H.C.R. NO.














urging the Mayor of the City and County of honolulu to not decrease the number of neighborhood boards.




     WHEREAS, the neighborhood board system was created under the Administration of Mayor Frank Fasi to increase full citizen participation in their government by giving residents the opportunity to participate in government decision making that affects his or her community; and


     WHEREAS, in 1972, Honolulu voters approved an amendment to the Revised City Charter calling for the formation of a nine-member Neighborhood Commission to develop a Neighborhood Plan to assist in implementing the formation and operation of elected neighborhood boards on Oahu; and


     WHEREAS, neighborhood boards serve a key role in the democratic process in granting communities a mechanism to communicate its needs and desires in the areas of basic government services and in economic development and land use questions; and


     WHEREAS, there are 33 neighborhood boards with 444 seats that are spread across all the communities in Oahu; and


WHEREAS, the Neighborhood Commission is made up of nine members appointed by the Mayor and the City Council and is responsible for the periodic review and evaluation of the neighborhood board, and has the power to call an election for the termination of a Board; and


     WHEREAS, in his 2009 state of the city address, Mufi Hannemann, the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu, stated that he asked the Neighborhood Board Commission to look into possibly decreasing the number of neighborhood boards; and


     WHEREAS, in that same speech, the Mayor used low voter turnout in Neighborhood Board elections to justify the possible elimination of a Board; and


     WHEREAS, poor voter participation is a problem that is not limited to neighborhood board elections, and stretches across all levels in Hawaii as demonstrated in the 2008 election when Hawaii's voter turnout of 50.6 percent tied with West Virginia for the lowest turnout rate in the nation; and


WHEREAS, neighborhood boards help solve this problem by increasing voter participation through giving citizens the ability to participate in local government without the need for the large resources that is needed to become an elected official in higher office; and


     WHEREAS, the elimination of neighborhood boards would further discourage voter participation in the democratic process by removing an avenue to take part in government decision making and would further distancing them from their government; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, the Senate concurring, that the Legislature urges the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu to not decrease the number of neighborhood boards so as to assure effective citizen participation in the decisions of government; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to Mayor Mufi Hannemann, all members of the Honolulu City Council, all members of the Neighborhood Board Commission, and all chairs of the Neighborhood Boards.









Report Title: 

Neighborhood boards; not to reduce