Does Calvin Say Control Reapportionment?03/02/2012
UPDATED Saturday 3/3/12 9 a.m.
Members of a dissident faction of Democrats who have long opposed Hawaii House Speaker Calvin Say argue that Say is behind new political boundaries that could force some of those dissidents out of office this year.
The dissidents believe that one of Say's two appointments to the 2011 Reapportionment Commission, Clarice Hashimoto, is effectively doing Say's bidding to punish dissidents for trying to oust the speaker.
And whether or not Say is pulling the strings, other Capitol denizens and a university political scientist, say the maps do appear skewed to favor the speaker.
Hashimoto, a former House representative currently working as a special assistant in Say's office, is one of four members of the commission's technical committee — the group responsible for drawing district lines based on census data.
Two of the dissidents — there are currently 14 in all — told Civil Beat they believe Hashimoto is influencing the commission to favor supporters of the speaker.
Neither would allow their names to be used; Civil Beat granted them anonymity because the representatives fear retaliation, especially during session when legislation is pending. They don't want their bills to be held or killed.
But talk of Hashimoto's maneuvering has been circulating around the Capitol for some time, and at least one other public official — also granted anonymity, for the same reasons — told Civil Beat that he also believes it's true.
House spokeswoman Georgette Deemer said, "Speaker Say will not be responding on this."
Deemer also said Hashimoto told her to direct media inquiries to Commission Chair Victoria Marks.
Marks, a retired court judge, said she isn't buying the conspiracy theory involving Hashimoto.
"It doesn't make sense to me," she said. "She is one of four on the technical committee, and she is one of nine on the commission. Assuming that that is what she was trying to do — and first of all, I don't think it's a fair assumption — but if I do, if that was the evil behind-the-scenes kind of thing, when the first set of maps came out in September no one said boo. Apparently they liked those, and, sorry we got sued and had to go back and redo them all again."