Friday, June 11, 2010

Why the Donohue pick makes sense

The selection of former Police Chief Lee Donohue to be the seven-month successor to Charles Djou makes sense politically for the other eight members of the Council.

Here's a guy they all know that's both respected and grounded. He knows the city and has managed one of its largest departments. And as Council Vice Chairman Nestor Garcia pointed out, Donohue will be able to provide insight on public safety issues just as the city is starting to plan its hosting of the APEC conference in November 2011.

Donohue has said he doesn't intend to run for the seat in the fall. And whether he chooses to use this position in the future as a springboard to other office or not, he's an established person in the community who doesn't need to make a name for himself. He won't feel a need to make waves.

"Reviewing the tape," it appears there really was a split among the eight going into the meeting. It was a fascinating and dizzying 45 minutes. First, Jonathan Lai was formally nominated by Ann Kobayashi. She made a pitch that Djou's recommendation of Lai should matter.

Ikaika Anderson then got the resolution switched to replace Lai's name with Board of Education member Donna Ikeda. Romy Cachola then swapped out Ikeda's name with that of former Rep. Brian Yamane. Garcia then swapped out Ikeda's name with that of former Rep. Carl Takamura.

But it appeared apparent that none of those choices were going to get the necessary five votes. Then Gary Okino swapped out Takamura's name with Donohue's.

Both Kobayashi and Cachola spoke favorably of Donohue. Kobayashi even brought up rumors that Mayor Mufi Hannemann was behind Donohue's pick but added that she felt the former chief could act independently. Garcia and Tam spoke in support of Donohue as well.

Donohue's nomination was approved 8-0.

The whole process was quite a contrast from spring 2002, the last time the Council had to pick a successor.

Then-Council Chairman John DeSoto circulated a resolution with the name of Central Oahu community leader Darrlyn Bunda to replace Rene Mansho. It was signed by six colleagues. The only person not to sign was Steve Holmes, who felt the process should have been open to all members in the community. DeSoto insisted that he'd gone around talking to colleagues and Bunda appeared to be a consensus choice among the people who'd applied for the job.

Current Council Chairman Todd Apo said today's open meeting laws would have barred him from conducting an informal query as DeSoto did.

Here are links to stories Robbie Dingeman and I did then:

And here's B.J. Reyes' story on Wednesday's deliberations:


  1. Are there political points to be scored by tossing in "rumors"?

  2. Rumors drive everything! I wonder about the relative strength of various political ties. I mean, the mayor seems tied to Caldwell, Donohue and others. if several of them go for the mayor's job, which one would he back? Anyone?