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Gender, party affiliation trip reapportionment nominations

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The City Council has nominated nine people for a commission that is charged with redrawing Oahu’s nine Council districts to reflect the county’s changing population.

But the lineup could change by the time nominees come up for final approval at the Council’s June 3 hearing because of community members’ objections that having only one female — Albi Mateo — on the commission does not reflect the gender composition of the electorate.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE …

The people the City Council has nominated to serve on the city Reapportionment Commission:

» Rodney Funakoshi, senior project manager, Castle & Cooke planning and development department
» Reynaldo “Rey” Graulty, former judge, state senator and insurance commissioner
» C. Mike Kido, director of external affairs, Pacific Resource Partnership
» Kerry Komatsubara, attorney specializing in corporate law, real estate and labor arbitration
» Albi Mateo, general manager, Royal Kunia Community Association
» John Monis, lobbyist, Hawaii Operating Engineer Industry Stability Fund
» Anel “Tito” Montes, research analyst, program manager for scientific consulting company at U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters
» Nathan Okubo, attorney specializing in real estate, banking and finance, hospitality and resort property
» Arthur Park, attorney

"You have to have some sort of sexual balance on here — some gender balance," Downtown Neighborhood Board member Lynne Matusow testified at the Council’s Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting Monday. "The way it looks is blatantly discriminatory. Whether it was intended to be that way or not doesn’t matter. That’s how those of us from the outside looking in see it."

Community members noted that the makeup of the commission in 1991 and 2001 had at least three women and that the current state Reapportionment Commission also includes three women.

"This one-woman, eight-man group does not represent the demographics of the community it serves," Matusow said.

Under the City Charter, the Council is required to appoint its Reapportionment Commission by July 1, and the nine-member body has until Jan. 2 to submit a reapportionment plan to the city clerk. The chairman is to be elected from among its members.

Council Chairman Nestor Garcia noted that each Council member submitted a nominee from applications submitted, and under the Sunshine Law, Council members could not have conferred privately before submitting nominees.

"There was nothing conspiratorial to the makeup of the panel," Garcia said.

However, three nominees have not yet submitted the proper paperwork, and of those who have, three are Democrats, two independent and one Republican.

Under the charter, "no more than a majority of the members of the commission" may be from the same political party.

Garcia noted that if it turns out — once final paperwork is submitted — that five nominees are Democrats, the commission would be in violation of the charter, and at that point the Council might have to consider resubmitting nominees.

The Council advanced the resolution with the nine nominations to be taken up at its June 3 meeting, with the understanding that if there are too many Democratic nominees, the Council might have to reconsider.

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