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August 2003

Annual Meeting Report
President's Message (Pearl Johnson)
Welcome New Board Members
Nuclear Nomads and Weapons of Mass Destruction (Marsha Joyner)
Wanna Bet?
Job Opportunity
Welcome New Members


League of Women Voters of Honolulu annual meeting took place at Tree Tops Restaurant al Paradise Park on March 6, 2003. The annual business meeting proceeded luncheon and speakers.

During the business meeting the following officers were elected unanimously: Treasurer Malia Schwartz and Directors Carolyn Golojuch and Marsha Joyner. Nominating Committee: Arlene Ellis (Chair), Jean Aoki, and Suzanne Meisenzahl. Continuing officers for another year are: President, Pearl Johnson; Vice-President, Jackie Parnell; Secretary, Robin Loomis; Directors, Charles Carole and Anna Hoover.

Membership is down to 201 reported Carol Whitesell and Grace Furukawa. This is consistent with what has been happening in the League nationwide and should be of concern to all members. We are not replacing ourselves and need to do it.

Honolulu's Education Fund report was provided in the meeting booklet. The Education Fund is a tax-exempt arm of the League with the IRS designation of 501c(3) status that was established last year with contributions from the Project Ala Wai Skyline organization and from the estate of long-time member Adeline Schutz. Since then the Fund has had contributions from several other League members. The Fund approved a project of the Education Committee of the State League that has not yet come to fruition, one from the Hawaii Pro-Democracy Initiative, and has accepted contributions from each organization. Although the Fund has not yet had an educational program to sponsor, it is open to consider any that can qualify with the Fund's guidelines.

Planning and Zoning, Transportation, Neighborhood Boards, City Funding, Recycling, Human and Natural Resources will be the emphasize for education and action by the Honolulu League.

A discussion of the State League's Initiative and Referendum Revisited ensued. The study, written by Marian Wilkins and researched by Wilkins and Jean Aoki, has been completed and distributed to every League member. Marian Wilkins flew in from Kona to act as resource person for the discussion. The object is to gain a State League consensus on whether or not we should continue to support Initiative and Referendum and what, if any, restrictions we might wish to impose.

City Council Budget Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi, and former City Council Budget Chair, Duke Bainum, featured luncheon speakers, were asked to discuss the state of the City and "How did we get into this financial mess and what can we do about it?"

Duke Bainum said the city was doing well during the Japanese property purchasing bubble. Land prices went way up and people protested the resulting increase in property taxes, so City Council lowered the rates. When the bubble burst, Council didn't raise the rates to provide for the drop in revenue. There is $56 million less to spend now with more people living here and demanding more government services. He mentioned that there are 11% fewer people on the County payroll than when he first got into office. He posed the questions: Are we funding priorities correctly? How do we pay for better sewers and police salaries (overtime costs run $100,000 per month)?

Ann Kobayashi said that last year the Administration sent out 10,000 letters criticizing the Budget Committee for saying the City was in financial trouble. This year the Administration is asking for a $23 million increase in fees and property tax. These are tough times and we need to think of it in a business way.

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