Much has been made of the contrasting personalities of the two candidates in the special election for Honolulu City Council District 4. I support Trevor Ozawa. Here’s why:

  • I trust him to work tirelessly for District 4 and all of Honolulu.
  • He’s shown that he will get things done, no matter what.
  • He can lead the council and engage the community in resisting the tax-and-waste status quo.

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I met Trevor during his 2014 campaign for Honolulu City Council. I didn’t support him then, but didn’t doubt his passion for our communities.

After Trevor was elected, we frequently engaged when I served on a neighborhood board. It was refreshing that he actually showed up. At first, I fired off sharp questions and took some pleasure in watching him sweat. But he kept coming back, undaunted by often heated meetings. I had to respect that. He also recruited a great team — an important sign of a strong leader.

Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa in July 2017. Anita Hofschneider/Civil Beat

So I started talking at him less and listening with greater sincerity. As Criss Jami said, “Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.”

In other words, show some aloha.

We talked more about all sides of tough issues. When I joined Sen. Sam Slom’s office, we worked together on many of them. We often disagreed, but I always walked away better understanding our differences because he is open-minded. He is committed. He cares. Despite our frequent disagreements, he made a concerted effort to earn my respect.

Helping The ‘Far East’

Trevor did a lot for our community in four years on the council. For example, when “far east” Honolulu came out adamantly against building on Paiko Ridge, he held a town hall meeting with then-Department of Planning and Permitting Director George Atta present to answer some very pointed questions. Until then, there’d been so little success reaching anyone from DPP on a long list of issues, we’d lost all hope.

There are dozens of similar stories, including a particularly funny one about Trevor negotiating with a homeless person under the freeway in Kahala late one rainy night, complete with barking dogs and poop on his shoes.

He isn’t afraid to get dirty or take heat. Through that fearless determination, he’s made strides with homelessness; Ala Wai Canal, Hunakai Beach and the Gold Coast; stream cleanups; spiraling sewage fees; and illegal wedding chapels, vacation rentals and daycare facilities.

But the key reason I support Trevor Ozawa is that we both believe that many of our community’s differences are not partisan. They’re generational. The choices we make now impact our children and theirs.

Still, we must also respect and care for our parents and grandparents who built Honolulu with their blood, sweat and taxes. Trevor understands that reality. He lives it with his wife and children — the third generation of Ozawas in Hawaii Kai.

He’s a young guy. So he has decades ahead to learn and grow. He means it when he says he’ll go for broke against corruption and the machine that dominates our politics and our lives. He’s paying the price for it today as it becomes increasingly clear who he’s really running against. As Civil Beat’s own Nov. 8, 2018, story says, “A Loss for Waters Is A Loss For Mayor Caldwell.”

My support is an investment in the man who understands my nieces and nephews — their lives, their priorities, their problems and their fears. They are voting for Ozawa because time to do more than pay lip service to the future.

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