Robert Green is running for County Council because he wants to bring “some sanity” to the nine-member board.
Green, a retired engineer and business manager from Waikoloa, is running for the District 9 County Council seat representing North and South Kohala.
“We need some experience,” he said. “We have to bring collaboration; we have to pass legislation.”
The most pressing issue, Green said, is the future of the island’s children.
“We need jobs, and we need good jobs. We want our children to stay in Hawaii,” he said. “It’s taken us a long time to get where we are and it’s going to take us a long time to get back.”
On the issue of furloughs, Green said, as a former business manager himself, he’d look at the resources available, and if he had to cut staff hours, he’d spread them out so that each day’s work is covered. He questions why staff furloughs aren’t staggered to keep the government open every day. The government, just like a business, has as its first obligation service to the public, he said.
“They tried to make it as inconvenient as possible to get their point across,” Green said.
West Hawaii may account for two-thirds of property tax revenues, but the money certainly isn’t coming to Waikoloa, he said. He cited a lack of a gymnasium, community center or teen center.
“We should pay our fair share, not more,” he said. “We should have equal facilities, not better.”
While advocating strong representation for his district, Green also said the county has to be taken as a whole. he said he’d rely on the council members of the other districts to help inform him of their particular issues. If he’s unsure, he said, he’d rely on the “kanalua” vote, a vote that basically means yes with reservations.
“Every issue has to be taken on its own,” he said. “My responsibility is to the county first, then my constituents and then myself.’
Recent councils have split into factions, not based on differences on issues but because of personalities, Green said.
It’s not because of council or district issues, but because of personal issues,” he said. “I will not fall into that. I will not consider myself a majority council member or a minority council member but a council member for my county and for my district.”
Green said the Hilo landfill can be expanded by working with the Environmental Protection Agency, which he said created rules about siting landfills near airports based on the migratory patterns of birds on the East Coast of the mainland. It’s not the same here, he said, and the EPA should be made to realize it.
“It’s not a problem, but we make it a problem,” he said.
He doesn’t think garbage needs to be trucked to West Hawaii, and he said a waste-to-energy incinerator is a large expense that is impractical considering the small population base and small amount of garbage.
“People created a crisis to get what they wanted,” he said. “We can’t get there by creating a crisis.”