Romy Cachola‘s eight years on the Honolulu City Council are coming to a close, and the next generation of leaders is poised to step into the void.

Two men running for the District 7 seat — 27-year-old first-time candidate Martin Han and current Hawaii House of Representatives Vice Speaker Joey Manahan — were, like Cachola, born in the Philippines.

Han is comparatively unknown but picked up union support early in his candidacy. Manahan’s looking to trade spots with Cachola, who’s running for the House seat Manahan’s vacating. Voters need to know where the two candidates stand on the key issues.

Today you can find their questionnaire responses here at Civil Beat, as well as hand-written answers from Lillian Hong. She’s the third registered candidate, meaning the contest will be on the primary ballot in August and a winner could be named if he or she secures more than half of the vote. We asked all three to explain their positions on 10 major issues facing the city.

Han and Manahan agree on many issues — they both support rail, they both think the sidewalk ban has been a moderate success and they both oppose eliminating property tax exemptions. You can find links to their full responses at the bottom of this article. For now, here are the areas in which Han and Manahan differ.

Plastic Bags

The council earlier this year approved a ban on single-use checkout bags that will take effect in July 2015.

Han said that’s a good approach.

July 2015 is a fair date for the implementation of the ban.  We need to give businesses adequate time to use up existing inventory and to prepare for the total ban on all non-biodegradable plastic bags.

Manahan disagreed, saying the timeline should be shortened.

If you are going to do something, I believe that you should do it whole-heartedly. I think the delay in implementation leaves too much room for reconsideration. While there are merits to maintaining the use of plastic bags, namely cost considerations, the decision has already been made to ban them.


While both Manahan and Han support the rail project, they each said they have issues with how it’s played out.

Asked to identify a recent city decision they’d change if they could, both brought up rail.

Manahan said he wishes the council made the decision to go ahead with rail 20 years ago.

This would have made things less complicated for the City today, not to mention the majority of the project would have been funded by a federal match of 90-10 (federal to state). Today the project is being funded largely by the GET, which we could be using for other services or funding priorities.

Han said the city should not have awarded the $1.4 billion core systems contract to Ansaldo when it did.

I consider the decision to award the rail contract to Ansaldo to have been premature and done without full public disclosure of certain facts such as a questionable license to do business in Hawaii at the time they submitted their bid.  I do not feel that the decision making was transparent enough and raised too many questions about the selection process that had a negative impact on the whole project. Public trust is very important and I would have liked to see Hart initiate the contract since they were only a few months away from being in full operation. Moreover, I would have made more of an argument for a company who could have built the cars here in Hawaii and created more jobs as a result.

Read the full candidate responses here:

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