LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HAWAIʻI COUNTY
The Hawaiʻi County League of Women Voters has been a part of the Big Island community since the 1960's. Members of the Hawaiʻi Island League work on local, state and national issues that they are passionate about, things like; Voter Education, Natural Resource Preservation and Access, Campaign Finance Reform and Community Planning.
For more information about the Big Island League,
please contact Vide-President
P.O. Box 665, Hilo, HI 96721
Message phone (808) 933-8683 (808) 933-VOTE
Hawaiʻi County League
General Election 2016
State Constitution and Charter Amendment
PROS AND CONS
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Island Issues with Sherry Bracken
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Hawaiʻi County Report - December 2007
Hawaiʻi County League members have been meeting regularly, both in general meetings and in East Side and West Side unit meetings. Activities include:
Members spoke to the Kona AARP, explaining League's goals and recent projects. They also attended a networking breakfast hosted by AARP.
LWV-HC by-laws, most recently revised in 1998, are being updated to reflect technological advances, such as teleconferencing and e-mail, as well as operational changes. The draft will be completed in time for review by the membership before the April 26th Annual Meeting.
The East Side Campaign Forum is scheduled for August 27, 2008 at Aunty Sally's on Piilani Street in Hilo. The West Side Forum takes place on August 3, 2008, at Makaeo Events Pavilion at Old Kona Airport Park. Both events will use a formal introduction-question session followed by speed table talks, in which the candidates rotate among tables taking face-to-face questions.
Several members are gathering input from approximately fifteen Big Island residents as part of the LWV-HI's study on whether to support a Constitutional Convention.
The West Side LWV helped AAUW with their Girls Encouraged in Math and Science Day. Fifth grade girls attended sectionals with topics as varied as flying, cooking, scuba diving, archaeology, ceramics, and medicine. Many of the sectionals included hands-on applications of science and math.
After a year's work, LWV-HC is presenting the final draft of its Initiative/Referendum article to individual County Council members. Their support is crucial for placing this Charter change on the 2008 ballot. The item will be introduced in committee soon after the first of the year.
Dr. Margaret Drake chaired the immigration discussion and consensus meeting on December 8 at Tex's Drive-in, Honoka'a.
The East Side LWV-HC took part in Peace Day Festival 2007, sponsored by the UH at Hilo Student Association (UHHSA). League hosted a table at the event, providing brochures introducing League to participants. (In April, 2007, the Hawai'i State Legislature passed a bill recognizing Peace Day. Hawai'i is the first state to do so, and League was part of that historic event.)
East Side representatives met with Chris Leonard, General Manager of New West Broadcasting Corporation of Hilo. He oversees KWXX, B97, KPUA, and a new radio station in Kailua-Kona. Mr. Leonard was enthusiastic about covering the League's candidate forums and offering PSA's to LWV-HC.
The East Side LWV-HC conducted two vote counts in the past three months, both for homeowners' associations. West Side LWV-HC completed one extensive count for a Waikoloa homeowners' association.
Sue Dursin and Leilani Bronson-Crelly
Annual Report - 2006
It’s been a very good year
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii County has enjoyed a successful year. We have had interesting speakers at all our meetings. Our ballot count fund raisers have kept our treasury in good shape. Voter registration drives in conjunction with the Hawaii County Government and AAUW netted hundreds of new voters for Hawaii County. And our well attended Candidates’ Forum, co-sponsored by AAUW and the UH Hilo Political Science Club at the Palace Theater in Downtown Hilo, was live broadcast on KPUA and shown several times on Na Leo ‘O Hawaii, the public access channel.
West Hawaii has held up its end with several candidates’ debates co-sponsored with the Outdoor Circle, as well as vote counts and voter registration drives in conjunction with the County government.
We’re resting on our laurels a bit now. We did have a general League meeting in October featuring speakers on the pros and cons of the so-called 2% Solution, an initiative which passed in the Nov. 7 election. This bill sets aside 2% of property taxes for land purchases for public use.
All members worked very hard to make our activities successful. I must especially thank Susan Irvine, who put at least as much time and energy as I did into local League activities. Without her expertise and drive, I would not be able to point with the pride I do at the achievements of LWVHC.
The next two years promise to be even more exciting than the last for the League, with a national election looming in 2008. I plan to be around for the action, in whatever capacity I can serve!
League of Women Voters of Hawaii County
From the Newsletters
Ka Leo Hana - August 2006 Hawaii Chapter Report
We were fortunate that John Higgens of Hawaii Clean Elections agreed to come over from Oahu to be the guest speaker at our general meeting on August 12. His talk was lively and informative, as was the question and answer period afterward. John was impressed with our members' knowledge of the topic and is thinking about new tactics as a result of member input.
After Higgens' presentation, the upcoming candidates' forum and Wiki Wiki voter registration drive were the main topics of discussion. We are working hard to make these events in Hilo and Kona a success.
In October we will have a general meeting. Our speakers will be Debbie Hecht, and Dixie Kaetsu who will argue pro and con on an initiative on the November ballot to dedicate 2% of County property taxes to the purchase of land for public purposes. Debbie is with the 2% solution, which has put this initiative on the ballot, and Dixie works for Mayor Kim's office which is opposing it.
Ka Leo Hana - June 2006 Hawaii Chapter Report
Our March 15 2006 Sunshine Week Forum was a success. The audience was small but interested, and the Forum was re-broadcast by Na Leo in East Hawaii and West Hawaii, which gave it a wider distribution.
On April 27, we gave a luncheon to honor Helene Hale, long time resident of the Big Island and Representative of State House District 4, who is retiring after a distinguished career in service to the citizens of the big Island and the State of Hawaii.
We are getting in gear for the Candidates' debates. On the Hilo side, this event will take place at the Palace Theater on Sept.. 14. It will be broadcast and televised. The Kona group will sponsor a similar event.
Ka Leo Hana - Spring 2006 Hawaii Chapter Report
The fast pace of development on the Big Island continues to be of great concern. The strain on resources, the need for better services, and the desire to preserve the environment have together been a focus of our activities.
At our January meeting, Carolyn Stewart of Marine and Coastal Solutions International gave a talk on wastewater management. All in all, this was a very informative and well received talk.
On March 15, we will host a panel discussion for Sunshine Week. It is described elsewhere in this issue.
Ka Leo Hana - Winter 2005 Hawaii Chapter Report
Our General Meeting on Oct. 8 featured a talk on waste disposal on the Big Island by Barbara Bell, long-time environmental activist and now the Director of the Hawaii County Department of Environmental Development. Hawaii Island has unique problems caused by its large size and spread-out population and the lack of such services taken for granted in other places, as garbage pickup and curbside recycling. The plans for a state of the art recycling center that Ms. Bell unveiled will help to deal with our problem, but much more needs to be done.
Modest numbers of people turned out for two DVD showings in Hilo, one on the open forum on the Akaka Bill and another, co-sponsored with Global Hope, on the DVD Black Box Voting. We need to work to improve our publicity for these events.
Legislative Advocates has been going well, with most legislators having been contacted by now. In late November or early December Advocates will meet, pool their ideas and decide on a plan of action for the next legislative session.
The Community Development Plan has been much on our minds here. Studies have been funded and will begin soon. Kona and Puna are the neediest areas in this regard.
In line with the CD projects, the County of Hawaii has sponsored free workshops in Kona and Hilo on an experimental community building technique called The Speak Out. (These workshops have been given on Oahu, too.) Dr. Wendy Sarkissian provided tips and tools for involving community members in positive change.
Local league President Marianna Scheffer addressed the Hawaii County Council expressing support for the Sunshine Laws. The Council voted in favor of retaining the Law.
Ka Leo Hana - Winter 2004 West Hawaii Activities
The West Hawaii League has been very busy for the last four months with five Candidate Forums. In Kona Palisades: Leaguers Marian Wilkins and Gail Laros helped the Homeowners Association there conduct a political forum for local candidates
With our co-sponsors, the Kona Outdoor Circle and the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, the League invited all West Hawai'i county, state and congressional candidates to Kona to attend one of four two-hour forums the groups were putting on. Sherry Bracken of the Kona Outdoor Circle moderated while Marni Herkes from the League was the timer for two of them and Michael Last was the timer for the last two. The forums were also broadcast over LAVA 105 island-wide.
Up to 200 attended each forum. We used radio and newspaper advertising, sent out press releases, used borrowed e-mail lists, posted flyers, talked to everyone we knew, and really worked hard to get people to attend the events.
Mayoral Candidates: All five mayoral candidates came to the August 26 forum at the King Kamehameha Hotel. Eleven questions were set by the organizing committee with many coming from the audience. Thanks to the hotel for serving refreshments.
Hawaii Council Candidates: On September 9 all eight candidates from Districts Six, Seven and Eight showed up to answer nineteen questions drawn up by the organizing committee plus others from the floor.
US House Candidates: Congressman Ed Case and Honolulu City Councilmember Mike Gabbard met on the stage of Kealakehe High School on October 18. One of the student clubs provided refreshments. The organizers drew up 25 questions and many others came directly from the audience. Although one of the candidates expressed concerns about our possible partisan sponsorship, the event went well. Both candidates got good exposure both at the community level and island wide as well because the event was also on radio.
State Legislative Candidates: All West Hawaii candidates for the State Senate and House were invited to the last forum on October 21 which was held once again the King Kamehameha Hotel. The committee drew up 17 questions for the candidates.
Putting on these four events took a lot of work, but our leader, Sherry Bracken, kept us all on track, scheduled meetings, made arrangements, and did much of it. Although what we did cost a fair amount of money, we now have a community that is a lot better informed about the issues we all face.
former West HI Chair
Ka Leo Hana - Summer 2004 East Hawaii Report
The Hawaii County League of Women Voters arranged for some of its members to take the Voter Registrar's class so that we're prepared for community outreach activities.
A group of students from a political science class at University of Hawaii at Hilo chose to do a community project in lieu of a written paper. The League acted as advisors to the group whose members. became voter registrars and then arranged with the County to set up a table neat King Kamehameha statue downtown for one weekend.
We are watching our e-mail notices from Honolulu and are acting on them. One member's letter to the editor about the veto act was published by the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
Our joint meeting with West Hawaii members gave us all the opportunity to vote in our new officers and to hear Andrea Dean about creating D-NET this coming election season.
Ka Leo Hana - Winter 2003 Local League News - Hawaii
On October 25th Marni Herkes arranged a joint meeting for Hawaii Island members and friends in Waimea, with Sue Irvine inviting Mr. Dwayne Yoshina, Hawaii State Elections Officer as our speaker. We had asked him particularly to bring us information on HAVA. He graciously took time to answer all our questions, and we feel much more informed. Our next joint meeting will be January 24th. Alberta Lindsay is once again in charge of reserving a meeting place, and members will be notified in advance so that they may RSVP to her and make arrangements for carpooling.
East Hawaii members met at the home of Lois Cecil on November 20th for a "working meeting" to decide immediate and long-term projects and to hear a report from Sue Irvine about the State meeting held in Honolulu. We were saddened to receive a resignation from the board from Marilyn Idemoto, but she will continue as an inactive member until such time as it is possible for her to return actively with us again. We welcomed a new member, Marion Aiu, who has been active in Orange County, California, and in other places where she has lived. We're happy to have Marion with us.
Our members decided to do further research on the real need for a pamphlet on voting before proceeding on one. Trudi Zelko reported that she has begun to look into costs and availability of buses to bring people in from outer areas to vote. The possibility of getting businesses to support this effort was discussed as a good idea. Trudi also volunteered to meet with a member of Pahoa Main Street Organization to see how we might assist Pahoa residents in registering and voting.
Mary Furlong, a producer from Na Leo public television, came by to encourage us to use that facility for educational purposes for the upcoming elections. She gave us ideas about what we could do on air, and names of people to contact for assistance.
Our next East Hawaii meeting will be on Thursday, January 15, at 4 p.m. at the East Hawaii Cultural Center, in the week before our next joint meeting. We are looking for someone to speak to us about DNET.
Ka Leo Hana - Winter 2002 Local League News - Hawaii
On December 7, Judge Ronald Ibarra addressed a joint meeting of the East and West Hawaii League chapters, at Waikoloa Village.
Judge Ibarra explained the workings of the new Drug Court that is just getting underway on our island. So far they have had only two cases but hope to have many more candidates in lieu of having to send all offenders to criminal court. Maui and Honolulu counties already have drug courts, as have many other jurisdictions on the mainland. They have been shown to be more successful in rehabilitating drug offenders than our present system.
Judge Ibarra explained how several people or departments work as a team to help drug users. At first when judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, treatment providers etc. started meeting, it appeared a bit adversarial. Then they all came to understand the experiences and resulting attitudes of others, and they were able to cooperate very well.
The Judge said that offenders who have committed crimes of violence are not eligible for Drug Court. The program is designed to channel adult, substance abusing offenders from clogged courtrooms to a system where they will receive a comprehensive continuing program of treatment, drug tests, and other types of follow-up supervision. Offenders will actually be supervised in some manner for a year.
We were surprised to learn that a probation officer has an average of 150 cases to follow up on. A Drug Court probation officer has 25. This fact alone helps the officer keep track and maintain personal contact with the offenders.
The Big Island has two Drug Courts for the two areas of East and West Hawaii. Even though it has been shown cost effective nationwide to have a Drug Court system, the experience in Hawaii suggests that community involvement is needed to meet expenses.
Judge Ibarra is a dynamic supporter of this innovative way to treat drug offenders. He convinced us and we encourage others to support these efforts.
Ka Leo Hana - Fall 2002 Hawaii Chapter Report - Hilo
The East Hawaii chapter joined with the American Association of University Women in highlighting state primary elections with a Candidates' Forum on September 4, at the Palace Theater in Hilo. Candidates in Senate District 1 and House Districts 2 and 3 were invited. In District 1, newly drawn district lines pitted well-established Democrats Lorraine Inouye and David Matsuura against each other, with the winner (Inouye) opposing Charles Clarke, Republican, in the election. This race appears to be the 'hot one' of this year, and the League is bringing it to the public. Radio station KPUA airs our forum live once again, and Na Leo O'Hawaii films it for later showing on public access television.
Our other project, to film Board of Education members from the outer islands, proceeds with Leaguers from three islands -- Carol Bain from Kauai, Andrea Dean from the newly formed group in Maui, and Lois Cecil from Hawaii -- coordinating with BOE members from each of their islands. Only Maui has a BOE seat that is open this year, but our voters are asking for some means to acquaint themselves with all their representatives. At a later date, we hope to add interviews with the Oahu board members and make tapes available to all of Hawaii's LWV chapters.
Ka Leo Hana - Fall 2002 Hawaii Chapter Report - Kona
The Hawaii County League has been busy with the upcoming elections. We have been registering voters at different locations on several occasions; most recently at the Farm Fair in Kailua-Kona. We have found it much more difficult to do the voter registration because only those who attended the classes were allowed to register this year. This seems to be a step backward.
The Kona unit held a forum for our County Council candidates cosponsored with the Kona Outdoor Circle. (K.O.C is co-sponsoring all our forums.) On October 6 we will be holding a noon forum for gubernatorial candidates at the King Kamehameha hotel. On October 17 the forum for the state House and Senate races will be held at 6:00 pm. at the Kona Outdoor Circle building.
Both the Hilo and Kona units have done or are doing vote counts for our fund raising activities. It has been a busy few weeks.
Ka Leo Hana - Summer 2002 Local Chapter News Clips - Hawaii
Hawaii is continuing to work on domestic violence, shoreline access, watersheds, gambling, education, and reforestation of the Big Island. There is increasing worry about the evidence of "ice" distribution and addiction on the island of Hawaii.
Ka Leo Hana - Spring 2002 Local League News - Big Island - Kona
Kona sponsored a special invitation luncheon followed by a public program on the gambling issue, January 11.
The program was put together in a matter of days when we learned that Tom Grey was able to be here as a speaker. We had been planning to have the program a few days later featuring Joanne Ralston. Ms. Ralston had written a very good "Viewpoint" piece for our local newspaper, West Hawaii Today. Her article focused on a seldom mentioned necessity of state sponsored gaming - regulating the industry.
Ms. Ralston asked who was going to oversee the gambling industry. She stated that it costs millions of dollars to regulate casinos. She also pointed out that in many areas Indian casinos are not well regulated at all. It can be so bad that they do not even have to have 52 cards in a deck. Some regulators have to give them 24 hours notice before they can check the slot or video game computers.
Since Ralston worked as a regulator liaison for a large corporation that owned casinos she was very familiar with all the details involved in running a clean operation. And even then, she stated, there will be problems.
The whole thing went very well, and we got some very good press coverage. Sue Dursin and Michele Wilkins both took videos. Sue edited them and they have been. given to both the Kona and Hilo public access channels.
The luncheon guest were our two speakers, moderator Marni Herkes, and several community leaders. Sue Dursin and George and Marian Wilkins hosted the luncheon for about twenty in all. After lunch we walked to a nearby meeting hall where about fifty people attended. We were actually surprised so many came to a meeting on a Friday afternoon at 2 p.m.
The Kona unit will be doing a vote count for the Waikoloa Village Association in March.
Ka Leo Hana - Spring 2002 Local League News - Big Island - Hilo
Hilo. In December we had a joint, East Hawaii and Kona meeting. Mary Anne Raywid gave an informative talk on the state of education in Hawaii.
Sue Irvine and Helene Hale testified during hearings concerning reapportionment. Their concerns had to do with the Canoe Districts proposed in the state plan. Sue Irvine and Julie Jacobsen spoke to the Hawaii Island Senior Institute on reapportionment: Sue on the state plan, and Julie on the county plan.
The Kona Branch has been active in the anti-gambling movement, as Marian Wilkins' report shows. They have also been active with the community in problems relating to the drug "ICE." They have members on the steering committee formed to fight this serious problem.
Both Hawaii League branches are going to make a concerted effort, in the coming year, to concentrate on educational issues, especially in the area of charter schools.