Highlights of past Common Cause Hawaii community events, workshops, and presentations

For photos of past events, please visit our Facebook page. For videos, click here.


January 11, 2018
Civil Cafe: 2018 Hawaii Legislative Preview was hosted by
Honolulu Civil Beat in partnership with Common Cause Hawaii to discuss major issues that will come up in the Legislature and some that may not, but should. Together, panelists explored why several topics repeatedly fail to pass and what that process entails, before offering tips on how to get involved and the best way to stay informed this session. Click here to watch the full video.


December 1, 2017
Increased citizen participation in the lawmaking and electoral process makes for a more robust democracy. Experts from the Center for Secure and Modern Elections discussed Automatic Voter Registration and how it could help bring Hawaii's elections into the 21st century. Click here to view the video.

November 7, 2017
In today's unpredictable political climate, ethics in government and the people's confidence in government are facing unprecedented challenges. Common Cause Hawaii hosted a panel discussion to regarding this important, but often overlooked issue. Panelists: Daniel Gluck, Executive Director Hawaii State Ethics Commission; Ian Lind, Investigative Journalist;Kristin Izumi-Nitao, Executive Director Campaign Spending Commission; and Corie Tanida, Executive Director Common Cause Hawaii. Moderated by Eric Cordeiro. Watch the video here.

Ethics Theory or practice

July 18, 2017

Common Cause Hawaii Board Chair Elton Johnson and Executive Director held a webinar for Common Cause Hawaii members to discuss changes in the last year, and challenges we're facing in this unprecedented and unpredictable climate we're living in. Click here to watch the webinar.

April 15, 2017

Common Cause Hawaii partnered with Hawaii J20 and hundreds across Oahu to demand that President Trump release his tax returns. We deserve to know -- what’s hiding in President Trump’s tax returns? The American people deserve answers about President Trump’s business dealings and assets. If we let him keep hiding his tax returns, it’ll leave critical questions about his potential conflicts of interest and ties -- or whether he paid taxes at all.Honolulu Civil Beat live streamed the event. Video credit: Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat.

Common Cause Hawaii partnered with Hawaii J20 and hundreds across Oahu to demand that President Trump release his tax returns. We deserve to know -- what’s hiding in President Trump’s tax returns? The American people deserve answers about President Trump’s business dealings and assets. If we let him keep hiding his tax returns, it’ll leave critical questions about his potential conflicts of interest and ties -- or whether he paid taxes at all. Honolulu Civil Beat live streamed the event. Video credit: Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat.

March 16, 2017

Together with the League of Women Voters Hawaii, Common Cause Hawaii hosted an info briefing for those interested in applying for membership on the Campaign Spending and Ethics Commissions. Former and current commissioners spoke about their responsibilities and duties and the State Judiciary explained the application process. Together with the League of Women Voters Hawaii, we hosted an info briefing for those interested in applying for membership on the Campaign Spending and Ethics Commissions. Former and current commissioners spoke about their responsibilities and duties and the State Judiciary explained the application process. Watch the video here.

CSC and Ethics Comm briefing

January 26, 2017

Common Cause Hawaii partnered with Honolulu Civil Beat to hosted “Legislative Session—What Can I Do?” This panel discussion encouraged civic engagement. The panelists guided attendees through the ins and outs of lawmaking and offer actionable steps to influence positive change in the community. 

Panelists included: Beppie Shapiro, League of Women Voters Hawaii; Corie Tanida, Common Cause Hawaii; Keanu Young, Public Access Room; moderated by Chad Blair, Honolulu Civil Beat. Click here to watch the video.

Civil Cafe: Legislative Session - What Can I Do?


December 3, 2016
Hawaii People's CongressThe Hawaii People's Congress was a gathering of community leaders, organizations and movements from across Hawaii who want to work together to build a more just, fair and healthy future. Executive Director Corie Tanida was on the "Money In politics" panel discussion with Benjamin Singer of mayday.us. Panelists spoke about money's influence on politics with a special focus on publicly funded elections. Click here to view the video. (Photo: L to R Elif Beall, H.A.P.A. and Corie Tanida, Common Cause Hawaii)

November 9, 2016
Corie Tanida, Executive Director did a mock press conference at the University of Hawaii’s Journalism Day, for aspiring high school journalists. The press conference, which announced that Common Cause Hawaii will once again champion automatic voter registration during the 2017 Hawaii State Legislative Session, was the culminating event for the students, who attended workshops led by local reporters earlier in the day. After the press conference, the students then put their newfound skills to use and created news, editorial, and video pieces on the topic.

May 30, 2016
The last Public House of 2016 was held on Memorial Day, and discussed "Urban Development". The illustrious panel featured
Annie Koh, Ph.D. candidate in Urban & Regional Planning at UH Manoa; Andrew Tang, Urban Planner at Honolulu's Transit Oriented Development Division; and Ryan Tam Chair of the Ala Moana-Kakaako Neighborhood Board #11. Click here for the event recap.

Panelist at May 2016 Public House
Photo (L to R): Andrew Tang, Ryan Tam, and Annie Koh

April 25, 2016
On April 25, 2016 Common Cause Hawaii and Manifest hosted the fourth installment of their Public House series. April’s Public House discussed "The New Economy: entrepreneurship, crowd-funding, and startups", featuring panelists Tabatha Chow, Uber Operations Manager; Sara Cobble, Pono Home General Manager; Spencer Toyama, Sudokrew Co-Founder/Business Development. The event was hosted by Eric Cordeiro with music by DJ Jet Boy. Read the event recap for more.

April Public House Panelists
Photo (L to R): Common Cause Hawaii Executive Director Carmille Lim, Sara Cobble, Tabatha Chow, and Spencer Toyama

March 31-Hawaii Open Budget Demo
Common Cause Hawaii was proud to co-sponsor another State Budget Workshop with the Senate Minority Office. Senate Minority Budget Director Paul Harleman demonstrated 2016 updates to the Hawaii Open Budget App, which allows you to view the budget in a user friendly format. Use the app to learn about sources of funding, how money is being spent and try to balance the budget for yourself. https://hawaiiopenbudget.com/

March 28-Public House: Mental Health and Hawaii's Homeless
The third installment of Public House, a free
event held on the last Monday of each month, sponsored by Common Cause Hawaii and Manifest featured panelists
Kimo Carvalho, Director of Community Relations Institute for Human Services (IHS); Trisha Kajimura, Executive Director of Mental Health America of Hawaii; Tom McDonald, Executive Director of Kahumana Organic Farms/Alternative Structures International. The panelists engaged in a robust discussion and provided great insights as to some of the issues Hawaii is facing regarding mental health and homeless. Click here for an event recap.

Panelists at March 2016 Public House

Photo (L to R): Kimo Carvalho, Trisha Kajimura, Tom McDonald, and Eric Cordeiro

March 21-Civil Cafe: Apathy and Influence
Civil Beat's Civil Cafe on Apathy and Influence, was a panel discussion on how good government bills are faring in the legislative session. Panelists included state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, Common Cause Executive Director Carmille Lim, and the League of Women Voters’ Janet Mason. The discussion was moderated by Chad Blair of Civil Beat. Panelists discussed term limits, low voter turnout, campaign finance reform and the practice of legislators sharing their campaign funds with other politicians. Click here to watch the video.

February 29-Public House: Supporting Hawaii's Youth-Tackling Education Issues Beyond Air Conditioning
Public House is a FREE event held on the last Monday of each month, sponsored by Common Cause Hawaii and Manifest. Hosted by Eric Cordeiro with music by DJ The Forrest, the very knowledgeable panelists included: Patricia Halagao, Board of Education member; Representative Takashi Ohno, Hawaii State House member, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Education; and Buffy Cushman-Patz, School Leader and Founder of SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability, a public charter middle school in Kaimuki. Click here for the recap.

February Public House
Photo: Panelists (L-R) Patricia Halagao, Buffy Cushman-Patz, Takashi Ohno. Far right: Eric Cordeiro

February 24-Dining for Democracy
Common Cause Hawaii‘s first benefit dinner, “Dining for Democracy”, held at The Pig and the Lady, featured investigative blogger Ian Lind as the keynote speaker. As a former newsletter publisher, public interest advocate, peace educator, legislative staffer, lobbyist for Common Cause Hawaii, and currently an investigative reporter and columnist who has been blogging daily for 15 years, Ian was able to share incredible stories about how Hawaii politics and local media has morphed over the past 30 years. Check out the event recap and photos.

Ian Lind

January 25-Public House: Importance of State Legislatures and what’s in store for the 2016 Legislative Session
Public House is a FREE event held on the last Monday of each month, sponsored by Common Cause Hawaii and Manifest. Special guest panelists and clips from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver will highlight issues that Hawaii is facing today. The public is encouraged to join the conversation and share their opinions. The event was hosted by Eric Cordeiro, with music by DJ Jet Boy. Featured panelists were Nathan Eagle, reporter at Civil Beat; Ikaika Hussey, board member with H.A.P.A (Hawai'i Alliance for Progressive Action). Check out the recap here.

Public House January 2016


April 7-Advocacy 201 Workshop: Conference Committees
A workshop aimed to help attendees understand the role of Conference Committees in the legislative process, and how to understand Conference Committee rules. This workshop was done in partnership with the Public Access Room, featuring guest presenter Virginia Beck, Public Access Room Coordinator.

April 2- Rally: Ask Obama to Shine Light on Corporate Corruption
Common Cause Hawaii and Public Citizen co-hosted a rally urging President Obama to issue an Executive Order, requiring federal government contractors to disclose their political contributions to dark money groups. Held on the first anniversary of the McCutcheon U.S. Supreme Court ruling that further put our democracy up for sale, an executive order could not only reveal the groups behind the flood of attack ads we see every election cycle, but also put a stop to quid-pro-quo contracting.

March 25-Hawaii Open Budget Demo
Piggy-backing on Sunshine Week, which is dedicated to promoting transparency and public access in government, Common Cause Hawaii presented a live demonstration of the nonpartisan Hawaii Open Budget website. Guest presenters Paul Harleman, Budget Director and Tisha Panter, Senior Attorney and Director of Research of Senate Minority Research Office, provided an overview of the budget process and how to utilize the website. The Hawaii Open Budget Initiative is a joint effort of the Hawaii State Senate and House Minority Caucuses. It is a nonpartisan informational tool that makes the state budget information accessible to the public.

January 21-Unhappy Unbirthday to Citizens United; Screening of Pay 2 Play
Film screening of Pay 2 Play on the 5th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Citizens United v. FEC decision. The event's theme was "Unhappy Unbirthday" inspired by the "Merry Unbirthday" scene in Alice In Wonderland.


December 5-Screening of Pay 2 Play
Film screening of Pay 2 Play.  This film follows the journey of film maker John Ennis’ quest to find a way out from under the Pay 2 Play System, where Politicians reward their donors with even larger sums from the public treasury -- through contracts, tax cuts, and deregulation. This event was co-sponsored by Public Citizen.

November 20-Panel on Clean Elections at UH Hilo
Carmille Lim, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii joined Susan Dursin of the League of Women Voters and Chris Yuen, former board member of The Hawaii Elections Project, to discuss the issues of clean elections and transparency in Hawaii.  The event was co-sponsored by student group Democracy Matters, Global HOPE and Common Cause Hawaii.

September 5 & 6- Extraordinary Machine: Restoring Public Access to the Public Domain
In conjunction with Interisland Terminal, Hawaii Open Data and Startup Weekend Honolulu, this 2 day event included the film screening of The Internet’s Own Boy, which follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz, and an Open Knowledge Action Workshop to launch a broader discussion about Open Knowledge, public access to government data and public records.

August 23-Live streaming workshop
Live media coverage of important current events is shrinking. It’s increasingly becoming citizens’ responsibility to share significant events and key policy-decisions with others.  At this free workshop, participants learned from social justice activist H. Doug Matsuoka, of Hawaii Guerilla Video Hui, how to broadcast video live to the internet using their smartphone.

August 21-Screening of Citizen Koch
Film screening of Citizen Koch. The film investigates the impact of unlimited, anonymous spending by corporations and billionaires on the electoral process.   This event was co-sponsored by the Americans for Democratic Action/Hawaii.

June-August Civic*Celerator Community Demonstrations
Developers of Civic*Celerator apps and CCHI team members held demonstrations to teach community members what the apps are capable of, and how to use them.  Demonstrations were held in town and at various Neighborhood Board meetings, including Hawaii Kai, Pearl City, and Kuliouou.

April 19 – Civic*Celerator Demo Day
Demo Day was the culmination of four months’ worth of Civic*Celerator work. Teams presented their final products to a panel of judges, who offered feedback and scores. Teams were given until the end of May to incorporate any final feedback from judges before the apps are given a “hard launch” in June. Judges included reporters from Hawaii News Now, Civil Beat, Hawaii Star Advertiser, the executive director of the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, and a CEO of a local tech-investment company. Click here to use the apps.

Demo Day Developers Pic

Photo: Civic Celerator developers

Hack Nights on March 12, and every Friday from March 28 until Demo Day (3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18)
“Hack nights” are nights for policy brainstorming and coding. Teams comingled and collaborated to further develop their apps. Hack nights were open to the public and we welcomed citizen advocates to participate and bring in their own perspectives and suggestions to the Civic*Celerator apps.

April 4 – Rally for Publicly Funded Elections
At this point in the legislature, the 2014 public funding was killed. Our only hope in passing a public funding bill this session was to “revive” HB1481, which was the 2013 bill that was stalled in Conference and “carried” over to this legislative session. The rally was aimed to show community support for this bill in hopes of persuading legislators to pass HB1481. This rally was co-sponsored by Voter Owned Hawaii, Babes Against Biotech, Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE), and Sierra Club Hawaii. Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream co-founder Ben Cohen was the keynote speaker, and local award-winning singer and slack-key musician Makana also spoke at and sang at the rally.

April 8 – Advocacy 102: Conference Committee
A workshop aimed to help attendees understand the role of Conference Committees in the legislative process, and how to understand Conference Committee rules. In a Q&A and roundtable format, we explored ways to have citizens continue to advocate on their issues despite having Conference work done “behind closed doors.” This workshop was done in partnership with the Public Access Room, and featured guest Nikki Love, policy director of the Hawaii Alliance for Nonprofit Organizations. Click here to view the video of the workshop.

March 29 – Civic*Celerator Pre-Demo Day
Pre-Demo Day was geared to show the public a preview of the apps that volunteer teams who were participating in Civic*Celerator created. This was an opportunity for the audience to ask questions and provide feedback for teams to incorporate if they so chose. This was also an opportunity for teams to practice their presentation for Demo Day.

March 20 – Democracy at Risk with Michael Copps
This was a lunchtime talk on net neutrality and pending decisions with the FCC. The topic was Media and the Struggle for Democracy. This luncheon event was co-sponsored by Media Council Hawaii.

March 19 – Media, transparency, and Democracy with Michael Copps
In early 2013, Common Cause Hawaii released part 1 of a study that compared political ads and political news/issue coverage in the media, in the 2012 elections. For Sunshine Week 2014, Common Cause Hawaii released part 2 of the study, and convened a panel to discuss this more in depth. Former Communications Commissioner (FCC) Michael Copps was the keynote speaker. The panel included Common Cause’s media director, the publisher for the Hawaii Independent, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii – Manoa (UHM), a journalism professor at UHM, and the executive producer of Hawaii Public Radio.

Michael Copps YWCA

Photo: Panelists L-R: Todd O'Boyle, Director for Media and Democracy Common Cause; Ikaika Hussey, Publisher The Hawaii Independent; Gerald Kato Professor of Journalism Univeristy of Hawaii at Manoa; Neal Milner Former Professor of Political Science University of Hawaii at Manoa; Michael Copps, Former Federal Communications Commissioner; Beth-Ann Kozlovich, Executive Producer/Host Hawaii Public Radio.

March 15 – Discussion on voting modernization: publicly-funded elections and election day voter registration
Within this workshop, we laid out the history of public funding in Hawaii, how public funding works, why it’s needed, the mechanics of the 2014 bill, and how other states’ public funding programs work. Common Cause organized this panel workshop with Faith Action for Community Equity (FACE). Representatives from Common Cause, League of Women Voters, and Americans for Democratic Action/Hawaii were on the panel.

March 4 – Advocacy 102: Order of the Day and floor readings
A workshop aimed to help attendees understand the role of floor readings within the legislative process. We explored how to read the Order of the Day (i.e., the agenda for floor hearings), and how citizens can participate in this. This workshop was done in partnership with the Public Access Room. Click here to view the video of the presentation.

February 12 and February 19 – Hack Night 1 and 2
In addition to Civic*Celerator groups working independently, participants gathered several as a larger group, to work on their applications, brainstorm ideas for other groups’ apps, and be mentored on campaign finance laws. Groups also used this time to identify possible policy solutions to campaign finance loopholes they are stumbling across.

February 6 – Inequality for All film screening + Discussion on Minimum Wage
Common Cause Hawaii held a film screening of Inequality for All with an unprecedented group of co-partners whose focus is on economic development, social justice, faith groups, and labor rights. Part of the event included a discussion on Hawaii’s minimum wage and how money-in-politics affects social and economic issues. Nearly 300 people attended.

January 25 – Civic*Celerator Kick-off event
Common Cause Hawaii and project co-partners Hawaii Open Data launched Civic*Celerator (an initiative funded by Voqal), a contest to build civic apps and educate voters utilizing data from the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission and other government agencies.


December 5 – Appreciation dinner for donors, members, and volunteers:
We used this opportunity to thank our extended team, look back on 2013’s accomplishments, and unveil 2014 initiatives.

September 27-Money in Politics Coaching
We worked with service-learning teachers to develop a tailored coaching “curriculum” for high school students on money-in-politics issues. With CCHI’s coaching, high school students presented their interpretation of various campaign finance laws and possible solutions.

September 19 - Policy & Pints – Citizens United, McCutcheon, money in politics, transparency for superPACs, hearing notice requirements and transparency for government agencies  
Gathered community members for a pau hana to discuss the possible implications of McCutcheon, Citizens United after-math, and provided a historical context for money-in-politics issues and key decisions in the United States.

August 18- United States of ALEC film screening
Common Cause Hawaii held a film screening of The United States of ALEC – a film that exposes the American Legislative Exchange Council – America’s most influential corporate-funded political force.  The screening was followed by a moderated group discussion (among attendees) to talk about the issue of money and politics, and the ever-increasing corporate control of our democracy.

July 18 - Policy & Pints – ethics, transparency, legislative rules, publicly financed elections
This was a pau hana roundtable aimed to give guests a preview of what issues Common Cause Hawaii will be tackling in the coming legislative session. Guests brainstormed additional policy ideas, and discussed ethics, transparency, and money-in-politics issues and potential solutions.

May 13 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly post-legislative session
Speakers from Media Council Hawaii, Hawaii Open Data, Voter Owned Hawaii, and a State Representative to discussed several key “democracy” bills, and their story on process-related challenges and achievements.

Democracy Reform presentation: Hawaii People’s Fund
We spoke to a group of 15 individuals representing 10 nonprofit organizations – including organizations on the neighbor islands. Our discussion was focused on the legislative processes, and how we can encourage more ethical behavior, and more transparency and better public access to encourage public participation (especially for neighbor island people).

Ethics & Campaign Spending Commission workshop
Co-hosted a workshop aimed to recruit community volunteers to serve as commissioners for the Ethics Commission and Campaign Spending Commission resulted in recruiting 7 applicants to the State Ethics Commission and 2 applicants for the Campaign Spending Commission. This workshop was co-hosted by the League of Women Voters of Hawaii and Kanu Hawaii.

Good Government advocates roundtable discussion
Hosted a roundtable discussion for representatives of 15-20 community organizations who recognize the need to support "good government" measures. This meeting resulted in an ongoing and informal “Good Government” coalition with representatives ranging from healthcare, insurance, media, environment, gambling. Among many group efforts to raise the profile of the need for “good government practices”, together we helped to raise community awareness of legislative practices that alter a bills’ original content without (or with late) public notification. This roundtable discussion was co-hosted with the League of Women Voters of Hawaii.

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