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Friday, February 18, 2011
UPDATE: Commissioners reject Carlisle's call to cancel Neighborhood Board Elections
By Andrew Walden @ 12:05 AM :: 4905 Views

UPDATE from the NCO meeting last night:

Carlisle’s Managing Director Douglass Chin made an evening appearance and explained why the Mayor was requesting the elections be cancelled with balancing the budget being paramount.  He stayed for the duration of the debate. 

Commissioner Mobley pointed out that an amendment giving the NCO the power to postpone elections by extending the term of the sitting Neighborhood Boards has discussed on and off dating back to 2009. 

But the amendment was defeated and the elections will continue.  Bryan Mick stated he has “just” sent out RFPs to acquire a contractor to administer the election. 

Commissioners voting against cancelling the election were:  Mobley, Nekota, Tamamoto, Ho, and Gall. 

A pdf of Mayor Carlisle’s letter February 2 letter advocating cancelling the elections is attached >>> HERE

SA: Plan to put off election for boards fails to pass 

Bryan Mick, acting commission executive secretary, said 50 candidate applications were received yesterday for a total of about 260. He expected to receive another hundred today, the application deadline for the 439 seats.

"Nothing is more American than the right to vote," said Thad Spreg, who wanted a chance to run for the Makakilo board. "Canceling elections, changing rules, taking away the right to vote is not the answer."

However, Michael ("Bitch Bear") Golojuch, a Makakilo resident (and board member), supported postponing the elections because of the usually low voter turnout.

"Hopefully you will use this two-year time to go to an appointed board," he said.

  *   *   *   *   *

by Andrew Walden

Neighborhood Commissioners Brendan Bailey and Sylvia Young are pointing to the Carlisle administration as the source of efforts to cancel upcoming Honolulu Neighborhood Board elections. 

The NCO will be voting on the proposal to cancel the elections at a special meeting tonight.  If the elections go on as scheduled, tomorrow, Feb 18, will be the last day to register to vote and the last day to file campaign nomination papers.  The elections are to be held by electronic voting in March and April.

Leeward community leader Evelyn Souza and recent County Council candidate Celeste Lacuesta are calling for the community to turn out in opposition to the cancellation of the election.  The NCO Special Meeting will be held:

  • Thursday, February 17, 2011 7:00 p.m.
  • Honolulu Hale, Council Committee Room, 2nd Floor 530 South King Street, Honolulu

Neighborhood Commission member Brendan Bailey emailed Souza February 16:

The current administration requested the extension of the elections.  The letters were received about two weeks ago.  I will have copies of the letter available at the hearing.  I'll summarize the basis for the request.  First, the request notes that the current Board members would continue to represent their neighborhoods and fulfill their mission of increasing citizen participation in the decisions of government.  Second, an extension of the terms would accomplish will save taxpayers approximately $210,000 at a time the City faces serious budget shortfalls.  Third, an extension would give us all time to work together to find ways to make the neighborhood board system stronger, more effective and better represented by and in their various communities.

Read that again slowly:  Cancelling the elections will “make the neighborhood board … better represented by and in their various communities.” 

Neighborhood Commission member Sylvia Young emailed Souza February 15:

A letter was received by each commissioner from the Mayor suggesting that the commission consider deferring the NB election until 2013, effectively extending the term of the NB members for an additional 2 years.  Until a decision is reached, the process continues for an election as usual.  

Souza’s response:

If saving money is the reason, then they can find it elsewhere.  Where would $210,000. go?  Rail? Water main Breaks? These projects are huge siphons of taxpayer money...and a mere $210,000 would have the effect of a drop of water filling a barrel.  We were anticipating an election for 2011.  There are many out there that were counting on it.  Many in the community may have been anticipating participating this time around.  This makes the Neighborhood Board  "system" look like we are insignificant grassroots resources and that NB are expendable and flexible to meet the needs of the City.  Getting community issues heard, discussed, dealt with and having answers given to us by the responsible agencies are part of the purpose and mission of NBs.

At its August 23 meeting the NCO discussed the method of voting for the upcoming Neighborhood Board elections but the minutes of that meeting do not reflect any discussion of cancelling the election.  Ironically one of the points discussed was how to ensure that persons without computers are not disenfranchised by electronic voting.  Commissioners pointed out that electronic polling voting would be available to those without computers to vote at libraries and public buildings.

On October 11, 2010 Mayor Carlisle was sworn in, replacing acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell.  There is no record of NCO meetings in September or October, but minutes for the November 22 NCO meeting record NCO Executive Assistant Bryan Mick discussing disenfranchising everyone by “extend(ing) the term” –that is, cancelling the election—for Neighborhood Boards: 

Authorizing alternative method of Election for FY 2011

Mick explained that Commission has the ability to extend the term but just to be safe he has started with the preliminary planning of an electronic election which needs Commission approval. He asked that the Commission approve the same election method as the previous election year.

Mick apparently was incorrect to state that the NCO had the ability to extend the terms of sitting Neighborhood Boards.  Starting with a December 6 public notice, the NCO launched a series of votes in order to create that authority for itself.  And tonight they will finally vote on whether to use it.

---30---

RELATED: Honolulu Neighborhood Board Elections to be Cancelled?

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