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Mayor vetoes fire sprinkler bill 'for the safety of our citizens'

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is vetoing a bill that passed third reading at city council last week, and he's urging lawmakers not to override his veto.

Bill 72 amends one that the mayor signed into law in May in response to last year's deadly Marco Polo fire.

The new bill requires high-rises to do a sprinkler system evaluation within five years instead of three, and then be fitted with sprinklers within eight years instead of six.

"I'm asking the Honolulu City Council not to override my veto I'm making," he said. "I plead to them for the safety of our citizens not to delay further, because it's inconvenient or tough to comply."

In a statement, Council Chair Ernie Martin said it's necessary to give homeowners more time, since many are elderly and on a fixed income.

"From the very beginning, the Mayor has chosen to ignore or dismiss the realities of what condominium owners have to face with retrofitting their homes with a fire sprinkler system.  If he did, he might understand the extreme financial hardship his mandatory retrofit bills would impose on these homeowners, many of whom are elderly and living on a fixed income.

"Councilmember (Carol) Fukunaga worked extremely hard with condominium residents, condominium associations, industry experts, and the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) to draft a bill that provided more time and flexibility to owners to comply.

Implementation questions have yet to be resolved by HFD, and the Council is still waiting for the HFD's report on recommendations, which is due next month.  Overall, it just seems like an unnecessary and hasty action on the part of the City Administration."


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