Breaking: Census releases 2020 numbers by County – Potential impacts on legislative redistricting reviewed

Early speculation by most was predicting that Oahu would lose population and State House seats, and the neighbor-islands would gain them – however that may not be the case.

The below are raw numbers that reflect zero shift of any state legislative seats from Oahu to the Neighbor Island – I’m not sure how adjusting the population counts with regards to military and university students will impact this, but it would seem the adjustment would need to be significant to result in any change or shift in House seats.

Basic unadjusted estimates – Additional eyeballs and analysis of these numbers is welcome, but below is my “first take”.

2020 Census State of Hawaii as per August 12, 2021 report
Raw numbers not adjusted for full-time residents versus military and out of state students

Doing the basic math to determine the legislative district allocation per County –

Total State of Hawaii 2020 Population 1,455,271

25 State Senators = 58,210 people per S District
51 State House = 28,535 people per H District

Note: Number in parenthesis represents the status quo number of legislative districts allocated to the particular County. The preceding number with a decimal point is the estimated number of legislative districts for 2022 based on the census numbers but not including any adjustments for military residents or out-of-state student population.

Honolulu 2021 Population 1,016,508
State Senators 17.5 (17)
State House 35.6 (35)

Hawaii Population 200,629
State Senators 3.45 (4)
State House 7.03 (7)

Maui Population 164,754
State Senators 2.83 (3)
State House 5.77 (6)

Kauai Population 73,298
State Senators 1.258 (1)
State House 2.568 (3)

Read today’s breaking news on the new census numbers released: Civil Beat https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/08/2020-census-oahus-population-tops-1-million-for-the-first-time/

For a primer on the “re-districting” process read: https://garyhooser.blog/2021/07/17/unpacking-the-2022-hawaii-reapportionment-redistricting-discussion/

Drill down further into the 2020 census numbers and compare to 2010:
https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/2020-population-and-housing-state-data.html

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Maui Money Report – Senate, House, Mayor, Council

All of the below Maui seats are up for election in 2022. Below information is from the August 2, 2021 Campaign Spending Reports and indicates the “surplus” of funds each incumbent had in their campaign bank account.

Extensive additional detail is available by reviewing the actual reports available here:
https://csc.hawaii.gov/CFSPublic/ReportList.php

State Senate

Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D) District 5 Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului
$133,328

Lynn DeCoite (D) District 7 Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho’olawe
$65,919

Rosalyn H Baker (D) District 6 South and West Maui
$44,202

State House of Representatives

Troy Hashimoto (D) District 8 Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu
$56,915

Justin Woodson (D) District 9 Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani
$41,960

Kyle Yamashita (D) District 12 Spreckelsville, Pukalani, Makawao, Kula, Keokea, Ulupalakua, Kahului
$24,768
*** Raised $3,650 during June 2021

Tina Wildberger (D) District 11 Kihei, Wailea, Makena
$7,414

Angus McKelvey (D) District 10 West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei
$1,264

Linda Clark (D) (newly appointed) District 13 Haiku, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Lanai, Molokai, Molokini
($0)

Maui County Mayor
Non-Partisan

Michael Victorino – $85,736

Maui County Council
Non-Partisan – voting is County-wide but each represents a specific district.

Yuki Lei Sugimura $56,088
(Upcountry)

Alice Lee $28,787
(Wailuku-Waihee-Waikapu)
Chair

Mike Molina $21,199
(Makawao-Haiku-Paia)

Tamara Paltin $19,585
(West Maui)

Keani Rawlins-Fernandez $14,594
(Molokai)
Vice-Chair

Tasha Kama $9,874
(Kahului)

Kelly Takaya King $6,209
(South Maui)

Shane Sinenci $5,154
(East Maui)

Gabe Johnson $1,606
(Lanai)

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Vaccination, Politics, Health & Individual Choice

We must keep our eye on the prize. The COVID pandemic is real and will not end until we are united in our action to end it. We must beat this thing and we must pull together to make that happen.

My plan is to live to be 100, to see my grandchildren have children of their own, and to dance at their children’s wedding.

I’m 67 years old, take no regular medication whatsoever, and maintain a fairly healthy diet. While I could use more regular exercise, I’m in generally good health.

My birth father Marvin Lee Hooser, passed away at the young age of 57 from respiratory problems associated with emphysema. During the course of my life, when I have occasionally fallen ill with a cold or flu, respiratory issues sometimes debilitating in nature including bronchitis and walking pneumonia, too often followed.

Given my history, it’s clear that any respiratory illness exacerbated or precipitated by a COVID infection…is not something my body would likely handle well.

So, let’s move back to Zoom for now. And please, if you have not already done so, get vaccinated. I have been vaccinated and will get a booster whenever it’s available and recommended by my primary care physician.

While I believe in personal choice when it comes to health matters, if you choose not to get vaccinated please wear your mask and limit your social interactions. On a personal note – I prefer not meeting in person with anyone who has not yet been vaccinated.

There, I said it. I’m trying to respect those who feel differently on this issue, but the bottom line is the protection of my own life, my family’s personal health, and the health of our community.

If you have religious or medical reasons for not being vaccinated, I respect your choice and wish you well.

But please don’t base this critical decision on YouTube videos, politics, or the advice of people who claim a global conspiracy.

The current hysteria over vaccines and vaccine mandates is based on fear and driven by a seemingly endless wave of misinformation. And of course, all good conspiracy theories are grounded in the premise that “it could be true”. Yes, it could be true – but it’s not. Most misinformation starts as a kernel of truth taken out of context and quickly strays into speculation and hyperbole.

Modern vaccine history began in the late 18th century with the discovery of smallpox immunization by Edward Jenner. Vaccines have been used since then to eliminate smallpox, fight the polio virus and prevent infectious diseases like measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

Though the current angst reverberating around the state surrounds “vaccine mandates,” all 50 states have for years mandated the vaccination of students. Vaccine mandates are not new. Hawaii currently requires all those attending public/private school grades kindergarten – 12 to be vaccinated against Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Polio, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Chickenpox. Hawaii Revised Statutes: §302A-1154 states:

“(a) No child shall attend any school in the State unless the child presents to the appropriate school official documentation satisfactory to the department of health that the child has received immunizations against communicable diseases as required by the department of health.”

Similar to school admission policies, employers, both public and private, have the right and many would say the obligation to require their employees to be vaccinated in order to protect all employees and customers.

Unfortunately, the escalating rhetoric has resulted in people claiming they are being “forced” to vaccinate. Actually, no one is forcing anyone to do anything. Parents are free to homeschool their children if they object to vaccinations for religious, or health reasons. And of course, individuals have the right to quit their job and find another one if they so choose. Apparently, the job market is hot at the moment and so that should not be a problem.

To all who have so far refrained from choosing to take the shot, I encourage you to review the credible data, speak to those in the medical community whom you trust – and make a decision that best protects your own life, and health of your family.

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Hawaii Policy & Politics – an email list with an attitude.

The famous right-wing radio host Karl Rove said, “The guy with the best list wins. I am sure this is true for those on the left as well.

So…I ask you today to join me and “opt-in” to Hawaii Policy & Politics at – https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s secure. And I promise not to deluge you with meaningless pap.

I will however send you occasional messages on political and policy stuff. Trust me, I will only send you items that will add value to your understanding of policy and politics and/or will make you smile and think a bit.

Soon I will be sending out “candidate highlights” – focusing on those new candidates who are stepping up to run in Hawaii’s 2022 elections.

Occasionally I will email you a “call to action” and ask that you call or email elected officials poised to vote on something important.

As the election season gets closer, I’ll send out “endorsement lists” of those candidates whom I believe deserve support – and I will explain how I came to that conclusion.

I read every single response or reply also, and welcome your input, ideas, and suggestions.

In an effort to maximize efficiency, reduce email costs which are based on volume, AND minimize the number of email messages ending up in spam folders, I’m asking all who are already on the list, and who wish to continue receiving my email, to formally subscribe at https://policy-and-politics.mailchimpsites.com

Please join me and subscribe. If I bore you, or otherwise don’t add value – you can unsubscribe with a single click.

We need to win in 2022. To win, we need to stay connected and be able to take action together, and quickly. This email list is a way to do that.

Sincerely,
Gary Hooser

Photo of my granddaughter Isabella hoping you will opt-in!

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Which Hawaii State Senators will receive two year terms in 2022?

Attention political operatives: If you believe my below assumptions are incorrect, please let me know asap. But I believe, I’ve figured out who will get those pesky two year terms. This potentially could impact which State Senators decide to retire…or not.

Perhaps this is common knowledge among insider operatives already…but the question of who would likely be getting a two year term versus the “normal” four year term has been bugging me. So…I took it upon myself to figure it out and began by reading the State Constitution (cited below at bottom).

For further background read: Unpacking the 2022 Hawaii Reapportionment/Redistricting Discussion –  https://garyhooser.blog/2021/07/17/unpacking-the-2022-hawaii-reapportionment-redistricting-discussion/

This is important – 

  1. Every State Senator is up for election in 2022.
  2. State Senate seats are normally 4 year terms, EXCEPT in the election preceding and following “reapportionment” that comes every ten years.
  3. The State Constitution (see below) seems to say that those Senators who were elected in 2020, “if practicable” should not be given a two year term in 2022.
  4. This seems to translate to the following list of State Senators who will be receiving a 2 year term if elected in 2022.
  • District #1 – Sen. Acasio
  • District #3 – Sen. Kanuha
  • District #4 – Sen. Inouye
  • District #6 – Sen. Baker
  • District #7 – Sen. DeCoite
  • District #12 – Sen. Moriwaki
  • District #17 – Sen. Nishihara**
  • District #18 – Sen. Kidani
  • District #21 – Sen. Shimabukuro
  • District #23 – Sen. Riviere
  • District #24 – Sen. Keohokalole

** Announced retirement and not running in 2022

Note there are only eleven State Senate Seats listed but the commission must assign twelve.

This may be related to two seats that had special elections to the remaining terms for District #16 Misalucha and District #19 Fevella 

*this point is unclear but both ran and won election in 2020

If the above calculations and assumptions are correct, then in addition to the eleven Senators listed above, a twelfth Senator will be chosen among the remaining fourteen who ran in 2020.  Thus this person would run 3 campaigns – 2020, 2022 and 2024. 

This is where the phrase “when practicable” is applicable as quoted in the state constitution below.  I assume this would be done by “picking a name out of a hat” or similar.

Hawaii State Constitution

Article 4 – Section 8. The reapportionment commission shall, as part of the reapportionment plan, assign two-year terms for twelve senate seats for the election immediately following the adoption of the reapportionment plan. The remaining seats shall be assigned four-year terms. Insofar as practicable, the commission shall assign the two-year terms to senate seats so that the resident population of each senate district shall have no more than two regular senate elections for a particular senate seat within the six-year period beginning in the even-numbered year prior to the reapportionment year; Translation: This seems to mean those running in 2020 and then running again in 2022, should not “if practicable” have to run again in 2024.

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Money matters – Hawaii elections by the numbers

The latest fundraising numbers posted by the Campaign Spending Commission tell an interesting story, both locally and state-wide.

The first big question I have is: What is Senator Donovan Dela Cruz running for? Will it be Governor (my guess) or Lieutenant Governor?  As the current Chair of the Senate Ways and Means (WAM) Committee, Senator Dela Cruz already holds significant power and influence over the state budget, and thus over all state government.

Why risk losing the power and influence he already holds by taking a chance on the Governor’s race? Why keep holding fundraiser after fundraiser unless he intends in fact to do so?

With $871,348 in the bank and still counting, I’m thinking the Lieutenant Governor’s race is his for the taking. But why bother? The LG position holds no tangible power whatsoever.  Yes, it provides a platform, elevates one’s voice, and is a stepping stone to be Governor, but why would someone who is in a position of significant power NOW, settle for LG and be resigned to wait 8 years for a chance to be Governor?

Nope: My guess and it’s pure speculation is that Senator Dela Cruz ($871,348) will be announcing shortly his entry into the race to be Hawaii’s next Governor. Move over Lieutenant Governor Josh Green ($636,120), former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell ($509,202), and businesswomen Vickie Cayetano ($0).

I’m thinking the price of poker for the gubernatorial race just went up.

Other top fundraisers sitting now in the legislature include House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke who is sitting on a $423,603 balance in her campaign war chest and House Speaker Scott Saiki who has a respectable $227,079 – especially when you take into consideration a typical House race should only require $40,000 to $80,000.

What about the race for Lieutenant Governor? Potential candidates rumored to be considering the LG race include former State Senator and Honolulu Councilmember Ron Menor ($489,229), former State Representative and Honolulu Councilmember Joey Manahan ($88,012), and former Honolulu Councilmember Ikaika Anderson ($436,779).

Media reports and the rumor mill have also mentioned former House Speaker Scott Saiki ($227,079) and former State Senator/WAM Chair Jill Tokuda ($0) as likely LG contenders. Today’s Civil Beat reports that Saiki is mulling over the opportunity https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/08/house-speaker-scott-saiki-mulls-a-run-for-lg/

None of the potential candidates appear to be actively fundraising for the race.

Given her long tenure in the Senate and extensive contacts throughout Hawaii, former Senator Tokuda could no doubt boost her balance fairly quickly, but the reality is that she is starting from zero. First-time candidate and public interest attorney Sergio Alcubilla is the only officially announced LG candidate and is just getting started with an account balance of $276.

It is interesting that Kauai’s Senator, Senate President Ronald Kouchi’s campaign account holds only a paltry $55,794. This would normally reflect a candidate who is extremely confident about re-election and is not interested in climbing the political ladder further, or who is not planning to run for reelection. In this case, it seems obvious the former is the case.

Turning to the campaign bank balances of Kauai’s 3 House seats: District #14 (North Shore, Kapaa) Nadine Nakamura is the top fundraiser with $66,924 and seems to be the only one actually prepared for a challenger in 2022. Kauai’s other two Representatives lag behind with District #15 (Wailua Homesteads, Lihue, Puhi) James Tokioka at $20,076 and District #16 (Koloa, Kekaha) Daynette “Dee” Morikawa at $13,141.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami who is not up for re-election until 2024 has received statewide accolades for his handling of the COVID crisis. As a result, there has been speculation he might be being lured into a campaign for higher office in 2022. However, with a campaign account balance of only $28,455 and zero fundraising activity, this now seems unlikely.

Kauai Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro who is “termed out” and unable to run for re-election to the Council is sitting on a war chest of $63,354. This is more than sufficient to mount a run for a House seat or even challenge the Senate President, should he decide to do so (see how rumors get started…).

In descending order the incumbent Councilmember campaign account balances are: KipuKai Kualii $25,505, former Mayor Bernard Carvalho $5,576, Mason Chock Sr. who is also termed out and unable to run for re-election $4,826, Bill DeCosta $26, Luke Evslin  -$669 (negative), and Felicia Cowden -$6,724 (negative).

Other Kauai politicians with campaign funds available that might signal a run for office in 2022 include former Councilmember Ross Kagawa $10,438, and Addison Bulosan who ran for Council and finished #8 in 2020 $7,901.

While the candidate with the most money does not always win, in the world of politics and elections the amount of money available to a candidate is a good indicator as to the viability of a campaign.  

In local elections where “everyone knows everyone” the power of the dollar is less important, but for candidates who lack name recognition or trying to break through and beat an incumbent in a contested race – having sufficient funding is an essential element needed in any winning strategy.

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The quiet unassuming grip of systemic racism

As a white male, I am compelled to speak out in opposition to the confirmation of Mr. Dan Gluck to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and in support of a court that represents the diversity that defines our community.

Decision-making occurs through the lens of the decision-maker. White cisgender men view the world through an entirely different lens than that of women of color. People whose life experience is grounded in the privilege of wealth likewise see things differently than those who were born into poverty. Whether the lens is of one of class, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or other unique life circumstances – each individual makes decisions grounded in their own life experience.

Yes, many of us do our best to understand the perspective of others, to empathize, and attempt to make good and thoughtful decisions accordingly. But an uncomfortable truth is that unless we have walked in their shoes, we cannot truly understand, nor can we truly view the same world as those who come from a wholly different place in life.

I do not know Dan Gluck well at all. I have communicated with him on issues in the past and he has always conducted himself professionally and with integrity. Most would say that his values align to a great extent with mine and other self-identified “progressives.” This issue however rises above that basic standard and goes to the fundamental nature of governance.

To ensure the most equitable and the highest quality decision-making possible, every governing body whether elected or appointed, needs to reflect the community it’s responsible to represent. The best decision-making for the whole will come about only when a communities diversity is represented in its governing institutions.

My hope is that Mr. Gluck will recognize that in this situation, his kuleana requires that he withdraw his name from consideration. Publicly acknowledging that at this particular point in time, this particular appointment is not his to accept, would seal his reputation as a stand-up guy, a man of character whose willing to take a hit for the betterment of his community.

Latest updates: Senate Committee Votes “No.” Full Senate vote set for tomorrow Thursday July 28, 2021 Watch the video linked below:

Senator Chris Lee took to the floor for 10-15 minutes in today’s confirmation hearing, attempting to justify his vote by essentially saying, “I recognize that white & AJA males dominate the political power landscape in Hawaii, but we shouldn’t make this decision based on race or gender.” 

This is, quite frankly, the epitome of privilege. And he doesn’t even see the irony.

Senator Laura Acasio, however, faced the uncomfortable truth head-on when she said “Systemic racism is embedded in every aspect of this vote… if we keep kicking the can down the road, and we don’t address those issues – literally today – then it’s just a pipe dream that it will ever happen.”

Watch the full video here: https://youtu.be/9lU8Cx5OiVE (starts at 37:18, Senator Lee’s comments are between 38:30-53-05, Senator Acasio’s comments are between 1:02:24- 1:03:55)

To be clear: Systemic racism is almost never a conscious decision to favor one race over another. It happens innocuously, over time, from one benign appointment of a good white guy over a more qualified Hawaiian woman to the next, and the pattern continues until someone steps in and makes the uncomfortable decision to stop it.

I applaud Senators Keohokalole, Acasio, Kim, and Fevella for taking a tough stance and voting on principle to regect this appointment. I am hopeful that a majority in the Senate will follow suit, should Mr. Gluck decide not to withdraw his name from consideration.

If you feel strongly about Mr. Gluck’s appointment, you should call your Senator today and ask them how they plan to vote on his confirmation: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx

Testimony Summary:79 Support 151 Oppose

For those unfamiliar with the issue:

From the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp via citizen advocacy group Stop HB499 Hui- 

* The list of 6 candidates included 3 Native Hawaiian women and a Filipino community member, but the Governor picked the only white male on the list, who was the least qualified of all the candidates based on actual experience practicing law in the courts.

* There are currently zero Native Hawaiians or Filipino-Americans on the appellate bench of Hawai‘i.  With this appointee, a majority of the appellate bench would be white.  There hasn’t been a Native Hawaiian judge on Hawaiʻi’s highest courts in decades.

StarAdvertiser “Our View” Editorialhttps://www.staradvertiser.com/2021/07/24/editorial/our-view/editorial-diversity-in-the-courts/“Gov. David Ige chose Gluck, the executive director and general counsel for the state Ethics Commission, from a list of six candidates provided by the Judicial Selection Commission.

Gluck’s nomination has been challenged, not unreasonably, by those wanting more diversity on the bench and someone with more courtroom experience. Three of the candidates Ige passed over are women of Hawaiian ancestry, with much more experience than Gluck working in appellate courts.

“At present, there are no native Hawaiian, Filipino, Pacific Islander, or African American judges at the Supreme Court or the ICA,” said a letter from the House Native Hawaiian Caucus.

And in Civil Beat – https://www.civilbeat.org/2021/07/senate-committee-rejects-dan-glucks-nomination-to-appeals-court/“For members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the vote on Gluck wasn’t just a vote for a single judicial candidate. Fair or not, his nomination has become a symbol of deeply rooted issues in Hawaii, specifically race and gender diversity.”

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United in pursuit of a vision – Kauaʻi stands ready

The auction of the Coco Palms Hotel held this past Monday at noon on the courthouse steps, was at best, anti-climatic. The bottom line is that the “bank/lender” took back the property from the prior would-be developers who owed them the money that was used to purchase the property in the first place. As has been the case in previous attempts to develop the property, the deal-makers were never able to make the deal work.

It was predictable actually. All of it. It’s like Ground-Hog day or deja vu all over again. The deal-makers arrive in our community, pledge their love and commitment, promise us the world, seek permit concessions from the County, are granted such concessions, string out the process for years, and then fail.  Full disclosure: When the Council vote granting the initial “Iniki” permit concessions for this go-around was held, I’m proud to say I voted no.

Meanwhile, the buildings burn, the rats infest, and the desecration continues.

Remember, this is a deeply sacred place. Properly referenced as Wailuanuiahoʻano, it’s the birthplace of kings and queens. These are historic crown lands and once hoste royal compounds, stately temple sites, a royal birthing site, and other religious locales. The eminent residences for the aliʻi were here, and it was the primary domain and seat of government for the reigning chiefs of the Puna moku, or district. Hidden beneath the earth are iwi kupuna – bones of the ancestors.

What’s next? 

The community sentiment is unequivocal – no hotel, no resort, no time-share, and no luxury homes. Over 10,000 names have been collected of individuals who oppose a hotel development there. Even the Royal Coconut Coast Resort Association has stated they support converting that parcel into a cultural/educational center. From political leaders to the business community to the grassroots, the people of Kauaʻi are united on this one.

I Ola Wailuanui Working Group member and Kauaʻi Museum Director Chucky Boy Chock, speaking on his own behalf said it most succinctly, “My puʻuwai always had a place for Coco Palms….but today my naʻau humbly cries “Wailuanuiahoʻāno”.

The goal of the I Ola Wailuanui Working Group, which I am honored to be a part of, is that Wailuanuiahoʻano, is to be owned by the community, developed by the community, and managed by the community — based first and foremost on a community vision honoring the deep history and culture of this sacred spot. The Working Group is further committed to a model that those who ultimately lead the discussion are those with ancestral roots in this aina.

So then, what is next? There are two significant bridges yet to be crossed.

A community plan that will bring form to the vision and guide the future development of the property must be completed. It’s not enough to simply state support for a cultural center.  What about canoe hale, educational facilities, music and entertainment, fish pond restoration, coconut harvesting operations, kupuna and keiki gathering places, and other possibilities?

The funds must be raised to purchase the property and support the community plan. These funds will come from individuals, trusts, foundations, and organizations who share our love and commitment to Kauaʻi and most of all to – Wailuanuiahoʻano. This effort will require everyone to step forward, from the grassroots $20 donation to the major donor $20 million anchor contribution. If you share the love of our island community and want to share in the work and in the satisfaction of helping to make this vision a reality – please join us at https://www.wailuanui.org

Just in case the above is too nuanced. We need a major donor to serve as the lead “anchor contributor” with the capacity to provide the confidence needed for other major donors to step forward. At the end of the day, this vision will become a reality through collaboration and partnerships. Many hands will make lite work.

Please help if you can. As always, I am more than willing to speak directly to anyone interested in discussing this or any topic relating to Kauaʻi, Hawaii and policy and politics – GaryLHooser@gmail.com

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Auction Day Arrives Tomorrow, July 26th, as Community Unites In Support of Wailuanuiahoʻāno

In less than 15 days over 10% of Kauaʻi residents have signed a petition opposing new resort development at the site of the former Coco Palms Hotel. 

Please sign the petition today and help push the numbers to the highest level possible prior to the auction scheduled for July 26th, tomorrow at noon! https://www.change.org/p/prospective-developers-protect-wailuanui-former-coco-palms-land-from-development?  Please also share with your networks!

Mayor Kawakami issued a public statement on Friday stating in part, “There is a growing sentiment from our residents that the site not be returned to a resort, but instead become a community gathering place, such as a park with agricultural and cultural elements.” He went on to say, “We will work with the new owners to ensure that whatever becomes of the property, we honor the sacred nature of this site and the wishes of our community.”

The I Ola Wailuanui Working Group wailuanui.org/the-team began forming in April of 2020 around the core goal of transitioning the former Coco Palms hotel site, Wailuanuiahoʻāno, into a community owned, developed and managed place for Hawaiian culture, education, restoration and more. This effort will be done so in a way that honors the deep history of this sacred place as the once social and political center of old Kauaʻi.

Working Group member Fern Anuenue Holland says, “We are confident that no hotel will be rebuilt on the grounds of the historic Coco Palms Hotel site in the future. Given the incredible cultural and historical significance of the site we are sure that our shared vision to restore this to a place that benefits the community and honors its rich history is the only acceptable path forward for this place. The time has come for Wailuanuiahoʻāno to be restored to a flourishing space for cultral enrichent, education, conservation and food production.”

As the auction date, Monday July 26th, quickly approaches, the support for the I Ola Wailuanui vision continues to build in the community. At press time nearly 10,000 people had signed the online petition with the vast majority being Kauaʻi residents.

Former Mayor JoAnn Yukimura wrote recently in The Garden Island, “It is the destiny of Coco Palms to be more than a hotel site. A group of far-sighted, heartfelt community leaders called I Ola Wailuanui has been working on an exciting new vision for Coco Palms-a vision that honors Coco Palms’ ancient past as part of a dynamic cultural, economic and political center on Kaua‘i that flourished along the life-giving Wailua River, and melds it together with the future we want to see on Kaua’i.”

Margy Parker, spokesperson for the Coconut Coast Resort Association, said in a statement, “Two years ago, our organization, the Royal Coconut Coast Association, embraced converting that parcel into a cultural/educational center. This concept had full support of our Board which includes representation by 14 hotels and condo resorts, plus Smith’s and KVB.”

I Ola Wailuanui Working Group member and Kauaʻi Museum Director Chucky Boy Chock, speaking on his own behalf said most succinctly, “My puʻuwai always had a place for Coco Palms…. but today my naʻau humbly cries “Wailuanuiahoʻāno”.

Wailuanuiahoʻāno is the birthplace of Kauaʻi’s past kings and queens. These are historic crown lands that host former royal compounds, stately temple sites, a royal birthing site and other religious locales. The eminent residences for the aliʻi were here, it was the primary domain and seat of government for the reigning chiefs of the moku of Puna and continued to be after the island was united under one ruler.

The property has two ancient loko puʻuone (dune banked inland fishponds), named Weuweu and Kaiwiiki, or Kawaiiki. These fishponds are estimated to be at least 600 to 800-plus years old. This ancient site should be restored and preserved for future generations and are an important part of our future, culture and food security.

Part of the former Coco Palms Hotel was built on a graveyard. Mapped on the old maps from the Māhele, this site included the The Mahunapuʻuone Cemetery. In 1973 during Coco Palms Hotel expansion of the north wing, thirty-four (34) sets of human remains were unearthed during construction. It is unknown how many others were in the original development. The remains of iwi kūpuna buried in this sacred land must be honored.

Pua Rossi-Fukino, a founding member of I Ola Wailuanui Working Group whose ancestors are directly connected to these lands summed up the status quo and speculated about what might happen on auction day saying, “With the help of Ke Akua, the steadfast commitment of many, and the generous support of those who would honor and respect our shared vision, at the end of the day, on Monday July 26th, these sacred lands will be heading back to our community where they belong. Either gifted through the generosity of a community benefactor, or if not, we with roots deep in this ʻāina know for certain that there will never be another hotel built in this sacred place.”

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Unpacking the 2022 Hawaii Reapportionment/Redistricting Discussion

Summary description of the process

  1. Based on most recent census determination of total permanent residents for the entire state and then broken down by County
  • For example in 2011 the total population of Hawaii was determined to be: 1,251,534
  • Oahu was 846,589. 
  • Hawaii County 183,596
  • Maui 154,544
  • Kauai 66,805

So the big question is how will these population numbers change when the new census information is released later this year? The data is expected to show a loss of population for Oahu and an increase in population for the neighbor-islands – Maui and Hawaii County in particular.  Depending on the amount of population shift it is possible that Oahu could lose 1 to 2 House seats and possibly a Senate seat – and a neighbor-island or 2 could gain those seats.

This is how the raw formula works:

The total resident population of the entire State as determined by the Census is divided by 25 (Senate) and 51 (House) to determine the average/standard number of permanent residents per district.

In 2011 the math concluded that on average all House/Senate districts would contain approximately this many permanent residents per each electoral district:

Senate districts 50,000 permanent residents

House districts 24,500 permanent residents

  • The appropriate number of Senate and House seats are then allocated to each County according to population with some deviation allowed and balanced between House and Senate Seats.
  • Once the size (per population count) of the House/Senate districts is determined and seats allocated amount Counties – then the Reapportionment Commission “redraws the district maps” attempting to maintain the average/standard permanent resident population plus or minus 10%
  • Adjustments can be made as needed: Kauai Example – Receives only 1 Senate seat which is 33% larger than average and but also gets 3 House seats which are smaller than average. Hawaii County Example similar but reversed…they received an additional Senate seat that was smaller in size than average and their House seats were larger.
  • The Reapportionment Commission also designates 12 Senators who will receive initial two year terms so as to ultimately achieve ultimate “staggered terms.”
  • Note: In 2022 all 25 Senators will be up for reelection, 12 will receive an initial 2 year term and 13 will receive a 4 year term.

STAGGERED TERMS FOR THE SENATE

Section 8. The reapportionment commission shall, as part of the reapportionment plan, assign two-year terms for twelve senate seats for the election immediately following the adoption of the reapportionment plan. The remaining seats shall be assigned four-year terms. Insofar as practicable, the commission shall assign the two-year terms to senate seats so that the resident population of each senate district shall have no more than two regular senate elections for a particular senate seat within the six-year period beginning in the even-numbered year prior to the reapportionment year;

  • The Commission consists of two members appointed by each of the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and the minority leader in the House and Senate – plus one more voted on by the 8 appointed…for a total of 9.
  • Public hearings are held and the decision is subject to court review
  • State Law https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol01_Ch0001-0042F/HRS0025/HRS_0025-.htm
  • State Constitution Article 4 https://law.justia.com/constitution/hawaii/conart4.html
  • A reapportionment commission shall be constituted before May 1 of each reapportionment year.
  • One hundred fifty days from the date on which all members of the commission are certified, the commission shall determine whether or not the plan is in need of correction or modification, make the correction or modification, if any, and file with the chief election officer, a final legislative reapportionment plan.
  • No district shall be drawn so as to unduly favor a person or political party;
  • Except in the case of districts encompassing more than one island, districts shall be contiguous;
  • Insofar as practicable, districts shall be compact;
  • Where possible, district lines shall follow permanent and easily recognized features such as streets, streams, and clear geographical features, and when practicable, shall coincide with census tract boundaries;
  • Where practicable, state legislative districts shall be wholly included within congressional districts; and
  • Where practicable, submergence of an area in a larger district wherein substantially different socio-economic interests predominate shall be avoided.

Updates: U.S. Census Bureau will provide a legacy format summary redistricting data file to all states by mid-to-late August 2021. Unfortunately most states lack the capacity or resources to tabulate the data from these summary files on their own, thus the Bureau will also be providing all states tabulated data in a user-friendly system by Sept. 30, 2021.  

Upon the release of the “legacy format” data, the initial determination of the new allocation of House/Senate seats between Counties can be approximated.  However the actual drawing of new district maps cannot be initiated until the more detailed and more easily usable data is release in late September.

Conclusion: We should have a good idea of which County will lose House/Senate seats and which will gain them – By September 1, 2021. However we are not likely to see the finalized “district map lines” until February of 2022 – possibly earlier or later if the matter is taken to court as has been the case in the past.

This link provides additional information including the names of all of the Reapportionment Commission members and the names of the connected “Advisory Council” – https://elections.hawaii.gov/about-us/boards-and-commissions/reapportionment/

Excellent historical information: Final Report of the 2012 Reapportionment Commission

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