Residents mull term limits for councilmembers

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Justice Allah El

  • Contributed photo County Council Vice Chair JoAnn Yukimura
  • Mason Chock
  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Jocelyn Slade

  • Bethany Freudenthal / The Garden Island

    Cheyenne St. John

LIHUE — When Kauai voters head to the polls in November, they’ll be deciding on a charter amendment that could end term limits for members of the County Council.

In March, the council opted to give voters the opportunity to decide on term limits in a 5-2 vote. Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Mason Chock voted against the resolution that was introduced in January by Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa.

This isn’t the first time the question has been on the ballot. In the 2006 election, voters voted overwhelmingly, 13,266 to 6,139, to establish term limits.

The question that appears on the ballot: “Shall the term limit for councilmembers be removed?”

Kauai voters weighed in on the topic with The Garden Island.

November’s election will be 18-year-old Cheyenne St. John’s first election. She’s excited to be voting.

St. John said she didn’t know the question will be on the ballot, but will be voting to keep term limits in the charter.

“It has to be a chance for others to have their chance to see if they can do better and to keep people from staying their whole life and giving everyone else a chance to have their spot,” she said.

If there’s a term limit for the U.S. president, the top level of government in the nation, then councilmembers should also have term limits, she pointed out.

The council “is like the top of government for Kauai, so it gives a chance for the younger generations to have their say,” St. John said.

As a female millennial, St. John said it’s important to be involved in government because it ensures the choices government leaders make end up with a positive impact on not only her life, but also the lives of her peers.

Lihue resident Jocelyn Slade, who plans to vote in November, also wasn’t aware the issue was to be decided. She suggested it might work to abolish term limits on councilmembers in some cases.

“I think they should, I don’t know, just depending,” she said. “Obviously if they’re doing a good job they shouldn’t, but I mean it all depends really.”

On the other hand, term limits do allow people to get a fair share in the office, she said.

Deanna Tully, who lives in the Wailua Homesteads, believes in term limits for councilmembers.

“It keeps people honest and keeping on the straight and narrow path, and it gives voice more to the people as well if there’s more influence on who remains or takes over in office,” Tully said.

Tully, who will be voting in favor of term limits, likes the idea that the question is on the ballot.

“I think it should be up to the people, whether or not term limits are part of the system or not,” she said.

Lihue resident Marceah Samuel said she’ll most likely be voting in favor of term limits.

“I think sometimes you get stuck in what you’re asking for and it might not be something you’ve gone out to ask the public what the needs are, because things change in Kauai,” she said.

If the mayor has term limits, so should councilmembers, Samuel said.

“This is an island and people get stuck in certain things,” she said.

Kauai resident Justice Allah El said he doesn’t believe in voting because the system is corrupt, but he does believe councilmembers should have term limits.

“I think everybody should have term limits. People get old and sometimes they get locked into certain ways of thinking. It’s just a way of changing the people and getting it going. It’s only fair,” he said.

Ryan Silva of Lihue said he believes that if U.S. presidents have term limits, so should Kauai’s councilmembers.

The idea that the question about ending term limits is on the ballot makes him question the whole system, he said.

“I don’t see why they would want to put an end to that in the first place,” he said.


Bethany Freudenthal can be reached at 652-7891 or bfreudenthal@thegarden

  1. MisterM September 24, 2018 4:09 am Reply

    Amazing (but unsurprising) tone-deaf self-dealing that the council voted to add new ballot issue to get rid of their own term limits. Anyone who voted for that should be forthwith voted out.

  2. Jake September 24, 2018 4:16 am Reply

    So for a recap, on an island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, we have a Council Member that is tired of campaigning and wants a lifetime job, based singularly on “popularity”……again, on an island of very limited voters?? Got it……

    Yes, let’s keep lifetime Council Members and Mayors, on an island, based on their family names, old family money, and stand-out athletes. Wonder why nothing gets done here?

  3. I saw a Vampire once September 24, 2018 6:18 am Reply

    Term limits is a good thing. There should be no political reign. Daniel Inouye and his name airport. He has military background. Let the people vote. Vote term limits.

  4. I saw a Vampire once September 24, 2018 8:05 am Reply

    So not fond of dumb politicians. Choices.

  5. Joe Public September 24, 2018 9:27 am Reply

    Imagine, no term limits and we would be stuck with the same mentality with no vision..If the president, Our Mayor has a term limit, what makes the council think they are so special set of people? I am telling all of my family to vote no…again on this amendment. Hopefully this will be the last time I see this on a ballot in my lifetime.

  6. Amused September 24, 2018 9:57 am Reply

    “As a female millennial, St. John said it’s important to be involved in government “

    So maybe she could start by actually learning what’s going to be on the ballot?

  7. Coolio September 24, 2018 11:03 am Reply

    Sure! So Ross Kagawa can keep on doing what he has been doing…NOTHING for Kauai…Except do it for his whole lifetime…Not happening…

  8. kauaiboy September 24, 2018 5:00 pm Reply

    Ross Kagawa has his racist head screwed on wrong. Let’s get rid of him and his stupid idea of ending term limits.

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