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August, 1977

Unit Meeting Schedule for May
Initiative and Referendum Consensus Questions:
Honolulu Calendar
Aloha to these New Members
Leaguers in Action
Accomodations Needed
Voters Service Report (Helen Griffin)
Amendment to Rules for Election of Neighborhood Boards (Carol Whitesell)
Confessions of a Program Committee Addict (Karla Williams)

To: The Neighborhood Commission

From: The League of Women Voters of Honolulu


The League of Women Voters recognizes that concerns about government employees serving the government in more than one capacity are valid. However, we feel the proposed amendment to the Rules is too restrictive and violates the concept of Neighborhood Boards as a vehicle for assuring effective participation in the decisions of the City.

We have studied the Charter, the Report of the Charter Commission, and various Corporation Counsel opinions. 'le note that Neighborhood Boards are different from other City agencies:

  1. They are elected, and the members as well as the voting residents need not be citizens;

  2. The funding and expenditures of the Neighborhood Boards are • handled through the Neighborhood Commission rather than directly with the Managing Director's office;

  3. Corporation Counsel ruled that Neighborhood Boards are not an agency of the City for the purposes of intervention before the Land Use Commission.

There also appears to be a conflict between the Charter wording on dual offices or positions and the principle of widest possible representation on Neighborhood Boards.

The amendment would cut out a desirable cross-section of the comama munity from the possibility of serving their communities in this way. In 1976, Hawaii had approximately 85,880 city, state, and federal government employees statewide.* These employees also have an interest and a stake in their communities.

We would not like to see Neighborhood Boards dominated by government employees, especially city employees. Since Neighborhood Boards are advisory to the City, it would be self-defeating to have govern-. ment advising itself. But the League believe that this can be left up to the discretion of the voters.

However, we do think that some categories of persons should not serve on Neighborhood Boards: Elected and appointed officials of the City, State, and Federal governments and appointed members of other

Boards and Commissions. We see no particular reason to exclude govern- ment employees who have no policy making responsibilities. Teachers, clerks, garbage men and other civil servants should be allowed the opportunity to serve on their Neighborhood Boards.

The League believe that Neighborhood Boards should be considered more as community organizations rather than integral parts of the City government. Their value lies in their separation from government bureaucracy as well as in their advisory input as communities. hope that the amendment can be reworded to be less restrictive and to retain the possibility of Neighborhood Boards being representative of as broad a cross-section of the community as possible.

Submitted by
Carol Whitesell
President, League of Women Voters

*The State of Hawaii DATA BOOK, 1976 Table 133. Federal, State, and County Employments Annual Averages, 1958= 1976.

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