September 1992 Home   Newsletters

October 1992

November-December 1992

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony before the Planning Commission 9/2/92 (Arlene Ellis)
League Recommendations on Proposed Charter Amendments
Viewpoint
Statement on Policy and the Environment - 1 (Astrid Monson)
Statement on Policy and the Environment - 2 (Jean Aoki)
Statement on Policy and the Environment - 3 (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony on Bill 122, Excise Tax Surcharge (Arlene Ellis)
Testimony on Bill 122, Excise Tax Surcharge - 2 (Astrid Monson)
Rail Opponents Challenged to Find Alternatives (Astrid Monson)
Letters to the Editor - 1 (Arlene Ellis)
Letters to the Editor - 2 (Muriel R. Roberts)
Letters to the Editor - 3 (Katherine Kocel (P.K.A. Loew) & Susan MacKinnon)
Letters to the Editor - 4 (Barbara Farwell)
Membership

League Recommendations on Proposed Charter Amendments

Members of the charter Review Committee and other interested League members met to go over the charter amendments recommended by the Charter Commission. We identified 20 proposals addressed by League positions and discussed reasons for opposing or supporting each of them.

We will be publishing our recommendations in the Star Bulletin and the Advertiser Election Guide supplements which will be circulated on October 29, a week before the General Election.

VOTE YES

    1. LIMIT MAYOR TO TWO CONSECUTIVE TERMS

    The mayor's power to appoint people to high positions in the local government and to boards and commissions, coupled with the ability to award contracts for public works, allows for a build up of unacceptable levels of power and influence over an extended period. This attracts campaign contributions and other assistance that make it very difficult for challengers to mount successful campaigns. Competition is discouraged.

    4. ESTABLISH NONPARTISAN CITY ELECTIONS

    Political parties do not play a significant part in addressing issues at the county level. Officials should be elected for their stands on issues, their philosophies and their characters, not on their political affiliations.

    5. REFORM THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN AND ZONING PROCESS

    The proposed planning and zoning provisions would require that every two years, the City's Chief Planning Officer report on the island's development conditions and problems and recommend whatever Development Plan revisions he deems necessary. Comprehensive and more conceptual planning is emphasized rather than, as at present, merely processing specific project proposals. Specific project proposals would be taken up only at the zoning level.

    6. CREATE DEPARTMENT OF WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT

    Wastewater management is a system so large that it requires specific expertise, sufficient funding, enforcement and department status. The administration, department heads and the city council agree that is it an overload on the Department of Public Works, now the largest department in the city and county.

    7. ALLOW COUNCIL MEMBERS TO ABSTAIN FROM VOTING WHEN DIRECT FINANCIAL CONFLICTS EXIST

    If the public is to have confidence in the actions of the city council, council members should be allowed to abstain from voting when substantial conflicts of interest exist. If this amendment passes, the council will adopt rules that will determine the procedure by which a council member with a conflict of interest will or will not vote on the issue.

    12. GIVE HONOLULU'S PROSECUTOR THE AUTHORITY TO APPOINT SPECIAL ASSISTANTS

    This would give the prosecutor the same privilege enjoyed by all other elected officials.

    16. REQUIRE QUALIFICATIONS OF A) HEALTH DIRECTOR TO INCLUDE BACKGROUND IN EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES; AND B) MEDICAL EXAMINER TO COMPLY WITH STATE STATUTES

    A) This amendment does not exclude physicians from this post but requires a background in emergency medical services as well as administrative experience. The chief functions of the city Health Director are: 1) the development of programs and delivery of services related to emergency medical care, and 2) the providing of training and educational programs related to emergency medical care.

    B) The proposed qualifications requirement makes sense.

    17. MAKE REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN EFFECTIVE AT NEXT ELECTION

    This would remove existing confusion and clarify the status of a council member dislocated by reapportionment.

    19. ALLOW MAYOR TO REAPPOINT ONCE BOARD AND COMMISSION MEMBERS

    Members of boards and commissions who have proven to be effective should be given the opportunity to serve one more term to capitalize on the experiences gained. The two-term limit would ensure that new people with new ideas will have the opportunity to serve, while the staggered terms will provide some continuity.

    20. ADOPT PROPOSAL RECEIVING MORE VOTES WHEN TWO CONFLICTING INITIATIVE PROPOSALS PASS

    This is common practice.

    25. REQUIRE THREE OF NINE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION MEMBERS TO HAVE SERVED ON A NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD FOR ONE FULL TERM

    The experiences and insights acquired while serving on neighborhood boards will help the Neighborhood Commission in guiding and servicing the neighborhood boards.

    VOTE NO

    2. LIMIT COUNCIL MEMBERS TO TWO CONSECUTIVE TERMS.

    Council members do not have the same capacity to build bases of power and influence as the mayor. Records show substantial turnover of council members. In the past 20 years, 32 different people served for various periods on the city council. None of the present council members was in office 10 years ago.

    3. CREATE AT-LARGE COUNCIL REPRESENTATION FOR FOUR OUT OF NINE MEMBERS.

    Dividing Oahu into only five council districts is too drastic a change, and reduces the value of having district representation.

    8. ALLOW MAYOR TO TRANSFER FUNDS WITHIN A DEPARTMENT WITHOUT COUNCIL APPROVAL

    The city council sets policy for the city and deciding how much is spent on various activities is part of its policy making responsibilities. The present leeway given the mayor to transfer up to $500,000 or 10% of a department's budget, whichever is less, is sufficient. Council approval can be sought for transferring greater amounts.

    9. LIMIT COUNCIL FROM PROPOSING CHARTER AMENDMENTS DURING SPECIFIED PERIODS.

    There is no limitation on citizen's ability to propose charter amendments through initiative. Limitations should not be placed on the city council's ability to propose amendments.

    10. ELIMINATE COUNCIL CONFIRMATION OF MANAGING DIRECTOR

    In 1990, voters elected to require council approval of the Managing Director. Without good reason, it should not be overturned so soon.

    11. ALLOW DEPARTMENT HEADS TO SERVE FOR LIMITED PERIOD PRIOR TO COUNCIL CONFIRMATION

    It makes no sense to have a person serve as a department head only to lose that position in the confirmation process. A deputy could serve as interim head until a new head is appointed and confirmed.

    13. CLARIFY SALARY COMMISSION PROCEDURES: COMMISSION TO SET SALARIES OF ELECTED AND APPOINTED OFFICIALS SUBJECT TO COUNCIL VETO BY SUPER MAJORITY VOTE.

    The elected city council should be responsible for setting the salaries of appointed officials. Under this amendment, the city council need not approve the commission's recommendation for it to take effect. The council can veto it.

    15. CHANGE SIGNATURE REQUIREMENT FOR RECALL AND INITIATIVE FROM BASE OF "TOTAL VOTES CAST" TO "TOTAL REGISTERED VOTERS"

    History does not indicate a need to make initiative and recall more difficult. The increase in secured condominium apartments that bar solicitors and the reluctance of shopping mall managements and super markets to allow access to their properties for such activities make it difficult enough to approach voters for signatures.

    21. INCREASE CIVIL SERVICE-EXEMPT PERSONAL SERVICES CONTRACTS FROM 90 DAYS TO ONE YEAR.

    90 days for temporary hire is sufficient. Contracts can be extended if there is need. Lengthening the contract period opens it up to abuse. Frequent review of the need for temporary hires is necessary.

September 1992 Home   Newsletters November-December 1992