Constitutional Convention

From October - December 2018 Mālama i ka Honua (page 7):
by David Kimo Frankel, Vote Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi Chair

The possibility of a state constitutional convention can be seen as an opportunity or a threat. You will have to vote in November as to whether you want one or not – a question voters need to answer once a decade. Our state constitution includes unique provisions that protect our natural resources. These provisions are not found in the U.S. constitution and are absent from most state constitutions. Our constitution gives natural resources (including our streams and natural beauty) legal protection. It also effectively prevents anyone from proposing the construction of a nuclear power plant in Hawai‘i. It prohibits special legislation regarding public land that benefits a special interest. It gives you the right to sue to enforce the state’s environmental laws. The state constitution has prevented large landowners from diverting unlimited amounts of water from our streams. It required the state to ensure that the military is cleaning up after its training exercises. It protected limu beds on Moloka‘i, a spring on Kaua‘i, kalo lo‘i on Maui, and anchialine ponds in Kona. A constitutional convention could jeopardize any and all the provisions that protect our natural resources. On the other hand, a constitutional convention is an opportunity to add new safeguards to the state’s governing document. It could enhance protection of public lands. It could limit the rights of corporations, which should only be guaranteed to human beings. It could restrict the ability of the state to provide funds to corporate interests. It could limit developer influence on boards and commissions. It could prevent developers from threatening lawsuits when their unreasonable expectations as to state spending are not met. The glass is either half full, or half empty.

ExCom votes no on Con-con

From October - December 2018 Mālama i ka Honua (page 7):

Moments before this edition of the newsletter was printed, the Chapter Executive Committee met and weighed the very points raised in the article above. They came to the consensus that opposing a constitutional convention is the more prudent course of action. In addition to the risks outline by Mr. Frankel above, they also noted the risk of outside corporate funding negatively influencing the convention process and the ultimate public vote. They noted that the recent court victories by the Sierra Club and others that serve to improve the public’s access to the courts and solidify the obligations of agencies to act on the public’s behalf (not the corporations) would be prime targets that well-funded corporate interests would want to override in a constitutional convention.

Trust that if a constitutional convention is approved by the voters on November 6th, the Sierra Club will fully engage in defending the rights of the public and our natural resources.

Campaign Corner: Ige Demonstrates Environmental Leadership

Vote Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi Chair, David Kimo Frankel, makes the case in Civilbeat for why Governor Ige is the environmental choice this election.  

"As a state senator, Colleen Hanabusa went to extraordinary lengths to grease the wheels for political insiders Jeff Stone, Ko Olina, Henry Peters and Dickie Wong. Her support for A&B’s lobbyist, Hawaii Gas and a waste management company are further evidence of a troubling pattern. Currying favor with special interests is not leadership. Gov. Ige represents a better way."

Read the article in full here:

Hawaii Governor’s Race: Clear Differences On Energy Policy highlights the difference between Gov. Ige and former Rep. Hanabusa on energy policy. 

" sharp contrast to the incumbent, Gov. David Ige, Hanabusa says she’s open to using natural gas to produce electricity until Hawaii’s 100 percent renewable law kicks-in in 2045."

Read the article in full here:

Gov. Ige wins over environmentalists

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports on Gov. Ige's support from the environmental community. 

“There is a fundamental difference to the way in which David Ige approaches politics. He does not play favorites. Instead, what he does is he maintains open-minded communication and works on building bridges instead of cutting them off,” said Townsend. “No matter how much we disagree on some things, he will always hear us out and his administration will make every effort to address the concerns that we relay that they think are legitimate.”
Townsend said that often with high-level politicians, “if you aren’t part of the ‘in group,’ you don’t have a chance.”
Hanabusa has also taken positions on local issues that have rankled environmentalists, including opposing the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument during former President Barack Obama’s final months in office. She’s also sat on the board of Hawaii Gas, which wants to import liquefied natural gas into the state, and has received campaign donations from NextEra, even though the deal to purchase the electric utility was scuttled by Ige-appointed commissioners to the Public Utilities Commission.

Read the article in full here (subscription required):

Maui Candidate Pop-Up Event

JUL 6th 6PM
Nalus South Shore Grill
1280 S Kihei Rd, Kihei, Hawaii 96753
Event RSVP

South Maui, Come on out and meet some fabulous candidates you can vote for on your Democratic primary ballot. Women candidates who will bring the spirit of service to our representative government: Kim Coco Iwamoto for Lt. Governor, Keani Rawlins-Fernandez for County Council & Tina Wildberger for State House. Hosted pupu and no-host cocktails. Stay for Kanekoa!



Sign-waving support for Heather Kimball

Kimball meme.jpg

July 7th (Saturday), 9:00-10:00 am in Kona Palisades - top of Ka'iminani Drive on Hwy 190

July 10th (Tuesday), 8:00-9:00 am in Hilo - scenic viewing area just north of Hilo on Hwy 19

July 12th (Thursday), 4:00-5:00 pm in Waimea - in front of Parker Ranch Center on Hwy 19

July 14th (Saturday), 9:00-10:00 am in Hawi - by farmer’s market, corner of Hwy 270 & Hwy 250

July 17th (Tuesday), 8:00-9:00 am in Honoka’a - across fro Tex's Drive-in on Hwy 19

July 19th (Thursday), 8:00-9:00 am in Waikoloa - at Painiolo/Pua Melia and Waikoloa Road

You are the difference

After you register to vote, and get all your friends and family to register to vote, you need to get involved in the campaigns that speak to you. 


Check out our list of endorsed candidates, next to their names are the websites for their campaigns. Click on that link, and sign up to volunteer directly for the candidates of your choice.  They need help sign-waving, door-knocking, and phone-banking.  Your help makes all the difference! 


You can give money directly to candidates online via their websites.  Know the rules for contributing first. Click here to go the CSC website.

a) Abide by contribution limits imposed by the Campaign Spending Commission.

The general rule is $1,000 per year in office. If the seat has a two-year term, then you can donate up to $2,000. Four years has a $4,000 cap.  

For coordinated Political Action Committees (like this one), you can donate $1,000 per election cycle. You can click here to donate to the Vote Sierra Club PAC via our secure online service. 

For independent expenditure Political Action Committees, you can contribute an unlimited amount of money to a campaign, but cannot coordinate with the candidate. 

b) Contributors must U.S. citizens or permanent residents with documentation like a green card. 

c) Contributors must be at least 18 years old. 

d) Contributors cannot be in a current contract with the State of Hawaiʻi, any county, or agency.  

e) Contributions must be from your own funds, not funds provided by someone else for the purpose of contributing to a campaign. The source of funds also cannot be a corporate credit card. 

f) Contributions can include money and in-kind services -- both count towards each candidates contribution limits. What doesn't count against contribution limits is volunteer time. You can volunteer all you want for the candidates that you really love. And honestly, your volunteer time is what makes all the difference in this match-up. The corporations have all the money, but what we have (that they cannot buy) is passionate volunteers.  So get out there and get involved!  

How we endorse candidates

by Jonathan Likeke Scheuer, Chapter Political Committee Chair

This is a very brief introduction to three aspects of the Sierra Club's endorsement process. If you want a more full understanding (and have a lot of time!), you can look at the Sierra Club Political Team Compliance Guidelines, available to members on Clubhouse.

Endorsement differs for federal, state, and local races.

All decisions about endorsements and other political action for candidates must be approved by a vote of two separate Club entities. For federal races (US Senate and House), the two entities are the National Political Team and the Chapter Executive Committee. For state legislative and county races, the Group Executive Committee and the Chapter Executive Committee vote. For statewide office (Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees), the two entities are the Chapter Political Committee and the Chapter Executive Committee.

Incumbency matters to the Club.

The Sierra Club in its endorsement process highly values incumbency. In specific situations this upsets supporters of individual candidates. For instance, the Club will endorse an incumbent with a good environmental record against a challenger who is stronger on the environment. This happens even when the incumbent is known to the Club as a strong volunteer or even a former staff member!

Why do we value incumbency? Because we try to send strong signal to elected officials that if they work for our issues, we will support them. If we abandon our incumbent friends and support their opponents, legislators will be less likely to support our positions when we need them.

Viability matters.

The Club also considers the viability of a candidate when making endorsement decisions. What is viability? In short, does the candidate have a realistic chance of winning? Ways to measure or evaluate viability can vary, including assessing how much money has been raised, past voting patterns in the race, and the strength of opposing candidates. Like incumbency, considering viability means that we sometimes will not endorse people who clearly share our values but have a very low likelihood of winning, and this can anger some people.  

Why do we value viability? Because when we endorse a candidate, we want it to mean something – to the candidate, their opponents, and voters. If the Club consistently endorses candidates who do not win, an endorsement from the Club loses its power, and could even become an indicator of a likelihood of losing.

The all-volunteer Political Committee for this election season is listed in the Mālama and our website. Please reach out and ask us questions or share your concerns. Also consider helping out - indeed after endorsements are decided, the real work of campaigning for our champions still needs to be done.