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April 2007
President's Report, Spring 2007 (Marianna Scheffer)
Notice of Annual Meeting
Publicly-Funded Elections (Sue Dursin)
Report from the 2007 Nominating Committee (Marian Wilkins)
Treasurer's Report / Proposed Budget April 2007
Proposed Program for 2007-08
Initiative / Referendum (Sue Dursin)
Candidate Forums (Sue Dursin)
State Convention
Vote Count (Marian Wilkins)
Kona Meeting (Marian Wilkins)
Minutes - LWV Hawaii County - March 10, 2007 (Maiden Temple)
D.C. Voting Rights - Part I (Sue Irvine)
D.C. Voting Rights - Part II (Marianna Scheffer)
Washington, D.C. Voting Rights

Initiative / Referendum

Since December, our League members Marian Wilkins, Tom Payette, and Susan Dursin have been grappling with the language of Hawaii County Charter's Article XI, Initiative and Referendum.

During the fall of 2006, it became apparent that the language and process were not clear enough for promoters of the 2% initiative to avoid serious unforeseen problems with the County Elections Department. (The initiative proposed that two percent of the collected County property tax be used to purchase open space. Problems arose with both the validation of petition signatures and wording of the initiative. While the measure passed by a large margin, it became law only with the cooperation of the newly elected County Council.) Clearly, the whole initiative process was a quagmire -- one more area where citizen frustration could grow and fester.

Debbie Hecht, lead person for the 2% initiative, asked for League's help in clarifying the process. While our group has identified a number of wording changes and is currently focusing on changes in section headings, we also recognize that some structural changes (such as the Clerk's responsibility to lay out a specific time line) would give better direction to both petitioners and the Clerk.

Our group hopes to finish their work in May, but we can't predict what will happen then. Casey Jarman, the new County Clerk, has not had time since her appointment to explore the issue. Moreover, it is hard to say what the Council's legal limitations are in terms of accepting such changes to the Charter (although they certainly recognize the need to clarify the process and even commented in a meeting that they would welcome League's help in doing so.) The Charter Commission does not meet until 2010, and even then, may not be disposed to consider substantial revisions to this particular article.

One possible outcome -- aside from what happens with revised Article XI -- is that our League would write a guide to the initiative process in Hawai'i County. The guide could describe the enormous commitment and effort needed to conduct an initiative drive successfully. As well as delineating as clearly as possible the steps in the process, it could also identify possible snags and suggest ways of dealing with them.

We will be meeting again on April 20th. It's a very interesting and much more difficult issue than first met the eye. But, we are moving along and gathering information from other locales to make sure we don't re-invent the wheel.

Sue Dursin

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