President's Message (Suzanne Meisenzahl)|
Kakaako Makai Plan
Waikiki Rezoning Proposal
Ewa/Central Oahu Development Plan Revision
Precinct Official Recruitment
Vote Count Cancellation
Suzanne Meisenzahl was installed as President of the League of Women Voters of Honolulu at its Annual Meeting at the Outrigger Prince Kuhio Hotel on April 23, 1994.
Suzanne came to Hawaii in 1969 and shortly thereafter opened Suntours of Hawaii for the parent company, Suntours, Ltd., Canada's largest tour wholesaler. In 1981, Suzanne opened her own business, SEM Corp. Under the dba of Holidays Unlimited, she continued her Suntours work buy for a variety of clients, not restricted to one company. In 1988, two partners joined the firm, and retiring the dba of Holidays unlimited, formed Connoisseur Holidays currently a flourishing inbound international tour operator with 17 employees.
The new League board includes Jean Aoki, vicepresident; Grace Furukawa, secretary; Pearl Johnson, treasurer, and directors: Nancy Marker, Jacqueline Parnell, Pamela Ferguson-Brey and Astrid Monson. Annie Kim, membership chair, will continue to serve on the board as will Arlene Kim Ellis, who's appointment as Voter Service chair and Vote Count Coordinator was announced at the board meeting held immediately after the Annual Meeting.
Elected to the 1995 Nomination Committee were Anita Benfatti, Helen Griffin and Robin Loomis. Two members from the board will be appointed to the committee by the President.
The budget and the program for the coming fiscal year were adopted.
MOTION FOR MERGER INTRODUCED
Jean Aoki made the motion on the floor that "a committee be appointed not to exceed seven members, to prepare a plan for the merging of the League of Women Voters of Honolulu with the state League, the League of Women Voters Hawaii." The rest of the motion detailed the procedure to be followed in obtaining the approval of state League and National League after the acceptance of the plan by Honolulu League members. Copies of the motion and a list of some of the benefits and some possible problems were passed out to the members present.
In speaking to the motion, Jean discussed five reasons for the proposal and suggested several changes in the make up of the state board to accommodate the merger and to give neighbor island locals more voice in the policies and activities of state league. She also discussed the possible benefits of such a merger, not just to League as a whole but specifically to our neighbor island Leagues.
In the discussion that followed, objections were focused on the process suggested by the motion. It was suggested that Honolulu was leaving out the state and the other locals, and taking unilateral action in effecting a merger.
Proponents replied that this was first step, getting the approval of Honolulu League members to go ahead and draft a plan which would then be submitted to state League which includes the other locals, for consideration. At that point, amendments could be made to the plan or it could be rejected totally. Without the approval of its membership, Honolulu League could not advance any consideration of a merger. Without some viable plan for such a merger, it would be difficult to convince the other locals and state and national to give the idea any consideration.
Marion Saunders, in support of the motion, stated that while it might sound like a radical idea, there was a precedent for it. After a decade or so after Honolulu League was organized, it became apparent that it needed to take action before the territorial legislature. It requested National that Honolulu League be considered both a state and a city League. The president of National League visited Honolulu and was persuaded by Allan Saunders to take the matter up with the National Board which granted Honolulu League the authority to act both as a state and a local League.
After much discussion, Helen Griffin moved to amend the motion by changing the first paragraph to read, "I move that a committee be appointed not to exceed seven members, to study the feasibility of and to prepare a possible plan for merging the League of Women Voters of Honolulu with the state League, the League of Women Voters Hawaii." James Koshi seconded the motion and the amendment was approved.
Evelyn Bender then moved to delete all but the amended first paragraph of the motion. The amendment passed, and the main motion, as amended passed, and the main motion, as amended, was adopted.
PANEL OF COUNCIL MEMBERS
After lunch, a panel of six of Oahu's nine City council members spoke on "What would be my highest priority if I were Mayor?" Though each had his own specific priorities, a common theme was expressed by nearly all of them - namely, to bring the voters back into the process of government, to change the present high-handed style of administration which so often does not take into account the community's actual needs and problems.
Variations on this theme were Gary Gill's emphasis on campaign spending reform - to encourage the "power of the people over the power of money;" Arnold Morgado's emphasis on changing the style of government by getting at the causes of such problems as transit and housing rather than merely applying band aids; Steve Holmes' desire to identify local areas of concern in the neighborhoods and replacing arrogance with listening to what people have to say; Rene Mansho's desire for more public involvement, more local community planning, more sharing of responsibility; John De Soto's call for better representation of constituents, more talking with the people and listening to their views; and John Henry Felix's call for bringing together the island's various constituencies to brain-storm the future and develop a long range vision for the next 40 or 50 years.
After introductory statements by each panel member, Leaguers handed up scores of questions directed to specific Council Members - questions on transportation, housing, taxation, initiative, and the many other issues the Council has to deal with continually. Questions were still coming in when the moderator, after an hour and a half, had to bring the panel to a close. Groups of members were still clustered around individual Council Members out in the hall and even in the bar, a half hour later or more.
Not all these issues were settled, but the meeting gave a good cross-section of our members a chance to know the Council on an informal, relatively intimate basis, impossible under the strict procedure at Council meetings and hearings, and gave Council Members a better idea of what League is all about.
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