In response to our view “Get involved in the political process” Sunday, Feb. 18 TGI.
“Though we won’t kid you it’s difficult, particularly on Kauai where most residents tend to go with the status quo and like to keep a low profile.”
This must be the reason I have read that only 3 percent of our registered voters turn out at election time. Yes, it’s these 3 percent who are more than likely the only people who show up for the “popularity contest” election every couple of years.
The way we put people to serve on the council is a big joke and every election the results are getting worse.
“Many people even with exceptional skills and backgrounds, don’t believe they have a chance of being elected with the way our elections take place.”
They are 100 percent right. By now, most, if not all people who have been around a few decades or more know how our we elect people to the council and every four years our mayor.
As a candidate you don’t need an education or any skills, because as I read what Mr. Kagawa pointed out, you get on the job training for nearly one and a half years with $65,000-plus salary and benefits to boot. Where in the private sector would you find that good of an offer?
The key to getting elected for this “lottery job” is that you might need to be born and raised on Kauai, have the right last name, a big family with plenty local interests and lots of friends.
This angle believe it or not has worked well over many years because of the trust family and friends had for their candidate who made them feel secure about decisions and how things should be run in their eyes.
Today, we have a county that is no longer like the past, unfortunately.
We have a small island and a county business that has grown leaps and bounds and because of its growth has become a serious $200 million a year, overwhelming, sophisticated, stressful, business, with no solutions facing our immediate needs and services and a track record showing us that it can no longer run efficiently or cost effectively without better experienced management —a business that can no longer run with the likes of a “popularity contest” of our past.
I think we should do away with the election process as we know it to be and through the county administration create a committee that interviews potential applicants for hiring seven council members and a county manager position.
We need well-educated degree professionals of business management, who can be creative when needed,work independently of outside interests, work together for the common goal of implementing the right decisions to our islands needs and services and be able to bring the solutions that move our island forward for all of the people.
I feel that the many people that TGI spoke of with the skills and experience would reach out and seek to apply for these positions.
Their resumes and background checks would speak for themselves. Creating a good salary, benefits,and incentives for those who are willing to reach out for the islands best interests will save us millions of tax dollars that are currently wasted on current operations and county settlements that didn’t have to happen.
With all of the problems, needs and services for the people, it’s time to change the way we do business at the county level of government if we expect to be successful in moving our island forward.
Steve Martin is a resident of Wailua Homesteads.