March 2008 Home   Newsletters

April 2008

May 2008

Annual Meeting Report (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Initiative Tries to Stop Rail (Charles Carole)
No Consensus Pro or Con for LWV Honolulu (Jean Aoki)
Welcome New Members
Voter Service (Arlene Ellis)
Vote Count (Arlene Ellis)
Guest Speaker Saved Kawainui Marsh (Elizabeth Reilly)
Calendar of Events

No Consensus Pro or Con for LWV Honolulu

The League of Women Voters of Honolulu was divided on the issue of supporting or opposing ConCon 2010 and did not reach consensus at its Annual Meeting on April 12.

Some members presented passionate support; others were equally persuasive in opposition. There was a third segment of the group that felt that we should not take any position, and that we would serve our citizens better by instead focusing on educating the public on the arguments for and against ConCon and the role of state constitutions.

We realize that the result is a real disappointment for those who really feel the need for revisions to our constitution and those who strongly feel that we should oppose efforts to convene one. We don’t know what the consensus of the other local Leagues will be, but it is highly unlikely that their results could result in either a position for or against ConCon 2010.

So unless the unlikely happens, what we can pledge to all of our members is that we will plan a meaningful and credible campaign to educate the public on not only the pros and cons of a ConCon, but the role of state constitutions, the trend nationally in constitutional amendment processes, problems to avoid in revising a constitution, what has worked nationally and what hasn’t, and some other issues.

We will strictly strive for objectivity in our presentations to the public. We realize that League’s credibility depends on it.

Questionnaire Results

Responses to our survey questionnaire, plus interviews, indicated a populace just as divided on the need for a ConCon. There were a few urging us to repeat the position we took in 1996 and 1998, and some asked us to support it this time. One who e-mailed us after the Saturday meeting expressed relief that we at least would not be opposing it, although he would have welcomed our support for it. Another response was that League educate the public on the difference between constitutional law and statutory law.

Arguments for and against revealed the kind of issues a constitutional convention would probably be reviewing. Also, even those who opposed ConCon did list some issues that they would like addressed should there be one. Issues they would not like reviewed mirrored the arguments against ConCon.

Web Page Our Heavy Lifter

A big part of our educational program centers on our web page.

  1. We hope to have a pro-con page where items will be added from input from the public. It will be a living document as long as people participate.

  2. We could have information other than pro-cons. We could have a blog where people can spout off and others can respond. People can ask questions and others or we respond.

  3. We could be a central repository for activities related to ConCon as well as other voter service activities. We would invite people to call in whenever they schedule candidate debates or forums, and all activities related to ConCon and we would keep a master schedule so that anyone interested in attending any such activities could go to our web page for information.

Debates, Forums, Conference

I contacted Bill Kaneko, president and CEO of Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs (HIPA) which partnered with us in planning and presenting the forum on the Akaka Bill on August 23, 2005. Since HIPA will not be taking any position on ConCon, he said he would be very happy to collaborate with us in sponsoring educational activities on ConCon. Dean Aviam Soifer of the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH/Manoa has offered the use of their facilities for our activities.

‘Olelo contacted us about meeting with different organizations including, hopefully, PBS and Hawaii Public Radio to see what we collectively could do on ConCon. We’ll attend the meeting to see who would be involved and what others have in mind. Our plans might just mesh and at least some of the larger activities can be done collaboratively. One such activity would be a series of debates by ConCon proponents and opponents.

Even as we work on these events, we will need to be looking ahead and planning our activities should voters vote to convene ConCon.

Your Help Needed

We will keep you posted on plans as they gel, because we will be counting on our members to help us in this huge undertaking. We can break down the tasks so that they won’t overwhelm anyone. For example, as the central repository of community election activities, two members working from home could receive the requests as they come in, make sure the information they receive is complete, then forward the information to our webmaster Steve Trussel.

Another aim is to invite people who might enjoy such challenges to join League. Please talk to people you know to join us or refer likely members to us. And please let us know if you can devote some time to this multi-faceted adventure.

Jean Aoki

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