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August-September 1971

Unit Leaders 1971-72
Those that Serve
Action on Diamond Head
That's How League Grows!
From Our President (Dee Lum)
Charter Consensus
Committee Update II - Membership (Betsy Tan)
Committee Update II - Study of Congress (Beverly Carter)
Committee Update II - Publications (Myrne Blomquist)
Committee Update II - Foreign Policy (Susan Martin)
League Land Use Study Now Underway
Environment Study / Action
New Members Since March

Charter Consensus

A 13-member Honolulu charter commission will be appointed by July 1, 1971. The League successfully worked for the early appointment of this Commission on the theory that it is valuable to have no more than 10 years between comprehensive review by a citizens' commission, answerable to the voters. The charter commission's proposals will be put to the voters in November 1972•

The League will be sending to each commissioner our congratulations, wishes for success, position paper, Council plan comic book, bibliography, Facts and Issues, and assurances that we'll be watching.

Below is the LWV position paper, based on the new consensus gathered these past two months, as well as positions reached a few years

Position Paper (Draft)

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu supports a good charter for the City and County of Honolulu. Following are the criteria the League uses in determining how good a charter is.

  1. The charter should provide for a strong mayor/council form of government.

  2. The charter should have a council plan which provides a relatively equal mix of at-large and district representation. A council with this type of representation should have 9 or 11 members. The council should serve part-time for 4-year terms.

  3. To provide separation of pourers and checks and balances, the charter should retain the general distribution of power between the administration and the council as it is set forth in the present (1958) charter.

  4. The charter should supersede the present (1958) ethics clause with the 1969 ethics ordinance, which:

    1. strengthens ethics standards for City and County employees and officers

    2. established the independent Board of Ethics

    3. includes several administrative directives and rules, including the requirement that City Councilmen, Planning Commissioners, and employees declare and publish their conflicts of interest

    4. extends to elected officials

  5. The charter should be a broad, basic document. A city's fundamental law stems from many sources -- the charter, ordinances, state law and judicial opinions. It is neither necessary nor sufficiently flexible to codify all this law within the charter itself. The organization of the city should be up-to-date and clearly defined in the Administrative Code.

  6. Language of the charter should be simple and provisions clearly understandable.

  7. Charter amendment procedures should:

    1. provide for citizens' mandatory review every 10 years

    2. allow citizens to initiate amendment, without requiring Council approval of the proposed amendment

    3. provide for comprehensive review

    4. be made by City and County, not legislature

  8. If the Charter Commission decides to include more detail than the League recommends. as necessary or desirable:

    1. overlapping functions should be eliminated as much as possible

    2. Wherever timetables are specified, they should be realistic.

  9. The League would oppose any attempts to define policy that would result in reducing the powers of either the council or the mayor; however policy-making does need to be clarified for the community, although not necessarily in the charter itself.

In addition to these criteria, the League recommends that the Charter Commission investigate the desirability and practicality of non-partisan municipal elections

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