October 23, 2018
HONOLULU (KHON2) – The Honolulu City Council wants to move out of Honolulu Hale.
Council members tell us their portion of the building has been making employees sick.
“The city council is looking just for a place to move away temporarily to fix asbestos problem and the lead paint problem that has been causing people to be very, very sick in our office,” said councilman Trevor Ozawa.”
“It’s not a fake thing here. It’s a very real ordeal. People have become very severely ill to the point where people are being asked to donate their sick leave for these people. And that’s not a good thing. So it’s about public health and safety. And the safety and health of city employees and the public that comes all the time to the council,” he continued.
Ozawa says several council members have been displaced from their offices for months at a time.
“In fact, the chair (council member Ernest Martin) right now is in the office up on the same level as the mayor.”
But Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says not so fast.
“I think they should take a deep breath and step back,” said Caldwell.
He says he was told the city council wants to move into Alii Place in downtown Honolulu, a plan he does not agree with.
“Elected officials, both be it in the executive or the legislative, the public is always watching to make sure we’re not feathering our own nests, and in this move particularly, Alii Place is a class A office building. That means it’s one of the best office buildings in downtown Honolulu, and it is beautiful. Fresh flower arrangements in the lobby every day of the week. Is that the best place for elected officials to go to?” Caldwell said. “Perhaps they should look at another place where it’s not as expensive, not as fancy. It’s something I would prefer if I was making that move.”
Ozawa says Alii Place is just one possible location, and members are looking at a variety of options.
“It’s less convenient to move from Honolulu Hale,” Ozawa said. “We would rather stay there, and I’ve advocated for that as well. If we can stay there and just fix the problem even temporarily, just relocate us up to his level. The mayor’s office is fine. He’s taking care of himself, but we’d like to be able to say look, our employees can be safe as well.”
Ozawa says there have been studies done that show there’s asbestos and lead paint in their work area.
Caldwell claims he’s done several studies that indicate everything is fine.
“We hired experts in the field to do studies regarding mold, lead paint, asbestos… and we have 3 or 4 reports, very detailed. Looking at the bldg and giving us the recommendations of what we can do to remediate, but none of them concluded you need to move out of this bldg immediately,” said Caldwell.