The Hawaiʻi

State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse

Information Related to Hawaiʻi's November 6, 2018 State Constitutional Convention Referendum

2008 Cycle News Media Coverage


Constitutional Convention issue loses 2-1, Associated Press, November 5, 2008.

Daysog, Rick, ConCon soundly rejected, Honolulu Advertiser, November 5, 2008.

Why Hawaii does not need another ConCon, Pacific Business News, November 2, 2008.

Nakaso, Dan, Should Hawaii Rewrite Its Constitution — Again?Time Magazine, October 30, 2008.

Eager, Haryy, No need for a ConCon, Maui Rotarians told, Honolulu Advertiser, October 28, 2008.

Drews, Paul, Costs, consequences worry opponents of the “Con Con”, October 28, 2008.

Coats, Christopher, Democrats’ ‘Change’ Does Not Extend to Hawaii’s Constitution, Finding Dulcinea, October 28, 2008.

Moreno, Loren, ConCon could jeopardize Hawaii school system, opponents say, Honolulu Advertiser, October 27, 2008.

Niesse, Mark, Hawaii has battle over constitutional redoU.S.A. Today, October 25, 2008.

“Hawaii Needs a Constitutional Convention,” Pacific Business News, October 17, 2008.

Burris, Jerry, In ConCon fight, roles are reversed, Honolulu Advertiser, October 14, 2008.

Vorsino, Mary, Politicians debate need for ConCon in televised forum, Honolulu Advertiser, October 14, 2008.

Constitutional Convention, PDHblog, October 14, 2008.

DePledge, Derrick, Hawaii Constitutional Convention supporters face powerful foes–Part 2, Honolulu Advertiser, October 13, 2008. [campaign finance]

DePledge, Derrick, Hawaii debates need for constitution fixes–Part 1, Honolulu Advertiser, October 13, 2008.

Ads by unions urge voters to say ‘no’Star-Bulletin, October 12, 2008.

Conrow, Joan, Hawai’i voters approach a big decision with little fanfare, Honolulu Weekly, October 8, 2008.

Anti-Con Con group gets mainland fundsStar-Bulletin, September 26, 2008.

Democrats oppose state constitutional convention, AP, September 15, 2008.

Fujimori, Leila, Con Con could cost up to $41M, Star-Bulletin, September 3, 2008.

Borreca, Richard, Study pegs ConCon cost at up to $11.1M, Star-Bulletin, August 2, 2008.

Governor Backs Constitutional Convention, Jump up “,” July 7, 2008

Kay, Peter, Hawaii’s Constitutional Convention Debated on PBS and HPR,, August 14, 2008.

Douglass, Dan, Constitutional Convention Needed to Address Hawaii’s Underlying Constitutional Problems,, July 7, 2008.

Lt. Gov. James ‘Duke’ Aiona on Constitutional Conventions, KGMB9, June 4, 2008.

Shapiro, David, Aiona plays it fair in ConCon study, Honolulu Advertiser, June 2, 2008.

Chin, Jon, Kudos to Lieutenant Governor for Leadership on Constitutional Convention, May 30, 2008.

Borreca, Richard, Panel to eye ConCon pros, cons, Star-Bulletin, May 28, 2008.

Kay, Peter, E-Democracy is Booming on Hawaii Constitutional Convention Web, May 28, 2008.

Shapiro, David, Democrats take aim at ConCon calls, Honolulu Advertiser, May 26, 2008.

Case, Ed, Getting a fix on the Con Con, Star-Bulletin, May 25, 2008.

Mariani-Belding, Jeanne, NOW ON THE HOT SEAT: SHOULD HAWAII HAVE A CON CON?, Honolulu Advertiser, May 21, 2008.

Kalapa, Lowell L., Down the Road to a Hawaii Constitutional, May 19, 2008.

Case, Ed, Hawaii Constitutional Convention: Just the, May 7, 2008.

Special Interests Backing Con Con Opposition, May 6, 2008.

Governor’s Office, Lt. Gov. Plans to Lead Task Force to Determine Cost of Convening a Constitutional Convention,, March 18, 2008.

Collections of Media Coverage

Compiled by  Unfortunately, many of the article links no longer work.

Collected by The University of Hawaiʻi School of Law Library. A limited selection of media coverage for the 1950, 1998, and 2008 constitutional convention referendums for in-library research.


People’s Pulse: Clear Majority Oppose ConCon, Hawaii House Blog, September 11, 2008.

Dueling Cost Estimates of a Convention

The legislative leadership labeled this “the Battle of the Studies.” See Battle of the Studies, Hawaii House Blog, May 8, 2017.

The executive branch report was published first and then critiqued by the subsequent legislature report, which came up with a much higher cost estimate.

Executive Branch Report

Constitutional Convention Cost Task Force, Projecting the Cost of a Constitutional Convention in Hawai’i, State of Hawai’i, August 1, 2008.  The Hawaii Constitutional Convention Cost Task Force was led by Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona.  Its final report projected the cost of a ConCon to range in 2008 dollars from $2,329,656 to $11,114,045.

Borreca, Richard, Study pegs ConCon cost at up to $11.1M, Star-Bulletin, August 2, 2008.

Shapiro, David, Aiona plays it fair in ConCon study, Honolulu Advertiser, June 2, 2008.

Legislative Branch Report

Pan, Peter, et al., Cost Estimates for a Constitutional Convention, Hawaii Legislative Reference Bureau, Report No. 1, September 2, 2008.  The Legislature’s final report projected the cost of a ConCon to range in 2008 dollars from $6,413,441 to $41,739,273.  See also: House Concurrent Resolution No. 231, House Draft 1, adopted during Hawaii’s Regular Session of 2008.  Directs the Legislative Reference Bureau to study the costs of convening a constitutional convention and provide an estimate of the projected total cost.

Fujimori, Leila, Con Con could cost up to $41M, Star-Bulletin, September 3, 2008.

For different takes, see Con Con justification should address change, not cost, Star-Bulletin, September 4, 2008 and the Grassroots Institute of Hawaii video below and article here.

TV Interview

We haven’t had a constitutional convention here in Hawaii since 1978. But that could change soon. There is currently a task force trying to figure out the impact on the state, and after a vote, we could have another con con by 2010. But how does this affect you? How much will it cost? Who would represent your interests? What issues would be addressed? Lieutenant governor Duke Aiona is here to shed some light on this.  Uploaded on Jun 5, 2008.


Vote Yes

*Lingle, Gov. Linda, and Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr., A Con Con Would be Beneficial for the Entire State, Maui Weekly, July 3, 2008.

Editorial, “ConCon Would Help Hawai’i Chart Future Course More Clearly,” Honolulu Advertiser, June 24, 2007, p. B2 Kehaulani, A Call For Constitutional ConventionModern Issues in Hawaii, October 12, 2008.

Editorial, Hawaii needs a Constitutional Convention, Pacific News, October 19, 2008.

Hahn, Pearl, What Can Bring Increased Accountability to Hawaii Government?, Grassroots Institute of Hawaii, October 15, 2008.

Rouzaud, Justin, and Jamie Story, Putting the Cost of a Constitutional Convention in Perspective, Grassroots Institute of Hawaii, September 1, 2008.

Lt. Gov. James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. , Why I Support a Constitutional, December 17, 2007.

Vote No

Jones, Bob, Mostly Cons Regarding ConCon2, MidWeek, June 4, 2008.

Don’t Democrats Trust People to Rewrite the Constitution?, Save the Hawai’i Constitution, May 25, 2008.

Feder Lee, Anne, “Voters Must Weigh Decision to Call ConCon,” Honolulu Advertiser, December 28, 2007, p. A18.

Dueling Views

Does Hawaii Need a Con Con?Honolulu Magazine, August 21, 2008.


Berg, Tom, No Con Con? Then Legislature Needs to Act,, November 13, 2008.

Zimmerman, Malia, Election Wrap: Change, But Not the Change We Need Here in Hawaii,, November 5, 2008.

Constitutional Convention, Progressive Democrats of Hawai’i, October 14, 2008.

Editorial, Con Con justification should address change, not cost, Star-Bulletin, September 4, 2008.

Hawaii House Blog

September 2, 2008
LRB Report on ConCon costs now available
The Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) has completed its analysis on the cost range of a Constitutional Convention, in response to House Concurrent Resolution No. 231, HD1, adopted during the 2008 legislative session. The estimated cost range in 2008 dollars is $6,413,441 to $41,739,273. The report adjusts the figures for 2010, 2011 and 2012 due to inflation.

The LRB is a non-partisan agency and is not advocating for or against a Constitutional Convention. A copy was provided to lawmakers today and is available to the public online at:

In summary, the report notes that:

It is extremely likely that the final cost will be an intermediate amount that reflects a variety of tradeoffs among cost elements…While the low cost elements identified in this report may be achievable, it may not be surprising if legislators are lobbied to support policies that could drive costs to much higher levels, such as:

*Making the convention more “inclusive” (more rather than fewer delegates)
*Paying delegates and staffs a “living wage” (higher salaries)
*Recognizing the influence of “special interests (publicly funded elections) and
*Providing greater public information and access (more extensive broadcasting of proceedings)

The LRB’s estimated cost range varies significantly from the Lt. Governor’s Con Con Task Force Final Report which concluded a cost range of $2,329,656 to $11,114,045.

“Whether you are for, against or neutral on a Constitutional Convention, this is a thorough and comprehensive report and I urge the public to review both reports prior to voting,” said Rep. Kirk Caldwell, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. “A change to the Hawaii State Constitution is not something that we should take lightly. It’s important that we distinguish between constitutional issues and legislative issues, as well as consider the costs involved which will ultimately fall upon the taxpayers.”

September 12, 2008
Rep. Marcus Oshiro – OHA Radio Show
Rep. Marcus Oshiro will be the guest on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs radio show, Na ‘Oiwi Olino, on Monday morning, 9/15/08. The show airs on KKNE, 940 AM, and Rep. Oshiro is scheduled for the 8 a.m. slot. Among other things, he’ll be talking about the state budget, a Constitutional Convention, and the 2008 election.

September 11, 2008
People’s Pulse: Clear Majority Oppose ConCon
The People’s Pulse is a quarterly survey sponsored by the Hawaii Business Roundtable and Pacific Resource Partnership, and conducted by OmniTrak Group Inc. As its name implies, it takes the pulse of statewide resident voters on various issues. The most recent, Fall 2008, was conducted between July 25 and August 14, 2008, using telephone interviews among a random sample of 1,500 registered voters. The sampling error is plus/minus 3%.

For the most part, no surprises. The majority of voters on Oahu, 59%, favor a fixed rail mass transit system. Top concerns were the economy, jobs and the cost of living. Despite the cost of gas, most voters prefer to keep agricultural lands for farming food crops rather than turning them into biofuel crops.

Perhaps the most eyebrow raising survey result is that most voters oppose a Constitutional Convention, and the opposition numbers rise in correlation to the estimated cost of holding the ConCon.

At $5 to $9 million – 54% somewhat oppose, 25% strongly oppose, 23% somewhat favor, and 14% strongly favor a ConCon.

At $10 to $19 million – 68% somewhat oppose, 25% strongly oppose, 15% somewhat favor, and 9% strongly favor a ConCon.

Last week, the LRB report put the cost of the ConCon in the range of $6.4 to $41.7 million, while the Lt. Gov’s task force estimates a cost of $2.3 to $11.1 million.

The People’s Pulse report continues: “Rather than holding a ConCon, 71% of voters prefer to see Constitutional changes made by the Legislature and then approved by the voters. Across all voter segments, at least two-thirds prefer this alternative. Support for this process rather than a ConCon is due to cost, assuming that ConCon costs $5 to $9 million and the alternative, half a million.”

Further, “Opposition to ConCon is not surprising given that 78% of voters do not have constitutional issues to suggest for its agenda. Among the minority of 22% who have changes, fewer than 3% support any one issue, including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (both for and against its continuation); government reform; community issues like homelessness, civil rights, and illegal immigration; the definition of marriage (both for and against same sex marriages); capital punishment and tougher crime sentences.”

January 2, 2008
Rep. Belatti Discusses ConCon on “Think Tech”
Rep. Della Au Belatti will appear on “Think Tech”, KIPO, 89.3 FM, 5-6 p.m., today, January 2, 2008, to talk about the pros and cons of a state Constitutional Convention. Rep. Belatti will be joining host Jay Fidell, former Congressman Ed Case, and UH Political Science Professor Neal Milner for a live studio discussion.

December 12, 2007
2010 or 2012?
Do we need to change the Hawaii State Constitution? That’s what voters will need to ask themselves when they determine in the 2008 election whether to hold a Constitutional Convention. If the voters say YES, some news reports indicated that the convention would be held in 2010. Not necessarily. There are two scenarios, a regular schedule and an expedited schedule.

For the regular schedule, if voters say YES, the legislature determines the number of delegates to be elected and from what area they come. The public would then elect the individual delegates in the 2010 election. Those delegates must convene not less than 5 months before the 2012 general election. The Constitutional Convention ballot issues would be on the ballot in 2012.

For the expedited schedule, the legislature determines the number of delegates to be elected and from what area they come. They can then hold a special election to elect the individual delegates. The delegates must convene not less than 5 months prior to the 2010 general election. The Constitutional Convention ballot issues would be on the ballot in 2010.

November 13, 2007
Cautiously considering a Con Con
Photo: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Left to right, Tadao Beppu, convention secretary, at the podium, Hebden Porteus, president of the 1968 Con Con signing the document, and Seichi “Shadow” Hirai.

The question on whether Hawaii needs to hold a Constitutional Convention has been popping up more frequently these days. On the 2008 ballot, Hawaii voters will be asked, “Should there be a convention to propose a revision of or amendments to the Constitution?” Yes or No. If yes, the Con Con would be held in 2010. The legislature must consider finding the significant funds to pay for a Con Con, which Speaker Say estimated in an interview a few weeks ago as being in the $24-32 million range.

Many consider the 1978 Hawaii State Constitional Convention to be the political event that shaped modern day Hawaii and produced future political stars, including Governors Waihee and Cayetano, and Mayor Jeremy Harris. At last week’s Think Tech Hawaii public radio show, the question came before three state representatives, Kirk Caldwell, Marcus Oshiro and Tommy Waters, not during the broadcast but during the taping of the podcast, what they call the “Aftershow”. Click here for the link. About 16:20 in, host Jay Fidell asks: “So what do you think about ConCon?” Here’s what they said:

Waters: I’m open.

Caldwell: When you think about it…let people decide how to change the Constitution, sounds pretty democratic, pretty all American. On the other hand you could argue that the United States Constitution has stayed pretty much the same, there are a number of amendments, but not that many over 230 years. I like the stability that a constitution brings on broad policy levels. A ConCon, it’s supposed to be every 10 years, and we haven’t had one in 30 years, but I surely would hate to see our constitution turn into what the Texas constitution looks like, which is kind of like Hawaii Revised Statutes, it’s 30 volumes of constitutional amendments, and that’s why we have an HRS. So, I’m a little bit more troubled. I do think we want citizen participation. I think we need to work on getting people out to vote more, and we have to revisit why people aren’t voting as much as they were in the past. But, to amend our constitution, holus-bolus, with all kinds of things that are specific driven gets me worried.

Marcus Oshiro: I have grave concerns, esp. in light of the Superferry debacle. We came into a special session not more than 65 days after the Supreme Court issued a 5-0 opinion, and we made a substantial policy decision in such a short period of time. And the media swayed a lot of hearts and minds and created this illusion of a crisis that we needed to “save” this business that is being run by multi-millionaires and someone like John Lehman who was the Asst. Secretary of the Navy, and that they needed to be saved. So, I have concerns about how any special interest group with money and with a good pr firm can manipulate public opinion, and sway even wise, smart policy makers. So, I have concerns about going back to our organic document like the Constitution and have it influenced by special interests.

Campaign Finance

1. Hawaii Alliance ($700,000 for print and broadcast advertising)

2. HGEA Ballot Committee

3. HSTA Educational Alliance

4. It’s Time Hawaii

5. National Education Association Ballot Measure Fund ($325,000 made it the largest contributor)

6. Yes for Constitutional Convention

Source: State of Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission; Campaign Spending Law.

Articles Covering Campaign Finance

Moreno, Loren, ConCon could jeopardize Hawaii school system, opponents say, Honolulu Advertiser, October 27, 2008.

DePledge, Derrick, Hawaii Constitutional Convention supporters face powerful foes–Part 2, Honolulu Advertiser, October 13, 2008.

Top 10 Outrageous Facts About the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association, Hawaii Reporter, January 14, 2010.

Advocacy Summary

Groups against a Convention

Hawai’i Government Employees Association (HGEA)
Hawai’i Democratic Party
National Education Association (NEA)

Prominent Individuals against a Convention
George Ariyoshi
State Senator Gary Hooser
State Rep. Hermina Morita (D)
State Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D)

Groups for a Convention
Hawaii Republican Party
Grassroot Institute

Prominent Individuals for a Convention
Gov Linda Lingle (R)
Lt Gov “Duke” Aiona (R)
Rep. Della Au Belatti (D)
Attorney General Mark Bennett
Former Congressman Cec Heftel
State Representative Gene Ward
Form Congressman and State Rep. Ed Case
Sam Slom

Advocacy Organization Media

Hawaii Alliance

This was the umbrellas organization of the no groups. Some of its no ads can be found on this website under the 2008 cycle ad menu item.

This was an umbrella organization for some yes-leaning groups and individuals. See its introductory video below. Its full collection of videos can be found here,with a subset of them located on this website under the 2008 cycle ad menu item.


University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (the union that represents faculty)

Website: UHPA Recommends a No Vote on Con Con, October 13, 2008.

Position Statement: UHPA Recommends a No Vote on Con Con, October 13, 2008.

League of Women Voters of Hawaii

Constitutional Convention: To Have or Not To Have? That’s the November 2008 Ballot Question for Hawaii Voters,  League of Women Voters of Hawaii two page handout, undated, 2008.

Aoki, Jean, ConCon: Letters to the Editor, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Nov. 2 & 4. 2008.

LWV Kauai ConCon Forum (segment with Rep. Morita and Mr. Lewis) online, Oct. 4, 2008.

Con Con briefing charts (PowerPoint) JoAnn Maruoka, Kauai, Oct. 4, 2008.

Con Con Ready to Run Conference (MS Word – intro) (JoAnn Maruoka), May 28, 2008.

Con Con Ready to Run Conference (PowerPoint – presentation) (JoAnn Maruoka), May 28, 2008.

ConCon 2008: Facts and Issues, Report of LWVHI ConCon Study Committee, April 2008. Slightly different version than in the Ka Lao Hana newsletter below.

Con Con Study Committee Report (Jean Aoki), Ka Lao Hana, April 2008.

No Consensus Pro or Con for LWV Honolulu, Jean Aoki, Aloha Voter, April 2008.

Loomis, Harold, Amending the State ConstitutionKa Leo Hana, September 2007.

Con Con Study Committee ReportsKa Leo Hana, September 2007.

Con Con 2010 – Yes or No? (Jean Aoki) Ka Leo Hana, May 2007.



Kahihikolo, Leslie R., “1978 Constitutional Convention and the Hawai`i Constitution,” in Hawai’i Environmental Justice Initiative Report, Prepared for the State of Hawai`i Environmental Council, January 9, 2008, pp. 7-1, 7-2.






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