Concerns raised over new election boundary maps

Dylan Nonaka
Dylan Nonaka
State Rep. Della Au Belatti, (D) Makiki, McCully
State Rep. Della Au Belatti, (D) Makiki, McCully

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's next election could pit some friends against one another. This as the new election maps are being finalized.  It also means Oahu will lose a state senate seat while the big island gains a spot.  Oahu may also get five open house seats.

It's a tale of two maps. The first map drawn in September and the other in February in large part because of a Supreme Court decision agreeing with the claim that too much weight is given to non-residents like military personnel.  But there are concerns the new map favors political factions.

"Maps are drawn up by a person that has interests and so we cannot know what all of their interests were but you have to draw conclusions from the outcome. That's what they did about ours and that's what we're doing about theirs but if there is a happy medium we want to look for it," said Dylan Nonaka, Reapportionment Commission Member from the Republican Party. "I don't like the accusation of gerrymandering because it's so hard to prove and it's such a subjective accusation that anybody can draw whatever conclusion they want based on what they want their conclusion to be."

"The dramatic differences between the February 15 maps and the September 2011 maps are so dramatic that the better solution is something that looks more closely to the plan that was vetted for months by this commission," said State Rep. Della Au Belatti, (D) Makiki, McCully.

The current version would pit incumbents against each other. On the Senate side Brian Taniguchi and Carol Fukunaga would go head to head.

On the House side there are five political matchups pitting incumbent versus incumbent including Democrats Jerry Chang vs. Mark Nakashima; and Della Au Belatti vs. Scott Saiki.  Then there are Republican vs. Democrat matchups with Kymberly Marcos Pine vs. Rida Cabanilla; Barbara Marumoto and Mark Hashem; and Gil Riviere vs. Jessica Wooley.

"I was torn and tormented about being cut out of my own town. I stayed back, I came forward today for this interesting opportunity to look at the maps," said State Rep. Gil Riviere, (R) North Shore Oahu.

The committee tasked to finalize the election maps is made up of four Democrats, four Republicans and chaired by retired judge Victoria Marks.

"There are going to be people no matter what map comes out they are not going to be happy and that's because of the population shift, and the growth and extraction, there are just multiple variables that go into all of these things," said Marks.

The deadline to finalize the maps was February 29. The committee will go back and take another look at the maps and meet again Tuesday March 6 at 2:00 pm at the State Capitol room 329.

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