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W. Oahu councilor ‘irrational’ — report

December 2, 2011
The Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A Honolulu city councilman who represents West Oahu was "combative" and "irrational" while trying to enter a security zone at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation reception, according to a police report.

Honolulu police were called to assist Secret Service agents at a Nov. 12 APEC event at Waikiki's Hale Koa Hotel when Councilman Tom Berg demanded to re-enter to retrieve his cellphone, according to the report released Wednesday.

Berg was intoxicated and loudly argued with Secret Service agents, the report said. He was not allowed re-enter because he didn't have proper credentials. He was later escorted into the event to get his phone and police called him a cab. Berg was not arrested.

A police sergeant's helmet camera recorded the confrontation, but police did not release the video, saying it was evidence.

"They were laughing and snickering at me like I was a nut," Berg told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser of agents that "pushed his buttons."

"This would have never happened if they just provided me a badge," Berg told Hawaii News Now. "Trying to get back in to retrieve my phone became an ordeal when it shouldn't have been."

Fellow Councilman Breene Harimoto has called for Berg to be removed from all council committees because of his disruptive behavior. Police were called to maintain order at a Nov. 17 Waipahu Neighborhood Board meeting in which Berg insisted on speaking even though he was asked to stop.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he can't reprimand Berg because doing so would leave his constituents without representation.

"I understand the concerns raised by Councilmember Tom Berg's recent behavior in public," Martin said. "I have reviewed the complaints against him and strongly cautioned him to be more mindful and respectful of all audiences."

At a Wednesday neighborhood board meeting in Kapolei, he acknowledged having a few drinks at the APEC reception and that he learned a "heck of a lesson" from the episode, KITV reported.

Berg told the Star-Advertiser he won't be combative with council members and will stick to drinking nonalcoholic drinks.



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