Friday, November 3, 2000
for state officesThe issue: The Star-Bulletin announces its endorsements for state offices -- the Board of Education, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and one legislative post, the 20th Senate District -- and its recommendations on proposed constitutional amendments.
KAPOLEI optometrist Hank Makini provides an opportunity for change in the 20th state Senate district, which has been controlled by public employee unions for the past eight years. Makini, a Republican, would bring independence to representation of the state's fastest-growing area.
Since receiving his doctorate from Pacific University in 1987, Makini has been practicing optometry mainly in Central and Leeward Oahu.
Makini has an understanding of the needs of small business that is badly needed in the Legislature. His top priority is to lower Hawaii schools' student-teacher ratio. He favors reducing the state government work force but supports funding the 14.5 percent pay raise arbitration award for members of the Hawaii Government Employees Association.
Independence has been lacking in the incumbent, Democrat Brian Kanno, who has been an embarrassment to his district because of his blind allegiance to public employee unions. When he chaired the Senate Labor Committee, Kanno went out of his way to fight reform of workers compensation, at one point hiding to avoid being confronted by reform advocates.
He also blocked proposals to allow privatization of some government services.
Kanno seemed uncertain last year on whether to reconfirm Margery Bronster as attorney general when the HGEA adopted a position of neutrality. A puzzled Kanno dutifully went to HGEA leader Russell Okata for instruction, then cast his vote against Bronster. He has since apologized after realizing that his real constituents were infuriated by his vote.
Makini has the background and integrity to know what is best for his neighbors from Ewa Beach to Makakilo without seeking instructions from public employee unions or other special interests.
OHA Board of TrusteesIN view of the Supreme Court decision in Rice vs. Cayetano, which invalidated the Hawaiians-only restriction on voting for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and opened the OHA elections to all registered voters in Hawaii, the Star-Bulletin has decided to endorse candidates in these elections. The endorsements are:
At large, four-year term: Haunani Apoliona.
At large, two-year term: Kinau Kamali'i, Charles Rose, Oswald Stender.
Hawaii Island: Hannah Springer.
Kauai/Niihau: Ilei Beniamina.
Molokai/Lanai: Colette Machado.
Maui: Louis Hao.
Oahu: Clayton Hee.
Board of EducationHERE are the Star-Bulletin's endorsements in the elections for the state Board of Education:
Honolulu: Denise Matsumoto.
Leeward Oahu: Marilyn Harris.
Central Oahu: Michael Nakamura.
Oahu at-large: Jacqueline Heupel, Donna Ikeda, Garrett Toguchi.
Maui: Vinnie Linares.
Hawaii Island: Herbert Watanabe.
Kauai: Mitsugi Nakashima.
THE general election ballot includes three proposed amendments to the Hawaii State Constitution. Two of the amendments should be approved; one should be rejected.
Where we stand on
Question No. 2 asks whether a state tax commission should be appointed every 10 years rather than every five years, as the law currently requires. The Legislature thinks five years is too short a period to determine the long-range ramifications of state tax policy. A 10-year period would be more sensible. Our recommendation: vote yes.
Question No. 3 asks whether the Reapportionment Commission should have the task of maintaining the staggering of terms in the state Senate in an equitable manner. This proposal stemmed from a flaw in the drafting of the current law that resulted in some senatorial incumbents being awarded longer terms if they were re-elected than their challengers would receive if the incumbents lost. Clearly this discrepancy must be corrected. Our recommendation: vote yes.
Question No. 1 poses a problem. This proposed amendment is supposed to ensure autonomy for the University of Hawaii to manage its own affairs. This is important because the university has long experienced interference by the Legislature and the state administration in matters that should be left to the university to decide.
The proposed amendment, while granting the university board of regents "exclusive jurisdiction" over the internal structure, management and operation of the university, provides that the Legislature retains authority to enact "laws of statewide concern" that could affect the university.
A legislative conference committee added a sentence to the amendment stating that the Legislature "shall have the exclusive jurisdiction to identify laws of statewide concern." This appears to mean that there could be no appeal to the courts from a legislative determination that an action affecting the university was "of statewide concern."
Rather than ensure autonomy for the university, this could mean greater authority for the Legislature to interfere in UH affairs. A UH autonomy amendment should be free of such problems. Our recommendation: vote no.
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