Our new County Council is in the process of selecting a new chair and vice chair for the 2018-20 term. Those who occupy these positions will greatly affect how the council conducts its business over the next two years, and in turn will have a substantial impact on how and what decisions are made about our island. This will have a significant impact on our community.
Kauai County may have just had its most important local election in a generation, but who would have thought the new County Council would begin by calling police to remove a public commenter who refused to relinquish his seat until someone told him who called the meeting?
Unfortunately, if the meeting held by the incoming council is any indication, our newly elected Kauai County Council is starting off on the wrong foot. And/or they are stepping in it, depending on the preferred metaphor.
I’m not jumping on the bandwagon of dumping on government employees, which notion corporate funded “grassroots” organizations, anti-tax institutes and conservative writers have drummed into our ears. It is an admitted push to “privatize” civic services, so business can grab even a larger portion of our tax dollars.
Hawaii’s Constitution enshrines the people’s common ownership of all the water that flows off the mountains in a public trust doctrine. Potential users that would profit from its use must ask for its use, how much and for what purpose, by applying for a lease.
Soaring public pension and health benefit costs will be slamming Hawaii’s county governments in coming years, forcing them to consider cutting important government services or increasing taxes — neither of which are attractive options.