To each his own

LIHUE — The Charter Review Commission is considering a proposal that may significantly affect how elections — and campaigning — for Kauai County Council members are conducted.

The commission heard a report Monday from a special Committee on County Districting, which proposes dividing council elections into five district seats and two at-large seats.

“I’ve been on the Charter Commission for a number of years; and to me this has been the most important and most exciting thing I’ve been a part of,” Commissioner Joel Guy said.

If the commission ultimately approves the proposal, it would be placed as a question in the 2014 election ballots for voters to decide whether they want council members to be elected by districting.

Commissioner Ed Justus, chair of the special committee, said residents of each of the five districts would vote on one candidate running to represent their respective districts, and on two at-large candidates running to represent the entire island.

No decision was supposed to be taken Monday, the meeting was for an overview of the special committee’s findings.

Justus said he will provide a map with a rough idea of the proposed division of districts during the commission’s next meeting, when the commission may discuss and make decisions on the proposal.

Given the idea of “one man, one vote,” the five districts would have to be as equal as possible in terms of separating the population, Justus said.

To Commissioner Patrick Stack, the “the time for districting or redistricting has come.” It gives fair and equal representation to each district, he said.

“I’m not at all convinced that this is a good idea,” Commissioner Mary Lou Barela said.

Commissioner James Nishida Jr. said the special committee’s report will not change his mind.

The commission will meet again on Sept. 23, at 4 p.m. in the Moikeha Building, Room 2A/2B, at 4444 Rice Street, Lihue.

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