The Big Island of Hawaii is a single county whose spending is controlled by a 9-person county council. The problem is that our local government is ridiculously petty, with an “East side vs. West side” dynamic that flies in the face of the needs and sentiment of the people who live here. Additionally, our young state is still very much dominated by “machine” politics, with patronage, old boy networking, and back-room deal-making.
Yesterday, the worst of local politics played out, with a series of committee re-structuring resolutions that stripped power from the West-side council members. The follow-up to such a blatant power grab will undoubtedly be a return to the worst of us vs. them council decisions that favor the in-power districts over the other districts.
The winner-take-all mentality makes me reluctantly agree with those who think the only solution is to divide the island into two counties.