Shakeup could toughen up City Council

There’s not much to do except shake our heads at the abrupt leadership change at the City Council until what seems best described as a semi-friendly coup fully plays out with the appointment of committee chairs.

Council Chairman Nestor Garcia announced he was stepping down after only six months as the council’s leader and handing over the reins to Budget Chairman Ernie Martin.

Garcia said the shift was voluntary, but he seemed to be keeping one step ahead of the sheriff amid reports that a majority of his colleagues were unhappy with his leadership that has been uninspired and compromised by his nearly six-figure outside income from pro-rail interests.

Garcia and Councilman Breene Harimoto, the other apparent target of the reorganization, were criticized for their handling of the council’s three appointees to the new rail authority, with other members feeling they didn’t get fair input in the selections.

Martin is one of five freshmen members of the council, but he’s a city hall veteran with 20 years of experience in community services — including a stint as acting director of the department. He displayed a steady hand in leading the inexperienced council through this year’s challenging budget process.

He and Councilman Ikaika Anderson, who will replace Harimoto as vice chairman if the council approves the reorganization next month, have favored taking a tougher stance with the Carlisle administration than Garcia and Harimoto have advocated in monitoring the $5.3 rail project.

Fasten your seatbelts.

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5 Comments on “Shakeup could toughen up City Council”

  1. Guido Sarducci Says:

    Ernie Martin is also up to his eyeballs in ethical problems of his own. He is the former Dir of Comm Svcs with the conflict of interest which HUD is complaining about.

  2. Richard Gozinya Says:

    All of this just enhances the stink of political gamesmanship that surrounds the rail project. Is it any wonder the average guy or gal has lost faith in the notion that the Council members are actually looking out for anyone beyond themselves and special interests?

    Credit where its due, the Civil Beat folks are doing a good job at digging into this story, unlike our daily fish wrap.

  3. Doug Says:

    Wha? Wait a second.

    Does a “more than six-figure outside income” mean a SEVEN-figure outside income, i.e. his CoC annual salary is more than $1M?! I highly doubt that.

    I think you meant to say “a low six-figure outside income.” Which is bad enough by itself, but…

    DISCLOSURE: I used to work for Nestor at the House of Representatives.

  4. Capitol -ist/WassupDoc Says:

    My understanding is that Nestor’s outside salary is about $60,000 a year which, when combined with his Council salary, is just over $100,000. That’s six figures, but just barely.

    SOMEWHAT CHANGE OF SUBJECT: The first meeting of the City Reapportionment Commission will be at 6 pm, Wednesday, June 29. in the second floor Council Committee meeting room. The full agenda will be published in about a week.

    The following seats will be open in 2012 – Council District I/Tom Berg; Council District III/Ikaika Anderson; Council District V/Ann Kobayashi; Council District VII/Open;Council District IX/Open.

    Districts II, IV, VI & VIII run through 2014 even though the new boundary lines might create some problems for the incumbents.

    If Councilmember Tulsi Gabbard (District IV) decides to run for Congress, she does not have to resign unless she wins the election. A special election will be held once she resigns her Council seat to be sworn into Congress in January 2013.

  5. David Shapiro Says:

    Correction made on the math. To be more specific, he gets $60,000 from the Kapolei Chamber and $30,000 from Dura Construction in addition to his Council pay.

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