Political Radar


August 5th, 2013

Michael Golojuch, Jr., the gay activist who filed complaints against 11 state House and Senate Democrats who sponsored or co-sponsored a constitutional amendment on traditional marriage, said Monday that he has dropped the complaints against all but two of the lawmakers.

The complaints allege that the lawmakers violated the Democratic Party of Hawaii's platform in favor of equal rights by backing the bills.

Golojuch, the chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender caucus, said he would advocate for sanctions against Sen. Mike Gabbard and Rep. Sharon Har when Oahu Democrats meet on Saturday to discuss the complaints.

Golojuch has withdrawn complaints against Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, House Vice Speaker John Mizuno, Rep. Henry Aquino, Rep. Karen Awana, Rep. Ty Cullen, Rep. Ken Ito, Rep. Calvin Say, Rep. K. Mark Takai, and Rep. Clift Tsuji.

An investigative panel reviewing the complaints for the party has recommended that Gabbard be reprimanded and Har be censured because they were the primary sponsors of the constitutional amendment. The panel had urged the party to dismiss the complaints against the others.

“After receiving the Oahu County’s investigative committee’s report and in-depth conversations amongst the caucus members and leadership we have decided to withdraw the charges against those who merely signed on to the bills.” Golojuch said in a statement.

8 Responses to “Withdrawn”

  1. Sayer:

    What's the explanation as to why those charges were all dropped?

  2. Sayer:

    What's the explanation as to why those charges were all dropped? It seems the fairest route is to either reprimand everyone or reprimand no one.

  3. Bart Dame:

    As former chair of the DPH Rules Committee, it is not clear to me Gabbard should be allowed to withdraw the complaints, although I appreciate his attempt to "save face" and appear reasonable.

    Here is my reasoning. The Party's disciplinary process is more akin to a criminal investigation than a civil lawsuit. Once Gabbard filed the complaint and the county Rules Committee started investigating, the case no longer belonged to the complainant. If I believe my neighbor is running a chop-shop for stolen cars and I present enough evidence to HPD so they look into the matter, the case against the neighbor does not simply go away if I decide to drop the complaint.

    Allowing the complainant to withdraw a complaint creates two weaknesses in the process. First, a complainant can be pressured to withdraw a complaint f the accused member is powerful. It is much better if the complainant can respond to such pressure by saying, "it is out of my hands." Secondly, it prevents someone from filing a complaint, then wringing a concession from the accused member in exchange for something else.

    While I can understand the desire of party leaders to accede to the withdrawl, I think it would be a serious mistake. Better to rule Golojuch cannot withdraw the complaint and have the OCC members vote on the recommendation regarding those accused members. At that time, Golojuch, should he want to do so, can urge the charges be dismissed, and, perhaps, apologize for wasting everyone's time.

    But the complaints against Gabbard and Har should not be upheld by the Oahu County Committee either. All legislators must be free to listen to testimony at hearings, consider feedback from their constituents, confer with their colleagues and then, apply their own intellects and consciences to all legislation before them. This includes the right to introduce bills contrary to the platform of the Party. To the best of my knowledge, the Party has not ever tried to force Democratic elected officials to vote according to the platform, with two exceptions. In 2009, Mike Gabbard was reprimanded for working with other political forces, outside of his legislative duties, to try to defeat fellow Democrats BECAUSE they supported the Democratic Party platform plank in favor of Civil Unions. Senator Gabbard crossed a line in 2009, but his actions this time do not appear to even begin to approach what he had done previously. I think he learned a lesson from th previous sanction and was careful NOT to cross the line established at his earlier trial.

    The only other case I am aware of was when Senator Donovan Delacruz was brought up on charges for not supporting the platform's support for protecting the environment. That charge was dismissed. So with only the previous Gabbard complaiant as a precedent, I see nothing in the Har or Gabbard actions which merits sanction.

    I say that as someone who strongly opposes their views on marriage equality.

    The Democratic Party has some strong assets to bring to our central mission of electing Democrats to office and getting our platform adopted into statute. We have, on paper, over 50,000 party members. So on average, we have 1,000 members in each of the 51 House districts; 2000 in every senate district. Should the party mobilize is own members, we can certainly get a lot more bills passed through persuasion than through threats.

    The move to use the Rules to ENFORCE our platform rather than use persuasion and traditional community mobilization is a sign of weakness, not a sign of strength. I prefer a strong party, with leaders understanding how to "win friends and influence people," not wannabe political commissars making "big body" and proclaiming themselves to be the "New Sheriff in Town."

    I am hoping the complaints against Har and Gabbard are dropped and both the party leaders and our elected officials can stop this polarization and come together to figure how to pass full marriage equality as soon as possible so we can move beyond this divisive issue. If Michael Golojuch wants to help, he can start by lobbying his boss, Governor Abercrombie, into calling a special session. If there is one person who can expedite the passage of full marriage equality in Hawaii, it is the Governor. Not Senator Gabbard. Not Rep. Har.

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  5. Goober:

    Former? Seems one taking a leak.

    It seems that many want tranparency
    but complain when they are the ones
    being watche. My advice. Dress in the basement
    or underground.

    There were complaints about the ethics in politics.

  6. Bart Dame:

    CORRECTION: I had meant to write: "it is not clear to me GOLOJUCH should be allowed to withdraw the complaints."

    My apologies to Mike!

  7. Alan R. Spector:

    There is no debate from me that Senator Gabbard is a homophobe who has done much harm to the gay community in Hawaii. That said, it is unfortunate that the GLBT Caucus and its leadership can't see the forest through the trees. What there are doing is creating divisiveness and a wedge issue that may ultimately be used to undermine our marriage bill by peeling away votes of supportive legislators who will rally around their own....perceiving them to be under attack by the GLBT Caucus AND this may be used as an issue to NOT have an early legislative session. If the goal is passing marriage equality, the Caucus really needs to ask itself how its current efforts are hurting or helping our campaign. I can't think of one reason how these complaints will help us to pass a marriage bill. Talk about bad timing too. Does the Caucus not have any understanding of strategy and the importance of doing things at the right time? Now isn't the time to be spitting in the face of the legislature when they have the power to pass or kill our marriage bill.

  8. Goober:

    Such a queer (odd) comment.

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