Kauai Election 2016 Updated

SUBHEAD: Island Breath endorsements and recommendations for federal, state and county election.

NOTE: Some changes made to County Charter Amendments made on 10/17/16.

By Linda Pascatore on 14 October 2016 for Island Breath -
(http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2016/10/kauai-election-2016.html)


Image above: Incumbent Gary Hooser - Our first pick for Kauai County Council.

Important Election Dates:
Early Walk-In Voting and Late Voter Registration:
Tues, October 25 to Sat, Nov 5, 2016, 8am to 4 pm, at Lihue Neighborhood Center

Last day to request a Mail Ballot:
Tues, Nov 5, 2016, 4:30pm deadline

Early Walk-In Voting Ends:
Sat, Nov 5, 2016  

General Election:
Tues, Nov 8, 2016, polls open 7am to 6pm

To Register to Vote, Find your Polling Place, and see your Sample Ballot, go to: https://olvr.hawaii.gov/

Island Breath Endorsements:
We found information on candidates records and position on Votesmart (http://votesmart.org/), Ballotpedia (https://ballotpedia.org/Hawaii_elections,_2016), the League of Women Voters (http://www.lwv-hawaii.com/candidates-2016.htm), OHA Election Guide (http://www.oha.org/2016electionguide), and also in articles profiling individual candidates in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Civil Beat, and The Garden Island.

We endorsed candidates with progressive or liberal values; their support for the environment, sustainability, and Hawaiian Sovereignty; and for their anti-GMO stances.

*SPECIAL ISLAND BREATH ENDORSEMENT:  GARY HOOSER FOR KAUAI COUNTY COUNCIL*
Our favorite Kauai politician of all time: if you vote for only one person on this ballot, vote for Gary!


U.S. FEDERAL OFFICES

President and Vice President:
Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka
IB Note: We are voting our conscience on this one--Jill is just too good, and we can't support Trump or Clinton. Check out the Green Party website (http://www.jill2016.com/)

US Senator:
Brian Schatz

US Representative, Dist II:
Tulsi Gabbard



HAWAII STATE OFFICES

State Representative, Dist 14: Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa, Wailua
Nadine Nakamura
IB Note: Nakamura looks better than her opponent Combs in her positions on issues. However, we lost faith in Nadine when she left the county council at the time she was needed for a crucial GMO vote, in order to accept an appointment from Carvalho

State Representative, Dist 15: Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao
IB Note: James Tokioka is running unopposed for this office. We do not endorse him.

State Representative, Dist 16: Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea
Dee Morikawa



Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA):
Hawaii Resident Trustee:
Mililani Trask

OHA At-Large Trustee:
Keli'i Akina



KAUAI COUNTY OFFICES

County of Kauai Prosecuting Attorney:
Justin Kollar

Kauai County Council:
Mason Chock
Gary Hooser
JoAnn Yukimura


IB Note: You can vote for 7 council members. However, the 3 above supported 2491 (Bill regulating pesticides and GMO's).  If you vote for all seven candidates, but only really support three, your #4, 5, 6, and 7 votes could enable those other candidates to win over your top candidates. Consider voting for fewer--a practice called "plunking".



STATE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS

IB Note: Constitutional amendments in Hawaii require approval from a majority of all voters casting a vote in the election, which means that filling out a ballot but not voting has the same effect as voting no. A yes vote approves the proposed change, a no vote or not voting leaves the State Constitution as is.

VOTE YES: RELATING TO JURY TRIALS IN CIVIL CASES
"Shall the threshold value in controversy requirement for jury trials in civil cases at common law be increased from $5,000 to $10,000?"
IB Note: This amendment deals with how much money a civil suit has to be seeking in order to have a jury trial.  We believe that a judge can adjudicate a monetary claim in a civil case and avoid a costly jury trial.



VOTE YES: RELATING TO THE DISPOSITION OF EXCESS REVENUES
"Shall the legislature be provided, when the state general fund balance at the close of each of two successive fiscal years exceeds five per cent of the general fund revenues for each of the two fiscal years, the additional alternatives of appropriating general funds for the pre-payment of either or both of the following:
(1) Debt service for general obligation bonds issued by the State; or

(2) Pension or other post-employment benefit liabilities accrued for state employees?"IB Note: Without the passage of this amendment, excess general funds can only be used to provide tax refunds for taxpayers or to supplement other funds in place for emergencies.  This amendment would allow excess general fund revenues to be used to pre-pay general obligation bonds issued by the state and pensions accrued by state employees. General obligation bonds are bonds issued and backed by the state.


KAUAI COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENTS

IB Note: For Kauai County Charter Amendments, blank votes are not counted.  
Update: We have changed a couple of our recommendations as of 10/17/16.

VOTE YES:
RELATING TO CORRECTING GENDER NEUTRALITY, GRAMMATICAL, SPELLING AND FORMATTING ERRORS.

"Shall the charter be amended throughout to ensure that its language is to the greatest extent possible gender neutral and to make changes to spelling, capitalization, punctuation, formatting, and grammar?"
IB Note: This amendment simply corrects errors and gender references




VOTE YES:
RELATING TO EXPANDING THE DUTIES OF THE FIRE CHIEF AND DEFINING AUTHORITY TO EXECUTE POWERS AND DUTIES
"Shall the duties of the Fire Chief be clarified to include duties currently performed such as addressing hazardous materials, emergency medical services, and ocean safety, and shall the reference to the Mayor's authority to assign duties be removed?"
IB Note: The section of the County Charter was created before the Fire Commission was formed. The current language of the Charter does not specifically identify lines of authority in assigning duties. Additionally, the Department has broadened its scope beyond fire control, to include such functions as ocean safety, hazardous materials, and emergency services, which are currently not reflected in the charter. This amendment would appropriately describe the current functions of the fire chief and the Fire Department, as they relate to duties and authority.




MODIFIED 10/17/16

VOTE NO: RELATING TO ESTABLISHING A ZONING BOARD OF APPEALS TO ASSIST THE PLANNING COMMISSION IN PROVIDING DUE PROCESS FOR APPELLANTS
"Shall a Zoning Board of Appeals be established to hear appeals from decisions of the Planning Director and to conduct evidentiary hearing at the request of the Planning Commission?"
IB Note: Currently, the Zoning Board hires a hearing officer for appeals.  This amendment would have a volunteer board appointed by the mayor and approved by county council.  It is unclear whether these volunteers would be as knowledgeable and as impartial as a hearing officer.




VOTE YES:
RELATING TO THE CIVIL DEFENSE AGENCY
"Shall the county Civil Defense Agency be renamed the Emergency Management Agency and its organization clarified consistent with State Law?"
IB Note: Hawaii State law recently renamed the “Civil Defense Agency” to the “Emergency Management Agency.” Therefore, the current language of the Charter referring to the Civil Defense Agency is inconsistent with state law. Additionally, the Charter does not currently assign a department administrator or director.




VOTE YES:
RELATING TO THE PERCENTAGE OF REQUIRED VOTERS FOR AN INITIATIVE PETITION, A REFERENDUM PETITION, OR A CHARTER AMENDMENT PETITION
"Shall the percentage of registered voter signatures required to start the initiative or referendum process be reduced to 10 percent from 20 percent, and shall the percentage of registered voter signatures required to start the charter amendment process via voter petition be increased to 10 percent from 5 percent?"
IB Note: This makes the required percentage consistent at 10 percent for those wishing to propose an ordinance, referendum or charter amendment. Currently, the 20 percent required for a referendum is too high.




MODIFIED 10/17/16
VOTE NO: RELATING TO ENABLING THE COUNTY CLERK TO DETERMINE WHAT IS A VALID CHARTER AMENDMENT
"Shall it be specified what constitutes a charter amendment, and shall the processing of a proposed charter amendment via voter petition be revised to enable the county clerk to determine whether the proposal is a valid charter amendment?"
IB Note: If voters collect the required signatures to get a Charter Amendment on the ballot, it should be included, unless the courts decide it does not constitute a valid charter amendment.




VOTE NO:
RELATING TO ESTABLISHING A PERMANENT CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
"Shall the Charter Review Commission be an ongoing commission?"
IB Note: The current language of the charter states that the Commission will expire on December 31, 2016. A new commission can reconvene in 10 years, with members to be appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. This amendment seeks to remove the expiration date of the Charter Review Commission and eliminates the 10-year intervals between the creation of the commissions, thereby establishing a permanent Charter Review Commission. We believe that once every ten years is often enough to review changes to the County Charter, which is the equivalent of our constitution.

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12 comments :

  1. Were you meaning to Vote No on this???????VOTE YES: RELATING TO JURY TRIALS IN CIVIL CASES
    "Shall the threshold value in controversy requirement for jury trials in civil cases at common law be increased from $5,000 to $10,000?"
    i>IB Note: This amendment deals with how much money a civil suit has to be seeking in order to have a jury trial. The requirement was changed in the past from $100 to $1000, and then again from $1000 to $5000. (We believe that you should still have the right to a jury trial for a $5000 lawsuit.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aloha Eliel,

      Thanks for pointing out the contradiction. However, we decided that a judge can adjudicate a civil case of $10,000 without a costly jury trial.

      IB Publisher

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  2. Thanks so much for this info. as well as all your posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mahalo Linda,

      Sorry about needing to do an update. Glad you found it.

      IB Publisher

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  3. Vote NO on the charter amendment petition % being doubled. The initiative being lowered is a red herring as initiatives can be tinkered with by the council. This proposed charter amendment increasing the threshold for charter amendment qualifications to get on the ballot is designed to stifle citizen movements which need to bypass the county council's corruption. This was drafted as was the county clerk amendment in making sure the public drive that sought to put accountability of the GMO companies doesn't get on the ballot for an honest public vote. This charter amendment is a poison pill drafted to suppress the people. Vote NO. And please change your recommendation. It's not in the long term good of island democracy.

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  4. Aloha Jennifer,

    We recommended a yes vote because although the percentage of voter’s signatures needed for a charter amendment increase from 5 to 10%; the percentage for a referendum or an initiative is lowered from 20% to 10%. We think overall the amendment is positive.

    If you look at the full text of the amendment, you will find that if the county clerk thinks a proposed amendment is not appropriate, he must take it to the court and go with their decision. So the final decision lies with the court, as it should be, not with the county clerk. You can find the full text of all the amendments here:
    http://www.kauai.gov/Portals/0/Boards_Commissions/Charter/2016%20Proposed%20Charter%20Amendments_Website%20Posting%20082216.pdf?ver=2016-09-14-155054-670

    Linda Pascatore, IB Editor

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    1. Hi Linda,

      The lowering the referendum and in initiative from 20 to 10 per cent is really of little use, because to truly effect a change that cannot be watered down by county council vote or over ride, only a Charter Amendment has that power, and hence it is the only pathway of direct democracy to get around a county council or mayor who blocks true progressive action for the safety/environment of Kauai. The charter amendment allows Kauai citizens to get their petition put up for an unmolested vote by the island voters. It is the only path that matters and hence the appointed charter commission's draft amendment willfully looks to bait and switch the unknowing voter into falling for the amendment the way it's written.

      Further, these two charter amendments were drafted by the charter commission headed by the pro-GMO seed company political appointee who berated the citizens trying to put the amendment on the ballot that required the seed companies to be the responsible party to prove their pesticides were safe before spray. That's all we wanted, and this man was adamantly for the Seed Companies...hence these democracy suppressing charter amendments were drafted by his lead commission.

      And just that we are debating this issue and having some environmentalists fall for the smoke and mirrors amendments, shows the effectiveness of confusing the public against its own good.

      I'd bet $10,000 to say these amendments are BAD for our kauai citizen democracy. Are you near that confident? Please research the difference between the referendum, initiative, and a charter amendment and see the first two have little weight to true change as they can be interfered with by the council. Don't fall for the trick.

      Aloha,
      Jenn

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    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    3. Aloha Jenn,

      I checked the full text of the Kauai County Charter. Here is the paragraph dealing with Council review of an initiative or referendum:

      "Section 22.07.
      County Council Action on Petitions
      A.
      The county council shall proceed immediately to consider an initiative or referendum petition which has been determined sufficient in accordance with the provisions of this article. If an initiative petition is concerned, the ordinance it proposes shall at once be introduced subject to the procedures required for ordinances under Article IV of this charter; however, not more than sixty (60) days shall elapse between the time of first reading of the initiative proposal as a bill and completion of action to adopt, amend, or reject the same. If a referendum petition is concerned, the ordinance to which that petition is directed shall be reconsidered by the council; and
      not later than thirty (30) days after the date on which the petition was determined sufficient, the council shall, by ordinance, repeal, or, by resolution, sustain the ordinance.
      B.
      If the council rejects an initiative amendment proposal or passes it with an amendment unacceptable to a majority of the petitioner’s committee, or if the council fails to repeal an ordinance reconsidered pursuant to a referendum petition, it shall submit the originally proposed initiative ordinance or refer the reconsidered
      ordinance concerned to the voters of the county at the next general election.

      My reading is that the council can vote against the initiative or referendum, but if they do, it still goes to a vote at the next election.

      My understanding from the full text is that an initiative is a proposal for a new law by the voters, by petition. A referendum is also by the voters by petition to repeal an existing law that the voters feel is wrong. A charter amendment should not deal with specific laws, it is comparable to the US constitution, and to repeal it is like passing a constitutional amendment.

      So, I really think that an initiative is the correct vehicle to do something like limiting development, or regulating GMO's.

      Thanks for your input,
      Linda Pascatore, IB editor

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  5. Jenn so are you saying a No vote is better?

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  6. Mahalo for all your research, comments and for this blog! <3

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  7. Do not be deceived by "making it equal" framing of this ballot item:
    VOTE NO on raising signatures for ballot access.

    WHY VOTE NO?
    the threshold for ballot access is already FAR TOO HIGH.
    to make it more difficult for everyday people like you and me to have issues ABLE TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE ELECTORATE is running local self-governance in exactly the wrong direction.

    To run for office, you do not need signatures from 10,000 people to get on the ballot. Why should it be any different to bring issues before the people for consideration, and an up or down vote?

    to place the qualification for ballot access by the citizenry so high as to effectively preclude participatory democratic function, is to surrender the governance to the status quo. Why in the world would any right thinking population do this to themselves? VOTE NO on raising the number of signatures for citizen access to the ballot.

    Philosophically, this ballot item is also flawed - again with the specific intention of MAKING IT HARDER FOR CITIZENS TO ACCESS OUR OWN BALLOT. What decent democracy determines outcomes based NOT on the people who VOTE, but on the basis of the people who MIGHT VOTE???

    The number of signatures in this ballot item is determined NOT by actual voters, but by REGISTERED voters... meaning the framework is determined NOT by people who HAVE VOTED. Does it seem proper to you that NON-VOTERS should determine the number of citizens needed to get an issue on the ballot? Does it seem reasonable that the more people registered to vote, the harder it becomes is to participate in our own governance? Ask yourself - "who benefits when ballot access to the general public is made more difficult?"

    Say what you like, but %registered voters vs. %actual voters creates a number TWICE AS HIGH, making is TWICE as difficult to get items onto the ballot for community CONSIDERATION.

    Not whether the item becomes law, but merely for the issue to be considered! The logic here is so blatantly anti-democratic! Supporting this amendment will MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU to bring issues before our island. Do NOT limit your own power. VOTE NO on this item.

    Voting in support of this Charter Review Committee authored ballot item LOCKS IN stronger denial of citizen access to YOUR OWN ballot.

    VOTE NO!

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