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October 2006

November 2006

Charter Amendments Recommendations
Membership Meeting on December 9 (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Canada Rail System Offers Preview of Rail Fares (Charles Carole)
Check Out Our New Website (Stephen Trussel)
Fundraiser for Amendment #3
Welcome New Members
Monson Bequest (Arlene Ellis)
Homeless Forum November 15
Don't Know How to Ride TheBus? Google Can Help You (Jackie Parnell)
October 31 Meeting Features Mainland Speaker (Pearl Johnson)
Op-Ed by Leaguer
LWV-Honolulu Commentary on Charter Commission's Proposed Amendments

League of Women Voters of Honolulu

Commentary on the
Honolulu Charter Commissions Proposed Amendments

Election Results Added

source: Honolulu Advertiser 11/9/06


Charter Question 1 asks voters whether to change term limits and stagger terms for City Council members.

Why is this on the ballot?
The present system needs improvement. When we voted to have term limits and staggered terms, we forgot that we have reapportionment every ten years. That will create problems when district boundaries change.
What does it do?
A yes vote says that you agree the system should be changed.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. The system needs fixing.

1. Change City Council term limits
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:96,41545.93%
No:113,47154.07%

Charter Question 2 asks voters to choose from two alternatives if question #1 passes.

Why is this on the ballot?
A yes vote on Question 1 said that you agreed that staggered terms are incompatible with reapportionment. Now we need to decide whether to get rid of term limits
What does it do?
A gets rid of both staggered terms and term limits. B gets rid of staggered terms but keeps and extends term limits to 12 years.
What does League think?
VOTE YES FOR A. League has traditionally opposed artificial term limits. We think we already have term limits; it is called voting. Other people disagree and think some voters are too apathetic to throw the rascals out when needed.

2. If Question 1 is approved, which of the following proposals should be adopted? Choose Alternative A or B
ResultsVotes% of votes
A:47,82426.11%
B:133,61973.89%

Charter Question 3 asks whether to set aside one percent of annual property tax revenues to fund land conservation and affordable housing.

Why is this on the ballot?
This is on the ballot because a coalition of environmentalists and affordable housing advocates asked for it. It is patterned after a law passed in the last state legislature creating a similar state fund. It got great public support.
What does it do?
Sets aside 1% of property tax revenues to be divided equally and used for acquisition of public lands for land conservation and for providing and maintaining affordable housing.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. League testified in favor of this proposed amendment. However, the city administration has recently stated that it does not feel any responsibility for providing affordable housing and announced its intention to sell the units it presently owns. Unless the city can be persuaded to change its mind, this does not bode well for the proposal.

3. Create conservation/housing funds
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:129,91658.37%
No:92,27041.63%

Charter Question 4 asks if curbside recycling should become the duty and of the Director of Environmental Services.

Why is this on the ballot?
Advocates of curbside recycling are impatient with the citys efforts.
What does it do?
By adding curbside recycling to the list of duties of the Department of Environmental Services, they hope to force the city to act.
What does League think?
NO RECOMMENDATION. Like other residents, we would like to enjoy the convenience of curbside recycling. However, we share the citys concerns about the cost-effectiveness of doing it in Hawaii where we are so far from recycling markets.

4. Assign curbside recycling
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:153,35678.87%
No:41,20921.13%

Charter Question 5 asks if the Ethics Commission should be given the authority to impose civil fines on elected officers for ethics violations.

Why is this on the ballot?
Some people believe the Ethics Commissions rulings are too easily ignored with no consequences.
What does it do?
The original proposal would have applied to employees as well as elected officials. The public employee unions objected so it now applies only to elected officials.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. League strongly supported the original comprehensive coverage. We urge a vote for this as better than nothing.

5. Authorize ethics fines
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:158,61886.34%
No:25,66113.66%

Charter Question 6 asks if races with only two candidates should be held in the General Election instead of the Primary Election.

Why is this on the ballot?
The purpose of a primary is to narrow the choices for the general. There is no need for a primary election if only two persons are running.
What does it do?
Moves a two-person election from the Primary to the General.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. This is non-controversial.

6. Move election contests
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:139,01368.47%
No:64,68631.53%

Charter Question 7: Should the City Councils power to reject Salary Commission recommendations be eliminated?

Why is this on the ballot?
At present, the City Council has the power to reject the Salary Commission's recommendations as to the salaries of elected officials and certain high-ranking City employees.
What does it do?
The Salary Commission's decisions on salaries and salary schedules would be final.
What does League think?
VOTE NO. Virtually the same proposal for decisions on salaries and salary schedules applying to state employees and elected officials is on the ballot as a state constitutional amendment. It really is a question of philosophy: who should bear the ultimate responsibility for setting salaries, an appointed or an elected body? League thinks the elected officials bear the ultimate responsibility.

7. Remove council's authority over salaries
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:93,51543.66%
No:120,00756.34%

Charter Question 8 whether one of the priorities of the Department of Transportation Services should be to make Honolulu a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city.

Why is this on the ballot?
At present the list of duties of the Director of Transportation does not include any reference to bicycles or pedestrians.
What does it do?
The change would give bicycle paths equal status with roadways for vehicles and buses.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. We think it is a great idea.

8. Make city pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:152,75175.62%
No:49,54224.38%

Charter Question 9 asks whether the Liquor Administrator, Deputy Administrator, and secretary be exempt from civil service provisions.

Why is this on the ballot?
Still another attempt to bring accountability to the system of regulating liquor establishments.
What does it do?
This removes the positions of Liquor Administrator and Deputy Liquor Administrator from civil service and makes them appointed.
What does League think?
NO RECOMMENDATION. Disciplinary processes are in place to adequately manage misbehavior. Fair application and guts are all it takes to maintain good order. Appointments are too prone to influence. We dont consider this proposal an improvement on the present system.

9. Make Liquor Commission posts non-union
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:90,44042.45%
No:122,55757.55%

Charter Question 10 asks voters to clarify the duties of the fire chief and the Director of Emergency Services.

Why is this on the ballot?
The powers, duties, and functions of the Director of Emergency Services and the Fire Chief are set forth in the Charter, but do not specify certain powers, duties, and functions that they actually perform.
What does it do?
The proposal attempts to clarify the duties of the two agencies.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. This is pretty confusing but it seems harmless and important to the agencies concerned so we will vote for it.

10. Specify roles of Emergency Services and Fire departments
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:143,92977.72%
No:41,86222.28%

Charter Question 11 asks whether to allow capital budget appropriations lapse 12 months after the fiscal year instead of the current 6 months.

Why is this on the ballot?
Our system of letting contracts for capital improvement projects has become so complicated that it is very difficult for agencies to spend allocated funds within the present time limits.
What does it do?
This amendment would give city agencies an additional six months to expend funds.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. League agrees that city agencies need more time.

11. Extend life of capital budget
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:111,04852.86%
No:99,77647.14%

Charter Question 12 asks if the Charter should be amended to provide public notice by electronic medium (Internet) and also clear up other language in the Charter.

Why is this on the ballot?
No matter how hard city employees try to make sure that everything is consistent and up to date, there are always glitches plus new technologies to ensure that something is obsolete.
What does it do?
Fills the omissions and fixes the glitches, for now at least.
What does League think?
VOTE YES. Strictly housekeeping.

12. Housekeeping amendments
ResultsVotes% of votes
Yes:137,163 74.05%
No:48,47425.95%

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