In ConCon fight, roles are reversed

Wed, Oct 15 2008

The last time Hawai’i held a Constitutional Convention, in 1978, the focus was on a political power struggle between the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

In many ways, that same picture is emerging today as the state contemplates holding yet another convention to look at, and possibly revise, our constitution.

The big difference is that the forces that want change and those who are comfortable with the status quo have — in many respects — switched sides.

Proponents this year of a Constitutional Convention, ConCon for short, include some conservative groups and the Republican Party, who have made league with political leaders who are deeply frustrated with the ability of the Legislature to deal with today’s problems.

Opposing the ConCon are many labor unions and a loose coalition of environmentalists, Native Hawaiian groups and social reformers who fear gains made in the previous two conventions could be lost.