HONOLULU — A city councilman abused his power when he went on a municipal parking tirade and intimidated employees by threatening to bring back legislation that could make them lose their jobs, the Honolulu Ethics Commission said.
Witnesses said Ikaika Anderson stormed into a parking office in December 2010, saying in a “loud and threatening voice” that since he pays for his assigned stall, he can do anything he wants with it.
The dispute, according to an apologetic statement from Anderson, stemmed from limited parking in the city garage, resulting in inadvertently parking his car in someone else’s spot and allowing a visiting constituent to park in his stall.
The councilman for the windward side of Oahu called warnings and rule enforcement “baloney” and that the warnings need to stop or else he would bring back Bill 62 and “we’ll see what happens to your jobs,” the commission said Tuesday.
He was referring to a bill he introduced in 2009 after previous parking disagreements. It would have transferred the parking officer’s oversight to the council chair for council parking.
“He knew or should have known that he was using the authority of his city position to intimidate the parking office personnel with legislation that officer personnel had opposed, and that may affect their jobs,” the commission said in finding that he violated city ethics law.
Publicizing the misconduct is sufficient punishment, the commission said, but the council may choose to take disciplinary action.
“Although this may seem like a relatively small matter, it is important for the public and city employees to know that high-ranking government officials may not use their position to give themselves or anyone else favored treatment,” said Chuck Totto, commission executive director and legal counsel.
Anderson said he was “understandably frustrated” by the parking warning.
“No threats of any kind were made nor did I use any profane or vulgar language,” he said. “Nonetheless, I do regret the incident and sincerely apologize for its occurrence.”
Still, he said he plans to work with city’s Department of Facility Maintenance, which oversees the garage, to improve its policies and “allow for common-sense uses” of stalls.