Spring 1992 Home   Newsletters

Winter 1992

February 1993

President's Message (Evelyn Bender)
Health Care Study - Phase 2
Board of Directors Meeting
Members of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition
Report from the National Convention (Evelyn Bender)
LWVHI Extends its Appreciation for Contributions
1992 Legislative Session (Evelyn Bender)
State Council 1992
Historical Perspectives of Home Rule in Hawaii (Frank F. Fasi)
75th Anniversary
Important Dates for 1992-93
Leasehold Questions
League on the Light Side

State Council 1992

State Council was held on May 16,1992 at the Outrigger Canoe Club.

Delegates present were: From Kauai County -- Cira DeCastillo & Andy Parks; From City & County of Honolulu -- Arlene Kim Ellis & Jacqueline Vogt; From the Board of Directors, LWV of Hawaii -- Evelyn Bender, Romayne Karl, Sue Irvine, Dee Lum, Donna Bebber, Jim Koshi and Jana Chang.

State Council booklets were distributed and the agenda and rules were approved and LWVHI President, Evelyn Bender, announced changes in the speakers.

Jim Koshi, speaking for the Leasehold Committee, moved for an extension of the Leasehold study for a period up to a year explaining that the issues are more complicated than expected and delays in state reports and a court challenge have further affected the study schedule. This motion was passed.

Cira DeCastillo expressed concern over the November timing for consensus which will impact on their League's Voter Service activities. Noting that local league consensus can be delayed it was decided that the new deadline would be December 1, 1992. January 20, 1993 the Board will determine the state position.

Sue Irvine presented the year-end Treasurer's Report and Evelyn Bender thanked LWV of Honolulu for assuming miscellaneous costs and those formerly carried by the state Education Fund.

It was noted that both member and corporate drives had exceeded their goals; a contribution from the Watumull Foundation has been used for Leasehold Facts and Issues.

Standing in for Jerry Hess, Budget Chair, Bender presented the proposed budget for 1992-93. The budget was approved unanimously. See the pre-convention Leo Hana for details.

Reports from the Local Leagues:

DeCastillo said that Kaua'i will maximize the Take Back the System approach using town meetings to encourage voting. They will use a grid type voter's guide in the newspaper, use buttons, radio stations and sponsor debates to stimulate voting. They may do a video-voter's guide using the public access channel.

Irvine spoke for Hawaii County. She said that their local television company had approached them regarding debates; they hope to use that forum,

Ellis announced that Jackie Vogt is the new LWV of Honolulu Voter Service chair and they are just now beginning their plans.

Program review and direction to the Board followed. Jana Chang stated that there is clarification needed on the question - What is home rule? She noted that political science professor, Phyllis Turnbull, said the issue turns on the question - What kind of government do you want to have? The broad consideration is the relationship between levels of government. This subject was the focus for luncheon speaker and afternoon panelists.

LWVUS will continue to focus on financing of health care. At the June national convention, non-recommended items include federal deficit, work force issues, and early intervention for children at risk. Bender will be the state league delegate.

Debbie Kimball from Kaua'i made an announcement regarding SDI and Kauai's concern over the missile site at Barking Sands.

Following the luncheon the program focused on home rule. See the article elsewhere in this issue written by the mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, Frank F. Fasi. At council, Jeremy Harris, Managing Director, City and County of Honolulu, spoke on the "Historical Perspective on Home Rule." He concluded his summary of the history from centralized monarchy to the present by asking -- Has there been a benefit in state dominance?

Panelists Robert Alm, Director of the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Helene Hale, Hawaii County Council member, and Dr. Dan Tuttle, Political Scientist, each spoke on Home Rule following lunch; they responded to audience questions.

Robert Alm, Director of the State's Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
Helene Hale, Longtime League member speaking as a County Councilmember, Island of Hawaii.
Dr. Dan Tuttle, Political Science, Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii.
Jeremy Harris, Managing Director, City and County of Honolulu

The following are from notes taken at the May 16, 1992 State League Council:

Speaking on "The Historical Perspective on Home Rule," Jeremy Harris, Managing Director, City and County of Honolulu, traced government structure from the centralized monarchy through to the Organic Act and Prince Kuhio's defection from the Home Rule Party, and to the statewide 1954 sociopolitical "revolution."

He noted that while the counties have to provide many services, the state raises 84% of the taxes. Harris feels that the level of government which is most responsive to those affected should have taxing powers. The city/county in Hawaii is the level closest to the voters.

He noted that Kakaako and the waterfront were two examples of where the state has stepped in to city "territory." Harris traced the establishment of the state land use law-1961 to present. Land use control was needed in '61, he said but now the counties have sophisticated planning and land use processes in place so state control is not needed. He spoke of the fact that legislative bills are increasingly introduced which usurp home rule powers of the counties and suggested that the language of the constitution needs specificity in this area.

Robert Alm, Director for the State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs said that Hawaii has a good system overall. He noted that one of the strengths is our two tiered governmental system where there is less duplication than elsewhere, therefore savings occur.

Alm felt that the land use law should be studied extensively before it is eliminated. Although difficult, it is important to not look at personalities when reviewing the system. He said that stepping over county authority is only a small part of city and state relations vis-a-vis the many good aspects of state government.

Councilwomen Helene Hale, from Hawaii County, started her presentation with the comment, "Power is what makes politicians." As a participant in former Constitutional Conventions, she felt that the 1978 ConCon had made some good changes; it was a shame no convention was held in 1988.

Hale felt that democracy is what is need, not efficiency; that centralized government may not provide democracy. She further expressed the opinion that it is the integrity of those elected that is important.

Professor Emeritus, Dan Tuttle, opened his remarks by commenting that the quest of power appears predominate today, and neither level of government are doing a good job [as representatives of the people]. He hoped to go beyond the home rule question and ask a basic question-Where is the United States/the State/the County going? In view of the Los Angeles riots, Tuttle was concerned about approaching anarchy.

He said there is value in local government but with an increase in population it is not possible to have direct participation; with our nation and the states bankrupt fiscally, and of ideas, politics is in jeopardy. These concerns transcend the home rule discussion.

Tuttle expressed the opinion that the rigor of self discipline is no longer in the land in order to make representative democracy work. Problems-those of families, economics and education cry out for leadership.

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