Council, in 5-2 vote, elects Kaneshiro chair

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro gets a selfie with his wife Gwynth, and Kauai Chamber of Commerce leaders Carol Manera Texeira and Anna Baudouin, Monday following the ceremonies at the Kauai Inauguration of the Mayor and County Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai County Council members, including Kipukai Kualii, Luke Evslin, Felicia Cowden, Mason Chock, Arthur Brun, Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa, Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro, and Mayor Derek Kawakami applaud the presentation of Election Certificates, Monday during the Inauguration of the Mayor and County Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai County Council members, including Arthur Brun, Mason Chock, Felicia Cowden, Luke Evslin, Ross Kagawa, Arryl Kaneshiro, and Kipukai Kualii, are sworn in by Chief Judge Randal Valenciano during the first council meeting, Monday during the Inauguration of the Mayor and County Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai Vice Council Chair Ross Kagawa and Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro listen to Mayor Derek Kawakami’s inaugural remarks, Monday during the Inauguration of the Mayor and County Council at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.

LIHUE — Arryl Kaneshiro was appointed Kauai County Council Chair, with Ross Kagawa as vice chair at the newly-elected council’s inaugural meeting Monday, despite pleas from some residents in attendance that Councilman Mason Chock be selected for one of those positions.

Monday’s meeting followed a familiar — although somewhat less contentious — pattern, echoing last week’s council-elect meeting, when the body convened to unofficially vote on leadership.

Following some brief formalities, the floor was given over to public testimony, and the next half hour saw a steady succession of residents either voicing their support for Chock or expressing concerns that Kaneshiro’s job with one of the island’s largest and most influential landowners — he is project manager for Grove Farm Company — could create a bias or impact his effectiveness as council chair.

Richard Hoeppner, the first member of the public to speak, said that Kaneshiro’s position with Grove Farm is in itself adequate justification for him to recuse himself from consideration for council chair.

Sylvia Partridge said she “just wanted to express a preference” for Chock to serve as council chair, instead of someone with “big business interests.”

The hostility of last week’s meeting was not present Monday, however. Almost all the speakers addressed the council in a familiar and friendly way, even when expressing criticism.

“I like Arryl. I think he’s a smart guy and a good businessman,” Lonnie Sykos said. “But he does have an inherent conflict of interest.”

Sykos, also said that it is not dependent upon the public to demonstrate a conflict of interest, but that the potential alone should be enough to disqualify Kaneshiro for council chair.

Even Marj Dente, whose impassioned testimony a week ago stood out as the meeting’s emotional climax, was almost subdued on Monday — almost.

“Secrecy and corruption cannot further be accepted here!” she told the council. “It’s gotta stop guys. We’re in a new era.”

But then, in an almost motherly voice, Dente asked Kaneshiro how he expects to handle his full-time job at Grove Farm and his duties as council chair, while still making time for his family.

“Arryl, I like you. You’re from a legacy family,” she said. “But boy, you got a big platter on your plate.”

The final testimony was given by Paul Macy, who suggested Chock be made vice chair or maybe co-chair alongside Kaneshiro but asked for an explanation regardless of the final decision. “We just want to know what you’re thinking,” he said.

Less than five minutes later, Kaneshiro was elected council chair on a 5-2 vote, with Chock and Councilwoman Felicia Cowden dissenting, and Kagawa the vice chair on a 4-3 vote, with Chock, Cowden and Councilman Luke Esvlin dissenting.

The council moved straight onto other business, unanimously passing a resolution appointing Jade Fountain-Tanigawa to the office of County Clerk and two other resolutions making small council rule amendments.

The council’s inaugural meeting then adjourned without further discussion.


Editor’s note: This story was edited to reflect a 4-3 vote for vice chair.

  1. Yerek Young December 4, 2018 5:56 am Reply

    There you have it, folks. There more things change, the more things stay the same. Again, the real discussion held in private. Our new council chair? Yep, an executive with one of the largest private landowners on Kauai. And all we could ask for were two dissenting votes. That, alone, speaks volumes about what we can expect over the next two years. At least we were able to let Kagawa and the rest of the council know, without any doubt, that we we do NOT want to see the council position turn into a career position. Still stinging a bit from the slap in the face we got just from seeing the question, yet again, on the ballot. Had high hopes for Brun who’s turned out to be just another one of the good old boys.

    1. I saw a Vampire once December 4, 2018 2:40 pm Reply

      Career position is good. But it looks like you have several flunk out stats on the council and mayor job. That means no pay, or just pocket change pay and not getting anything done.

  2. Uncleaina December 4, 2018 6:20 am Reply

    Ugh. How can the newly elected members be so spineless to elect someone with so many conflicts? Are they gonna let him build a dairy no one wants as well? I’m so tired of this block acting pro-Ag whilst actually being in the pocket of big business and getting cash from various billionaires. So we’re watching and waiting to see their agenda: are they A) gonna do the right thing or are B) they gonna take advantage of their new positions? I’m guessing B.

  3. Nadya Penoff December 4, 2018 6:46 am Reply

    It seems apparent that the Council Chair and Vice Chair were chosen well before the 12noon meeting on inauguration day since the pre-printed program for the inauguration at 1pm already stated their names. This does make me wonder about transparency and what other decisions might be made behind closed doors.

  4. kimo December 4, 2018 8:02 am Reply

    “Legacy family”, is that a code word for a local family that has ripped off other local families for generations?

  5. alien December 4, 2018 8:10 am Reply

    US democracy at its finest, well done. Guaranteeing, no change to the status quo. God Bless America.

  6. Yakuza December 4, 2018 11:29 am Reply

    I got $5 on Rams winning the Super Bowl. Tell your buddy (former campaign manager) take the bet? #WannaBeGangsters

  7. Yesilivemainland December 4, 2018 12:47 pm Reply

    Arryl when I move home I got your back.

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