August 1991 Home   Newsletters

September 1991

October 1991

President's Message: Welcoming Public Input - Transit Style (Arlene Ellis)
Current Position on Local Government
Consensus: Position on the City Council, Adopted April 1980
Discussion Questions for Consensus Meeting
Viewpoint on KHVH
Search for Leaders
Changing the Voter Requirement for Charter Amendments
Educating the Public on Proposed Amendments
Time Restrictions on Charter Amendments
Teamsters Vote Count
Letters (Adeline Schutz)
Consensus Meeting
Letters - 2 (Barbara Kem Neff)
Community Events

Current Position on Local Government

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu believes that a city government serves many functions and performs many services for the people living within its bound-aries. The government of a city should be open and responsive to the needs of its citizens. Its purposes, structure and principles should be expressed in a city Charter, a broad, basic document.

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu further believes that the language of the Charter should be simple and without ambiguities. The organization of the city government should be clearly defined in the Charter, with provisions for a separation of powers, checks, and balances, citizen representation and administrative and legislative accountability. Fair and enforceable standard of conduct for city officers and employees should be stated in the Charter. Amendment Procedures should be provided for in the Charter.

  1. A city's fundamental law stems form many sources - the Charter, ordinances, State law and judicial opinions. It is neither necessary nor sufficiently flexible to codify all law within the Charter itself.

  2. The Charter should be understandable to the layman. Its organization should be clear and logical. Ambiguous language should be removed and care taken to avoid confusing terms, references and statements.

  3. The specific structure of the government, the duties, responsibilities, powers and limits of the elected and appointed officials should be stated in the Charter.

    1. The Council should be primarily responsible for legislating, broad policy-making and oversight*; the Mayor should be primarily responsible for the implementation and execution of the policies set by the Council. The co-equal branches of government should be structured to permit accountability to the voters by individual Council members and the Mayor.

    2. The Mayor should appoint all department heads and retain ultimate responsibility for actions taken by any member of the administration.

    3. The Council should have reliable and independent sources of information to assist in its legislating and policymaking duties.

    4. The Council should be of a size and apportionment to fairly reflect the population of the City and County of Honolulu.

    5. The League supports the concept of the citizen legislator. This term is defined as being one who gives only part of one's time to public service; that may be part of a day, some weeks or months or a few years away from the private sector. Council members should represent and reflect the needs of their own community as well as act in the best interest of all the citizens of the City and County.

  4. The Charter should provide for an independent Ethics Commission which would enforce standards of conduct that include disclosure of interests and conflicts of interest of all officers and employees, elected and appointed.

  5. Amendment procedures specified in the Charter should provide for comprehensive and mandatory review by citizens every 10 years. Citizens should be permitted to initiate amendment without Council approval of the proposed amendment.

  6. All citizens should have access to the decision-making process, and citizen understanding and partici-pation should be encouraged at all levels in the governmental process.

Citizen representation may be through the elected officials and/ or by more direct input from community organizations or other recognized neighborhood organizations. Any citizen organization(s) created by Charter or city ordinance should be funded** and given full support from the city government.

*oversight - in this context means management supervision; a process by which the Council may be in-formed of executive performance and compliance with legislative policies intent.

**funded - this is not to be interpreted to mean support for salaries of all board and commission members.

August 1991 Home   Newsletters October 1991