2015-2016 Honolulu Charter Commission Header

Charter Commission

The 2015-2016 Charter Commission operated from a philosophy that this was the "People's Charter," meaning that it was this document that lays out the expectations, responsibilities, and structure of the government of the City & County of Honolulu and its relationship to the people. The Commission was mindful of Honolulu's tradition of being a progressive, forward-looking city. The Commission's aim was to develop a set of recommendations that the Commission believed would enable Honolulu to meet the many challenges it will face in the coming decades in light of population growth, climate change, aging infrastructure, and uncertain fiscal resources.

The impact of City actions is felt at several different levels. Conflicts can and do occur between island-wide, district, and neighborhood levels. The Charter Commission, while cognizant of the differences, is obligated to take a countywide perspective.

Reform of the Charter can help the City and County of Honolulu deal with many problems, both those currently faced and those in the future. The governing structure alone will not solve every problem. Problems such as homelessness, high cost of housing, and fiscal constraint are not caused directly by governance structure. There is no substitute for political consensus and many hard substantive choices by elected and appointed officials.

The Charter Commission relied on various individuals, groups, and organizations who provided their expertise, insights and time. The Commission appreciates the dedication and commitment of all these individuals in helping to design a Charter and governance structure that will make the City and County of Honolulu a stronger community for many years to come.

Philosophy and Core Principles

  1. Accountability
    • A governmental structure should demarcate clear lines of accountability
  2. Effectiveness
    • City government should deliver superior levels of service to the public
    • City government actions should produce desired results
    • Elected officials should clearly articulate goals and policies, and City government should achieve these goals and abide by those policies in a timely manner
  3. Responsiveness
    • City government should be responsive to the needs of its people
    • City government should represent the diverse interests of and needs of O'ahu residents
  4. Efficiency
    • City government should deliver services in an efficient, cost-effective manner
    • City government should carefully manage taxpayer dollars
  5. Leadership
    • Elected officials should drive strategic direction and establish policy
    • Elected officials should be held accountable for their decisions and actions

The Commission hopes that these recommendations will improve the Charter in preparation for the challenges and opportunities our city will face in the future. The Commission's recommendations simply reflect the Commission's best independent judgment.


David W. Rae

David W. Rae, Chair

  • Kevin Mulligan, Vice Chair
  • Judge Michael F. Broderick (Ret.)
  • Reginald V. Castanares, Jr.
  • Guy K. Fujimura
  • Donna Ikeda
  • Nathan T. Okubo
  • Paul T. Oshiro
  • Cheryl D. Soon
  • Jessie K. Souki (resigned, November 10, 2015)
  • Edlyn S. Taniguchi
  • R. Brian Tsujimura
  • Governor John D. Waihee III
  • Pamela Witty-Oakland (appointed, November 20, 2015)


2015-2016 Charter Commission City and County of Honolulu
530 South King Street | Honolulu, Hawaii 96813