October 1990 Home   Newsletters

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January 1991

Neighborhood Board Elections
President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
League Testifies on Annual Plan Review (Astrid Monson)
Action on Charter Amendments (Astrid Monson)
It Doesn't Take Much
General Membership Meeting
Teamsters Vote Count
United Nations to Focus on Women in the '90s
From the President (Massachusetts Voter) (Risa Nyman)
Scarlet Letters: An Introduction
Letter from LWV to Kent Baker, KHON-TV2 (Anne Lee)
Vacancies on the Governor's Boards & Commissions
Update on City Recycling Efforts (Dorothy Turnbull)
Hawaii's Living Will (Joan Hayes)
Welcome New Members
Honolulu League Contemplating Computer System for Office
New Publication: Gun Control

President's Message

Clarification of recent news articles in the Star Bulletin, Advertiser and an editorial in the Pacific Business News concerning the position being taken on the five proposed City Charter amendments by a coalition called "Citizens to Defend the Charter" and League's purported involvement with the group may be necessary to allay the fears of some members who are afraid League may be joining the ranks of name-callers and rabble-rousers.

The Charter Review Committee met on October 11 to review the five proposed Charter amendments with a plan to present the membership a pro/con statement through our Voter. Prior to the meeting, Linda Smith, former Financial Director of the City, called to discuss the amendments. We invited her to speak to the Committee, but she was due out of town and suggested Jared Jossem, heading a group also interested in the Charter amendments. John Whalen, former City Director of the Department of Land Utilization spoke in place of Jossem.

The discussion focused in large part on process and philosophy and only touched upon the pro/con of each of the five proposed amendments. The outcome of the meeting was that League would address the process by which the amendments were placed on the ballot, and not the merits of each, since there was no time to study the pro/con. We also decided we would not join in with a coalition whose motive was not clear to us, but we would consign our efforts to letters to the editors and viewpoints on radio.

As we stated in our letter to the editors of the Advertiser and Star Bulletin (faxed on 10/12, printed on 10/18 and 10/19) and our Viewpoint on public radio on 10/22, we questioned the adequacy of the process by which the Council placed the five amendments on the ballot, eliminating from the ballot such important policy decisions as whether the public should have the right of referendum, whether Council members should vote when a conflict of interest may exist, or whether mayoral terms should be limited to two.

We pointed out that some of the five proposals were complex questions with arguments both for and against them. With very little information available from the media to make it possible for the public to familiarize itself with them and for any careful and objective debate before election day, we suggested a "no" vote on all five pending amendments and that they be referred to the Charter Commission which will convene in a few months, for detailed analysis, comprehensive public review and an informed decision by the voters in 1992.

Although we had made it clear to the "Citizens to Defend the Charter" through phone conversations with Linda Smith and Paula Hellfrich of the Chamber of Commerce that League would not be a part of their coalition and they were not to use our name in any of their press releases, they did. The first appeared in the Star Bulletin on 10/22. After our insistence, Jossem stated that he would call the paper and report that we were not members of his group. He did not. We called the paper, demanded and got a correction printed the next day.

The League is not interested in being party to statements such as "a sneaky attempt to undermine the Charter", "amending the City Charter is a waste of taxpayers' time and money" and "stop the bickering and turf battles", nor are we pleased to be listed as a member of a group comprised of former and current City Department Heads and the Mayor's attorney. Administration-Council squabbles are not our concern. Issues are.

An editorial in Pacific Business News on 10/29 and an article in the Advertiser on 10/30 both referred to the League as members of the "Citizens to Defend the Charter". Evidently they were both based on press releases by Jossem. The Advertiser gave us a twelve column-inch protest on 10/31 which we hope will finally put this misrepresentation to rest.

Arlene Ellis

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