POP ’94 was a nonpartisan community effort to elevate the 1994 political campaign. The basic plan was to facilitate citizen involvement in the prioritization of community concerns, create forums in which gubernatorial candidates could thoughtfully address these concerns, and encourage media coverage of the candidates’ positions. Nearly 4,000 specific questions were submitted by citizens; more than 500 individuals participated in at least one of seven statewide community issue conferences; approximately 400 people volunteered to help implement POP ’94; and a total of just over $100,000 was received from seven charitable foundations and 321 individuals.

Every gubernatorial candidate on the general ballot was questioned by six citizen panels on issues identified at issue conferences. These taped sessions—10 hours in total—were replayed in their entirety on Olelo and used in KHON Channel 2 daily news reports over a six-week period. KIKU rebroadcasted KHON’s reports after translating them into Japanese and Tagalog. Each candidate was invited to submit written answers to other questions from the issue conferences. POP ’94 published the candidates’ unedited responses in both The Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin at a cost of nearly $30,000.

Each candidate also was invited to participate in a 2-hour debate that was broadcast live during prime time by KHON TV-2 and Hawaii Public Radio, and then rebroadcast on Olelo. The Honolulu Advertiser devoted approximately 16 full pages of space to its coverage of the POP ’94 issue conferences, citizen panel interviews, and televised debate. KHON devoted far more time than ever before to coverage of the issues and credits POP ’94 for the difference. Its News Director, Kent Baker, praised the POP ‘94 model in a national trade publication.

The Unabridged Report Photo