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Thursday, April 21, 2016
Hanabusa Named Chair of HART
By News Release @ 10:02 PM :: 6106 Views :: Rail

Mayor Caldwell announces HART Board of Directors appointment of Colbert Matsumoto and reappointment of Colleen Hanabusa

UPDATE 4-21-2016: Hanabusa Unanimously Elected Chair of HART Board  (Best Quote: “We look like potted plants.” -- Formby)

Just in case you've forgotten how it is:

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, April 20, 2016

Honolulu – Mayor Kirk Caldwell today announced his appointment of Colbert Matsumoto to serve on the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Board of Directors, and the reappointment of former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa to a full term on the board.

“Colbert Matsumoto and Colleen Hanabusa bring greater, much needed transparency, accountability, and oversight to the rail project,” said Mayor Caldwell.

Matsumoto will attend his first board meeting tomorrow morning, April 21. Matsumoto will serve the remaining term of former HART Chairperson Don Horner until June 30, 2020.

“I’m appointing Colbert Matsumoto to the HART Board because of his strong record of success dealing with difficult situations,” said Mayor Caldwell. “He positively helped shape Kamehameha Schools’ future as the Court Master during their very difficult transition in the late 1990s. As Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System, he helped secure state and city workers’ retirements by beginning to pay down the unfunded liability in the retirement system. Under Colbert’s leadership, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i went from near bankruptcy to solvency. A leader in our business community, he understands the bottom line as an executive for Island Insurance. On behalf of the City and County of Honolulu, I thank Colbert for volunteering to help steer the rail project towards greater fiscal responsibility.”

(EDITOR’s NOTE: And, ironically, Hanabusa’s first act as a State Senator was to team up with Mafia Godfather Larry Mehau and reject the reappointment of Marjorie Bronster as Attorney General in a futile effort to save the corrupt Bishop Estate Trustees.  So Caldwell is achieving balance between corruption and cleanup?)

“This is a challenging time for HART but I look forward to working with the other directors to restore public confidence in the project,” said Matsumoto. “HART’s role in shaping Honolulu’s future needs to be responsibly undertaken with transparency and accountability by all involved. I hope to contribute to achieving that outcome.”

Matsumoto ended a 20-year legal career in 1999 and is the Executive Chairman of the Board of Island Insurance Ltd., one of the top 50 property and casualty insurance companies in the nation. Matsumoto is also known for his many contributions to Hawai‘i, including his leadership in addressing the state’s unfunded liabilities as a member of the Employees’ Retirement System Board of Directors, a fundraising campaign in 2002 that saved the Japanese Cultural Center from bankruptcy, and his many philanthropic endeavors.

Colleen Hanabusa’s current term on the HART Board of Directors expires this year on June 30, and Mayor Caldwell is appointing her to an additional five-year term until June 30, 2021.

“Colleen Hanabusa already has proven her effectiveness on the HART Board of Directors by asking detailed questions and demanding accurate figures in light of the financial challenges facing the rail project,” said Mayor Caldwell. “She raised red flags when she discovered that projections had increased beyond what had been presented to the people of Oahu. She’s a strong advocate for taxpayers who are funding this project.”

“Serving on HART has been about serving the people of the City and County of Honolulu,” said Hanabusa. “It is about ensuring the public’s trust, the trust of the City Council, the Legislature, and the Mayor. It is to build and maintain confidence in the project. It is also about presenting the hard work of the staff of HART so the public can be assured that their interest is protected.”

Former U.S. Congresswoman and Hawai‘i State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, an attorney by training, was elected to the state Legislature in 1998 to represent Leeward Coast communities where she was born and raised, and became the first woman president of the State Senate in 2006. She served in the U.S. Congress from 2011 to 2015, where she was the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaskan Native Affairs. Hanabusa continues as an attorney in private practice representing clients and construction and labor related industries.

Mayor Caldwell’s letters to the city council about the appointments are attached here. HART Board Nomination Letters




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