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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Ethics law fines, curbside recycling adopted by voters

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

The environment won.

Honolulu voters overwhelmingly supported City Charter amendments to: support curbside recycling; make the city more friendly to pedestrians and bikes; and set aside 1 percent of property tax revenues for land conservation and affordable housing.

Sierra Club Hawai'i Chapter Executive Director Jeff Mikulina summed up the results this way: "It looks like voters support the environment."

Mikulina also served on the Charter Commission this year. Voters weighed in on a wide range of issues that would each require a change in the city Charter, the municipal version of the state Constitution.

In wading through a dozen questions, voters also strongly supported civil fines for ethics violations.

The Charter amendments that sparked the most interest during the campaign called for:

• Setting aside 1 percent of property tax revenues for land conservation and affordable housing. The Hawai'i chapter of the Sierra Club backed this proposal, but representatives of the Land Use Research Foundation opposed it.

• Including comprehensive curbside recycling as a part of the duties of the city director of the Department of Environmental Services. Singer Jack Johnson lent his support to this one with a song urging people: "Vote yes on four, recycle more. If there's any hesitation, think next generation."

• Having the Department of Transportation Services declare it a priority to make Honolulu a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city and have the department's responsibilities include bikeway systems.

The three amendments apparently rejected would have: changed or eliminated term limits for City Council members; exempted top Liquor Commission administrators from civil service and shifted them to appointed positions; and eliminated the City Council's power to reject Salary Commission recommendations.

Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2429.