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Voters to decide on term limits

  • Contributed photo County Councilmember Arryl Kaneshiro
  • Contributed photo County Councilmember JoAnn Yukimura
  • Contributed photo County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa

LIHUE — The County Council, by a 5-2 vote, opted to give voters the opportunity to decide whether to do away with term limits for councilmembers.

The charter amendment introduced by Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa in late January needed five votes in order to pass council and go on November’s ballot.

On Wednesday, Councilmembers Mason Chock and JoAnn Yukimura voted against the resolution, while the other councilmembers voted in favor of it.

Pulling up the November 2006 election results, Kagawa illustrated councilmembers who were voted out and termed out of office during the previous race.

“So do we need term limits to give new people a chance? I think the facts show we don’t need term limits. People are free of choosing who they want and who they want to get out,” said Kagawa.

Sitting on the council is not a safe seat, he said. It’s a hot seat because you cannot predict the outcome of any election.

Recognizing long-term Council Chair Mel Rapozo and JoAnn Yukimura, Kagawa said he does not view them as career politicians.

“I view them as public servants who have put their lives, their families on the line for the betterment of Kauai,” he said.

Councilmember Arryl Kaneshiro voted in favor of having this measure added to the ballot because he said of all the islands, Kauai has one of the fairest systems.

“We take the top seven vote getters and the top seven vote getters get to be in council,” he said. “To say we’re selfish because we want this, we’re not the ones that’s going to get it to be in place. Our thing is putting it on the ballot and the people vote whether they want to get rid of term limits or not.”

Reading a written statement, Yukimura said she was voting against the resolution because term limits apply to the president of the United States, the governor of Hawaii, the mayors of all counties in Hawaii and the other county councils in Hawaii.

She pointed out that China recently changed its constitution and removed presidential term limits, thus allowing President Xi Jinping to potentially rule indefinitely.

“I don’t think that’s the right direction,” Yukimura said.

Resting after a certain period of service is healthy, she said, and open-ended political incumbency is not healthy for society. A break, she said, could lead to new perspectives and allow new people to step up.

“Also, the people voted overwhelmingly, 13,266, to 6,139 to establish term limits in 2006,” she said. “I don’t see anything justifying changing the law along the lines of what’s being proposed.”

Councilmember Arthur Brun backed the resolution.

“I think this is a good resolution, we’ll leave it up for the people and the people will vote if they want term limits or not,” he said.

Councilmember Derek Kawakami said when he’s out in the community opinions of term limits are split.

“There are some people that really think that term limits are a good thing that for all the mentioned reasons of taking a break or allowing new blood, all of those are arguments that have come up, but there’s also a segment of the population that says, ‘Hey, I wish that so and so could serve. I show up and I vote because this particular elected official is on the ballot,” he said.

What the council is really there to discuss, Kawakami said, is whether the voters of Kauai and Niihau want the opportunity to vote on term limits again.

“Most people say absolutely. Whether they’re for it or against it, the one overwhelming response that I’ve had when I frame the question, ‘Would you appreciate having the opportunity to vote on this measure,’ not too many people have told me no, I don’t want to vote on it,” Kawakami said.

Rapozo said the irony is not allowing the public to vote for their person, because they are taken off of the ballot because of term limits.

“This is just to put it back on the ballot,” he said.

  1. Plantation March 17, 2018 12:36 am Reply

    House Slave or Field Slave? Which one is you? The plantation house slaves have control of the council and believe their toxic pesticide company slaves can gain control. TGI recently ran a poll on term limits and just like a few years ago over 65% of the people of Kauai and Niihau voted for term limits. Just look at how bad and corrupt our federal and state government has become without term limits and then imagine that with the fuctardedness of Kauai government. It would be like meth and heroin mixed together and maybe some council members like that taste or coke as a topping.

  2. Gardener March 17, 2018 5:07 am Reply

    I am voting to keep the term limits law. Flush the bullies out.

  3. Coolio March 17, 2018 8:27 am Reply

    To keep the same people doing the same “nothing” for Kauai makes absolutely no sense…NO WAY!

  4. No_They_Didn't March 17, 2018 10:45 am Reply

    How many voters are expected to vote in the primary election? Ron Kouchi, Mel Rapozo, Joanne Yukimura, Bernard p. Carvalho jr.

    They would be the ones in question if they run again. Term limts are up.

  5. harry oyama March 17, 2018 12:20 pm Reply

    We need term limits, that way there’s always be new blood and ideas. Not repeat politicians who start with helping the little guy, then get corrupted and vote for special interests and big companies, forgetting the little guy who needs the most help in the first place. Prime example. look how Mel Rapozo changed, including JoAnn Yukimura.

  6. Steve martin March 17, 2018 2:17 pm Reply

    We voted term limits in 2006. 2to1 why do we allow the council to waste tax money on trying to get rid if them.why don’t you work on problems instead. Oh .i forgot that is a problem if we want to get rid of them we will need term limits . Especially the prejudice ones!

  7. Charlie chimknee March 17, 2018 2:48 pm Reply

    All council members have had the chance to bring up ideas to help in some large or even small way to solve the issues burdening Kauai.

    From traffic, drugs from doctors or street or pavilion dealers , affordable housing, minimum wage increase, OHANA housing, poison chemicals in the environment whether In households or on corporate farms or experimentation, visitor tax or visitor fees, etc., and while some these issues are under state control our council members representing all of us should be knocking on state level doors (Kouchi and Togioka) and coming up with their own ideas for solutions or searching out others who can find solutions without $200,000.00 studies.

    And since none of the council have been effective problem solvers, and have been at best just band-aid “reactive” decision makers…they’ve had their chance; we need new minds on the council, ones who will be “Proactive”. In all fairness there have been some good thinking but what has come of it?

    Keep Term Limits so that new council members know they have so much time to get something done.

    Kauai is becoming just another Way Too Overcrowded world visitor destination polluted with deadly chemicals and drugs and a low wage dead end street for our youth.

    We have not seen yet what real overcrowded is…!

    It’s apparent there is cultural, unions, and ol boy block voting that bring back the same mind tired and lazy band aid politicians.

    We need not only problem solvers but problem preventers.

    Candidates should sign contracts as to what they will do and demonstrate in the newspaper what they are doing and have done to make Kauai the most livable place on earth, or step down and out. Council members are or should be doing a full time job.

    Why aren’t our high school and KCC brilliant students participating in our leadership and vote them in when they become of age.

    Travel outside Kauai, outside Hawaii, outside the USA, go to the highly advertised visitor destination of the world, the world is fast becoming a polluted and overcrowded mess and Kauai is in line for the same.

    Fly to a resort and hide inside for a vacation…that is Travel?

    Where are the youth who hold the future of Kauai in their hearts and hands?

    Our local government might try sending select intelligent Kauai youth out into the world and see what Kauai should not become, return home and put that knowledge to work. How many council or mayoral candidates have seen several visitor destinations around the world?

    Too many visitor destinations want the $$$, and are sacrificing the quality of life of their residents for that $$$.

    Kauai is a visitor dependent economy, watch out, the visitors have not even arrived yet, the reality of a rat hole visitor destination is around the corner, our current council do not have the vision to se that.

    Like Genghis Khan, the hordes are on their way..

    Are we ready, is there a plan to control it and make it wonderful for the people of Kauai, while a pleasant visit for tourists?

    “let the Council decide?”


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