The City & County model (a political system rarely seen throughout the mainland) was put in place on all islands in 1905.
Hawaii is also unique in that it has no incorporated municipalities (independent cities) while there are over 19,000 large and small such municipalities throughout the country.
This long ago decision is a factor in the lack of representation at the county level and has clearly blocked the formation of local city governments which by definition are designed help preserve the distinctive nature of different communities.
Potentially Separating Oahu into two counties has an appeal in at least two areas.
One is to build a Windward identity that looks to develop the Windward Side in a manner best suited to our local communities. This can mean things like a greater emphasis on Windward productivity and assets. It could include building up agriculture, forestry and promoting business and tourism in a manner that provides more benefit to local residents.
Second is the stark difference regarding infrastructure development.
Urban Honolulu and Leeward Oahu have the right to develop a mass transit system as they see fit.
But, what this highlighted is that the economic and political pull of the Kona and Ewa Region (to use the original Hawaiian name for Honolulu and Ewa/Kapolei) will always carry more weight, because of their larger population, than the Windward Side.
At the same time the citizens of Windward Oahu must have the sort of representation that gives them a real say in their own economic and political destiny.
A Ko’olaupoko County may well (or may not?) present to Windward residence a real alternative to the present system. Because adequate representation is so fundamental to a regions prosperity and quality of life this all other alternatives to give Windward residents more empowerment need to be explored in an open and serious manner.