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Spring 1998

Summer 1998

President's Message (Jean Aoki)
State Council to be Held on Kauai
Making Democracy Work: Hawaii Clean Elections Activities (Toni Worst)
Legislative Action
Electronic Notification of Batterer's Release (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
In Memoriam: Mary George
State Board Actions
LWV-Hawaii Proposed Budget 1998-1999
Local League News - Hawaii County
Local League News - Honolulu
Local League News - Kauai
Kido Selected as Rotary Ambassador to Germany
Coalition Update
Judicial Council Seeking Panelists
Job Opportunities Available (Marian Wilkins)
Meet Your Board
Legislative Hearing Notices Available on Internet

Making Democracy Work: Hawaii Clean Elections (HI.CLEAN) Activities

Toni Worst and David Donnelly at HI. CLEAN Conference, January 31, 1998
Hawaii's new campaign finance reform coalition continues to grow. Membership now includes the state and Honolulu leagues, Common Cause Hawaii, Advocates for Consumer Rights, Green Party-Oahu Committee, UH Student Caucus, Graduate Students Organization of UH, and Sierra Club-Hawaii Chapter, plus seven supporting neighborhood boards: Liliha, Kalihi Valley, Makiki, Koolauloa, Waialae-Kahala, Kailua, and Wahiawa. The coalition has also shortened its official name to Hawaii Clean Elections.

Our Clean Money bill has been introduced in both houses of the legislature: S.B. 2399 and H.B. 3117. S.B. 2399 has been amended by the Senate Judiciary Committee to apply to the year 2002 governor's/lieutenant governor's race only, as a pilot project. The election period begins November 11, 1998. The bill is now before the Ways and Means Committee.

January Conference

HI.CLEAN's Clean Money Campaign Reform Conference was held on Saturday, January 31, 1998 at McCoy Pavilion. The keynote speaker, former Hawaii congressman Cecil Heftel, addressed an attentive group of seventy participants, followed by Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections' David Donnelly, and Toni Worst, for HI.CLEAN. In attendance were staff representatives from numerous elected officials, and Rep. Gene Ward, plus three campaign spending commissioners and the commission's executive director, Bob Watada.

Mr. Heftel told of his experiences in Congress with money-in-politics problems. He made a very noteworthy point: that Hawaii's economy could be improved and new investment stimulated by passing Clean Money and sending a clear message to business operators that the hidden political costs of doing business (i.e., campaign contributions) would no longer be a further tax to them, that Hawaii is serious about having competent, clean government based on merit, not connections and behind-the-scenes monetary influence.

David Donnelly's presentation was more "nuts and bolts"-how to get Clean Money passed using the lessons learned in Maine and Vermont:

  1. Research, research, research: base arguments and specific proposals for reform on solid, credible data and trends. Demonstrate conclusively with statistics in which ways the current system is not working.

  2. Frame the debate in results, not mechanics. The details of the reform are less important to most people than knowing exactly what problems you're fixing and why. Stress the difference between the current program and the Clean Money reform alternative.

  3. Build your coalition broad and deep. Organize with members who will do, not just think and talk. There's two kinds of power: power to organize money, power to organize people. Not only do we need to speak truth to power, we need to speak power to power. Legislators need to hear from many, many constituents before they will feel supported enough to act on this reform. In Vermont, they generated 6000 phone calls to legislators during the critical week of their session.

  4. Raise money, and not just research and public education foundation money. Raise "hard money" to do lobbying and publicity, knowing that there will be organized opposition from those who will want to protect their current money advantage.

  5. Get above the current cynicism of voters, who are turned off by the inequities and corruptness of the current system. Be creative, innovative, fun, huge, and a connected voice of civility and anger.

Worst was the final speaker of the day, with a wrap-up of spending statistics for Hawaii 1996 elections and a summary of HI.CLEAN's strategy for the upcoming year and beyond: essentially, to organize public knowledge and demand this reform until it is passed into law.

Video Available

The day's events were captured on video by Karen Archibald for broadcast on public access cablevision ('Olelo). A shorter I0-minute version will be available for small group public education.

Thanks for the Help

Thanks to the League of Women Voters Education Fund for helping to coordinate the Piper Fund's financial sponsorship of the event and special gratitude to the leaguers who worked so hard with me to make it a successful day and hosted our speakers so congenially: Grace Furukawa, Jean Aoki, Janet Mason, Lori Adolewski, Arlene Kim Ellis, and Joshua Cooper. We thank them for all their assistance and volunteerism. We would also like to thank the people who helped prepare the conference flyer for mailing.

HI.CLEAN is really moving forward purposefully and effectively. The League has played a vitally important role in its leadership: kudos to all participants in helping Make Democracy Work!

Toni Worst
Vice President and Chair of
Making Democracy Work, LWVHI,
and President, HI. CLEAN

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