BY SAM SLOM – Many people have written or called seeking guidance on the confusing two State Constitutional Amendments and six City & County of Honolulu proposed Charter amendments (there are also Neighbor Island proposed changes-see complete listing on Hawaii Reporter).
Here is a quick reference list and personal positions for your consideration:
Amendments to the State Constitution
1. RELATING TO THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
Shall the Board of Education be changed to a board appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, as provided by law?
Vote YES. While not a panacea, this change is a most important fix for our public education system. Ideally, the Board of Education should be ABOLISHED and education decentralized.
2. RELATING TO TAX REFUNDS
Shall the legislature be provided with the choice, when the state general fund balance at the close of two successive fiscal years, to provide a tax refund or tax credit to the taxpayers of the State, or to make a deposit into one or more funds, as provided by law, which shall serve as temporary supplemental sources of funding for the State in times of an emergency, economic downturn, or unforeseen reduction in revenue?
Vote NO. This is YOUR money and previously you were due a refund automatically. This change would allow the Legislature to take more of your money, put it in the General Fund, and spend it for you.
Amendments to the City & County of Honolulu Charter
1. RELATING TO THE CREATION OF A PUBLIC TRANSIT AUTHORITY
Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to create a semi-autonomous public transit authority responsible for the planning, construction, operation, maintenance, and expansion of the City’s fixed guideway mass transit system?
Vote NO. A transit authority will further increase and conceal expenditures for a City fixed rail transit. It will be yet another level of bureaucracy to deal with.
2. RELATING TO THE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST OF CITY OFFICERS
Prohibits newly appointed city officer from participating in city matters with which he or she was directly involved with for a period of 12 months
Vote YES Strengthens City ethics provisions. Requires new City officers to refrain from acting on any matter they have been directly involved with for 12 months.
3. RELATING TO THE LIQUOR COMMISSION AND CIVIL SERVICE EXEMPTIONS
Shall the Liquor Commission be allowed to hire and dismiss its Administrator and Deputy Administrator in the same fashion as department heads appointed by the mayor?
Vote YES. Should be the same process as other departments/divisions.
4. RELATING TO ORDINANCES BY INITIATIVE POWER AND OTHER CONFORMING AMENDMENTS
Shall the Revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu, be amended to remedy language inconsistencies and to clarify the provisions of the Ordinances by Initiative Power, Article III, Chapter 4, and to make conforming amendments to other sections of the Charter?
Vote NO It was difficult and confusing for the Stop Rail Now coalition to gain enough votes for an initiative to stop costly rail. This amendment would make it even more difficult for citizens on any issue.
5. RELATING TO THE DISPOSAL OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AND OTHER CONFORMING AMENDMENTS
Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to update provisions and to provide for the disposal of City personal property by rules and regulations of the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services, and other conforming amendments?
Vote YES. A fair process.
6. RELATING TO THE CREATION OF AN OFFICE OF HOUSING
Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to create an office of housing directly under the mayor, to be headed by an administrator who shall be appointed by the mayor, subject to council confirmation, and who may be removed by the mayor?
Vote NO. The City should NOT be in the housing business. Another City office will not result in cheaper housing, better housing or more housing, but it raises the possibility of corruption-as in the past when there was a City Department of Housing. Do you remember Ewa Estates? Kukui Gardens?
Voting tip: To find out what district you are voting in, and to get a copy of the ballot you will be using to vote, go to the Polling Place locator on the Hawaii Office of Elections Web site at http://elections3.hawaii.gov/ppl/ Then go to the bottom of the left-hand column and enter your first and last name and date of birth and hit search.