Rail debate heard in Intermediate Court of Appeals

Earl Partington
Earl Partington
Mark Recktenwald
Mark Recktenwald

By Tracy Gladden - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Both sides of the Oahu rail debate in court Monday to hear arguments on  a preliminary injunction filed by Stop Rail Now against the Honolulu City Clerk.

The dispute is over conflicting language in the city charter regarding the number of signatures required to place an ordinance question on the November ballot.

Stop Rail Now says the charter requires 10% of those who voted in the last mayoral election.

"That's all were asking for, let the people vote, if there are two issues on the ballot they get to vote twice, it's even better,"Stop Rail Now Lawyer, Earl A. Partington said.

"So there would be two questions in front of the voters, one of which would require a yes if you were supportive of rail one of which would require a no, do you see potential for confusion among the voters if they are presented with two questions," Chief Judge Mark E. Recktenwald said.

But the City Clerks office says the carter requires ten% of registered voters.

"If in fact Stop Rail Now's petition made it onto the general election ballot then this city council resolution would not be placed on the ballot. But now that it is placed on the ballot whereas it's being submitted, as your honor pointed out then it becomes a nullity and that's what's going to be very confusing," City Clerk's Attorney Don Kitaoka said.

The court will issue a decision by Tuesday given the urgency of the case. Absentee ballots need to be mailed out at least a month before the election.

Earlier this year, a judge said the Stop Rail Now group needed 44,000 signatures to place its question on the general election ballot.

Although supporters got more 49,000 signatures, the Honolulu City Clerk disqualified thousands over registration issues.