Taking a Break from the Democratic Party of Hawaii

I’ve been a member of the Democratic Party of Hawaii (DPH) since 2006. And a member of the State Central Committee (SCC) since 2010.

In all that time, I’ve served in various positions along the DPH strata, from the precinct level to SCC Secretary. Save one, I’ve attended every convention in that time. I was fortunate to be a delegate to the National Convention in 2016.

I became active originally as a member of the now-defunct Progressive Democrats of Hawaii (PDH). An organization that I helped build and led for a time. I was largely welcomed and treated with kindness and respect. Many progressives who became active in the Party after me were not.

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Local News Fails to Inform

A truncated version of this piece was offered to both Civil Beat and Honolulu Star-Advertiser for publication. Both politely declined, unsurprisingly. Both Civil Beat and the Star-Advertiser have relationships with some of the news networks of which I am critical here.

On May 3, after a long day of floor debates and votes, the Hawaii Legislature concluded the majority of their business for the 2022 session. Among the hundreds of bills transmitted to Governor Ige for consideration was House Bill 1567 Relating to Criminal Pretrial Reform.

The bill “eliminates the use of monetary bail and requires defendants to be released on their own recognizance for certain nonviolent offenses, subject to certain exclusions and requires the Department of Public Safety to take steps to provide video conferencing to a defendant who chooses to participate in a bail report interview via videoconference.”

Whatever your opinion on bail reform might be, it is critically important that our news media provide us with accurate information about important issues such as this one.

The television networks that published a story on HB1567 made a terrible hash of it. Not only did they provide little expert commentary from either side of the debate, but even worse their stories were incredibly one-sided.

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While participating in a national training for progressive campaign managers, I heard for the first time a phrase that clicked a light switch in my head: imposter syndrome. As described during one of the training sessions, imposter syndrome is a feeling that you’re not good enough, qualified enough, or experienced enough to do the work.

What Is It?

As it was described to me, it was like someone had peered into my brain. I had no idea that this feeling I’ve experienced for years, was an actual thing. A thing with a name and a definition. I’ve never really be much moved by the “you’re not alone” sentiment. But knowing that I’m not crazy, at least in one instance, is comforting.

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Author’s Note: The substance of this post was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on March 23, 2022. Below is the originally drafted, longer commentary.

Recently, as I lay in bed late one night, my brain drifted to frustration over discourse on the minimum wage. The Legislature’s continued deference to the business community and their baseless opposition to increasing the minimum wage in Hawaii. Or really, anywhere.

Whether it’s the Chamber of Commerce, Retail Merchants’ Association, the Restaurant Association, or just about any other staple opponents to the minimum wage, their talking points are tired, rote, and too often contrary to facts.

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Progressives Should be Embarrassed to Support HB2510

NOTE: The legislators named herein are broadly considered “progressive.” There are others who voted “yes” who are members of either the Progressive or Working Families Caucuses but are not generally considered progressives so I didn’t feel the need to include them here.

Today, the Hawaii House of Representatives voted on nearly 30 pages of bills to move forward. It was the First Lateral Filing Deadline.

The one I and many of my colleagues were interested in was HB2510. The bill, “Relating to Income,” included an embarrassing and pathetic attempt to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage. Specifically, it raises the minimum wage to $18 by 2030. Yes, you read that right.

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