PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

October 29, 2008

Constitutional and Charter Amendments

Filed under: HI Politics — frosty @ 10:08 am

One of our members asked about where PDH stands on some of these questions. While the organization officially hasn’t taken a stand on most of the amendments, the membership did vote to officially oppose the Con Con. Since PDH hasn’t taken a stand on some of the other questions, I thought I’d share how I voted (I’m not one of those people who doesn’t like sharing how they voted) and some of my thoughts and reasons for goining the way I did. I can’t guarantee it will be terribly helpful.

1) “Shall the Prosecuting Attorney be allowed to initiate, develop, and perform or coordinate programs, projects and activities, as determined by the prosecuting attorney, on the subject of crime, including but not limited to crime research, prevention and education?” (more…)

October 28, 2008

I Recommend a “No” Vote on ConCon

Filed under: HI Politics — Tags: , , , , — Bart @ 12:10 pm

(NOTE: This piece is in need of a great deal of re-writing, but time is getting short and I felt the need to post something, as I am getting lots of questions over the phone, via email and in person about the merits of holding a ConCon. Feel free to disagree and, if your ideas are any good, please post a comment in response in order to continue the dialogue.)

-Bart Dame

A few weeks ago, the membership of PDH voted overwhelmingly to recommend a “No” vote on ConCon. Despite efforts to solicit opinions from both our formal membership and our larger email list of supporters, we remained somewhat unsure that we were reading their views correctly. So we prepared to receive some angry pushback. It didn’t come. We got a very tiny number of emails disagreeing, but a whole lot more in agreement. In case there are some folks out there still undecided on the question, I’d like to explain the evolution of my personal thinking on the issue. Feel free to write back with your disagreements and continue the discussion.

I am something of a “policy wonk,” And, maybe even more so, a “process wonk.” At the time of the last ConCon in 1978, I was very active in non-electoral political activism: helping the farmers and residents of Waiahole & Waikane Valleys block the police from evicting them from their homes, landing on Kahoolawe as part of the PKO’s last “illegal” occupation of the island in a successful campaign to stop the bombing and wrest the island from the Feds, joining the retired workers of Chinatown in their (again) successful campaign to stop evictions and win affordable housing. Each of those campaigns (and many others) required a large-scale campaign to to educate the public about the issues at stake, hear their concerns, answer their questions and gain their support. Each of them also required acts of civil disobedience as a means of drawing a line on what is just and what is unjust and exposing how the law was being used unfairly against Hawaii’s people. (more…)

October 17, 2008

League of Conservation Voters Scorecard

Filed under: 6Sustainable Environment,HI Politics,National Politics — BobSchacht @ 1:26 pm

The Scorecard for the 110th Congress, as calculated by the League of Conservation Voters, has come out. The scores for Hawaii’s delegation are as follows:

Sen. Daniel Akaka: 100%

Rep. Mazie Hirono:   92%

Sen. Daniel Inouye:  91%

Rep. Neil Abercrombie: 77%

Unfortunately, they provide no easy way to discern the reason for the scores.

Why is Rep. Abercrombie’s score so much lower than the others? My mind goes back to the bills that Abercrombie co-sponsored with ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, one of LCV’s “Dirty Dozen” congressmen of the 109th Congress. One was their Deep Ocean Energy Resources Act, which  allowed new oil drilling leases between 50 and 100 miles, unless a state specifically passed a law to forbid them. And it would allow new leases beyond 100 miles, and give sole authority over that remote region to the federal government. The House voted 232 -187, to approve this bill. But that was not their only collaboration. (more…)

October 16, 2008

ConCon History

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 12:59 pm

As we debate the need for a Constitutional Convention (ConCon), I think it is important to know the history of previous ConCons. Two questions about previous ConCons are of particular importance:

1) Was there a compelling need for a ConCon at that time? If so, what was it?

2) What did the ConCon accomplish? How did that reflect the political & social atmosphere of the time?

I will attempt to outline these things based on the debates I have listened to and the documents I can find online. [There are several good references on the League of Women Voters site, including this summary.]

Click to next page for details… (more…)

ConCon links

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 9:10 am

For reference, here are a few links to sites where the ConCon question is being discussed and/or advocated for (links will open in new window):

Other blogs that have discussed this issue, but are not devoted to it:


Let me know if there are links that I am missing… I would be happy to add them!

October 15, 2008

Hawai‘i People’s Fund

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 3:14 pm

I hope many of you will join me at the Hawai‘i People’s Fund Annual Dinner!

Get Fired Up for Justice!
Hawai’i People¹s Fund Annual Dinner
Saturday, November 1, 2008 5:30­9 p.m.

Japanese Cultural Center of HawaiÂŒI 2454 S. Beretania
No Host Bar – Buffet Dinner – Silent Auction

HPF Website

Honoring the work of Ah Quon McElrath
A living treasure of progressive activism. Nine decades speaking truth to power, honoring human dignity, supporting workers rights, and amplifying the voices of the poor!

Your Generosity Will Support Grassroots Grantmaking for Social Change in 2008-2009

Rail or No Rail, for that is the question

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 2:10 pm

I am often hesitant to enter into the transit debate. It is almost like talking about religion; people on both sides are absolutely convinced that they are right and view you as stupid if you don’t agree with them. I am no transit expert and never pretend to be… but more often than not, neither are the most vocal people on both sides. Besides, the “experts” we are hearing from are generally the ones that have something to gain from one system or another. When faced with grand claims from every direction, I simply have to try to filter the propaganda from the valid and at the end of it I stick with my gut feeling.

In general, I am skeptical that any plan that adds more lanes for fossil-fuel powered cars & buses will solve our problems for very long. It might work for a while, but without any incentive to get out of cars, they would just continue to multiply and congestion would continue to get worse, without any alternative to avoid sitting in traffic. There are only so many lanes you can add on this island with limited space. On the other hand, even though my gut feeling (based on several reasons) is that some sort of rail system is what we need, I have little confidence that the City will have the competence to build an effective system. So what to do? It is not an easy question. (more…)

October 14, 2008

Constitutional Convention

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 2:51 pm

The Honolulu Advertiser has been running a useful series of articles about the Constitutional Convention (ConCon) question that will be on our ballot on Nov 4th. This is a very important question that many voters may be ignoring up to this point. The last time the question of whether to have a ConCon was on our ballot was 10 years ago. At that time, I was still a student and while I always tried to be an educated and informed voter I wasn’t as involved in politics as I am now. I remember reading the voter guides that showed up in my mailbox and still being somewhat confused as to how I should vote. I imagine that is the case with many voters today. Hopefully voters will tune into some of the information that is starting to circulate so that they can make an informed choice.

Read more for commentary and links to the recent articles… (more…)

October 12, 2008

An Event: Do We Need A Constitutional Convention?

Filed under: HI Politics — frosty @ 12:42 pm


A Look At What The State Constitution Says & What Rights It Protects.

A panel of various constituency advocates will answer audience questions and share their insights regarding our state constitution, what it says and what rights it protects. Hawai‘i Constitution expert, Anne Feder Lee will give an introductory lecture on the history and background of the constitution, as well as sit on the panel. Other panelists will include representatives from the labor, Hawaiian, environment, women’s rights, and civil rights groups.

Refreshments will be provided and all are welcome.

When: Saturday October 18, 2008
Time: 9am – Noon
Where: Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium

Sponsored by:
Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i & Americans for Democratic Action/Hawai‘i

With help from:
The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i
Family Equality Coalition

October 3, 2008

Chris Lee for State House

Filed under: HI Politics — rachel @ 2:37 pm

The highlight of last night’s monthly PDH meeting was the opportunity to talk story with Chris Lee who is running for the State House district 51 seat that was previously held by Tommy Waters. Chris spoke to us very frankly, with very little ambiguity, which was refreshing for a politician. He is young and smart and seems to have a lot of good ideas.

Since I don’t live in his district, I won’t be able to vote for him, but I do intend to donate to his campaign and truly hope that he makes into our State legislature.  Check out his website and perhaps you will feel the same way.


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