Think About It: No Fun Raising - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

May 3, 2018

Think About It: No Fun Raising

Among the many reasons that potential local voters give for not showing up or sending in a ballot is the lack of competition, we have a one-party system here, things don't seem to change much, including the candidates, etc., etc. Well, sure, the system needs some fine-tuning, locally and nationally. But one thing here that can be adjusted is the obvious conflict of interest that takes place year after year when part-time legislators vote on things that obviously impact, directly or indirectly, their other jobs and raise campaign funds while in session.

It's not enough to have an ethics base that suggests lawmakers recuse themselves, it's the tie-ins to spouses and their jobs, relatives, etc. And the fact that most savvy legislators know how best to play the system, and know that about 70% of eligible residents over the age of 18 don't choose to vote here anyway and well, the decision appears easy. So let's make it uneasy. Let's force more complete disclosure about influences and outside jobs before the legislature meets annually, or let's eliminate one legislative chamber here and make the remaining one full-time, with outside job restrictions to discourage voting with personal interests or paychecks in mind.

Right now, donations come in during the legislature, that's very transparent, and while wrong, as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser editorialized last week, changing that fundraising rule would probably just force a change on the check date, but not the concept. Let's see if enough people, while in office, can stomach changes to make the public feel better about what goes on, and perhaps actually get interested, if legislators care. Think about it…

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