Read more from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, below:
Two board members of the state agency regulating development in Kakaako will serve beyond their two-year terms, which ended Friday.
Gov. David Ige has not chosen new members to fill the seats of Steve Scott and Jason Okuhama, two of the nine board members of the Hawaii Community Development Authority. The agency is responsible for approving developers’ master plans in the 450-acre area within the boundaries of Ala Moana Boulevard and King, Piikoi and Punchbowl streets, from how much parking is available to what space could be designated for commercial use.
Ige’s office said he is still reviewing a list of nominees for the two seats.
“The governor has started to interview individuals recommended by the City Council,” said Jodi Leong, deputy communications director for the governor’s office. “His office is in the process of scheduling interviews with the remaining candidates.”
Without Ige’s appointment of new board members, Scott and Okuhama will be carried over. Scott is the owner of slipper maker Scott Hawaii in Kakaako, and Okuhama is a self-employed mortgage broker.
Garett Kamemoto, spokesman for HCDA, said the two are expected to fill their same spots for a board meeting on Wednesday.
Ige failing to appoint successors comes after controversy over the list of nominations sent over by the City Council to fill the two members’ seats, especially Scott’s.
The City Council is responsible for providing the governor with choices for three of HCDA’s nine board seats. A 2014 amendment to state law authorized this as a way to reduce the governor’s control over shaping the board. By law, one of the open seats must be filled by the owner of a small business in Kakaako, and one filled by a Kakaako resident.
Those selected for the small-business-owner seat were Phillip Hasha, Jay Kadowaki and Nani Medeiros.
Hasha lives in Kakaako and owns the Kakaako-based real estate development firm The Redmont Group.
Kadowaki is a general contractor.
Medeiros is executive director of HomeAid Hawaii, a nonprofit that helps with building or renovating facilities to help the homeless. HomeAid Hawaii is overseen by a board of directors that includes representatives from Kakaako developers Howard Hughes Corp., Stanford Carr, Castle &Cooke and Alexander &Baldwin.
The nominations for the resident seat were Diane Georgene Fujio, Jonathan L.W. Ching and Okuhama.
Fujio is founder of the Master Sha Tao Healing Center based in Kakaako. Ching is a government relations specialist with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.
Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, chairwoman of the Zoning and Housing Committee, was in charge of taking nominations for the two empty seats.
Her suggestions were met with criticism, as some citizens said the list of nominees unfairly excluded Scott. The slipper company owner had challenged developers on issues presented to the board, and all three choices submitted by the Council to fill his spot have ties to developers.
In March, Ige received a letter from more than 100 citizens and several community organizations asking him to reject the list because they felt Scott was unfairly excluded despite being nominated by Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi, who represents Kakaako.