I have a thing about political candidates running in districts where their residency is loose or worse.
The purpose of district representation is to have legislators and council members who can truly speak for the needs of the people in the district because they are one of them and have as much stake in the welfare of the district as their constituents.
If we’re going to allow candidates to easily parachute into districts in search of the best political opportunities for themselves, we may as well go back to at-large voting.
Obviously the voters don’t necessarily agree with me. Our last three open congressional seats have been won by candidates who didn’t live in the district in which they ran.
Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo easily won a City Council seat this year despite questions about her ties to the district, and in previous elections the late Duke Bainum won a council seat after moving into the district the day before the filing deadline and Charles Djou moved from Windward Oahu to East Honolulu to find an easier path to the council.
Which brings us to the current special election to replace Todd Apo in Council District I, where Makakilo residents Mel Kahele and Kioni Dudley admit to setting up quickie residences elsewhere in order to be eligible to run.
Kahele, who is using his daughter’s address, justifies himself by saying Makakilo used to be part of District I. And South America used to be connected to Africa.
Dudley rented an address after saying he was unable to find any other candidate actually living in the district who represents his concerns, a conceit that tells you something about his concerns.
Their residency is being challenged with the city clerk by one of the 12 other candidates, Matthew LoPresti, himself a short-timer in the district. It’s unlikely there will be a resolution before the mail-in voting is done, leaving it to voters to sort things out.