In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander ( /ˈdʒɛriˌmændər/); however, that word can also refer to the process.
Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.
When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, such as in US federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities (these are thus called “minority-majority districts“).
Many folks have been wondering if there was any gerrymandering going on during the Hawaii County Redistricting process. On Wednesday, December 16th a special meeting was called to order to address this situation.
The following is the minutes from the meeting:
Wednesday, December 16, 2011
County Council Chambers
25 Aupuni Street
Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720
CALL TO ORDER:
CHR. SIRACUSA: It is 1:35 p.m., so I am going to call this meeting to order. This is the 13th session of the Hawai‘i County Redistricting Commission,and this is a Special Meeting. Do we have anyone in Kona or Waimea; or are we all here? We are all here.
Present: Mr. Joseph Carvalho, Commissioner, Mr. Patrick Kahawaiola’a, Commissioner, Mr. Craig “Bo” Kahui, Commissioner, Mr. Dru Mamo Kanuha, Commissioner, Mr. Jeffrey Melrose, Commissioner, Mr. Mike Middlesworth, Commissioner, Ms. René Siracusa, Chair, Ms. Valerie Poindexter, Commissioner, Ms. Linda Ugalde, Commissioner
Also Present: Michael Udovic, Deputy Corporation Counsel, Joseph Kamelamela, Deputy Corporation Counseln Charmaine Shigimura, Executive Assistant to Mayor Kenoi, Jamae K. K. Kawauchi, County Clerk, Steve “Kawena” Lopez, Deputy County Clerk, Cori Saiki, Elections Staff, Shyla Ayau, Elections Staff, Nora Avenue, Committees Section Staff, Maile David, Legislative Specialist, Manu Hanano, Council Aide in Waimea, Barbara Lively, Legislative Assistant, Pahoa, Leslie “Lali” Robinson, Deputy Executive Assistant in Kona, Karen Eoff, Secretary
CHR. SIRACUSA: Okay, we are all present and accounted for. We have no guests, is that correct?
MR. KANUHA: Madam Chair, before we continue, I would like to make a motion to go into Executive Session to talk about what we are actually here for, with our attorney.
Mr. Kanuha moved to go into Executive Session to discuss with Corporation Counsel, the purpose of the Special Meeting. Seconded by Ms. Poindexter.
CHR. SIRACUSA: Is there any discussion? I believe we need a two-thirds vote.
MR. MELROSE: I just want to suggest, that we really don’t know why; and I think that more for the community’s perspective, I want to get into a conversation that we understand where it’s going. The reason why we are here is not all that clear to me from a special purpose perspective. So, I think it’s a good idea to have a conversation, because we haven’t had a chance to—What is the authority for calling it, and all of those kinds of questions. It would be helpful, useful to me, before we get to the Order of Business.
MS. POINDEXTER: I agree; I totally agree. We are just blindsided here. I feel blindsided by this.
CHR. SIRACUSA: I think we definitely need to have a conversation. But I am wondering if it would be a good idea to have it in Executive Session; as opposed to everything else we have done so far has been totally out in the open. And I think the minute we start going into Executive Session, people are going to start getting suspicious.
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