Ozawa offers a fresh, independent voice, while being well-versed in constituents' needs, and his election would best serve the voters.
Anyone elected to the Honolulu City Council has won a large share of power -- as one of only nine members -- that directly affects quality of life on Oahu. Homelessness, the advance of the rail and redevelopment along the route, and changing trends in visitor-industry land use are among the issues that have drawn their attention.
There are also the core municipal concerns of directing growth and the upkeep of roads, parks and sewers that will confront the next Council cohort. Here are the Star-Advertiser's choices in two runoff elections:
» District 4 (Hawaii Kai-Kaimuki-Waikiki): Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters are vying for the seat that Stanley Chang left for his unsuccessful congressional campaign. Although both candidates have strengths, Ozawa offers a fresh, independent voice, while being well-versed in constituents' needs, and his election would best serve the voters.
He supports the immediate transitioning of homeless people into shelters that provide medical and housing assistance, stressing a "compassionate yet firm" approach. He also backs increased efforts to expand the city's curbside recycling program.
Ozawa, 31, gained insight from his year serving as an aide to Chang, representing him at community meetings. He is married and a new father and has lived most of his life in the district, attending elementary school there before becoming a Kamehameha Schools graduate.
He is a real estate attorney who describes himself as a fiscal conservative, and his perspective on open government is welcome. Ozawa proposes posting a website for tracking constituent complaints and televising Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board meetings.
A late campaign negative that surfaced was a flyer sent to district residents that claimed Waters was a "carpetbagger" -- someone not really from the district who moved there recently just to run for the office. It was linked to a political action committee separate from Ozawa, who has denounced it.
Waters moved to the district in the past year but does have family ties and personal history there. He served three terms in the state House as a Democrat representing the Lanikai-Waimanalo district, chairing the House Judiciary and Higher Education committees. He left the post for family reasons.