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February 1992

March 1992

President's Message - "Grass Tops" - Transit Style (Arlene Ellis)
Home Rule Study Moves Ahead (Jana Chang)
League's Testimony on State-County Rail Transit Dev't Agreement
Vote Count (Arlene Ellis)
League Survey
National Study on Health Care Reform (Grace Furukawa)

Home Rule Study Moves Ahead

Home rule is an increasingly popular and provocative issue that touches all levels of government service. What does "home rule really mean? Historically, how has home rule developed in Hawaii? What is the relationship between the our state and city/county governments? Does this relationship facilitate or stifle the government's ability to effectively provide services to the public? These are some of the questions being explored by the League's Home Rule Study.

In his recently published book The City and County of Honolulu A Government Chronicle, author Donald D. Johnson writes:

To this day the state administration of Hawaii probably concentrates in its hands more political functions than does any other state of the American Union. Taxation, education, the courts, and most public health functions are or are nearly state monopolies. As a result, the City and County of Honolulu and the neighbor island counties of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai have struggled for a measure of what they have called home rule. This situation has created a political history unique, interesting, and often frustrating to those involved in it.

Proponents of "true" home rule argue that it will allow for variation between local units, encourage citizen initiative and facilitate government responsiveness because government is most efficient when decisions are made at the' level closest to the people. To be honest, proponents of statewide centralization have been hard to find.

The state committee is continuing its research on the home rule issue and has distributed a collection of articles to local leagues to assist with their studies. Later this month, the state committee will meet with Arnold Morgado, Chair of the Honolulu City Council, to discuss his perspective on home rule. The committee is also recruiting a lively group of speakers who will face off on the hone rule issue at League Council, scheduled for May 16.

The success of the study depends on you! Here's what you can do to help:

  • contact your local leagues and participate in your local league study!

  • help the state board find much sought after arguments for state centralization!

  • discuss home rule at your next cocktail party and tell us what you came up with!

For information, call the League office at 5317448 or Jana Chang at 732-8692.

Municipal home rule may be defined as a relationship between the cities* and the state in which the cities enjoy the fullest authority to determine the organization, procedures, and powers of their own governments, and a maximum of freedom from control by either the legislature or state administrative offices.

*In Hawaii, this also applies to our counties

-Rodney Mott
Home Rule for America's Cities

State Committee: Jean Aoki, Evelyn Bender, Jana Chang (Chair), Jim Koshi, George Ono

Jana Chang
Home Rule Study Chair

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