CITY CHARTER AMENDMENTS
Curbside recycling among environmentally friendly initiatives voters support
Environmentalists won big last night, as three proposed City Charter amendments they backed were approved.
Voters said "yes" to making curbside recycling a function of the city administration; making a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly Honolulu a priority; and setting aside 1 percent of property tax revenues for land conservation and affordable housing projects.
Jeff Mikulina, of the Sierra Club's Hawaii Chapter, said the outcome showed a resounding support by the public for these issues.
"Several people we talked to said, 'We waited too long. Enough, already,'" Mikulina said.
"We think there was support for these issues out there and it was support that was not being heard by the Council ... and definitely the administration," he said.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann told KITV4 last night that while the initiatives are worthwhile causes, the Charter amendment process is not the right venue for those changes. "I just feel that the Charter is a sacrosanct document. You shouldn't tinker with it," he said.
Homeless advocates, environmental groups and other nonprofit organizations that supported the initiative -- that puts aside 0.5 percent of property tax revenues annually for land acquisition and another 0.5 percent for affordable housing programs -- complained that a committee of developers and large landowners put out a deceptive ad saying that approval of the ballot question would lead to a tax increase.
Meanwhile, City Council members' current limit of two four-year terms will likely remain.