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Planning Meeting Discusses Transit, Finances and Density
Want More People Voting? (Arlene Ellis)
Death with Dignity Proposed Legislation (Lisa Keala Carter)


The December League planning meeting generated much enthusiasm for program for our next fiscal year. After a lively discussion meeting the luncheon speakers addressed transit issues.

Cheryl Soon, Head of the Department of Transportation Services, represented the City. She said the City's General Plan directs most of the projected growth to the Primary Urban Center (PUC) and Ewa (Kapolei), with some growth going to urban fringe areas such as Central Oahu and Waipahu:. Recently Governor Lingle formed a task force of primarily elected officials along with Soon (City) and Rod Haraga (State) to look at all modes of transit including rail. Leeward legislators were the ones advocating for fixed rail, and the task force came up with the rail alternative.

Representative Kirk Caldwell was also on the Task force. He is enthusiastically for fixed rail in dense urban areas to reduce the use of oil and he thinks Honolulu should have had rail when it was first proposed. He said that there could also be contra flow lanes, some widening of roads, and double-decking in additional to fixed rail.

Cliff Slater, spokesperson for Alliance for Traffic Improvement (ATI), has as its mission to seek cost effective ways to reduce traffic congestion on Oahu. The group includes members of every transportation company in Honolulu. He talked about how the in-town BRT will hamper traffic because "the devil is in the details". Nationwide the worst traffic is in cities with fixed rail. Raising fares has always led to a reduction in passengers. Nationwide, the number using public transportation has declined. He said that Honolulu turned down rail in 1992 because we thought we couldn't afford it. Sensible transit alternatives were suggested - reversible two lane HOV lanes with tolls for individual vehicles, free for vans, carpools, and jitneys; redo traffic lights in town to speed the flow of traffic; and/or utilize the private sector such as shared-ride taxis, which would require a change in the law.

The morning business session heard reports about ongoing activities.

City Government Charles Carole reported that the City Council was soliciting community participation about ways to deliver essential City services in the most efficient, economical manner. A possible project for Honolulu League is to revisit our position on local taxes to see if it needs updating. The membership can decide on this in April at the annual meeting.

Environment - Jackie Parnell discussed the proposed sewage sludge digester project that has been discussed in the Voter.

Planning - Charles Carole reported that the PUCDP (Primary Urban Center Development Plan) which goes from Kahala to Pearl City is coming up for approval by the City Council.

Vote Count - Arlene Ellis reported that our vote count income this year is in excess of $10,000, and the last count went very well thanks to all of the hardworking members who can be counted on to participate. There will be another Teamster's vote count next summer, and a small vote count in February. Some history - HSTA in 1973 was our very first vote count, and we did it for free. When we first started to charge, it was $3 or $3.50 an hour. Now it is $15 an hour.

Arlene Ellis volunteered to reactivate and chair the Voter Services committee and ten members volunteered to help.

Lisa Carter spoke to the issue of individual rights asking, "Will Honolulu League go to State's annual meeting and ask to support the Death with Dignity bill?" There is a coalition of three groups: Compassionate Dying, End of Life, and Death with Dignity, who will be lobbying at the Legislature again. Carter has been hired as a part-time organizer and she plans to study Oregon's record on the issue.

Summary - Pearl Johnson said there are three issues for members to consider before the annual meeting in April: 1) how to finance the City; 2) planning position - urban density; 3) rail and bus transit plans.

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