I took the time to check out several of the Websites from the “many progressive cities and counties” on the Mainland that he and Rob Parsons referred to. After making a few phone calls, it turns out that in every single case, the “office of sustainability” consisted of one to five individuals, located in the Mayor’s office. None of them did anything more than what Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons has been doing for the county already.
This proposed addition to the Department of Environmental Management is not necessary, and quite frankly, does not make sense. The existing department deals strictly with waste management (rubbish and wastewater). This proposal would simply be adding another layer of government—and considerable taxpayer expense—when we already have what we need. One of the mayor’s arguments is that the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is “ill-equipped” to sufficiently handle its duties in this area. It seems the obvious—and much less costly—solution would be to beef up that department, so that it can do its job better. If need be, why not hire someone to assist Mr. Parsons in the Mayor’s office?
During his campaign, Mayor Arakawa pledged to pare down the size of our county government. Instead, he now wants to expand it even further. Is this an attempt to curry political favor with the environmentalists? Creating an entire new division in any department is a very costly undertaking, much like starting up a new business—only much more complicated and time-consuming. That’s just the way government does things.
I am not anti-government, though I do believe that less is better. Neither am I anti-environmentalist. I do take issue, however, when so-called environmentalism becomes obsessive obstructionism. We have seen enough of that here already, without additional government “empowerment”—and tax dollars—being added to the mix.