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xkcd voting

Earlier this week, ballots began to arrive across the island of Oʻahu as the 2020 election season finally reaches the closing stretch. Though nearly all the attention this year has been on the handful of high-profile races for Honolulu Mayor and Prosecutor, I’ve also been focused on a number of state legislative races.

But when my ballot arrived, I realized there were four Charter Amendment questions included that I’d given no thought to. So now I am doing the work of learning about them and, hopefully, providing some useful information to help folks make their decision on how to vote for these:

  1. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to establish for the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu a term limit of two consecutive full four-year terms, the same term limit as is applicable to the Mayor and Councilmembers of the City and County of Honolulu?
  2. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to establish a Youth Commission under the Managing Director?
  3. Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to allow the Honolulu Ethics Commission to control its own budget after it has been enacted?
  4. Shall the Revised Charter be amended to require the ethics commission staff to be appointed based on merit principles, but exempt from the civil service position classification plan, and to have the salaries of all ethics commission staff set by the ethics commission, subject to specified limitations?

Continue reading Four Charter Amendment Questions

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Again?

As is so often the case, this post is inspired by conversations I’ve had over the last several days. The first was with my mother, in Kansas City, who was telling me about a news story in which a man had saved for years and years to start his own business. Only to see that business destroyed during recent riots.

She bemoaned the cruelty of it. She felt bad for the man and decried the rioters. Burning a police station was one thing; she didn’t condone it, but understood. But private businesses? My mom was upset by it and didn’t see what purpose it served or what destroying private property and people’s livelihoods accomplished.

I’ve had similar discussions since then. Continue reading Rioting & It’s Place in Our Society

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This week Honolulu saw the results of the first two scientific polls for local elections this year. The first, a poll on the Honolulu Mayor’s race, was published earlier last week. The other, on Honolulu’s race for Prosecutor, was released this past Friday morning.

In both cases, there is a fairly high number or respondents who hadn’t decided, or indicated they don’t like any of the candidates.

There’s no denying we’ve all be more than a little preoccupied with the impact of COVID-19 on our families and our communities. Rightly so. So while all the candidates will do their best to spin the results, we should keep in mind the current circumstances when viewing the results. Continue reading Polling When No One is Paying Attention

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A Sad, if Not Unexpected, Day

I woke up this morning to sad, if not unexpected, news. My candidate for the Democratic nomination for President, Bernie Sanders, has suspended his campaign.

In response to a friend’s disappoint this morning, I wrote this:

I’m equal parts angry and sad.

I didn’t see a path forward for Bernie, so I’m sad not angry he’s dropped out. But I AM angry at the persistence of a social-political structure that will claim victory and do little more than inch forward.

It seems the liberal-democratic establishment learned little from 2016 and I do fear Trump will wipe the floor with Biden.

Continue reading The Struggle Continues

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Sunshine is the Best Disinfectant

“Sunshine is the best disinfectant” ~Justice Louis Brandeis

On March 16 of this year, Governor David Ige issued a Supplementary Proclamation to the previously issued Emergency Proclamation in response to the COVID-19 crisis. There’s been some to-do about Governor Ige’s decision to suspend Hawaii’s Sunshine Law in the wake of the Coronavirus emergency.

This proclamation, among other things, suspends Chapter 92 HRS and Chapter 92F HRS. Chapter 92 deals with public agency meetings and records and is generally referred to as “Hawaii’s Sunshine Law”. 92F deals with the Uniform Information Practices Act commonly referred to as UIPA or the open records law.

The suspension of these two laws has generally gone with little or no push-back from the public. Though some have raised concerns.

Continue reading Open Government & COVID-19

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