The Oahu Reapportionment Commission made its choice on Tuesday, picking a map that largely keeps communities together by stretching each district from mountain side to the ocean.
Tensions were high as the nine-member panel sparred over the proposed three maps aimed at redrawing political lines based on 2020 Census data.
But ultimately the commission settled on an amended version of the Keana/Makapuu plan in a 7-2 vote after hearing testimony from the community. Former Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona and Commissioner Daniel Douglass were opposed.
The decision was important because it determines the makeup of the districts that choose members to hold the City Council seats.
One notable change in the new version, proposed by Vice Chair Chace Shigemasa, is that Waipahu, which is in District 8 and District 9, will fully switch to District 9 that consists of Ewa. Mililani Town and Mililani Mauka will be kept together under District 8, which consists of Pearl City.
Generally the Windward and Leeward Coast would remain the same.
“It’s well crafted and it takes all of the testimony concerns into account,” Commissioner Natalia Hussey-Burdick said in an interview.
The commission is responsible for a once-in-a-decade task of redrawing Oahu’s political map, with a goal of making sure that each district has roughly the same amount of people, that communities aren’t split up and that there is no gerrymandering – an unfair practice that favors a political party or class.
The state and Hawaii County are still going through their redistricting process.
Four council districts are up for election next year. Council members whose terms are ending are Brandon Elefante, who represents District 8, and Carol Fukunaga, who represents District 6. Council members up for reelection are City Council Chair Tommy Waters, who represents District 4, and Heidi Tsuneyoshi, who represents District 2.
Council members up for the 2024 elections are Andria Tupola, who represents District 1, Esther Kiaaina, who represents District 3, Calvin Say, who represents District 5, Radiant Cordero, who represents District 7, and Augie Tulba, who represents District 9.
The commission now must craft a final report before a Jan. 2 deadline.
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