Charter amendment would extend term limits for Honolulu mayor, city council

Charter amendment would extend term limits for Honolulu mayor, city council
Published: Sep. 19, 2016 at 7:14 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 19, 2016 at 9:15 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This November, Oahu voters will decide whether some key lawmakers should be allowed to stay in office an extra four years.

Right now, City Council members and Honolulu's mayor are allowed to serve two consecutive four-year terms.

But if a proposal set to go before voters is passed, the term limit would be increased to three consecutive terms or a total of 12 years.

Opponents say the charter amendment, one of 20 that will be on the ballot in November, opens the door to political corruption.

"I think it's bad for democracy," said state Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican. "As the founders of our country said: elective office is supposed to be a privilege and responsibility not a career with a lot of salary, lots of perks, things like that."

But others say experience counts and add that it should be up to voters -- not a law -- how long a candidate stays in office.

"When you have a good councilman this is a good way to keep them around being productive," said former Gov. John Waihee. "If the person is junk and not doing what the people want, then kick them out."

The amendment would also put a three-term limitation on the prosecuting attorney. There are currently no term limits for that office.

If passed, the proposal could potentially extend the careers of all of the current city council members and the mayor.

For the full of the charter amendments set to go before voters on Nov. 8, click here.

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