East Hawaii News

Big Island Voters Approve 5 of 6 Charter Amendments

November 7, 2012, 12:39 AM HST
* Updated November 7, 12:40 AM
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Big Island voters weighed in on six proposed amendments to the Hawaii County Charter Tuesday, approving all but one.

They voted 39,129 to 15,613 to support Proposal 1, which repeals the county’s existing Sunshine Law regarding public notice of meetings of the county’s council, boards and commissions, and replaces it with the provisions in state law.

Voters also overwhelmingly supported Proposal 2 which raises the minimum amount of property tax revenues to be used to purchase land to be held in the public interest as “open space” to 2% from 1%. It passed by a 34,622 to 20,828 margin.

Dovetailing with that was Proposal 3, which would set aside an additional 0.25% of those revenues to maintain open-space land. That was approved by a margin of 35,595 votes to 19,551.

Big Island voters soundly rejected Proposal 4, which would allow the County Council to establish special funds without first getting approval from the mayor. A total of 40,854 nay votes were cast compared to 14,835 in favor.

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Proposal 5, which would require that members of the county Redistricting Commission from running for election wait an election cycle before running for office, was passed 39,537 to 14,005.

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This year, two members of the panel which meets every 10 years to redraw council district boundaries also ran for office. Dru Kanuha was unopposed in the District 7 council race while Valerie Poindexter prevailed in the District 1 council contest in Tuesday’s general election.

The measure brings Hawaii County in line with state law, which already contains a similar requirement for members of the state Reapportionment Commission which sets boundaries for legislative seats.

The sixth proposed charter amendment, which would establish a game management advisory commission, was passed by a vote of 36,926 to 19,491.

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Voters statewide faced two proposed amendments to the state Constitution, which needed approval from at least 50% of the votes cast. Neither achieved that mark.

One that would authorize the issuing of revenue bonds to assist owners of dams and reservoirs was defeated after receiving only 48.6% approval statewide. Big Island voters were slightly more favorable on the measure, with 49.2% giving it the nod.

The statewide vote was 49.7% in favor of the other constitutional amendment which authorizes the chief justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court to hire retired judges on a temporary basis. Slightly more than half of the voters on the Big Island – 51.4% — approved of the proposed amendment.

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