Election 2002


Proposed charter changes
include nature reserve fund

» Kauai Charter questions
» Mayoral race goes to the wire
» Yukimura charming Kauai voters

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> Kauai County voters will consider proposed County Charter changes that would make it easier to put initiative proposals or a referendum on the ballot; create a fund to purchase access to natural resources; and create a county power authority.

The number of petition signatures to put initiative or referendum proposals on the ballot would be lowered to 15 percent of registered voters from the current 20 percent, a number almost every political observer agrees would still be hard to obtain.

Under current law, both Kauai and Maui counties have a requirement of 20 percent of registered voters. But Maui is voting to change that to 20 percent of the people who voted for mayor in the last election. Oahu and the Big Island have a much easier standard of 15 percent of the people who voted for mayor in the last general election.

The public access fund would provide about $200,000 a year to buy right of way and establish trails to beaches and mountain areas. The decline in access to those areas over the past decade has become a major issue on Kauai.

Finally, the power authority is a "standby" Charter provision. It was placed on the ballot to appease critics of the Kauai Island Utility Co-op, which recently won approval from the Public Utilities Commission to purchase Kauai Electric Co. from Citizens Communications Co. It would be used only if the cooperative failed financially.


Questions for Kauai

Question No. 1: "Should a minimum of one-half of 1 percent of the county property tax revenues be placed into a Public Access, Open Space, Natural Resources Preservation Fund to be used for purchasing lands or other property entitlements to preserve open space and establish public accesses, and should unspent revenues in this fund remain in the fund, and not lapse, thereby accumulating from year to year?"

Question No. 2: "Shall the number of voter signatures required to place an initiative or referendum on the ballot be reduced from 20 percent to 15 percent of the number of eligible voters in the last preceding election?"

Question No. 3: "Shall the Council be empowered to establish by ordinance an autonomous electric authority corporation for the county, which shall be responsible for the planning, development, production, purchase, transmission and the distribution of all electricity-related services by the county?"

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