THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF HAWAII
STATE LEAGUE CONVENTION
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Tokai University Pacific Center
2241 Kapiolani Blvd
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE MAZIE HIRONO
Following our May 2005 convention, I anticipated a slow summer until League member State Senator Les Ihara, Jr. proposed that League co-sponsor a forum on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Bill (the Akaka Bill). I agreed that this would be an opportunity to fulfill one of League's important goals, that of "increasing public understanding of major public policy issues."
League was fortunate to be able to collaborate on this project with Bill Kaneko, President and CEO of the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs, an independent public policy institute which conducts research on Hawaii issues. Bill brought in McNeil Wilson Communications to handle media relations. Their skill made me wish that League could make use of professional help more often.
We cosponsored two events: first a one hour, prime time forum broadcast on KHON and PBS, with newswoman Tina Shelton moderating. Participating in the panel discussion were:
- Mark Bennett, Attorney General of Hawaii and
- Robert Klein, Board Counsel for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, both of whom support passage of the Akaka Bill.
- Bruce Fein, constitutional lawyer brought from Washington, DC by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
- Kaleikoa Kaeo, spokesperson for Hui Pu and Not of America (NOA), both of whom oppose passage of the Akaka Bill, albeit for extremely different reasons.
The following evening, we held a second forum which drew an overflow crowd of 400 plus people to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii for a lively, two hour discussion. For this forum, Anne Keala Kelly, Native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker, took the place of Kaeo in opposing the bill. Judge Michael Broderick, family court judge for the first circuit, moderated the event and lawyer David Louie, ex-President of the Hawaii Bar Association, gave a brief factual synopsis of the bill as background. Olelo taped the session which was distributed to neighbor island public access channels statewide. I am delighted that League was able to help bring these forums to fruition.
“Sunshine,” as in government meetings and records being open to the public, has been another important focus for Leagues statewide during my tenure as president. In October 2005, League joined several other organizations in suing the Honolulu City Council challenging their use of "serial meetings" to take action. With the expertise of attorney Jeff Portnoy, of Cades Schutte, we prevailed. The court ruled private serial communications violate the State's Sunshine Law. Stay tuned! Bills are frequently introduced to override this ruling.
Carol Bain of Kauai received a grant from national LWV for sunshine week forums throughout the state in last year. Les Kondo, head of the State Office of Information Practices, was a knowledgeable, enthusiastic participant. Last March, League helped complete the first Freedom of Information Audit of Hawai’i government records. League members had some eye-opening experiences while asking public servants for public records. This year's audit focused on requests for executive session minutes from boards and commissions. My personal follow up on that audit was to ask for executive session minutes of the Election Commission. Contrary to State law, they have none.
League membership growth and development has been a concern during my tenure as president. At our council last year, Mary Anne Raywid and Jackie Parnell led us in brainstorming about "challenges such as lowering the average age of our membership." We need to learn how best to mentor the next generation of Leaguers. Honolulu, under the gracious leadership of Pi'ilani Kaupuiki, has been doing what every membership guide tells us – if you want volunteers, personally call and ask them for help. At national convention, outgoing President Wilson said, “Membership growth is necessary to preserve our financial stability without constant increases in national PMP or decreasing our Washington office and staffing beyond organizational viability.”
After too long, League of Women Voters of Hawaii has an extremely up-to-date and helpful website, www.lwv-hawaii.com . Mahalo nui to Steve Trussel our webmaster!
My final project as president has been to successfully apply to the LWVUS Education Fund for a grant to publicize the fact that citizens of Washington, D.C. are denied the voting rights open to citizens of our 50 states. Marianna Scheffer had a lively discussion with her high school equivalency class at Kulani Correctional Facility, combining our outreach on this issue with education on the fact that incarcerated convicted felons lose the right to vote here in Hawaii. National staff person Jeanette Senecal presented the issue at the Kauai annual meeting and again at a workshop this week in Honolulu.
Because I live in Hilo, I have been especially indebted to our office volunteers in Honolulu who answer calls and help in so many ways during the week. Everyone involved knows that without Jean Aoki's full time volunteering for us, we would not be able to function on the level we do. It has been a pleasure to serve as state League president. I am looking forward to turning the job over to Jackie Parnell so I have more time to interact with my young grandchildren.
CONGRESSWOMAN MAZIE K. HIRONO
Adapted from her website
Mazie Hirono is the first immigrant woman of Asian ancestry to be elected and serve in the United State House of Representatives.
She was born in Fukushima, Japan and immigrated to Hawaii with her mother when she was 8 years old. She was naturalized a U.S. citizen in 1959. Educated in public schools, she graduated from Kaimuki High and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She earned her law degree from Georgetown University, where she focused on public interest law.
Hirono served for 14 years in the Hawaii State legislature where she was a founder of the House Women’s Caucus.
She served two 4-years terms as Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor under Governor Ben Cayatano and was the Democratic candidate for Governor in 2002.
In her first term as Lt. Governor, Hirono directed efforts to reform auto and workers’ compensation insurance. She chaired the first Governor’s Task Force on Science and Technology, bringing together representatives from both the public and private sectors to focus on the role of technology in Hawai’i’s future. She is the co-founder of University Connections, a group bringing the business and research communities together to support technology transfer and commercialization of research.
Hirono chaired Hawaii’s Policy Group of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future whose report, “The Magic Weavers: Securing the Future for Hawaii’s Children” describes the steps necessary to improve teacher quality. Hirono led the policy group’s lobbying at the legislature to enact bills supporting teacher quality. Hirono also led the state’s effort to bring about Pre-Plus, a public-private partnership to create pre-schools on elementary school campuses.
As a freshman congresswoman, Hirono was appointed to two key House Committees: Education and Labor, and Transportation and Infrastructure. She was also assigned to two Education and Labor subcommittees: Early, Elementary, & Secondary Education, and Higher Education; and to three Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees: Aviation, Highways & Transit, and Water Resources, & Environment.
Hirono is married to attorney Leighton Kim Oshima. Her mother, Laura Hirono, resides with Mr. Oshima in Honolulu.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Call to Order
Adoption of Parliamentarian
Appointment of Convention Secretary
Adoption of Order of Business
Adoption of Convention Rules
Roll Call of Delegates
Treasurer’s Report - Cummings
Proposed Budget with Discussion and Adoption
Adoption of Current Program
Action on Proposed Studies
Report of the Nominating Committee - Maruoka
Directions to the Board
Speaker – Honorable Mazie Hirono, US House of Representatives
State Board meeting
Delegates decide on the rules governing the convention. Adoption requires a majority vote.
Order of Business
The order of Business is simply the step-by-step plan for the work of the convention and, most particularly, the plan for adoption of the program. A tentative agenda, the procedures for program adoption, and the order in which they come are described.
A majority vote is required for adopting the Order of Business; at the time of adoption it may be amended, also by a majority vote. Any later change in the Order of Business may be made by a two-thirds vote.
Presentation and Adoption Program
The program-making at the convention is arranged to promote informed voting. The state board brings before the convention the proposed program with any necessary updating. Then the convention decides what other items it will consider.
Delegates then have the opportunity to amend the wording of all the items under consideration, so that when debate begins and when the vote is taken, the delegates will know precisely what the choices are. After a period for debate, the vote is taken item by item.
Recommended Program items will be presented during Continuous Session by a state board member. There will be no debate at the time of presentation, but questions of clarification will be in order. However, at the end of Continuous Session after the presentation of any proposed By-Laws amendments, debate and adoption of the program will proceed.
If non-recommended Program items had been submitted to the Board for consideration in accordance with the bylaws, they will moved for consideration, after the state board’s presentation of recommended program. When there is a non-recommended program item, a delegate who moves consideration of the item is allowed five minutes to state the reasons. The move to consider is not debatable, but there may be questions for clarification. The sponsor should say: “move for consideration the following ...”
Consideration of a non-recommended program item must be made by a majority vote. Adoption of a non-recommended item may then take place.
Wording of all items (recommended and non-recommended) may be amended during the program discussion and debate. Please note that if the intention is to enlarge a recommended item, it cannot be done by amendment. This proposal must have been presented as a non-recommended item and have been submitted by the bylaw deadline.
Amendments may be made by adding, inserting, striking out, or by any combination of these. All amendments must be germane to and consistent with the intent of the main motion.
Items for the program will be voted on in the following order:
Recommended items in the order in which they were presented; a majority vote is required to adopt recommended items.
Non-recommended items in the order in which they were granted consideration; a three-fifths vote is required to adopt non-recommended items.
1. Composition. The convention shall consist of the delegates chosen by the local leagues, the presidents of the local leagues, and the officers and directors of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii.
2. Qualifications of Delegates. Each delegate shall be a voting member of a recognized local league in the State of Hawaii.
3. Voting. Each delegate shall be entitled to one vote only at the Convention, even though the delegate may be attending in more than one capacity. There is no absentee or proxy voting. The convention shall be the judge of whether a delegate is qualified to vote. If the results of a voice vote are not clear, a standing vote will be taken.
4. Debate. Only delegates and those granted the privilege of the floor by the convention shall have the privilege of the floor. Any speaker, upon recognition by the chair, shall first state clearly their name and league. No person may speak more than once on a question until all others who wish to speak have done so. Debate shall be limited to three minutes for each speaker.
5. Motions. Only voting members of the convention may introduce motions. All motions shall be presented in writing and contain the name and league of the mover. A copy shall be sent at once to the secretary.
6. Amendments. Amendments may be made by adding, inserting, striking out, or by any combination of these, providing they are germane, consistent with the intent of the main motion, and do not enlarge the scope of an item.
7. Announcements. Only announcements which are germane to the business of the convention shall be made. All announcements will be made by the secretary. Anyone wishing to have an announcement made shall send a signed copy of the announcement in writing to the secretary. All announcements will be made at the close of the session.
8. Visitors. Visitors may attend all sessions. Visitors who are members of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii shall have the privilege of the floor for purposes of debate
DELEGATES TO CONVENTION 2007
President Sue Irvine
Vice President Pearl Johnson
Secretary Carol Bain
Treasurer Diana Cummings
Jean Aoki, Legislation & Elections;
Grace Furukawa, Campaign Finance& Gambling;
JoAnn Maruoka MAL & Convention liaison;
Suzanne Meisenzahl, Women’s Health & Safety
HAWAII COUNTY DELEGATES
Susan Dursin, co-President
Leilani Bronson-Crelly, co-President
Sue Miller, Vice President
Carol Bain, President,
April 28, 2007
To: League of Women Voters of Hawaii Board Members
Subject: Treasurer’s Convention Report
This past year has been very lean as far as fundraising. The key people in both the actual event and the non-event have had some serious life challenges. The New Year is sure to be better.
We have had some generous contributions and in-kind services that have helped. The County of Hawaii and Kauai have paid more than budgeted for per member payments and the fourth quarter payment from Honolulu will lower the negative income reported here.
Added to our expenses, but not budgeted for last year, were Ka Leo Hana Design costs. It was well worth it as Ka Leo Hana has taken on a very professional look. The expense is in the budget for next year.
Our Money Market account has started earning interest only to have a bank charge start for our checking account. Good news: we are still ahead.
Next year our operating expenses have been greatly reduced.
Our area of concern appears to be the Maui League MAL which collected far less than what the State League pays to National. Last year we collected $125.00 and paid $488.80. Any suggestions are welcome.
Income & Expenses for 2006-7 and Proposed Budget for 2007-8
League of Women Voters HI Treasurer
Income & Expenses for 2006-7 and
Proposed Budget for 2007-8
(contact League Office for budget)
PROGRAM RECOMMENDED FOR CONTINUED SUPPORT
Following are the statements in brief of positions adopted by LWVHI through the years and which are ready for implementation.
Campaign Finance: Support effective campaign spending controls, limitations on contributions and expenditures, and direct and indirect public financing of campaigns.
Initiative and Referendum: Support direct or indirect initiative, with a preference for indirect initiative, and petition referendum to give citizens the right to affirm or overturn laws passed by the legislature. We oppose the use of referendum by the legislature (legislative or optional referendum) and we oppose advisory initiative or referendum.
Legislative Reform: Support a part time citizen legislature whose structure and procedures will insure openness, and efficiency in government. Support a split session, procedure to eliminate duplication of bills, and to limit the number of bills introduced.
State Constitution: Support a constitution which sets forth the basic law; provides the framework of government; is of a lasting nature, yet flexible; and is clearly written and understandable.
Election Laws and Procedures: Insure that government at all levels pays for special elections: private funds should not be solicited or accepted. Action to support adequate safe-guards to preserve the integrity of the ballot used in absentee voting and elections by mail, to insure fairness to all voters, and to minimize the opportunity for fraud. Action to support voter registration by mail, utilizing proper safeguards.
School Board Primary Election: Support a nonpartisan primary election for the Board of Education.
Midterm Legislative Vacancies: Support filling legislative vacancies by appointment, with an individual of the same political party as the person vacating, within a specified and reasonable time period.
Separation of powers: Support Constitutional separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government including appropriate checks and balances.
Judicial independence: Judicial independence is necessary for the Hawaii State Judiciary to operate as a co-equal third branch of government including preservation of individual constitutional rights, fair and impartial adjudication of legal disputes, and fair and timely criminal prosecutions.
Merit selection of judges: Support the merit selection of judges through a process which is as free of political influence as possible, which encourages a fair representation of gender and Hawaii’s diversity of ethnic cultures, and which discourages the domination of judges of one extreme ideology or another.
YOUTH AND EDUCATION
Juvenile Justice: Support a juvenile justice system which provides for the protection of society along with the rehabilitation of juvenile law violators. Encourage a greater acceptance by the schools of responsibility in the area of crime prevention. Support the concept of the family court as the proper place to deal with troubled youth.
Assure consistency in the juvenile justice system, while retaining the ability of the family court to take into consideration the age, level of maturity, and needs of each child before the court. Support a waiver to adult court in certain circumstances. Waiver procedures should be based on written guidelines and be applicable only to sixteen-and seventeen-year-olds. Assure that the community provides an adequate variety and number of services for children needing such services, and that a secure youth facility meets at least minimum standards for such facilities.
Hawaii's Schools: Support the public’s rights and interest concerning the administration, policy setting, and budget making for the statewide K-12 school system. Support the goal of equal educational opportunities for each child, and financing procedures to reach this goal.
Choice in Public Education: Support the “principle of choice” for students, teachers, parents, and staff as appropriate and essential for improving performance and participation in elementary and secondary school functioning and program.
Land Use: Support comprehensive planning as the basis for land use decisions, public input into the planning process; a device to insure coordination and cooperation between state and county planning; and strict controls on the use of conservation land.
Solid Waste: Support recycling and resource recovery by private industry, with cooperation and support from government. Support requiring a deposit on beer and soft drink containers.
Energy: Promote energy conservation and research into alternate energy resources available in Hawaii's, taking into consideration environmental effects, economic feasibility, and differing conditions on each island.
Multifamily Residential Leasehold in Hawaii: Support mandatory lease-to-fee conversions; support of caps on lease rent at time of lease renewal or renegotiation; support abolition or modification of the surrender or reversionary clauses in future leases for multifamily residential leasehold units; and support prohibition of future multifamily residential leasehold.
Legalized Gambling in Hawaii: Oppose legalization of any form of gambling in Hawaii's, with the exception of social gambling (gambling in which the house does not take a cut).
Domestic violence: Support violence prevention programs in all communities. Promote the acceptance that domestic violence is a crime in the same way that violence against any member of the community is a crime and should be treated as such. Support a coordinated community response to domestic violence and sexual assault that emphasizes victim safety, perpetrator accountability, and prevention education.
Health Care: Promote a health care system for Hawaii that provides access to a basic level quality care for all Hawaii residents and controls health care costs.
Access to State PEG Stations (Carol Bain/Jo Judy)
Governance of Education in Hawaii (Mary Anne Raywid)
Voting Systems Study (adopted 2003) (new chair, Jean Aoki)
Board Recommended to Drop
End of Life Choices (Lisa Carter/Eve Anderson)
Board Recommended to Add
Shall we have a Constitutional Convention in 2008? (Jean Aoki)
Review of Vote by Mail (Carol Bain)
Kaua'i County Report
As 2006 was an election year, the Kaua'i chapter offered two education opportunities for voters and candidates, including a Candidates Forum for U.S. House of Representatives and a Kaua'i County 2006 Voters Guide, which included county ballot amendments.
The Kaua'i League agreed to participate in a LWV US Ed Fund grant, thanks to the initiative of State League president, Sue Irvine. The goal of the project is to promote community dialog about the lack of full voting rights for citizens of Washington D.C.
The Kaua'i Annual meeting and election was held April 21 at the Aloha Kaua'i Beach Hotel. With a focus on voting rights, the event featured Jeanette Senecal, a Washington DC Voting Rights spokesperson. In addition, Kat Brady discussed the how the prison population is disenfranchised.
At the Kaua'i chapter 37th annual meeting, the Kaua'i board recommended an update of the previously adopted position #1: Kaua`i General Plan – “Uphold the integrity of the General Plan as a comprehensive land-use policy document whose intent should not be bypassed with the use of a special-use interest permit process.”
Working Draft to be considered: “To advocate for the integrity and vision of the General Plan, and to promote the essential implementing actions of the Plan to ensure the vision is accomplished by the County.”
In addition, the Kaua'i League agreed to work with these three areas, should they be acted on at the State Convention:
- Con Con in 2008
- Vote by Mail (original study done in 1999; Kaua'i chapter did not have consensus with other chapters)
- Same Day Voter Registration
Carol Bain, President
Hawai'i County Report
In August and October, League worked with AAUW to conduct wiki-wiki voter registration at three sites. In cooperation with the Kona Outdoor Circle and the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce, League sponsored a total of nine candidate forums. (The last, which would have featured the gubernatorial candidates, was cancelled due to earthquake!)
League hosted several speakers throughout the year. Barbara Bell, head of the county's Department of Environmental Management, spoke about the solid waste problems facing the Big Island. Dixie Kaetsu and Debbie Hecht presented the pros and cons of the 2% property tax initiative for public land purchase. Marilyn Brown, PhD, explained the results of her study, which profiles female parolees in Hawai'i. John Higgins outlined the latest developments in Voter-Owned Elections. Lei Kihoi talked about her role on the Governor's Advisory Group for West Hawai'i.
League hosted a June luncheon honoring Representative Helene Hale (LWV) as she retired from state government. The Big Island recognizes her decades of achievements and her contributions to both League of Women Voters and to the people of Hawai'i. In December League hosted a membership luncheon.
Big Island League members are currently working on a number of projects. They include participation in the LWVUS Fund grant concerning Washington DC voting rights; clarification of Hawai'i County Charter Article XI, Initiative and Referendum; revision of the Hawai'i County Handbook, which is a citizen's guide to county government; investigation of models for campaign forums; examining voter participation in the 2006 election and encouraging wider participation along with better voter education for 2008. Members have testified on subjects that include sunshine laws and a county resolution supporting publicly-financed elections.
Because of scheduling difficulties, Hawai'i County's annual meeting did not take place in April. It is scheduled for 11:30 a.m., May 5th, at Tex's Drive-in in Honoka'a. The new County Clerk, Casey Jarman, will speak. Big Island LWV membership currently stands at 73 members.
Susan Dursin, Hawai'i County Co-President
Honolulu City and County Report
Our goal for the year has been to improve the operation of the League office, tighten control of our membership enrollment, continue our ongoing citizen patrol of government and improve contact with our members and offer opportunities to participate. With the help of our members, we have an office that presents a more professional ambience, our membership listing is finally under control, our committees continue to follow the issues of interest and the Honolulu Board has personally called the membership to offer opportunities for participation in League projects and activities.
The Honolulu Board of Directors for 2007-2008 consists of:
President Piilani Kaopuiki
Vice-President Sue Miller
Secretary Robin Loomis
Treasurer Randy Ching
Director Charles Carole
Director Arlene Ellis
Director Pearl Johnson
Director Teresa Lau
Director Suzanne Meisenzahl
Director Jackie Parnell
Director Elizabeth Reilly
Office operations: Policies and procedures have been written to assist in the performance of routine tasks and clarify responsibilities. In June 2006, we survived a break-in. The lesson learned was that our office holds no valuables worth stealing, as there were no known losses.
Honolulu League successfully negotiated a renewed lease for the office. The lease is, however, only for one year. In a few years, the building is expected to be demolished. We will be forced to find a new home then. The Honolulu Board will be planning for the future.
Planning and Transportation: Pearl Johnson and Charles Carole. Charles has had to increase his breakfast portion of Wheaties to keep up with the discussions and decisions made by the City on the issue of “Rail or Not”. He and Pearl Johnson have been following the twists and turns of the discussion and of the rail routes but they, as with the rest of us, are most appalled at the escalating cost and cost projections. The Honolulu board supports the concept of enabling legislation to allow public/private partnerships for transit projects.
A threat to the pristine land across from Sandy Beach was denied. The proposal to build “vacation cabins” got a quick and sure reaction from League.
Pearl appeared on TV and radio shows to oppose the proposed rail system. On January 8, PBS Hawaii’s Island Insights hosted Pearl along with Cliff Slater and Panos Prevedouros. In February she was on Hawaii Public Radio’s Think Tech and the Star-Bulletin printed Pearl’s essay against rail on the editorial page.
Council Watch: Evangeline Funk and Piilani Kaopuiki attended City Charter Commission meetings to gently remind commissioners of the requirements of the “Sunshine” laws. Still fresh in the minds of some commissioners was the past action League had taken when a previous commission had erred in its observance of the law’s requirements. Jackie Parnell wrote League’s final review of the proposed amendments that were submitted to voters in the 2006 election.
Aloha Voter: Pearl Johnson. The Aloha Voter had a new look in March, thanks to a graphic artist. Unfortunately, we do not have the money to pay her for more issues, but she has agreed to help Pearl by phone and email.
Budget & Finance: Roxie Berlin. An increase in dues was approved at the December planning meeting. Individual membership is now $40.00. Family membership is $60.00. Student rates remain at $15.00.
Vote Count: Arlene Ellis. Elections were conducted for the National American Indian Housing Coalition, the Plumbers and Fitters Union, Ho’oponopono (the blind vendors), and Molokai Enterprise Community.
Voter Service: Arlene Ellis. League contacted first-time candidates in the fall elections to offer assistance in preparing for appearance on “Candidates in Focus” over Olelo Community Television. We assisted in coaching them in the use of a teleprompter, writing their spiel, and appearance concerns. Voting registration tables were set up in shopping areas and at high schools.
Affordable Shelter: Jackie Parnell. Jackie continues to push for affordable housing. The biggest flaw with current affordable housing agreements is that once the original term (say 10 years or 30 years) has passed, the owner can then raise the rent to market levels. What is a family to do? Using containers for alternate housing needs to be considered. The Community Land Trust has an idea to try to get affordable housing in perpetuity by offering 99-year leases that are renewable. League participated in the Hawaii Homeless Forum.
Women’s Heath and Safety: Suzanne Meisenzahl. The committee decided to approach drug abuse as a public health problem. Information from the King’s County Bar Association of Seattle and a Texas LWV study are being researched in this endeavor. Suzanne attended several meetings including a Women’s Legislative Coalition meeting where the problem of prostitution moving out of Chinatown to Kukui Street was discussed. The committee plans to support bills in the legislature for emergency room contraception and a stronger medical marijuana bill. Suzanne met with new legislators to learn their positions on women’s issues. Ah Quon McElrath spoke at a committee meeting.
Membership: Teresa Lau. New forms were created that assist in clarifying the status of members. Membership numbers are under tighter control although it is a continuing struggle working with National gains and losses. Contact information from National can be sketchy. A policy was adopted concerning members who fail to respond to repeated notices about overdue membership fees.
Jackie Parnell, Suzanne Meisenzahl, Piilani Kaopuiki and two friends marched in the Martin Luther King Day Parade through Waikiki in January. League signs were held high and proud.
In December 2006, we had the pleasure of hearing Cynthia Oi, Star Bulletin editorial writer and columnist, speak at our planning meeting. She discussed the current state of the newspaper industry in Honolulu.
In April 2007, Laura E. Thielen, chair person for Partners In Care, shared information of the homeless crisis in Honolulu at our annual meeting,
Honolulu League wants to take this opportunity to express our very humble and sincere appreciation to Astrid Monson for her very generous bequest to League’s Education Fund upon her passing in April 2006. A most welcome benefit was the recent purchase of computers for the office.
Piilani Kaopuiki, President
CLEAN ELECTIONS REPORT
It was a breakthrough session in 2007 for Voter Owned Hawaii. It all started on January 20th when we held our first annual “Kickoff Party”. There were close to 100 attendees, excited and motivated to push Clean Elections through the legislature. House Judiciary Chair, Tommy Waters worked hard with VOH staff in drafting a powerful bill (HB661) that would provide a Clean Elections option for all counties across the state. Our hopes for HB661 were extremely high, especially upon its passage from House Finance Committee.
Unfortunately, for reasons that have yet to be explained, Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee failed to hear the bill upon crossover. This was a huge disappointment as the “Clean Elections” Senate companion bill (SB1068) had been completely gutted in Senate Judiciary and labor Committee earlier in the session. In short; a tip of the hat to Tommy Waters and the House Judiciary and Finance Committees for passing HB661 and an emphatic wag of the finger to Clayton Hee and the Senate Judiciary for not only failing to hear HB661, but for gutting SB1068 and replacing it with language from a bill that failed to even get a hearing.
Despite our troubles at the capitol, support for VOH and Clean Elections continues to grow at breakneck speed. Earlier this year Local 5 hotel workers union signed on in support of Clean Elections along with Defend Oahu Coalition, Surfriders Hawaii Chapter, Acorn Hawaii, Kapolei First, Hawaii Kai Hui and other community advocacy groups around the state.
Volunteers on the big island of Hawaii were able to pass a resolution (41-07) urging legislators to pass Clean Elections legislation. The resolution turned out to play a major role in getting HB661 out of House Judiciary and Finance committees. Our thanks to Andrea Dean, Sue Irvine, Pete Hoffmann and Bob Jacobson for getting the resolution and for their continued calls to legislators at the capitol.
Make no mistake, the argument and support for Clean Elections continues to grow making passage of this most powerful reform a matter of time. As Malama Solomon said about Clean Elections “Its not IF Clean Elections happens in Hawaii, its WHEN”.
At the time of this writing SB1068 stands before conference committee. Although all of the Clean Elections language has been taken out, we will fight till the very end to get the state legislature to re-insert Clean Elections language.
Voter Owned Hawaii sends out a heart felt aloha to all those who have been fighting the fight over the years with an assurance that with continued support, meaningful reform will be a reality in Hawaii.
Field Director, Voter Owned Hawaii
EDUCATION COMMITTEE REPORT
The Education Committee this year again attempted to aid voters in selecting School Board candidates of their choice. We did so by devising a 15-question survey which was mailed to all candidates in late summer. All but two replied, and the responses to six of the questions to those selected in the primary were published in the Honolulu Star Bulletin a week before the election. The Committee also co-sponsored a Forum for Board of Education candidates with the Social Justice Council of the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu. The Forum was video-taped by Olelo for five subsequent showings.
The Committee voted once again this year to focus our attention on charter schools, and we testified in favor of the bill that seemed to offer the most promise -- of passing, of increasing the autonomy of the charters, and of increasing the funding for them. Actually, there were other bills that would have provided even greater independence for charter schools than the one we spoke in favor of. It would have removed them entirely from the control of the Board of Education. But this was a Republican bill which would have necessitated a constitutional amendment -- and we realized that on both these counts, it did not have a chance. As of this writing, it appears the bill we supported will pass, but sadly, in greatly weakened form.
Some progress has been made on the Hawaii public school governance study which has now been under way for several years. The snail-like pace is due partly to personal matters, and partly to the swings in state and national school governance trends toward greater centralization and tighter top down control. Our findings to date suggest that Hawaii hardly needs reinforcement in the form of identifying such a model. A slowing of such trends, which may well occur in the course of the re-authorization of No Child Left Behind, could inspire further progress.
Mary Anne Raywid, Chair
ELECTIONS COMMITTEE REPORT
League should work for a better way to appoint the Elections Commission. The first we knew that the Commission was even holding meetings was when we first heard that Dwayne Yoshina had been advised to withdraw his application for a new 4-year term. (His term ended January 31, 2007.) The Elections Office furnished us with the minutes of meetings held since December 7 of 2004 to September 8, 2006. The minutes of the February 8, 2007 were not ready for distribution. They had had one meeting in October, 2004, but minutes were not taken because the commission was not fully constituted at that time. They then met twice in 2005 and once in 2006. They plan to meet quarterly in 2007. The May 10th meeting will be their second this year.
The Elections Commission was created to replace the Elections Appointment and Review Panel to employ a Chief Election Officer, to advise the CEO on matters relating to elections, adopt rules, and to investigate and hold hearings to receive evidence of any violations and complaints. Two members are appointed by each of the following appointing authorities: President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leader of the Senate, and the minority leader of the House. The four appointed commissioners then appoint a ninth commissioner who will serve as the chair of the commission.
A quick look through the minutes revealed that there had been no discussions about the need to evaluate the CEO, nothing about looking for applicants, and nothing about the criteria to be used in evaluating applicants. The web sites at the Lieutenant Governor’s office, the Elections Office, and the Department of Accounting and General Services all revealed an outdated list of the commissioners and their appointing authorities, the purposes and responsibilities of the commission, the commission secretary and little else. A check with the Office of Information informed us that the commission was in compliance with the requirement for placing a public notice of meetings with the Lieutenant Governor’s office and posting such a notice outside the door of the meeting site. The law does not require that the meeting date be posted on the web site. The attorney suggested that we have heightened expectations just because many boards do furnish more information than is required by the sunshine law.
In the meantime, Sue Irvine asked for the minutes of the executive sessions, and was told that no minutes were kept.
In an oral comment before the commission on March 1, 2007, I complained about the lack of transparency and openness for a commission giving oversight to the office carrying out a function which is all-important to the public. I suggested that they post meeting dates, place and the agenda on the Elections Office web site, and also the minutes of the meetings. I also wondered why it was taking so long to appoint the ninth commissioner. That chair is crucial for a commission split evenly along party lines.
Another question I posed was that, without any discussions about looking for a new CEO, or the criteria for evaluation and the hiring of a new CEO, how could they have suggested to Mr. Yoshina that he withdraw is application for a new term because there would not be enough support to approve his application – unless, of course, there had been discussions all along outside the meeting room which would be in violation of the sunshine law.
The acting chair of the commission agreed that more information should be posted on their web site. (I’m happy to announce that the web site now does post all the information we suggested.) She said that as far as the appointment of the CEO was concerned, they did not know his term was up until late January.
An executive session to discuss the evaluation of Mr. Yoshina was cancelled because of his withdrawal of his application for reappointment. But another executive session was held to discuss with the attorneys their powers, duties, etc. on the holdover of Yoshina until his successor is appointed or the selection of an interim CEO, and other related matters.
After an approximately two-hour executive meeting, we were allowed in again. A motion to appoint Mr. Yoshina as interim CEO until a CEO is appointed failed along party lines. Rex Quidilla was appointed to serve as interim CEO until the May 10th meeting An earlier motion to appoint him until the new CEO is found did not get the five votes needed.
At that March 1st meeting, a fact-finding committee was set up to identify the criteria to be used in appointing the interim CEO and the criteria for the permanent CEO. According to the minutes, the committee may have to find the best process to be used in seeking applicants for the position. According to the motion, one commissioner, one of the County clerks, and one member of the League of Women Voters would be asked to serve on the committee. Sue has talked to Susan Russell and they will accept two Leaguers on the committee, plus two commissioners.
In the meantime, the county clerks are believed to have turned down the arrangement, and not one meeting has been held nor one scheduled despite our admonitions about the urgency of the matter. It is now April 5, and the committee’s report is due May 10.
If League does nothing else next year, we should work for a better way to appoint the commission members. There is no place for partisanship in the administration of elections.
COALITION AGAINST LEGALIZED GAMBLING
This year, much like the previous one, produced almost no action in regard to attempts to legalize gambling in Hawaii. A number of bills were, again, introduced into the legislature, but none were heard. This year we sponsored a bill to remove phone pull tab/ sweepstakes machines from bars and restaurants. These machines have been defined as gambling machines and were approved by the Liquor Commission without adequate research. We expect our bill to pass, making these machines clearly illegal As in the past, we continued to make our presence known at the legislature as well as to respond to inquiries from the community related both to specific kinds of gambling as well as gambling in general.
In the spring 2006 we produced a half hour tape on issues related to gambling which continues to be heard from time to time on the Olelo stations. A recently completed second tape focusing on gambling addiction will shortly begin to be shown on Olelo. We hope to have this made available to neighbor islands as well.
Two new members, Grace Miller and Mimi Baker were added to the Board. During the entire year we struggled unsuccessfully with attempts to revise and upgrade our Web site. Happily, Mimi Baker has taken an interest in this and expects, in the next fiscal year, to have a new site up and running.
Our fund raising efforts were confined to a general appeal to individuals, Coalition members and community groups who have in the past supported us. In addition, for the second time, HCALG became part of the Foodland “Give Aloha” program and realized over $2,300 from gifts through donations to this island-wide effort. Our strongest support continues to be through our Coalition churches, one of which gives us our office at a minimal rent. As well the police Dept. are generous with printing and bringing experts from the mainland as we need them.
Long term Office Manager Marsha Joyner moved on to other interests and tasks but her vast knowledge of the city, the legislature and the community, plus her devotion to our cause, have made a deep and lasting imprint on HCALG for which we shall always be deeply grateful.
We have much to celebrate. Our founder Dot Bobilin says that in 1992 she and her husband Bob began to be concerned with the issue of gambling in Hawaii. Although it took a while to develop an active Board and program, the fact is that, for going on 15 years, vigilance and determination have succeeded in keeping gambling from being legalized in Hawaii. The League of Women Voters joined this effort after a study at the request of the Hawaii league. We continue to ask the league members to support the Coalition in any way they can - financially and in the community, as requested.
Judy Rantala, President HCALG
Grace Furukawa, LWVHI Liaison to HCALG
JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE PROJECT
After our study of the Judicial System in Hawaii, we began the second phase of public education by holding a conference on judicial independence. While we did not attract the audience we had hoped for, all three panels were excellent. I did watch the shows as the tapes were aired several times on ‘Olelo, and I learned so much each time.
It took us a long time to reproduce the shows on DVDs. We found out how costly it could be so Jackie Parnell offered to do it on her computer. Well, it takes both sides of two DVDs to cover the whole conference so she had to baby sit the process for hours. She finally copied enough to supply all of our partners plus the panellists and speakers. We have to do a few more but in the main, we’re done.
However, we do need to take advantage of opportunities for educating the public on the role of the judiciary and the importance of judicial independence in providing equal justice to all of our citizens. Recently I was approached by an attorney who has a prominent role in the American Judicature Society, Hawaii Branch, for League to work with them to promote two lesson plans for high school students produced by the National AJS.
If we can get some freshly retired attorneys or judges and some newly retired school teachers, could develop a team who would be willing to work with social studies classes. Using these plans, they could develop teachers who would be willing to use those plans year after year in educating students on the role of the third branch. This would be of tremendous service to our community. We’ll keep our eyes open for a grant to hire some freshly retired social studies teacher who could take the initiative for such a project.
STUDY OF ACCESS TO STATE PEG STATIONS
The 2003 Hawaii State League of Women Voters Convention approved a proposal to study the public’s access to Public Education and Government Access (PEG) stations. There was a concern that some of the PEG providers were not following open records and open meetings laws [Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA, HRS 92f) & Open Meetings Law (HRS Chapter 92)] collectively known as "Sunshine Laws" and violating their statutory mandate. The 2003 report provided an overview to this situation.
Since then, further concerns regarding the compliance with state procurement code emerged. This report provides an update to both issues.
- Update on Court Decision – /OIP Appeal regarding PEG Compliance with Sunshine:
Regarding PEG organizations, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs stated: "DCCA does not consider these organizations to be State or government agencies". However, the Office of Information Practices and Attorney General have opined otherwise (See OIP Opinion 02-08 & the AG's opinion regarding PEG audits).
Two of the PEG providers asked Judge Virginia Marks for a Declaratory Judgment finding they were not governmental agencies. Judge Marks in 2005 decided against the OIP and determined PEG's are not state agencies and therefore not subject to sunshine laws
The State Office of Information Practices, represented by the Attorney General's office, has appealed Judge Mark's decision, and the case is pending before the Hawaii Supreme Court which must decide. There was a question raised in 1989, "Is the proposed nonprofit access corporation a 'public agency' and thereby subject to the Sunshine Law "?
There is an Attorney General opinion that PEG organizations are agencies for legislative audits. The OIP opinion, which the AG is defending before the Hawaii Supreme court, agrees that these organizations should comply with sunshine laws. If the Hawaii Supreme Court reverses Judge Marks' decision and finds that the PEG organizations are state agencies, then the question is “Can a state agency be a vendor to the state?”
- State Procurement Developments regarding PEG contracts:
Since their creation almost fifteen years ago, the four PEG organizations have been receiving sole source contracts from DCCA to provide first come, non-discriminatory cable access and training services. The source of these funds is from state-mandated franchise fees passed through to each cable consumer in the state, which adds up to about five million dollars each year. On October 12, 2005, DCCA received an opinion from the Department of the Attorney General which concluded that the PEG contracts were subject to the State's Procurement Code since 1994 when the law was changed, and that none of the exemptions in HRS § 103D-102(b) appear to apply.
In February, 2006, the State Procurement Office determined that DCCA had violated state procurement law for twelve years by sole source contracting with PEG organizations, and that their 1997 - 1998 contracts were signed by DCCA & the AG in violation of HRS § 103d. The state Chief Procurement officer, Aaron Fujioka, also stated that by 2007, DCCA must begin to follow state procurement code and issue competitive Requests for Proposals (RFP). Two draft RFP's have been issued by DCCA since February 2006, with comments due 4/13/07. An extension was recently granted by SPO for compliance by the end of 2007.
The League has submitted testimony to the State in support of PEG compliance with both Sunshine Laws and State Procurement Code. It is hoped that a competitive bidding process compliant with State Procurement Code will enhance PEG services and increase innovation and accountability. Regarding the court case, the wheels of justice turn slowly.
Carol Bain, & Jaurine Judy, co-chairs
In the 2006 session of the Legislature, we spent a great deal of time on access bills, from trying to get the public access stations to follow the sunshine law to warding off erosion of the open meeting law from groups feeling hampered by the existing law. What resulted was a resolution heartily endorsed by us that asked the Public Policy Center of the UH Manoa College of Social Sciences to sponsor a series of public policy dialogues on open government to identify areas of agreement, and areas of disagreement, and to come up with some recommendations.
I was invited to the first meeting, then was asked to set up another meeting later in the year, which I did. I did send in names of Leaguers on the other islands should they hold meetings there.
In this session, a couple of bills were introduced that addressed the perceived and real problems with the sunshine bill which were the subject of our discussions in the above meetings, but while both made it in the House, they died in the Senate.
We did discuss some of the bills we supported or opposed in the Legislature this session, but the session is not over so we will leave the follow-up for the next Ka Leo Hana.
For this session, JoAnn Maruoka joined me in addressing the good-government bills while Suzanne Meisenzahl focused on women’s health and safety, and, of course, Mary Anne Raywid kept an eye on education bills while Grace Furukawa fought off any attempt to legalize gambling in Hawaii and fought for the clean elections bills. Jackie Parnell will be concentrating on housing bills in the next session. If we can have a few more people focusing on even one issue, or helping organize the hearing notices etc. leaving the others free to work on research, lobbying and writing testimony it would make life easier for everyone. As it is, even having a few more people picking up bills and hearing notices, etc. from the print shop has helped. I need to thank Betty Goodwin for stopping by the State Capitol every Wednesday.
Every year, dozens of proposals for amending the state constitution are introduced.
It has become customary for us to follow their progress through the legislative process, testify on any on which we have strong positions, and to collect other people’s testimony on those which seem to have a chance of passing.
We generally do a pro-con on the ones which make it to the ballot using arguments for and against found in the testimonies, and by inviting comments from knowledgeable people in the community. These are posted on our web site, sometimes hard copies are distributed to individuals but mostly to our state libraries. In the last election, thanks to our web master, Steven Trussel, we did it in style.
We also presented panel discussions on each of the five proposed constitutional amendments:
- Amendment to eliminate the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges and justices
- Amendment to allow the Legislature to define what behavior constitutes a continuing course of conduct and what constitutes the jury unanimity that is required for conviction, in continuous sexual assault crimes against minors younger than 14 years of age.
- Amendment to modify the appointment process for the Board of Regents.
- Amendment to set up a single salary commission to replace the three separate commissions that recommend salaries for the elected officials of the executive and legislative branches of government and judges and justices.
- Amendment to allow for the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds (SPRBs) to finance facilities of or for, or to loan the proceeds of such bonds to assist agricultural enterprises serving important agricultural lands.
The challenge was in finding the right people to serve on the panels and then getting them to agree to appear on the panels. We went through the testimonies to see the organizations and the people involved in the separate amendments and talked to many people to get suggestions for possible speakers. And of course, another challenge was getting educated ourselves on the various issues
JoAnn Maruoka served as moderator and did a great job. It was an arduous day of taping 5 separate 1-hour programs with hardly any time in between each taping.
It was worthwhile because of the repeated showings not only on Oahu but statewide.
What might have added more value to this venture was money to advertise both our web site and the airings of the panel discussions.
NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT
The following members have agreed to stand for election to the State Board for 2007-2009:
President: Jackie Parnell
Vice President: Sue Irvine
Secretary: Ann Sack Shaver
Treasurer: Diana Cummings
Mary Anne Raywid
(Please note that the elected board may appoint up to 4 more directors to serve terms expiring concurrently with the term of office of the elected directors.)
2009 NOMINATING COMMITTEE:
Chair: Betty Goodwin
Two Members: Deborah Okamura, Richard Port
Submitted by JoAnn Maruoka, chair
State Board 2007 Elected