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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, April 18, 2001

Effort to oust Mansho to continue

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

The citizens' petition drive to oust City Council member Rene Mansho is expected to continue until June, according to those involved.

Organizers, who started last week, are going door-to-door to gather more than 5,300 signatures.

The drive began after state and city officials determined that Mansho misused her campaign money, city staff and other resources.

Last week, Mansho paid $40,000 to the state Campaign Spending Commission. She has agreed to pay an additional $40,000 to reimburse the city after she was determined to have misused her council staff and city resources, much of which involved staff members performing campaign work while on the public payroll.

Yesterday Mansho said she remains hopeful that she can remain in office until her term expires in about 18 months. As for the petition drive, she said: "I'm disappointed. I'm hurt. I want to serve my term, but I respect the process."

Mansho said she has not yet paid the $40,000 to be reimbursed to the city and has asked the city Corporation Counsel's office if she can pay the money in installments. She said she is in the process of taking out a second mortgage to cover the expense.

Backers of the petition drive include Mililani resident and former Mansho supporter Raymond Gibo.

Gibo said the organizers hope to gather 7,000 signatures from the district, which includes Mililani, Wahiawa and the North Shore.

Gibo said organizers gathered the first signatures April 11 and have 60 days to get the required number, which would give them until mid-June. Gibo said organizers do not have an estimate of how many people have signed so far.

"We want to send a message to other politicians that we're not going to stand for this," Gibo said.

Gibo has been standing on street corners and shaking hands with people in hopes of ousting Mansho after he helped campaign for her using similar tactics.

"In today's environment, what we're really striving for is to send a message that we want someone who is honest with us," he said.

Also supporting the drive is North Shore Neighborhood Board member Ken Newfield, who said reaction to the petition to oust Mansho has been favorable.

"Everybody that I've talked to thinks that Rene Mansho should say aloha and she should be reminded that aloha means goodbye," Newfield said. "I just think what she did was willful and an egregious abuse of the public trust. And if she doesn't have the character to resign from office, the public should recall her."

City Clerk Genny Wong said such an election would likely take place on a Saturday, perhaps in October. If it were successful, the council would call for another election within 60 days to seat a replacement. That second election, if necessary, could come as early as December.

She said the cost of a special recall election could be as much $275,000.