MEMO TO: Dain P. Kane, Chair
and Members of the Committee of the Whole
F R O M: Councilmember Wayne K. Nishiki
SUBJECT: PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO THE REVISED CHARTER OF THE COUNTY OF MAUI (1983), as amended, relating to INITIATIVE (PAF 02-159) (COW-41)
May I request the Committee’s consideration of the attached proposed resolution entitled “PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO THE REVISED CHARTER OF THE COUNTY OF MAUI (1983), as amended, relating to initiative”. the purpose of the proposed resolution is to increase citizen power by easing the requirements for proposing ordinances by initiative (by decreasing the signature requirement from 20% of registered voters to 10% of voters in the last general election and by eliminating the 30-day window of opportunity to gather signatures).
Please note that this proposal is similar to a proposed Charter amendment that was narrowly defeated by the voters in 1992. I contend that the proposal failed because the ballot question was not clearly worded. The ballot question was: “INITIATIVE: Shall the procedures for the filing and processing of initiative petitions be changed as recommended by the Charter Commission?” The question gave no indication of the proposal’s substance. Still, the proposal failed by less than 2,000 votes (13,825 to 15,623). I have no doubt that, presented with a clear ballot question, the electorate will strongly favor increasing citizen power by easing the requirements for proposing ordinances or Charter amendments by initiative.
For background information on the merits of easing the requirements for proposing ordinances by initiative, please see the attached report by Lee Altenberg, Ph. D., entitled “Democracy denied: the barriers to citizen use of the ballot initiative on Maui” (April 16, 2002).
For additional background information, I have attached relevant excerpts from the Charter Commission’s final report in 1992 and the list of ballot questions proposed by the Charter Commission in 1992.
May I request that the following individual be notified and receive the meeting agenda when the Committee schedules this item for discussion:
Lee Altenberg, Ph.D.
2605 Lioholo Place
Kihei, Hawai`i 96753-7118
Thank you for your consideration.