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Friday, October 26, 2012
On the Honolulu Ballot: $5M Ward Heelers' Slush Fund
By Andrew Walden @ 12:05 AM :: 8934 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics

by Andrew Walden

After a series of scandals, ethics investigations, and an abortive effort to cancel the 2011 Neighborhood Board elections, Honolulu’s grants-in-aid program lies in a shambles. Formerly the mainstays of the Mufi Hannemann machine, ward heelers in Waianae, Ewa and across the island sit idle and forlorn. Stripped of walking around money, Patty Teruya’s candidate Alex Santiago couldn’t even get past the primary in Council District 1. Even more tragic—rumor has it that some former operatives have been forced to find honest work.

But all hope is not lost. If approved by voters, Proposal #1 on the Honolulu ballot “Relating to Grants in Aid” would create a massive Ward Heelers’ Slush Fund and mandate 0.5% of estimated general fund revenues be poured into it yearly.

For FY 2013 net revenues to the Honolulu General Fund are estimated to be $1,037,533,901. This yields a minimum of $5,187,770 of taxpayer dollars available for pay out.

The next mayor will be able to appoint a seven-member council of cronies to oversee the use of Grants in Aid money to pay his political supporters island-wide and keep badly needed election ‘volunteers’ on the dole -- as long as a minimum of $250K is burned in each district. The Council of Cronies will be able to skim 5% off the top for “administrative expenses” thus ensuring that everybody on the winning team gets paid.

The question on the ballot reads:

HONOLULU: Relating to Grants in Aid

“Should a minimum of one-half of one percent of annual general fund revenues be appropriated for grants in aid to be awarded by the City to federal income tax exempt non-profit organizations to provide services to economically and/or socially disadvantaged populations or provide services for public benefit in the areas of the arts, culture, economic development or the environment?”

Who will be fooled? Election Day is November 6.

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Full text CR 12-44 Relating to Grants in Aid

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