The Rev. Bob Nakata, who served solitary conditions in both equally the condition Property and Senate and served guide the fight for cost-effective housing on Oahu, died Monday at the age of 80 soon after suffering a stroke two decades ago.
Nakata was a soft-spoken but generally stubborn advocate on a wide selection of issues, like opposition to the H-3 Freeway, aid for the city’s troubled rail project, very same-intercourse relationship and LGBTQ legal rights, and his calls for the metropolis to reinstate its Office of Housing.
In 2018, the Legislature permitted the “Bob Nakata Act” in honor of his advocacy
to suitable $200 million into the Rental Housing Have faith in Fund.
“My father was such a contradiction,” claimed his eldest daughter, Michelle Takemoto. “He was so shy and so uncomfortable. And he had that comfortable voice exactly where men and women could not listen to him and however he was in these incredible public roles. When he started doing exercises that leadership muscle mass he grew to become additional cozy in it.
“He loved meetings. … He would phone folks on Christmas, on Thanksgiving and on New Year’s, and we would say, ‘Dad, you simply cannot do that.’”
The Rev. David Gierlach of St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on King Street known as Nakata “the father of reasonably priced housing.”
“Bob has been energetic virtually his total existence for difficulties essential to the community,” Gierlach stated. “He generally cared about persons at their main.”
It wasn’t generally simple to listen to what Nakata experienced to say, according to Gierlach. “You had to lean in to listen for the reason that he did talk softly,” he reported, but legislators “listened to Bob due to the fact he experienced a lot of reliability with them due to the fact of his several years of local community provider. He didn’t have an axe to grind. He did his research and he understood how things function in our govt.”
Marc Alexander, the city’s previous director of the Office environment of Housing and a former Catholic priest, did not generally agree with Nakata on progressive problems. But they shared a widespread urgency to help the homeless and generate more economical housing.
“He was often so awesome and respectful,” Alexander stated. “He was a seriously fantastic human remaining and his core values advocated for the poor. He fought for cost-effective housing and produced sure that very affordable housing was not overlooked, that it was entrance and centre.
“Affordable housing is not pretty, but the folks who need to have it don’t have political energy.”
In 2009, Nakata led a demonstration at Honolulu Hale contacting on former Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s administration to reinstate cash for the Business of Housing, which is now the city’s lead company working with homelessness across Oahu.
Hannemann reported that when they did not normally agree, “it was always a civil conversation and I’ve often respected the actuality that he did his homework and was passionate about the issues he considered in. He had a extremely tranquil way about him. But when he spoke, folks would tune in and hear to what he experienced to say.”
Nakata’s death, Hannemann claimed, “leaves a huge void in our neighborhood. He had a individual curiosity in assisting the poor and the needy, and he was there for them. He acquired his fingers soiled, he was in the weeds and he led by example.”
Robert Susumu Nakata was born April 2, 1941. He was the fourth of 6 small children of Seiyu and Shizuko Nakata, who ran a relatives pig farm in the vicinity of what is now Aina Haina Elementary University.
When Nakata was about a year old, the household moved to Waihee Valley in Kahaluu to increase kalo and apple bananas and to raise cattle.
“My dad’s relatives moved to Waihe‘e/Kahalu‘u mainly because of the curfews all through WWII,” Takemoto wrote in a subsequent e mail. “It was challenging for my grandfather to obtain slop for the pigs at the close of the day with no breaking curfew. The damp weather on the windward aspect is not so conducive for boosting pigs, and a ton of the land there was previously kalo farms.”
Lumber for the family’s a few-bedroom residence was recycled from a Japanese faculty in the place that was torn down in the course of the war.
Into the 1960s there was no electric power in the family’s farm household and “they were being dirt bad,” Takemoto explained. “My grandfather valued education higher than almost everything else. He would shell out revenue on publications and my grandmother would get mad simply because they required funds for foodstuff for the six kids.”
Nakata’s rural upbringing on the Windward facet would influence him for the rest of his life and impact his work to assistance the needy.
He graduated from Castle Superior School, wherever he participated in 4-H, keep track of and baseball. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from the College of Hawaii at Manoa. Whilst at UH, he joined the Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist campus ministry, but was so shy that he would eat lunch on your own in his motor vehicle, Takemoto mentioned.
But the Rev. Robert
McCullough observed a little something distinctive in Nakata and inspired him to believe management roles and join the seminary, which turned into a lifelong involvement in the church and potential alliances with faith-based mostly teams to work on a range of social provider difficulties, specially
Nakata went on to train math and physics at UH-Hilo from 1965 to 1967 before enrolling at Union Theological Seminary in New York Town, in which he acquired a master’s of divinity. Throughout his time there, from 1967 to 1972, he also taught math and science to disadvantaged grown ups in Syracuse, N.Y.
Just after returning to
Kahaluu in 1972, Nakata worked as a VISTA volunteer right up until 1975, when he grew to become executive director of the Crucial (Kualoa-Heeia Ecumenical Youth) Venture.
Nakata was elected to the condition Household in 1982 at the age of 41, representing Windward Oahu. But he missing reelection soon after opposing the H-3 venture. At the time, some advocates pushed the freeway as a way to transform the Windward Oahu into the island’s “second town,” which Nakata fiercely opposed.
“People practically begged him to change his placement,” Takemoto reported. As a substitute, population progress on Oahu pivoted towards Kapolei and Ewa.
When Nakata was elected to the condition Senate in 1998, he unsuccessful to win a 2nd expression just after opposing the nomination of Margery Bronster to a next term as point out attorney basic and, to a lesser degree, for opposing the nomination of Earl Anzai to a 2nd time period as director of the point out Office of Spending plan and Finance.
Takemoto stated her father’s opposition to the H-3 Freeway, which opened in 1997, and assistance for rail were being steady due to the fact they have been equally about encouraging folks who do not have a political voice: rural residents in Windward Oahu and small-money inhabitants from the Leeward aspect who commute to work in town and in Waikiki.
“For him, making rail was about getting reasonably priced housing all around the rail stops,” Takemoto explained. “It was to make everyday living less difficult for people who never have the funds to get from Leeward Oahu to city. That is a quality-of-lifestyle issue for men and women striving to get to function in Waikiki.”
In addition to Takemoto, Nakata is survived by his wife, Jo-anna of Kaneohe daughter Sarah Angelina of Falls Church, Va. his sisters, Frances Kushino of Monterey Park, Calif., Jean Nakata of Kaneohe and Marion Sasamura of Aiea and a few grandchildren.
Services are planned for sometime in late November or early December at Harris United Methodist Church on South Winery Boulevard.