Term limits proposal draws fire

  • Contributed photo

    County Council Chair Mel Rapozo

LIHUE — A resolution that would let citizens vote on ending term limits for the County Council drew ire from some community members on Wednesday.

Thirty-four pieces of written testimony were submitted, and about five people spoke during a public comment session at the Historic County Building.

Prior to public testimony, Council Chair Mel Rapozo said there was some misinformation about the council’s role in having the resolution placed on the ballot.

The resolution, he said, is for a charter amendment, meaning it would need five votes to pass the council and then go on the ballot for citizens to vote on during the next election.

“The council does not have the authority to change term limits, add term limits, remove (term limits), but by the emails that I received and I received quite a bit, it is very clear that the people who testified were informed that the council was going to vote to change the term limits. So that’s not the case,” Rapozo said.

Urging the council to oppose this resolution, Carl Imparato said that less than 12 years ago, residents voted 69 percent to 31 percent to impose term limits for the council. He said it was almost unbelievable that the council would even contemplate overturning this.

“When voters spoke in 2006, they clearly recognized it was both bad government and unfair to allow career politicians to build ever-increasing power basis for their time in office, giving long-term incumbents overwhelming advantages over their opponents,” Imparato said.

For a councilmember to vote on any matter that would benefit themselves, Imparato said, is a conflict of interest.

“The ethical way for the council to proceed would be to reject this proposed resolution and instead, ask the Charter Review Commission whether or not any proposal regarding term limits could be placed on the ballot,” he said.

Term limits, said Anne Walton, create regular opportunity to bring in new blood and a diverse pool of candidates that can re-energize government. She said they ensure councilmembers are not using their position for personal gain or as retirement plans.

“Term limits can serve as an equalizer for potential new candidates, especially the younger and more qualified and experienced ones who are running against longer term incumbents who over time have enormous advantages in fundraising and their ability to use their office to win the election.”

The resolution was proposed by Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa, who was not present for the first part of the public discussion on the matter, but later joined the rest of the council.

“I find it disrespectful that the person who brought this issue to the public isn’t at the table to discuss it,” said Ken Taylor. “This issue should be put to bed and the request should be sent to the Charter Council for review.”

The council position, Taylor said, was never meant to be full time. Having term limits opens it up for new people to come in, he said.

Speaking as a private citizen, parks director Lenny Rapozo said he supports the resolution, because since moving back to Kauai in the late 1980s, he’s seen changeover in the council, not because of term limits, but because people have voted members off the council.

“In the last election, some of those people are not there, not because of term limits, but because of the people’s rights to choose,” Lenny Rapozo said.

The democratic process, he said, is about the public choosing who they see fit to govern and help govern.

“If the people so choose to see that they continue to do a good job, then they are kept in,” Lenny Rapozo said.

“So I encourage you to support this resolution to reinstate our right to choose who governs.”

The resolution is scheduled to be moved through committee and then be voted on by the council at the March 14 meeting. If it passes, the people of Kauai will be voting on whether to end term limits for councilmembers during the upcoming General Election.

18 Comments
  1. Imua44 February 22, 2018 6:10 am Reply

    Let the voters decide. No term limits is good. The voters should be able to choose. As far as personal agendas with money to an elected official….one of the mayoral candidates is a supreme commercial landowner. All laws would affect his large land holdings. We are a small island. We can sort it out. If a politician can be re elected for 50 years, so be it. One man one vote


  2. Uncleaina February 22, 2018 6:24 am Reply

    Why don’t they propose term limits *only* for people whose last name doesn’t end in a vowel?


    1. Sunrise_blue February 22, 2018 4:05 pm Reply

      Rapozo, Carvalho, Kagawa, Yukimura, Kawakami, Kaneshiro, ( one more ) not Brun. Good idea.


      1. Kalipakijim February 23, 2018 4:26 pm Reply

        Sunrise_blue has a great idea…..I would vote for you. Term limits will apply though.


  3. Sunrise_blue February 22, 2018 6:50 am Reply

    Agree the people’s votes are counted and is important. There was a book on public policy Act 185, something that explained PPBS. It goes into detail how budgeting is done on a state, and federal level. Fiscal year ends in June 30. Budgeting is done to determine how and where payments are made. In the State government. For example, campaign contributions are given to candidates for their work in government. Where’s Bernard p. Carvalho’s work in government? That is where his funds would be coming in from.


  4. Jake February 22, 2018 6:55 am Reply

    “The resolution was proposed by Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa, who was not present for the first part of the public discussion on the matter, but later joined the rest of the council.”

    I would say this is the definition of the word “coward”.

    Two things the County of Kauai doesn’t have……time and money.

    All the issues, problems, and concerns on this island, and this Councilperson proposes term limits knowing that 3/4 of the Country and County don’t want it. Yet, “Yes, it is about me. I will propose it, and then not attend the backlash from the taxpayers on it”.

    How about a resolution to vote on “KAUAI PRIORITIES” as reflected by the taxpayers via the next General Election. “Term Limits” will be in the basement of PRIORITIES. Stop the madness!


    1. Jake February 22, 2018 6:59 am Reply

      “Ending Term Limits” vice “Term Limits”.


  5. Sunrise_blue February 22, 2018 7:22 am Reply

    Can be replace. Pick your choice. The mayor or the firemen. Public policies and budgets in the state.


  6. kauaiboy February 22, 2018 7:28 am Reply

    Council Chair Mel Rapozo said there was some misinformation about the council’s role in having the resolution placed on the ballot. If he wishes to clarify the situation about the said resolution, why not let the public know how this unfavorable resolution ended up coming up for consideration.

    Was vice-chair Kakawa solely responsible for suggesting this resolution and getting it on the agenda? Or did he get support from any other councilmembers? The public should know, and seriously consider voting out any councilmember who actively supported considering such an unpopular resolution.


  7. harry oyama February 22, 2018 7:40 am Reply

    Term limits should be kept in place and financial information should be made available to the public. Many incumbents are making much more from political connections outside of public office and this affects their decisions during conflicts of interests when they are in the pockets of organizations that benefit from their influences.


  8. Ed Wagner February 22, 2018 8:49 am Reply

    How often do we need to tell them no ???


  9. Nepotism February 22, 2018 9:40 am Reply

    “If the people so choose to see that they continue to do a good job, then they are kept in,” Lenny Rapozo said.

    Says the man who’s not qualified to do his $120,000.00 a year salaried job as parks and recs director.

    Ask yourself if you’ve done a good job the last 10 years and ask the people of Kauai and the tourists if you’ve done a good job? Maybe have TGI create a survey on Kauai’s Parks and Recs.

    The answer is: That’s the reason you’ll NEVER be the Mayor of Kauai.


  10. LMat February 22, 2018 10:50 am Reply

    Well Lenny, I personally don’t think YOU are fit to govern, judging from the recent travesty you let happen under your jurisdiction in the parks department… So, go fix your department before you start dishing out advice on how we should vote or not vote.

    We all know that elections here on Kauai are a popularity contest, and apparently so do the county council, why else would they even consider passing this? A slim chance at having your position secure for years and years and years is better than no chance, right? Selfishness is the only reason this would get a majority vote from the council and end up on the ballot.

    C’mon guys, show us that you’re on the council to serve your community, not your ego.


  11. Knowitall February 22, 2018 11:38 am Reply

    I’m telling you right now! This is corruption at its finest! Vote yes to end term limits and I’m going to start a grass roots movement to have your sorry —- thrown out of office!


  12. lawaibob February 22, 2018 12:09 pm Reply

    How do we get rid of Kagawa? Guys like Rapozo and Kagawa are emboldened by the current age of fake President Trump. This too shall pass.


  13. GOBAG February 22, 2018 2:33 pm Reply

    Kagawa knows he has the corrupt quid pro quo unions and poisonous seed companies vote so he is trying to help his partners out.

    The poisonous seed companies got their boys in so they know they can control the county council if they can lobby for total control and years of control over public safety then have their boy propose a Shibai deal.

    This is a power play by the plantation families. Just ask JoAnn how did the big box band bill monopolized her brothers business and he made tens of millions off of that. Whoa Nelly how the game is played here like any Duke’s of Hazzard rerun.

    TGI recently ran a survey and still the people voted over 2-1 against ending term limits and too much red dirt in the head Kagawa still has the audacity to waste time on this. There has to be at least 2 other council members to vote yes to put this on an agenda so who was it?


  14. omg watnow February 22, 2018 3:02 pm Reply

    This was presented by Ross last year hoping to keep Mel on the council. Mel himself said “no” because it was voted by the people. So why this year. . . .is it because Ross limited term is almost up? Ross is finishing up his third 2-year term. If re-elected into council it will be his last before he’s required to sit out.


  15. Gardener February 23, 2018 6:17 pm Reply

    I’m looking forwardto no Ross!


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