County election process needs work

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.

  1. billyjoebob February 24, 2018 2:24 am Reply

    Where in the heck did you read your 3% statistic? I spent about 2 minutes on the Hawaii.Gov website and came up with totally different numbers. I would be happy to provide links. For the County of Kauai in 2016 there were 44,332 registered voters, 61.4% voted.
    Previous years were slightly higher, percentage wise.
    It is hard to take someone seriously when their article starts out with such total misinformation.
    You must be practicing to be a politician, testing you BS ability.

  2. Imua44 February 24, 2018 6:32 am Reply

    Steve, the local braddahs have done a pretty good job. We are a happy island. So happy in fact that new comers like you arrive every day. If the dummy local politicians as you refer to them, are so bad, why is Kauai so good? I hear these malihini and wanna be local hoale types whimper about the politics….all the time. Eh Steve, these local babooze politicians have created a great place. Maybe time for you to go home to where politics fits your style.
    Kauai is great. We need some roads, but we are great. Ichi bon. And let the voters decide how long a council person can stay.

    1. billyjoebob February 26, 2018 1:39 pm Reply

      I agree, except I don’t think Kauai’s people and beauty are because of the good ol’ boy political system. I’m glad I left, too crowded makes for grumpy people and poor quality of life.
      You are drowning in your own sewage.

  3. Sunrise_blue February 24, 2018 7:40 am Reply

    Timely manner and proper bills? And for some time to earn more money. Next important work done to be paid. This said, tract records must be there. If not, there won’t be any pay. This is the way they see it. Trump plaza and corporations supplying majority of the funds or taxes.

  4. Sunrise_blue February 24, 2018 5:47 pm Reply

    You may contact “miss all the meetings and scared to be there,” @ this number…

  5. Jake February 25, 2018 5:04 pm Reply

    “this “lottery job” is that you might need to be born and raised on Kauai”

    It is so very true! Usually the first thing a potential elected official puts on their respective resume. What a joke.

    The list of Kauai county government workers looks like an ancestry tree. Kagawa has gone on record for wanting to hire “local” police officers over more qualified police officers from the Mainland. I mean, does anyone really think the “most qualified” is on an equal playing field on this island?

    Eliminate the Mayor’s position and County Council. Hire the best and brightest to lead us through the 21st century. I don’t care if they are brown, black, purple, white, or red. If they lived here a day or their whole life, or if their last name ends in a vowel.

  6. Steve Martin February 26, 2018 9:58 pm Reply

    Billyjoebob…. No I don’t want to be a politician. And pointing out the the 3% turn out now that you brought it up I was reading an article about voting precincts and turn outs on Kauai and to be truthful I wish I could find it. I will keep looking and be glad to share it.If you try to look at what I’m trying to say it doesn’t really matter what the percentage is it’s all about the fact that it’s a “popularity contest”election. With the size of the countys business we can’t expect it to run efficiently and productivly when we just vote people because their friends and family. it’s why things are running the way they are. It’s why there is always going to be a can don’t vote people for a professionals job you hire them because they are professionals at what they do.We need better management expertise when it comes to running a business like the county. And Debra.. I don’t appreciate your comment correct yourself I have never referred to (or said) any politician as a dummy. Maybe you are just thinking what you call them. Read my letter slowly.. There is nothing to change I love kauai for the lifestyle it provides to all us. I just want to see things better managed so that all families can receive a better quality life. I don’t expect you to understand Debra you live in a different world than the rest of us and that’s ok. If you can’t respect my opinion Then don’t say anything. Thank you.

  7. billyjoebob February 28, 2018 1:01 am Reply

    Larry, my response had nothing to do with understanding what you were saying, or whether I agree with you or not.
    Your statistic raised a red flag, I spent less than 5 minutes, and verified this through the State website voter data.

  8. billyjoebob February 28, 2018 11:40 am Reply

    *Steve, sorry.

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