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Charter changes need to be properly reviewed

This general election, Maui County voters will be confronted by seven amendments to the Maui County Charter that would remake the way our local government works. Some will shift the balance of power between the mayor and the council, in favor of the council. Others will add costs to the county’s operations just as our community faces the greatest fiscal challenge of its existence. All seven are the handy work of the county council. And you would be right to be wondering, what were they thinking.

Our economy is currently crippled. We have the highest level of unemployment in the country and — until the pandemic is dealt with — our economy will remain dead. This is one of the most expensive places in the country, so we can expect serious pain, hunger, and foreclosures. And like the Titanic we have only just seen the tip of the iceberg so far.

None of these amendments are necessary. They can wait, especially because the county is going to empanel a once-in-a-decade Charter Review Commission in March. The council’s proposals — especially the one creating a whole new system of governance — will give the commission ample material to get started on.

Some think that these proposals amount to an attempted “coup d’etat” on the council’s part. By allowing a non-political commission to study them first, we would go a long way towards overcoming that innuendo. Vote no on all seven.

Dave DeLeon

Haiku

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