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City commission prepares to revise political boundaries

By B.J. Reyes

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:31 a.m. HST, Jul 26, 2011



Members of the City Council Reapportionment Commission meet Wednesday and are expected to adopt rules moving forward in redrawing Oahu's political boundaries to reflect changes in the population since 2000.

The commission, appointed by the City Council in June, has met twice and has yet to take any formal actions. Albi Mateo, the lone woman among the nine members, was selected as chairwoman.

According to U.S. census figures compiled by the state Office of Elections, District I, the Leeward Coast-Ewa district represented by Councilman Tom Berg, showed the most growth over the past decade, increasing by 33,931 residents to 131,726 residents, a 35 percent jump.

On the other end of the scale, District III, Kaneohe-Kailua-Waimanalo, represented by Councilman Ikaika Anderson, showed a 3 percent decline in population, to 99,597 residents from 102,753.

MEETING TIME

Meeting of the 2011 Honolulu City Council Reapportionment Commission
» When: 4 p.m.
» Where: Honolulu Hale, City Council committee meeting room, second floor
» On the Net: More information, including how to submit public testimony, can be found at honoluluelections.us/election_info/Reapportionment.

Once rules are adopted, city commissioners will be tasked with the same question that faced their state counterparts: whether to include nonresident population groups such as military members and their dependents, students and incarcerated felons in the population count for redrawing boundaries. The issue is up for discussion at Wednesday's meeting.

The State Reapportionment Commission voted 8-1 to include the nonresident populations. Because most of them live on Oahu, retaining those groups on Oahu negates population growth in the state's permanent resident base that would give Hawaii island an additional seat in the state Senate.

The move could be challenged.

At a meeting last week, state Rep. Bob Herkes (D, Volcano-Kainaliu) presented the committee with an opinion from Attorney General David Louie stating that if the matter went to litigation, the inclusion of the nonresident groups likely would be struck down by the state Supreme Court.

The state commission faces a deadline of Aug. 7 to have its draft plan for new districts published and ready for public comment.

The next public hearing of the state commission is scheduled for Aug. 4.






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