As much as many of us would like to see a recall of Mayor Alan Arakawa, Maui’s recall process requires a level of voter participation that is not reasonably achievable. However, changing Maui’s charter IS within our reach. Around 8,500 petition signatures would get a charter revision before the county council where at least five members would would need to approve it for a public vote. If we doubled that, 17,000 signatures would get on the ballot no matter what the County Council thinks. In a general election a simple majority would carry the day.
What would you change in Maui County’s Charter?
1) Eliminate the Mayor’s position and replaces it with a professional City Manager.
2) Council members to be elected by voters in their district, rather than from the entire county.
Others? What are your suggestions? TO LEAVE A COMMENT CLICK HERE AND SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE:
ARTICLE 14 CHARTER AMENDMENT
Section 14-1. Initiation of Amendments. Amendments to this charter may be initiated only in the following manner.
1. By resolution of the council adopted after two readings on separate days and passed by a vote of six or more members of the council.
2. By petition presented to the council, signed by not less than ten percent (10%) of the voters registered in the last general election, setting forth the proposed amendments. Such petitions shall designate and authorize not less than three nor more than five of the signers thereto to approve any alteration or change in the form or language or any restatement of the text of the proposed amendments which may be made by the corporation counsel.
Upon filing of such petition with the council, the county clerk shall examine it to see whether it contains a sufficient number of apparently genuine signature of voters. The clerk shall complete the examination of the petition within fifteen (15) days.
The council shall then hold a public hearing and shall determine whether the amendments proposed shall be submitted to the voters for approval. The determination by the council to submit such proposed amendments to the voters shall be by resolution adopted by a vote of five or more members of the council within forty-five (45) days after the receipt of the petition.
3. By petition presented to the county clerk, signed by not less than twenty percent (20%) of the voters registered in the last general election, setting forth the proposed amendments. Such a petition shall designate and authorize not less than three nor more than five of the signers thereto to approve any alteration or change in the form or language or any restatement of the text of the proposed amendments which may be made by the corporation counsel.
Upon filing such petition, the county clerk shall examine it to see whether it contains a sufficient number of apparently genuine signatures of voters. The clerk shall complete the examination of the petition within fifteen (15) days.
When the petition has been determined sufficient by the county clerk, the county clerk shall submit the proposed amendments to the voters of the county at the next general election. (Amended 1992) 1. Any resolution of the council proposing amendments to the charter, whether initiated by the council or by petition, shall provide that the proposed amendments shall be submitted to the voters of the county at the next general election.
2. The county clerk shall have the proposed amendments published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least forty-five (45) days prior to submission of the proposed amendments to the voters of the county at the next general election.
3. Should the majority of the voters voting thereon approve the proposed amendments to this charter, the amendments shall become effective at the time fixed in the amendment, or if no time is fixed therein, thirty (30) days after its adoption by the voters of the county. Any charter amendment shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of such amendment.
2 thoughts on “<p>How to Amend The Maui County Charter….THE TIME HAS COME TO TAKE BACK THIS COUNTY</p>”
ALOHA: …. though it may be a challenge for the less populated regions, it is longgggggggggg overdue for a distinct district voting system….. it is too expensive to run for council on three islands and kahului/wailuku elects most of the council members…. which is why there is little difference amongst them…. each district NEEDS to have equal populations, about 14,500 with 11 districts, thus molokai would have about half the population for a district….. there are other creative ways to ensure the needs of less populated/more remote areas are addressed… as it is now, both congressional representatives live on o’ahu as do both u.s. senators…. the state representatives for lanai and molokai BOTH live on maui!!…. another system would be 3 voted at large in the three senatorial districts, which keeps the number at nine … kauai has 7 council members and new york has 51, the same number as our state house…. fyi: … having a district system allowed the B.I. to seven times elect a Green Party of Hawaii member to their county council, thus breaking the stranglehold of the two totally corrupt and corporate-controlled major political parties….. i have gone to the charter commission numerous times, in both 2000 and 2010; they will NOT take it up!!!!… when brought to the maui county council a few years ago, they too just tabled it!!!…. since they were all elected via the current system, why change it! …. sadly, it would need to be a citizens initiative which is brought by the people; however, once again, the threshold for signatures, time, et al, are quite challenging…… both o’ahu and the b.i. have distinct districts for their city/county councils….. all state representatives and senators are also elected by distinct electoral districts, as are our two congressional representatives. in addition, a survey was done a few years ago, and a majority of those polled SUPPORTED a district voting system for the maui county council!
Proposal aims to implement district voting
Proponets commission poll that says county residents back idea
May 9, 2010
By CHRIS HAMILTON, Staff Writer
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WAILUKU – Sixty-five percent of Maui County voters would favor changing the current system of electing County Council members to one that would create “nine single-member districts,” according to a recent poll commissioned by a group supporting the idea.
Proponents said the intent of their proposed charter amendment is to make sure County Council members are actually voted into office by the constituents in their districts. But they also said the plan would eliminate the need for candidates to run expensive countywide campaigns and help attract fresh faces to the council.
A number of current and former members of the council were elected to office by receiving a majority of the vote countywide – but lost the vote in their home districts.
“We feel single-member districts would allow the different communities to have more control over who their council member is,” said Gordon Cockett of the West Maui Charter Working Group, which hired QMark Research for the poll of 503 county residents from April 20 to May 1.
The idea of district-elected council members has been bandied about for years. But this time, it appears to have some traction, supporters said.
Council Member Jo Anne Johnson has introduced the West Maui Charter Working Group’s proposal to the council, and the bill has been referred to the council’s Committee of the Whole. If approved by the council, the charter amendment would be placed on the ballot in November to be decided by voters.
Under the proposal, voters would be asked if the county should abolish at-large elections for the council and instead establish nine election districts.
The boundaries of those new districts would be drawn by a County Reapportionment Commission, whose members would be nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the council.
Under the law, the county’s population would need to be divided equally between the nine districts. That means smaller regions, like Lanai and Molokai, could not each have a district to themselves, but would need to be grouped with larger populations.
However, Lanai and Molokai would not be combined into the same district, under the working group’s proposal.
The introduction of the group’s charter amendment by a council member is a significant step forward for the effort.
A similar proposal by the Kula Community Association last summer received absolutely no response from the County Council or Mayor Charmaine Tavares, said Dick Mayer of the association.
The current system of at-large council members was established in the Maui County Charter in the 1990s. Honolulu and the Big Island still maintain district voting for their council members.
Another community group, the North Beach-West Maui Benefit Fund Inc., commissioned University of Hawaii law professor Jon Van Dyke to prepare three alternatives to the current at-large system. His options for equally distributed voter districts were mailed out to residents across the county in the past couple months.
He offered three proposals:
Mayer said the Kihei Community Association, Maui Chamber of Commerce and Realtors Association of Maui have also all taken an interest in changing the current system. He described the movement as a groundswell that incumbents would have a difficult time ignoring now.
Under the existing system, each council member is required to be a resident of the district whose seat he or she holds. However, proponents of the charter amendment call that system flawed.
While Council Member Sol Kaho’ohalahala, who has fought multiple lawsuits alleging he does not meet the residency requirement, might be the most high-profile case, a number of council members past and present have faced grumbles or complaints that they don’t live in the districts they are supposed to.
Lance Holter, chairman of the Democratic Party of Maui, agrees that change is needed.
“I think that this ruckus that they started in Lanai over Sol’s residency has to have permanently enveloped he and his family in a morass of lawsuits, that and makes other good people not want to run,” said Holter, a Kaho’ohalahala supporter.
The proposed charter amendment could also put an end to the dominance of Central Maui voters in choosing council members, said Cockett and several other proponents.
“We wouldn’t have to just have to take what they give us anymore,” he said.
That could also sap the influence of unions in council races, since members tend to be concentrated and organized in Central Maui.
If the charter amendment passes the hurdles of both the county council and the 2010 ballot, Mayer said he expects the commission to have the new voting system in place for the 2012 election.
“This would make sure that our communities are represented as best as possible,” said attorney Lance Collins, West Maui Charter Working Group secretary. “I think that it would improve confidence in our local decision making body. And according to our poll, two-thirds of registered voters would support it, especially people in Hana and Molokai. It seems like everybody wants it, and it’s the right time.”