Spring 2005 Home   Newsletters

Summer 2005

Fall 2005

President's Message - Pleased to Be President of a PIG (Sue Irvine)
League Tribute to Dr. Robert Watada (Mary Anne Raywid)
Post Script to Bob Watada's May 21 Convention Speech (Jaurene Judy)
Legislative Report (Jean Aoki)
Progress on Clean Elections (Laure Dillon)
Silver Legislature (Grace Furukawa)
Gambling Front (Grace Furukawa)
Latest Assault on Press Freedom: Assassination of Samir Kassir (Beth Ann Kozlovich)
Highlights (and an Update) from Annual Reports
Case for a Single-Payer Health System (Jean Aoki)

League Tribute to Dr. Robert Watada

At its Convention on May 21, where Bob Watada was the speaker, League presented him with a certificate saluting his contribution as the first director of Hawaii's Campaign Spending Commission. The plaque he was given read as follows:

"WHEREAS, Robert Y. Watada, Ph.D., has served as executive director of the State of Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission with great distinction since 1994; and

WHEREAS, soon after the 1995 state legislature granted the Commission more resources, greater independence and the power to impose sanctions, he made a promise to the public that 'those folks who have played fast and loose with the rules are now on notice: campaign finance laws will be doggedly enforced. No exceptions. No excuses.'; and

WHEREAS, true to his promise, despite efforts from some to derail this juggernaut, Dr. Watada proceeded to enforce the campaign spending laws governing both donors and politicians, bringing not only exposure but fines and even prison terms for some, and has helped degrade the culture of 'pay to play'; and

WHEREAS, through tireless persistence, he has brought meaningful changes to Hawaii's campaign finance laws, and

WHEREAS, through fearless and outspoken resistance, he has warded off efforts to erode the independence of the Campaign Spending Commission;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the League of Women Voters of Hawaii commend and thank Dr. Robert Y. Watada for his invaluable contributions to the citizens of the State of Hawaii by his successful actions in safeguarding and enhancing the integrity of our electoral process. "

Dr. Watada had a difficult time in the early days of his directorship, with very little support from the Legislature. As the Commission gained in public popularity, however, members of the Legislature became increasingly supportive. The League was collaborative and supportive from the beginning, of course, and in full sympathy with Watada's efforts to enforce campaign finance laws. Leaguers were surprised when Watada opposed the clean elections bill proposing the public funding of legislative candidates, and many remain incredulous at the intensity of his anger at old friends who have opposed him on this issue.

Mary Anne Raywid

Spring 2005 Home   Newsletters Fall 2005