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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 18, 2001

14 candidates seek to fill Mirikitani's seat

By Kevin Dayton
Advertiser Capitol Bureau Chief

Fourteen politicians and aspiring politicians filed to run in a special election next month to determine who will serve out the last year of former City Councilman Andy Mirikitani's term.

Better-known candidates who had filed by yesterday's deadline include former state Sen. Ann Kobayashi, former state Rep. Sam Aiona, former state Judge Richard Lee, and Fire Capt. Richard Soo.

The vacancy on the City Council was caused by Mirikitani's retirement this month after he was convicted of theft, bribery and related charges in connection with a kickback scheme.

Mirikitani was sentenced Dec. 6 to four years and three months in prison. His new wife, Sharron Bynum, was sentenced to one year and nine months in prison for aiding and abetting him. They are to report to prison Jan 17.

The nonpartisan special election Jan. 26 will determine who will replace Mirikitani and represent the Manoa, Makiki and Ala Moana areas. The candidate who received the most votes that day will take office after the deadline for election challenges passes on Feb. 15.

City Clerk Genevieve Wong said the election is expected to cost as much as $225,000.

The candidates include:

• Kobayashi, who served 13 years in the state Senate and has done other work in state and city government. Kobayashi was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor in 1994.

• Businessman and former state representative Aiona, who represented the House district covering Makiki, Tantalus and Manoa from 1996 to 1998.

• Soo, who has been with Honolulu Fire Department for nearly 26 years, including 12 at the Manoa station. Soo is spokesman for the department.

• Former City Council member Kekoa Kaapu. Kaapu served on the Honolulu City Council from 1965 to 1969 and from 1975 to 1979. He is a community activist and a member of the McCully/Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood Board.

• Lee, a former judge who is chief executive officer of his own law firm and of an Asian investment company.

• Businessman Danny Auyoung of Makiki, who owns a restaurant and is a youth sports coach.

• Makiki/Tantalus Neighborhood Board Chairman John Steelquist, who is a professor at Chaminade University.

• McCully/Mo'ili'ili Neighborhood Board member Albert Furuto.

Also filing to run were Ron Lockwood, Richard Gee, John Anderson, Harris Murabayashi, Muhammad Gazdar, and Joseph Kinoshita.

Council members earn $43,350 a year. The term ends Jan. 2, 2003.

Advertiser reporter Lynda Arakawa contributed to this report. Reach Kevin Dayton at kdayton@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8070.