ReapportionmentFinal approval of a plan creating nine new City Council districts is expected this evening, but not without a fight from Leeward residents unhappy at the idea of separating Makakilo from Kapolei and the Waianae Coast.
vote tonight on
Some Leeward Oahu residents are
unhappy with how their
district would be divided
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers on the third floor of Honolulu Hale.
The commission has whittled its choices to a single proposal known as the dual-point plan or Kaena-Makapuu plan because they split the island at Kaena and Makapuu points.
Outcry from Leeward residents, upset because the dual-point plan placed Makakilo in a district with Waipahu and Mililani, led to an alternative proposal that placed Makakilo back with Leeward neighborhoods but split the Ewa community into two parts.
The commission scrapped the alternative plan after its meeting last Thursday, leaving only what is now being called the "final proposal" for consideration tonight.
Leeward residents remain unsatisfied.
"It doesn't make sense," said Maeda Timson, a member of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board.
Timson noted that a large empty expanse separates Makakilo from Kunia and the rest of Waipahu and that the only way to get between the two neighborhoods is by freeway or highway. "It's like we have a canoe district on a single island. It's very silly."
Cynthia Rezentes, a member of the Waianae Neighborhood Board, also thinks it's a bad idea.
The older Makakilo neighborhood has played a crucial role in nurturing the new, state-designated "second city" in Kapolei. Makakilo's interest, under the proposal, could be subjugated by a Council member whose larger constituency base would be in Waipahu or Mililani, Rezentes said.
Mike Freitas, a past president of the Honokai Hale/Nani Kai Gardens Association, said he is building a home in Makakilo and believes it is linked to the Waianae Coast.
"We just won't have any representation," Freitas said. "We have nothing in common with Waipahu."
Mike Oakland, a Waipahu businessman and longtime Makakilo resident, said commission Vice Chairwoman Annette Yamaguchi is exerting too much influence over her colleagues.
Yamaguchi, who chairs the Waipahu Neighborhood Board, has spoken of her desire to keep that region intact. Waipahu, under the current Council makeup, is split into three districts represented by Rene Mansho of Mililani, John DeSoto of Waianae and Gary Okino of Aiea.
"Other members have told me that they don't like the plan, but won't go against (Yamaguchi) until she accepts one that she feels works for her and Waipahu," Oakland said in a letter to commission members.
Kerry Komatsubara, chairman of the Reapportionment Commission, said the criticism against Yamaguchi is unwarranted.
"She did what was fair and what was right," he said, noting that she was the commission member who pushed for alternate plans to be considered after concerns were first raised by Makakilo residents.
Yamaguchi said she's made it no secret that she wants all of Waipahu within one district but thinks it ridiculous that someone would suggest she has exerted undue influence on her colleagues.
"These are all extremely powerful people," Yamaguchi said. "I don't see how Annette Yamaguchi could intimidate any of them."
Komatsubara and Yamaguchi both said they can't see how Oakland can make the comments having never attended a meeting.
City & County of Honolulu