President's Message (Jean Aoki)
Bonnie Campbell Keynotes Violence Against Women Forum
State League Convention
Should We Mandate Expenditure Limits? (Robert Y. Watada)
Making Democracy Work
Open Government Coalition (Eve S. Anderson)
E-mail v. Public Officials and the Sunshine Law
United Nations DPI/NGO Conference
Voting Requirements for a Constitutional Convention
Local League News - Hawaii County
Local League News - Honolulu
Local League News - Kauai
State Board Action
Get the Lowdown on the Legislature (Richard Borreca)
LWV of Kauai Wins Award
Fourth Annual Violence Against Women Luncheon Forum
In May of this year, I was installed as the new president of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, and I pledge to do my utmost to make this a productive biennium and to strengthen League as a viable community organization. For this, I will need every leaguer's assistance and involvement whether it be in the form of advice, notes or calls of encouragement or constructive criticism, attendance at local league meetings, all the way up to chairing or membership in committees and special projects. Two of our more important goals will be to expand member participation and to identify and develop new leadership.
The last nominating committee put together an excellent board, and we are on our way to an active start. You are all encouraged to contact any of the board members to voice your concerns or to offer to be part of the various committees they head.
The preceding board, for the first time, included the presidents of our local leagues. From my perspective as a Honolulu League officer and member of the state board, that move is well on its way to fulfilling the objectives for the bylaws amendment that brought this about. It has paved the way for increased involvement of the local leagues in state league action and enhanced the feeling of being a part of the whole even as each local league busily implements its program at the county level.
OUR IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES
Consensus on Gambling
You have received the Facts and Issues publication of the Gambling Study Committee chaired by Sue Dursin of Kona, and the local leagues have held or are planning to hold consensus meetings on this issue. For those of you who cannot attend the meetings, please fill out the questionnaire and mail it to your local office. Members-at-large should send their responses to the league office at 49 South Hotel Street.
Campaign Finance Reform
As part of our nationwide Making Democracy Work project, state league is focusing initially on campaign finance reform, one of the five indicators of the strength of democracy in our communities. Even as Congress evades firm commitment to campaign finance reform amid indications of worsening abuses and skirting of what laws there are on the books through the use of loopholes and innovative practices, citizens of an increasing number of states are pushing for reform at the local level.
In Hawaii, a coalition of several organizations is looking to introduce legislation that will not only make elected offices more accessible to citizens and tame the spiraling costs of campaigning, but will break the candidates' dependency on large contributions from special interests. The state board decided that while we may attend these meetings, state League cannot be an official member of the coalition because one of the goals of the coalition is increased direct public funding and our current position endorses only indirect funding of election campaigns.
As early as two years ago, state board had decided that we needed to review many of our state positions to determine their relevancy to present conditions, and our position on public funding of election campaigns had been one targeted for review. The State League Convention in May authorized a concurrence on amending our position on campaign finance, and very soon you will be receiving the concurrence statement and the discussion of the issues involved. The local leagues will be planning their own method of implementing the concurrence. To make this credible, we need the participation of as many leaguers as possible.
Con Con Election
Judge Ezra has granted the State of Hawaii's request for relief from his order to hold a special election on the Con Con "question" in 60 days and extended the deadline to December 2,1997. Since the state has appealed Judge Ezra's order that the state must hold another elec-tion on the Con Con "question," by the time this issue of the Ka Leo O Hana is mailed to you, things may have changed.
However, at this moment, we must proceed with late November or early December as the target date. State board has authorized an intensive campaign to lobby the public to vote against having a convention at this time. We are asking the local leagues to allocate some of their financial resources to this effort. Honolulu League has authorized a substantial sum toward this campaign. We will also be asking league members and friends of the league to donate money, time and ideas for a more effective campaign than we mounted in 1996. We understand better now what we are up against and can target our efforts better. Won't you call or write and offer your help and your ideas?
Through your local bulletins, you have probably been reading about the efforts of Suzanne Meisenzahl and her committee to address the problem of violence. Their present extension of their court monitoring project on Oahu and to the neighbor islands has absorbed countless member hours, energy and creative thought and innovation.
The above mentioned activities are only the more urgent of state league's immediate program. I've already taken up too much space and your time, but I wanted to stress that the opportunities for participation in League's activities are limitless. For those who for various reasons cannot do much, please be assured that your support by being a member is invaluable. Your support lends strength to League - national, state, and local. Mahalo.