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)
President's Message - Pleased to Be President of a PIG
After a tentative year serving as acting president of the LWVHI, I am pleased to be able to start my term as president of our organization. Because my husband and I spent 2004 remodeling our new/old home, and moved from our home of thirty plus years, I have not been as engaged in LWV activities as I might have been. I do care a great deal about the organization and will do my best to lead the League for the next two years.
I was elected at our biennial convention held at Tokai University. Mahalo nui loa to JoAnn Maruoka for applying her extraordinary organizational skills in setting up the meeting. Thank you Pearl Johnson for preparing our convention book. Our luncheon speaker at convention was Dr. Robert Watada, retiring Executive Director of the Campaign Spending Commission (see related comments in this issue.) Dr. Watada did not give a bland luncheon speech. I appreciate his candor in telling us his views, even though those views made most of us uncomfortable. The comments below are my reaction to his presentation.
Dr. Watada started by introducing me to the term PIG (public interest group), a term he said is used by veteran lawmakers to refer to organizations such as ours. This term made me uneasy until I recalled that pigs are considered quite intelligent animals. In my opinion, so are members of the League.
Dr. Watada cautioned us that "no one at the Legislature listens to the League." He presented no evidence to corroborate this opinion, but I hope the comment spurs us to improve our already impressive skills in communicating with our lawmakers. The Hawaii Island League already has as members one-third of our State Senators, one- third of our Representatives, our County Managing Director and Assistant Managing Director and one of nine County Council members, so some of our policy makers certainly are hearing us. On the state level, I hope we continue our record of having a strong legislative presence under the guidance of Jean Aoki. Piilani Kaopuiki hopes to help with testimony this coming year. Mahalo to you both. I believe Dr. Watada is wrong in his negative assessment of the HICLEAN bills defeated at the Legislature this session. I am optimistic that clean elections are an idea whose time is coming. As Dr. Watada pointed out, as in any legislation, the devil is in the details and the implementation. Clean election laws will not fully solve our problems of political corruption, and Dr. Watada to the contrary notwithstanding, League has never testified or been so naïve as to think that any law could change human nature.
We will continue to encourage the enactment of good legislation and the defeat of those bills we hold counter to the best interest of the people of our state. May we also welcome new members, encourage diversity amongst our members, and grow our numbers so that, in the future, we will be heard.
League of Women Voters of Hawaii
President - Sue Irvine
Publication Editor - Mary Anne Raywid
Production - Jonalynn Sing
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