After eight months of a 4-4 deadlock, the Makakilo-Kapolei-Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board last night elected Dr. Kioni Dudley as chair. Dudley has been on the Neighborhood Board for almost twenty years and is a widely recognized community leader.
For decades, this Neighborhood Board has been a battleground where pro-development members were at first challenged by voices of concern for what was best for the people, and then defeated by them in elections.
In recent years, the Board has voted against rail, against the 12,000 home Ho’opili development, against many projects that would make traffic worse, against desalination of water, and for efforts to preserve our environment and the beauty of this island, to recognize the carrying capacity for this island, and to protect and provide a habitat for the nearly extinct Hawaiian owl, the pueo, which is an ancestral spirit to many Hawaiian families.
As the years have gone on, the Board has become an ever greater “problem” for developers and their supporters in city government. A major effort was made in the Neighborhood Board election last spring to replace the majority of the board.
That effort was unsuccessful, getting only four of the nine seats. But then majority member Brandon Mutchek moved out of the district, leaving a 4-4 situation.
“These seven months without an elected chair has really not been so bad,” said Dudley. “Former chair, Evelyn Souza, acted as temporary Chair, the meetings flowed well, and I can recall only one vote that was not unanimous. We were actually working together, agreeing with what was best for the people. What we couldn’t agree upon was which faction would take control of the board.” Jack Legal broke the deadlock by voting for Mick Ferreira, and the new majority voted for Dudley as chair.