Mahalo to Civil Beat for getting to the bottom of an unethical campaign mailer Trevor Ozawa used to discredit Tommy Waters in the upcoming Honolulu City Council special election.

NOTE: pick the correct link

We weren’t surprised and here’s why.

There was a time we supported Trevor Ozawa. In his first campaign, he came to our golf club and met several members of the women’s group during lunch. He seemed earnest enough. It appeared he would be, albeit a young candidate, seemingly capable, energetic and a dedicated representative of our district. We voted for Trevor over Tommy Waters in 2014.

After Trevor was in office, we soon began hearing negative comments about him and those were verified by firsthand accounts and witnesses to his job performance, attitude, insensitivity, and lack of concern in handling constituent issues.

This past fall we went to a coffee hour for Tommy Waters, and it was like night and day. Everything he said that night lifted our hearts and gave us hope. In our eyes Tommy was like a breath of fresh air.

We saw his commitment, his strong work ethic, his quick smile, and his ability to get along even with those he disagrees with. He’s honest, caring and the only politician we have ever known who gives his cell phone number out to everyone, and he takes those calls. He’s a good listener and truly interested in what constituents share with him.

From left, Daryl Nekoba, Tommy Waters and Carol Dang sign-waving in District IV.

Courtesy Daryl Nekoba

Besides being a single dad to two great kids, Tommy is rooted in this community, having lived in Waialae Kahala while he attended Kamehameha Schools and now in an apartment near Kahala Mall. Trevor Ozawa likes to say he’s the only candidate from the district, but Tommy is also a local boy who has the added benefit of representing Windward Oahu in the State Legislature. That experience will greatly benefit our community.

And here’s an issue that tugs at our hearts as parents: He really worries about Hawaii’s high cost of living, having seen his parents and five siblings move to the mainland because they couldn’t afford to live here.

Tommy worries about his kids having to move out of state when they finish school. As parents, we can relate. One of us (Daryl Nekoba) has an only child, a daughter with four children, now living on the mainland. And one of us (Carol Dang) has four children, and three are on the mainland.

The more we got to know Tommy Waters and his family, the more we felt he was the right person to represent us in the City Council.

Every Vote Counts

So we held signs for Tommy in the 2018 election, and were excited when he was ahead in the fourth printout that night in November. We were so disappointed when we woke up the next morning and saw that he lost by a mere 22 votes. Talk about how every vote counts.

We are hoping Tommy will win on April 13, but we are coming forward because we are concerned that in spite of being exposed by Civil Beat about his first flyer, voters are being flooded with more Ozawa flyers that contain falsehoods about Tommy Waters.

“Tommy worries about his kids having to move out of state when they finish school.”

As an example, Tommy has repeatedly stated that he’s against Mayor Caldwell’s proposal to impose a separate fee to pick up rubbish, yet Trevor’s flyers claim that Waters will back the fee. The Trevor flyers also claim Tommy has all the money, when in fact Trevor heavily outspent Tommy in the 2018 campaign.

We are also troubled by a city investigation that concluded Trevor harassed a female City Hall staffer, who is in her 70s, because she sign-waved for Tommy and not Trevor. The harassment happened last summer, but the results weren’t released until after the November general election. That is documented bullying!

If you read the report on the investigation, you would be amazed that the consequences for this harassment were minimal. Trevor has to take bi-annual training in the city’s Respectful Workplace Policy. And that’s it!

We hope voters will see that not only temperament matters in who represents us at City Hall, but also positivity, humility and a sense of fair play. Please join us in voting for a man of honor and integrity: Tommy Waters.

Every campaign season we get tons of emails and commentary from people supporting or opposing particular candidates. Campaign Corner is a forum for healthy — and civil — discussion of candidates and their issues. Endorsements and criticisms are part of a voter’s decision-making process. Here are the ground rules: The column must be written by an identifiable person and accompanied by a head shot and brief bio. The commentary must be original and not published elsewhere. No campaign email blasts. No letter-writing campaigns. Send columns and questions to news@civilbeat.org. The opinions and information expressed in Campaign Corner are solely those of the authors and not Civil Beat.

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