My Turn: Help hold county accountable at mayor’s luncheon

In the Feb. 28 newspaper, there is a nice advertisement for a luncheon with county leadership sponsored by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce at 11:30 a.m. March 15 at the King Kamehameha Hotel. I urge all those who have been sending written letters to the editor of West Hawaii Today to make an effort to be there and present written questions to our mayor.

This is our best opportunity to show our dissatisfaction with county government and their inability to manage fiscal issues that force tax increases on all of us. They are never short of excuses and reasons that are out of their control.


No. 1. They blame the volcano for loss of revenue when it was the county and state that blackmailed insurance companies to offer insurance in high risk zones.

No. 2. They blame the state for all the labor costs and pension increases that cost over 80 percent of the county budget. So it is reasonable to then give everyone in management 30 percent raises because of some study that says they are underpaid on average concerning other government bureaucrats in different locations. The Salary Commission’s excuse was that the county “needs to stay competitive.” Sorry for your loss in the high risk lava zone. I am sure that your recent pay raise will help.

Are you not considering holding the union labor costs down because these people may revolt and not vote for you? Maybe they should talk to their good friend David Ige on Oahu and ask him to be a little tougher in negotiations next time with labor? Oops, that may cost him some votes, so bad ask.

No. 3. Who is responsible for the foot dragging on infrastructure concerning the cesspool situation (an $800 million estimate for the Big Island, $4 billion on Oahu)? That was government mandated all the way back in 1996?

Well, Mr. Kim, how long have you been in office? Since 1996? It’s difficult to blame someone else on that one. Cost overruns on rail alone could have solved this problem, but our state government could not turn away free federal money for the boondoggle that we are now being taxed on. Nice leadership!

No. 4. Kona has been on an upward growth cycle for the last 20 years and the west side of the island provides over 75 percent of the revenue that funds this entire island but we have to be beggars to get anything done here. It took 10 years to get the highway to the airport built. No Alii Highway? No widening of the Queen Kaahumanu Highway?


You may think that I am unhappy living here but the opposite is true. I love the Big Island and just want our government to love its citizens as much as they love their paycheck.

Bob Johnson is a resident of Kailua-Kona.