Could Waimanalo to Kualoa become its own county? That’s what some are hoping for

Updated: Jun. 19, 2019 at 10:19 PM HST
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KAILUA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s talk of of secession in Windward Oahu and community leaders sketched out what it would take to form their own county.

The idea was discussed at a meeting in Kailua Wednesday night.

The topic was not up for debate, there were no critics to speak against the idea at the meeting, neighborhood board members and various community members are simply brainstorming.

Ideas have ranged from everything from a volunteer fire department, to something called “Koolaupoko Kash.”

So just what would it take to secede from the City and County of Honolulu?

First off, money.

“It would need a budget of about $100 million," Kailua Government and Community Service Committee Chair Matthew Darnell said.

"That number came from just looking at mainland counties, our size, about our population, they were about $60 million, and things just cost more here. Electricity costs more, water costs more, sewer cost more, and that’s where we got $100 million.”

The new local government would be called Koolaupoko County and it would stretch from Waimanalo to Kualoa.

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Supporters of the idea say it is not as far-fetched as one might think.

“Since we started this project, we’ve gotten emails from Hawaii Kai, Dillingham Airfield, Wailua and other communities throughout the area that said they would like to join in,” board member Gary Weller said.

Kuike Kamakea-Ohelo is a Waimanalo resident who supports the idea.

“I believe the greatest thing that Kailua could do — as well as Koolaupoko and the rest of the pae aina (the Hawaiian Islands) — is to secede," he said. "There are a lot of things going on that we’re just tired of, and it’s been happening for generations now. So it’s about time that we take back these responsibilities, these kuleana for ourselves.”

On Wednesday, the committee talked about forming a volunteer fire department. Plus their own currency called “Koolaupoko Kash” so their money stays in their community.

The Caldwell administration has already scoffed at the idea, but experts say it’s fairly common on the mainland for counties to split up.

Committee chair Darnell says he is expecting some push back, but also hopes to get momentum on social media.

“This is about not losing what we have here on the Windward side that makes us so special," Darnell added.

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