by the council with a majority vote before it becomes law. See sidebar for related story.

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