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August 1988

President's Message (Arlene Ellis)
Debate '88
Go-See Tour - Kapolei
Speak Out, Hawaii
Intra-Island Ferry System
Attention
In Memoriam
City Council Special Election (Dorothy Murdock)
Welcome to New Members
General Membership Meeting

President's Message

Televised debates have been a tradition with League on the National level and with many States. Hawaii had its first Gubernatorial debates in 1986 and Honolulu will hold its first Mayoral debates this year.

It is an exciting, interesting, demanding and, time-consuming process, putting a debate together, and it takes much more than meets the eye. The details of strategy, meeting with representatives of TV stations, detailing our needs and listening to their desires, the negotiations involved, the need to form a battle plan on how to address the unacceptable demands and turn them into acceptable compromises.-- these and many more were just the initial steps toward THE LEAGUE DEBATE.

With some variations, the process was repeated when meeting with the candidates who would be participating in the debate and will be repeated again and again in future meetings with the moderator and the panel members who would be fielding the questions during the debate.

At this point, we have gone through the first steps -- setting a date for the first debate, getting a TV station to agree to produce the debate on prime time at no cost to League, and obtaining the candidate's agreement to debate. The real work is still ahead.

Who will the moderator be? Who chooses that person? How large will the panel of questioners be? Who will they be? Who makes the final choices? What will the issues be that will be addressed? What about the format? How much time will be allowed for questions? For answers? There is not time or space enough to enumerate the questions that have to be answered, the problems that need to be solved or the responsibilities involved.

Questions have been raised by some Leaguers about Ed Fund paying a Leaguer to be the project manager. Yes, we are paying Sandra Duckworth to be the project manager for the three debates we are scheduling this election year. And yes, she is a member of this League and her profession is coordinating events such as these, as well as fund raising. May I say at the outset, thank God we have a Leaguer with these qualifications.

Sandra brought to the negotiations a wealth of experience, having been both a participant as well as an organizer of debates. She displayed political savvy in the discussions and above all, she called the shots like a professional. Her spade work helped to ease uncomfortable situations and with her guidance we were able to negotiate with confidence.

Sandra describes herself as a "pencil-pusher" and a "go-for" in the negotiations and discussions and steps back to allow all League decisions to be made by Anne Lee and me and our respective committees. Anne and I both agree that we and our committees alone could not have reached this stage of the project in the three weeks that we did.

Perhaps in two years after we go through this second experience with debates we may be able to find among our membership, volunteers with experience, knowledge and most importantly, time, to put together one, two or three debates without professional help. I hope so. On the other hand, we may again choose to hire a professional project manager. In the meantime, we are fortunate to have among us a professional with experience and expertise in LEAGUE debates, who is also well versed in League aims and policies.

Arlene Ellis

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