My Turn: 4 years a pass for politicians

Mahalo, Brenda Ford. Having been deeply involved in council machinations, I can attest that she is correct about everything she stated in her My Turn column. I saw it all and when one councilor didn’t want to be associated with some issue or come out and take a stand, they were absent from debate and absent during the vote — just walked out or didn’t return.

They are paid a handsome salary for not doing their job and enjoy part-time attendance while being excused for their other job related duties (have to be in court, meeting with clients, etc.) or disregarding the public when meetings start late because of their long lunch. It’s easy to check out attendance from meeting minutes to see how many meetings are missed.

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Four-year terms are not about campaigning though few look forward to it — it’s hard work and you have to face your constituents with no escape. Four years is about power. Power of the administration to share a bed with its council supporters and power to manipulate the outcome of their initiatives.

Think I’m wrong? Recall that the last GET proposal was met with large resistance as it was an election year. Because of disasters, the administration got some of the new tax money but they still want more because they don’t know how to control their thirst and always want to pad their inability to be fiscally responsible.

Now that we have a new council and detractors are gone, the administration comes right back for the rest of the GET, having only novice council members and supporters remaining. It’s not an election year so hurry up and get this into the mix before the voters get a chance.

We only have one strong voice in councilman Tim Richards to demand how the money is to be used and the rest seem to be OK with writing a blank check. The entire game is about reelection and moving on to other jobs in the administration or state. Four years is a pass for career politicians who only need to do something during election year, shake hands, kiss babies and tell you how good they are. We must hold them to a minimum standard of performance under threat of something they fully understand — voting them out — two years does that!

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This whole idea of longer terms is nothing more than a backroom manipulation to gain control. Admittedly my perspective is historical but the theme is systemic.

Steve Lopez is a resident of Kailua-Kona.