The Following Message Was Sent to Oahu County Democratic Party Officers
September 14, 2016
Please accept this email as notification of resignation of my position as vice chair of the Oahu County Committee.
I want to thank the Oahu County Democratic Party and OCC for the rewarding and enriching experience. Twelve years ago Jimmy Toyama asked if I could use my technology skills to modernize the membership database. Through the years I've been able to practice my profession while participating and helping an organization whose mission and values I feel so passionate about has been extremely rewarding.
Now however, I feel the officer and committee level party membership has become less focused on helping Democrats beat Republicans, and I feel too focused on rules, discipline and policing member behavior. The OCC style has become less transparent, more dictatorial, and for me, more stressful. I no longer feel my time is well spent participating, and for this reason I am resigning my vice chair position on the Oahu County Committee. I wish the committee well.
Cc: Party Officers on Oahu
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Democrats Move Against Finger Flipper but not Caldwell, Cayetano
Star-Adv Sept 17, 2016: Hawaii Democrats have assigned a team to investigate and propose a possible punishment for activist Chelsea Lyons Kent, who raised her middle-finger on television at the Democratic National Convention. However, the party’s handling of that and other complaints has prompted one member of the party’s Oahu County Committee to resign….
Oahu County Committee Chairwoman Reena Rabago confirmed the Oahu committee voted on Sept. 10 to assign a five-member team to investigate both complaints against Kent, and said the team will return with recommendations on what to do next.
Richard Halverson, who was vice chairman of the Oahu County Committee, resigned from that post after the Sept. 10 meeting. In his resignation letter, Halverson expressed frustration that “party membership has become less focused on helping Democrats beat Republicans, and I feel too focused on rules, discipline and policing member behavior.”
“The OCC style has become less transparent, more dictatorial, and for me, more stressful,” Halverson wrote in his letter of resignation. “I no longer feel my time is well spent participating, and for this reason I am resigning.”
Halverson in an interview raised concern that the case against Kent is being handled differently than similar complaints against other party members.
The Oahu committee has received a separate complaint filed against former Democratic Gov. Ben Cayetano, Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi and former Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Walter Heen for endorsing Republican Charles Djou in the nonpartisan Honolulu mayor’s race.
Still another complaint was filed against Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell for endorsing Republican Kymberly Pine in the nonpartisan Honolulu City Council race.
Halverson said the Oahu committee advanced the complaints against Kent last weekend, but took no action on the complaints against Kobayashi, Cayetano, Heen or Caldwell.
Since three of the complaints allege rule violations by party members who endorsed non-Democrats, some Oahu committee members wanted those complaints investigated by the same team. That way, any disciplinary recommendations would be consistent, Halverson said….
“We would like all of these weighed under one investigation, and now that just can’t happen,” he said. The concern is that inconsistent decisions could further divide factions within the party, “and in the long term, this isn’t going to solve anything,” Halverson said.
Rabago confirmed the cases against Kobayashi, Cayetano, Heen and Caldwell have not yet been referred for investigation “because they’re still going through the process.”
“Whenever there’s a complaint, there’s a process that has to be followed, and all of the complaints are in the early stages, but they’re all moving forward,” Rabago said.
She declined to discuss the cases further, noting that the Democratic Party is a private organization, and not a public government agency.
Rabago also declined to comment on whether other Oahu committee members have expressed unhappiness with the handling of the complaints. “It’s party business, and it has to go through a process, and the party is the party. We’re talking about people’s membership, and that’s not … it’s so private that I wouldn’t want to comment on anything,” she said.
read … Dems divided over crude gesture