April 1998 Home   Newsletters

May 1998

June-July 1998

Did Yesterday's Dream Come True? (Dee Jay Mailer)
President's Message (Grace Furukawa)
Decisions on Tax Changes Near (Astrid Monson)
L.A. Rail Project Stalled (Arlene Ellis)
Voter Service
VAWA Planning Committee Meets (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Title IX Today

President's Message

I want to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve the League as President for the next two years. We have a busy spring and summer ahead – the State Council on May 16 and the National Convention being held in San Diego in June. We urge as many of you as can, to come to either or both. Let us know so we can sign you up.

But after that the fun and games are over. Summer and fall will be very busy. This is an election year and Voter Service will take precedence over most other things. With our Voter Guide for the BOE candidates to put out, the importance of educating and advising the public to vote NO on the Con Con Resolution that will probably be on the ballot, will call on the assistance of every Leaguer. Thanks to the many vote counts this year under the direction of Arlene Ellis, we have been able to put aside something to help in this effort.

This year, following the election, I would like someone to work with me in setting up a Legislative and Council Phone Tree. We already have a good general phone tree for all Leaguers when the occasion demands, but this will be special. I will be asking every member to tell us, following the election, who the Representative, Senator and Councilman is in their district. Our work for Legislative and Council action will be continuing for all our portfolios. From time to time we want to get special action from a key office holder. If we know which member is in what district we can call you to phone him/her. As a constituent, your call and concern will get the attention of the person we need to influence. Even for those members who cannot be particularly active, a phone call is not difficult, and may be crucial to help accomplish League goals. We know also that members who feel involved are the ones most likely to continue their membership.

Membership continues to be a main concern of this President. We have not grown in numbers this year, but those involved are alert, concerned, vital and visible people and can accomplish wonders when activated. We will continue to conduct Orientation Meetings, but will have to rely on our members and our active issues to attract new members.

Astrid Monson continues to ride herd on the City Council with her Planning and Zoning committee. This year she has spent many hours on Taxation, analyzing, writing and giving testimony at the Legislature on our position.

Action on our active portfolios will continue. Suzanne Meisenzahl and her committee may be ready to push for some very important legislation for the prevention of violence this coming session. Our Campaign Finance Reform efforts (Hawaii Clean Elections), under the direction of Toni Worst and her committee at the time of this writing is awaiting the results of the Conference Committee. The work of education the public on this new way of funding elections will continue.

The anti-gambling forces (another coalition we joined) won the battle to prevent legalized gambling this year (unless there is a sneak attack at the last minute). But be assured that next year the same pressures will be brought to bear for a lottery or casino. Gambling interests spill more money than you will every realize to keep up the pressure and to hold the golden carrot up before our money starved state.

Our concern for our civil rights, along with our concern for the right to privacy and to choose, so dear to women, will be a major battle every year in the Legislature, and certainly in the Con Con, if people vote to hold a Convention next year. The effort to reform our public schools with more autonomy continues every session with Marion Saunders leading the battle.

Now many of these are state issues, and indeed they are. But Honolulu members are also members of the State and National Leagues, and as such are vitally interested in all issues that concern the public interest.

On the Health Care front, the lack of any coverage for 6 million U.S. residents continues to grow and Hawaii is not exempt. We, who could once boast of medical coverage for all our people, can no longer do so. With cutbacks in our social programs due to the economy we have a problem, to say the least . The LWVEF is developing a project with the Kaiser Family Foundation that will include a series of public meetings and related activities on health care issues, such as managed care, patient's bill of rights and Medicare. We will probably be involved with this when it develops...

Looking over the past year, I am impressed with all we accomplished and with how many things we keep tabs on. I am proud of every Leaguer and want to say MAHALO for all your good work.

Grace Furukawa

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