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Saturday, November 27, 2010
As debate looms, Honolulu Council Special Election residency challenges multiply
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 PM :: 11139 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12

by Andrew Walden

Charges and counter charges over carpet-bagging and eligibility are proliferating in the December 9-29 Special Election for the Honolulu Council District 1 seat being vacated by Todd Apo.

As the charges fly, all 14 candidates are have been invited to participate Monday in a 7PM radio debate sponsored by Hawaii Public Radio.  The announcement reads:

On Monday, November 29, 2010 from 7 to 8 p.m., Hawaii Public Radio will host a candidate forum for the City and County of Honolulu’s Special Election to fill the Leeward Coast council seat. That seat is vacant following the resignation of Councilman Todd Apo. The forum will be broadcast live on KIPO 89.3, and will be moderated by HPR Political Reporter Wayne Yoshioka.

The public is invited to attend, and may submit questions prior to the event; questions may be emailed to For reservations (free), call 955-8821 during business hours.

The following candidates have confirmed their participation: Tom Berg, Kioni Dudley, Mel Kahele, Christopher Lewis, Matthew Lopresti, Rosebella Martinez, Bob McDermott, and John P. Roco.

The Special Election is a mail-in poll. The deadline to postmark ballots is December 29, 2010.

Olelo will be recording this forum for broadcast.

In a November 24 news release, Council candidate Matthew LoPresti has charged that Kioni Dudley is ineligible because he lives in a muli-million dollar house outside the district in Upper Makakilo.  Dudley denies the claim and insists that he is legally eligible and maintains “primary residence” at a rental apartment in Ewa Beach.   

Now another candidate, Celeste Lacuesta has challenged the residency of Mel Kahele and Jason Espero and has joined in challenging the residency of Dudley.  This is her November 26 letter to the Honolulu Clerk of Elections:

Aloha City Clerk of Elections,

Jason Espero does not live in our district.  He was registered to vote for the Nov 2, 2010 elections in Aiea.  He graduated from Aiea High School. His parents are divorced.  Mother lives in Aiea.  See his linkedin info---

Enough of non-residents using family or friends address to run for office.  He should be removed from the candidate list and its the same for Kioni Dudley.  Having candidates doing these sort of thing is so dishonest and it will not benefit the people in district 1, they are only looking out for them self and name recognition.  Others told me that Mel Kahele lives in Makakilo, also using a family member address.  At this point, you should be asking them for proof of residency with utility bills.

Celeste Lacuesta

Candidate for Council District 1

Mel Kahele represents Precinct 40-4 Democratic Organization as a Secretary.  40-4 is entirely outside Council District 1 on the mauka side of the H-1 fwy (see map).  If Kahele has moved his voter registration outside the precinct in order to make himself eligible to run for Council, he is no longer “a precinct members of record” under Oahu County Democratic Party rules Section 4.2.

For Dudley, his move of registration appears to be having an impact on his Neighborhood Board position. The agenda for the December 1 meeting of Neighborhood Board 34 includes these two items: 


The Honolulu County Rules and Procedures of the Neighborhood Commissions explains:

§2-14-108 Disqualification by relocation. Upon moving to a new primary residence located outside the neighborhood district or subdistrict, as applicable, to which a board member was elected or appointed, the board member shall be immediately disqualified from membership on that board and the seat deemed vacant. [Eff ] (Auth: RCH §14-103(a)) (Imp: RCH §14-104)

The Honolulu County Charter states only that a council candidate must be “a duly qualified elector”:

Section 3-104. Qualifications of Councilmembers --
To be eligible for election or appointment to the council, a person must be a duly qualified elector of the council district from which the person seeks to be elected.  Any councilmember who removes his or her residence from the district from which the councilmember was elected or appointed shall, by that fact, be deemed to have vacated the office. (1992 General Election Charter Amendment Question No. 17)

But the Hawaii Election Commission lists a more complicated set of rules to determine residency which can be read HERE.

In the all-mail election, ballots must be received December 29.  Ballots are expected to be mailed out December 9.  Monday November 29 may be the last day for for challenges.  According to the Hawaii Election Commission website:

Objection or challenge of a candidate may be made by a registered voter, an officer of a political party, the chief election officer, or the city / county clerk in the case of county elections. Except for objections filed by an officer of a political party, all objections or challenges must be in writing and received by the chief election officer or the appropriate city / county clerk no later than 4:30 p.m. on the thirtieth (30th) day before the election or the next earliest working day if that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday.




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