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  • Downtown Neighborhood Board No. 13 Minutes Posted for Thursday, September 1st, 2016 Meeting

With Permission / Courtesy of: City and County of Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office

DOWNTOWN NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO 13

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2016
ALOHA TOWERS, MULTI PURPOSE ROOM 2

CALL TO ORDER -- Chair Alvin Au called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m., with a quorum of eight (8) members present. Note: This nine (9) member Board requires five (5) members to establish a quorum and to take official Board action.

Board Members Present -- Alvin Au, Anthony Chang (arrived at 7:19 p.m.), Jasmine Mancos, Dolores Mollring, Jonathan Saupe, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock (departed at 8:09 p.m.), Thomas Smyth, Bob Tom, and Stanford Yuen (departed at 8:05 p.m.).

Board Members Absent -- None.

Guests -- Lieutenant Baron Lee and Sergeant Clinton Corpuz (Honolulu Police Department); Megan Muramatsu (Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative); Laurel Johnston (Governor Ige's Representative); Pat Lee (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation); Representative Karl Rhoads; Councilmember Carol Fukunaga; Harrison Rue (Department of Planning and Permitting); Honglong Li (Department of Transportation Services); Tara Wilson (Hawaii Pacific University); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua/Safe Haven); Nicole Reid, Willis Moore, Noelle Fujii, Ronald Higa, and Harry Ozols; and Sharon Baillie (Neighborhood Commission Office).

INTRODUCTION OF BOARD MEMBERS -- Chair Au and the Board members introduced themselves at this time.

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Departments (HFD) -- No representative was present; a report was not provided.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD) -- Lieutenant Baron Lee reported the following:
• August 2016 Crime Statistics -- There were 4 motor vehicle thefts, 3 burglaries, 70 thefts, 27 unauthorized entries into a motor vehicle (UEMV's), 32 assaults, 5 sexual assaults, 2 graffiti incidents, and 12 drug offenses. A total of 2,263 calls were placed for service.
• Safety Tip -- Car Protection:
o To prevent a UEMV; lock car doors, do not leave valuables out in car, do not use car as a storage unit, put items in the trunk of vehicle or out of sight before parking, park where there is high visibility, do not park where there may be any obstructions, and have a car alarm.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed:
1. Kamali'i Park -- Mollring voiced concerns over the state of Kamali'i Park, adding that there are people who live in buildings next to the park who are willing to let the police and whoever else use their apartments as areas to stake out the park. Lieutenant Lee noted that the process to stop illegal activity from taking place at a park is a lengthy process, but the information about the park has been forwarded to the VICE division.
2. Thanks -- Shubert-Kwock expressed her pleasure in the number of drug arrest increases from the previous month, but would like to know if they are drug pushers or users being arrested, adding that the Taste of Chinatown was a success. Shubert-Kwock noted that the number of homeless putting up camps seems to be increasing along Aala Park, Kukui Plaza, and around Kmart.
3. Smith Beretania Park -- Yuen verbalized how valuable Smith Beretania Park is to the residents who live next to it and to others in the community, noting that people have been setting up tents mere feet away from the playground equipment at the park. Lieutenant Lee suggested that Citizen Patrol walk around the area to make their presence known increasing awareness. Lieutenant Lee also added that he would let HPD know about the increase of tents going up noting that it is a coordinated effort with other departments as well.
4. Permits -- Mollring asked if people putting tents up in parks are getting permits, like how you need to get a permit to camp at Bellows. Lieutenant Lee stated that the parks in town do not allow camping at all.
5. Hours -- Smyth inquired to the length of time people can stay in the parks, Lieutenant Lee answered that as long as the park is open and they are not doing anything illegal, people can be in parks during open to close hours.

Neighborhood Citizen's Patrol (NCP) -- Dolores Mollring reported the following: Patrol -- Mollring noted that the group has only been able to walk once since the last meeting, due to the inclement weather, adding that there was no major activities going on during the time the group was able to patrol.

COMMUNITY CONCERNS

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) -- Tara Wilson reported the following:
• School -- HPU welcomed over 800 new student, 300 students of HPU live at Aloha Towers.
• Market -- There is a Farmers Market every Friday starting at 4:30 p.m.
• Lecture -- On Wednesday, September 7, 2016 there will be a lecture open to the public on Global Leadership and Sustainability in multi-purpose room 3 at 5:30 p.m.

Board member Chang arrived to the meeting at 7:19 p.m., Nine (9) board members present.

Safe Haven -- Greg Payton reported the following:
• What -- Safe Haven is a 25 bed permanent housing program for hard to reach homeless people with severe mental illness, the activity center serves an additional 30 people a day.
• How Many -- Safe Haven has been able to place 63 people into permanent housing for the months of January 2016 through August 2016. The goal for the year is to place 70 people.
• Roof -- Construction on replacing the roof at Pauahi Hale has begun. There will be a dumpster on Pauahi Street to put roofing materials in and a crane for a day to bring new materials up to the roof top.
• Collaboration -- Mental Health Kokua/Safe Haven wants to engage with merchants and have conversations to help figure out in what ways to be more proactive with helping the homeless situation in the area.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed: Activities -- Saupe asked and Payton answered that the activities center will be moved to Pauahi Hale on the first floor which would have a capacity of up to 50 people to serve in a day. Saupe added that many merchants would be glad to have a think tank conversation on ways to combat the homeless issues. Au noted his thanks for Safe Haven.

Honolulu Authority on Rapid Transit (HART) -- Pat Lee reported the following:
• System -- The core systems include train vehicles, controls and operating systems, which are the "trains and brains" component of the rail project. HART is building a driverless, fully automated system and the first of its kind in the US. There are hundreds of safety and certification items to be tested, verified and approved for the core systems. Testing and certification is a two (2)-step process:
• Rail Cars -- HART will receive 80 rail cars for the system. The first cars have already arrived and all 80 should be manufactured and delivered to Honolulu within the next three (3) years. Powered Train testing will begin around the end of this year at the Rail Operations Center (ROC) for controls, acceleration, braking, heating and air conditioning, doors, the communication system and the event recorder system, which is the "black box" similar to those on airplanes. Then next year, tests will be conducted on the guideway between the ROC and the Waipahu and Westloch stations, then to the Ho'opili station.
• Tests -- Testing on the guideway is required to fully qualify the train's performance and verify operating controls and functionality. Once the trains are tested and certified, the signaling and automated train operations are tested. Tests include verification of all safety features of the signaling system, starting and stopping at various station locations, keeping proper speed and schedule, and stopping at the correct spot at the stations where the platform passenger safety gates open and close for boarding. Traction power substations, signaling and communication, passenger address systems, emergency and passenger call systems are all tested and verified. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is also verified, including level floor boarding for wheelchair passengers. Certification of the rail system is approved by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation in conjunction with the Federal Transit Administration, and is currently in process.
• Information -- For general project information, traffic updates, meeting notices and more information, please visit the website www.honolulutransit.org, call the project hotline at 566-2299 or email a question at info@honolulutransit.org.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed: Information -- Au asked that rail information be more transparent and provide what is happening with rail coming to the area. Lee noted that he will be happy to provide that information as it becomes available

Chinatown Business and Community Association (CBCA) -- Shubert-Kwock reported the following:
• Previous Meeting --The CBCA Dim Sum Meeting was held at Empress Restaurant Tuesday, August 9 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
• Support -- CBCA supported the United Chinese Society annual fundraiser "The Taste of Taiwan" where eight (8) chefs were flown in by China Airlines to showcase Taiwanese cuisine at Jade Dynasty Restaurant and to foster relationships with the local community.
• Taste of Chinatown -- CBCA attended the Taste of Chinatown event organized by the Chinatown Improvement District (CID) and the city.
• Thanks -- CBCA wants to thank the city for fixing the curb on the ‘ewa side of Maunakea Street and King Street.
• Rail -- CBCA officers met with Jon Noichi of HART to discuss possible uses of the Ho Lau Building.
• Welcoming -- CBCA supported and attended the welcome ceremony and concert for China's Overseas Cultural Exchange led by the Chinese Culture, Arts and Wushu Association held at Golden Palace and Hawaii Theatre attended by over 300 local residents. Three (3) Chinese cultural experts were sent to teach local Cultural groups ending in a joint concert.
• Health -- CBCA assisted the organization of Chinese America Women's group in promoting good health and eating by arranging Roberta Woodland's talk on Vegetarian Eating. Woodland is the coauthor of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine and the Blond Vegetarian.
• Dr. Sun Yat Sen -- CBCA supported the Dr. Sun Yat Sen organization, Ket On Society which assisted in the Chinese Revolution in 1911 creating a modern democratic China. In a few months Honolulu will be celebrating the 150th birthday of Dr. Sun Yat Sen with the new Dr. sun Yat Sen Garden in Foster Gardens / there are many activities planned with local groups.
• Voting -- CBCA was disappointed with the low primary election turnout, adding that the election office needs to widen election information and open up more convenient locations for the new same day registration and voting which many may not be aware of.
• Meeting -- The next CBCA meeting will be on Monday, September 12, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Empress Restaurant.

Chinatown Improvement District (CID) -- No representative was present; a report was not provided.

Arts Culture Merchants Etcetera (ACME) -- Nicole Reid reported the following:
• Beautification -- ACME will be focusing on making improvements to the Smith Beretania Basketball Courts, by repainting the three (3)-point line, fixing the backboard, and replacing the basketball hoop net.
• Art -- ACME will be focusing on public art projects featuring monthly artist painting murals on walls for people to visit and take pictures with.
• Congrats -- ACME congratulated CID on their successful Taste of Chinatown event.
• Thanks -- ACME thanked the city for the 311 texting app (which was used to report some lose pavers), the new bus stop benches that were installed, the city and state in helping with the extreme cases in the homeless population of downtown.

Public Concerns -- There were none at this time.

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative -- Megan Muramatsu of the Managing Directors Office reported the following:
• Sidewalk Repairs -- The Department of Facilities and Maintenance (DFM) have applied temporary patches to uplifted portions of sidewalks on Kukui Street between Fort Street and Nuuanu Avenue as well as North Beretania Street between Smith Street and Maunakea Street. Permanent repairs will be performed as part of a sidewalk repair contract that will address the Downtown-Chinatown area in early 2017.
• Name Change Request -- A public hearing will be held on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the Mission Memorial Building Hearings Room to hear testimony on the Downtown-Chinatown name change request. The Neighborhood Commission will have 45 days to approve or disapprove the proposed amendment.
• River of Life -- The Mayor will continue to work with River of Life. However they area private entity and own the property on which they reside. Their Chinatown location is ideally suited for their operations as it is in close proximity to other public and private homeless outreach services and too many people currently experiencing homelessness.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed:
1. Walk Through -- Shubert-Kwock requests that a group of people from the City and County of Honolulu walk through the Downtown-Chinatown area with herself and/or a group of merchants/residents so they are able to point out all of the potholes, damaged sidewalks, and overgrown trees, etc., so that the process of getting these repairs reported and fixed will not take as long.
2. Charter Amendments -- Mollring suggested better ease of access to view and print the proposed charter amendments for the November 2016 elections.

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga -- Councilmember Fukunaga reported the following:
• Charter Amendments -- Charter amendments were sent to the Neighborhood Commission (NC), and the neighborhood boards are encouraged to have discussions on these proposed amendments. Fukunaga will take back concerns on the ease of access of retrieving the amendments online.
• Mayor Wright -- The Mayor Wright Housing project is the largest area in the immediate vicinity with room for improvement to house more individuals. At the August 2016 charrette, Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA), community stakeholders, residents, and area legislators took part in a "what if" discussion on what they would like the current Mayor Wright Housing turned into. Many ideas arose, in particular shifting the 34 two (2) story buildings towards a mix of incomes and building types that will house 1,200 to 1,500 units.
• Bill 28 -- Bill 28 would give density bonuses and incentives within transit oriented development (TOD) areas to increase mixed income and mixed use buildings on the Mayor Wright Homes footprint.
• Coding -- The First Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HAAC) took place on Saturday, August 27, 2016 at HPU's conference center in Aloha Tower Marketplace. The event brought together local talent to develop and explore new technology to enhance economic growth and government services.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed:
1. Incentives -- Saupe inquired what incentives would be included for Bill 28, Fukunaga answered that currently Mayor Wright Housing is zoned for A2, but with these incentives it would allow for a mix of heights and density buildings allowing HPHA to increase their current 364 units up to possibly 2,000 units, giving flexibility to what the area can become. Saupe added that it sounded like a great project and Fukunaga noted that it would be a year until a master plan is complete adding that an environmental assessment needs to be done.
2. Housing -- Shubert-Kwock stated that she likes the new plan and that offering activities to people in Mayor Wright Housing will help them get acclimated to living in such a unique place as Hawaii and that having the new hygiene center with an activity center will provide a lot of good opportunities. Fukunaga replied that they are building an advisory group to come up with the best ways to better serve the community and that it would be great to bring back the Chinese cultural feel to the area.
3. Feeding -- Shubert-Kwock asked for Fukunaga's help in moving the feeding operations of the River of Life to relieve Chinatown of the unwanted stress the homeless bring.
4. Displacement -- Tom noted that doing such a project comes with issues such as housing all of the people that will be displaced, Fukunaga noted that the people being displaced by the renewal of Mayor Wright Housing would be placed in other temporary housing while the construction for the new living quarters were being built.
5. Mayor Wright -- Au spoke about his time as a youth living in the Mayor Wright Housing adding that it is not a good place to be right now, suggesting successful people who have come from the housing and surrounding schools be a part of the discussion on how to improve the housing community.

Governor David Ige's Representative -- Laurel Johnston, Governor Ige's Chief of Staff reported the following:
• Hepatitis A -- The source of the Hepatitis A breakout has been found, with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) helping with these efforts.
• Houseless $12 million will go towards helping with transitional housing for people currently without a place to live.
• Conference -- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is currently taking place, Governor Ige had the opportunity to welcome many Pacific Island leaders.
• Hurricane -- Johnston asked that everyone be prepared with water and supplies needed if the hurricane hits.

Board member Yuen departed the meeting at 8:05 p.m.; Eight (8) board members present.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed:
1. Hospital -- Shubert-Kwock expressed her pleasure in the work the Governor is doing to help the Maui Memorial Hospital situation, but is disheartened by the news she saw today, Johnston added that one (1) of the unions sued the State of Hawaii and they had to settle the lawsuit in order to move forward with the Kaiser acquisition of the hospital. The State has to make supplemental agreements in order to continue the turnover of the hospital and is hoping that it can be done soon.
2. Website -- Saupe asked if the Hawaii Tourism internet website can be updated in the Downtown-Chinatown section since it has not been updated in about seven (7) years. Saupe noted a website www.Chinatownnow.com by Nella Media Group that has current information on the Downtown area, Johnston will follow up.

Board member Shubert-Kwock departed the meeting at 8:09 p.m., Seven (7) board members present.

Representative Karl Rhoads -- Representative Rhoads reported the following:
• Damaged Plate -- The office received a complaint regarding a damaged metal plate cover in front of 1138 Smith Street. The issue was forwarded to the City.
• Turn Sign -- A requested was received to install a "No Turn on Red" sign at the intersection of South School Street and Pali Highway. It was reported that drivers heading ‘ewa on South School Street are not yielding to pedestrians at the Pali Highway intersection. The request was forwarded to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
• Tents -- A complaint was received regarding homeless individuals putting up makeshift tents on the grassy area between the H-1 freeway and South School Street between Nuuanu Avenue and Queen Emma Street. The issue was forwarded to DOT.
• Installation -- Several requests were received to install a street sign at the beginning of the cul-de-sac that leads to 1631A Pali Highway and the back entrance to 1634B Leilehua Lane near the Pali Highway and South School Street intersection. The request was forwarded to DOT.
• Tree Branches -- A complaint was received regarding tree branches blocking the traffic lights on Pali Highway at South School Street. The issue was forwarded to DOT.
• Mayor Wright Housing -- Rhoads noted that the Mayor Wright Housing is in an unfortunate state right now, however five (5) to six (6) years ago the situation was worse, adding that residence did not have hot water to use. There is an unlimited demand for affordable housing.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed: Housing -- Tom asked what the difference is at Mayor Wright Housing from a few years ago until now, additionally stating adding more density may add more problems. Rhoads answered that a main reason for the alleviation of issues at Mayor Wright Housing is due to the management of the area, furthermore saying density does not necessarily mean there will be more problems as he lives in a high density building with no issues.

NEW BUSINESS

Progress Update on Chinatown Action Plan -- Harrison Rue and Honglong Li reported the following:
• Mayor Wright Housing -- Rue added that the design of the housing complex could be a reason why there are issues with the area. Adding that he would be glad to come back to discuss the housing at another time.
• Meeting -- There will be a Chinatown Action Plan Community Meeting, Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. at The Arts at Mark's Garage to discuss plans that are being implemented based on prior community input on wayfinding signage, pedestrian improvements at key intersections, Kekaulike Street upgrades, and more.
• Signage -- Li showed example of three (3) of the potential signs that may go in and around Chinatown. Noting what people did and did not like about them. Rue added that the signage is a pilot program for the rest of the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) areas along the rail.
• Safety -- Li noted ways in which pedestrian safety could be improved in Chinatown with adding delineators on the road, adding planters or striping to lessen the distance pedestrians have to walk across the street with where they wait for the light to turn for them to walk.

Questions, comments and concerns that followed:
1. Sharing -- Au asked if these plans for improvements to the area where being shared with other organizations such as commerce, in which Rue stated that the plans and idea are being shared.
2. Issues -- Mollring noted issues with being able to read the signs, asking if there could be multiple languages on the signs, and taking loading zones and marking it off in certain places to make it safer for pedestrian usage. Rue added that the City is working on developing a website and smartphone apps that people could use to help them navigate around the area, which would be available in multiple languages. The City is working with the tourism authority to inform visitors of the availability of the app.
3. Cruise Ships -- Smyth added the importance of signs that are badly needed in the cruise ship area for people to help navigate once they get off the boats.
4. Curb Space -- Tom asked if adding curb space means that it is eliminating lanes for cars to travel, Li answered that it would not eliminate lanes for cars to travel in.

Kalihi Palama Health Center -- No representative was present.

Meeting Date Change Due to Unavailability

Mollring moved, and Mancos seconded to hold the October 2016 Downtown Neighborhood Board meeting on Wednesday, October 5, 2016. The motion passed by a show of hands, 7-0-0. (AYE: Au, Chang, Mancos, Mollring, Saupe, Smyth, Tom; Nay: none; Abstain: none).

City Parks Board Decision on the Smith Beretania Park Operating Hours -- Au noted going to the meeting where the Parks Board discussed the neighborhood board request to amend the park operating hours and had concerns about staff being able to open and close the park, adequate lighting, signage, as well as other parks having fewer operating hours. The parks board would like to see if being open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on a trial basis would be an acceptable plan. Mollring asked if Au could go back requesting that the Smith Beretania Park can be open 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for a trial basis and to let them know that people are using the water spicket at the park again.

Downtown Neighborhood Board Meeting Format -- The board expressed various opinions on the format of the agenda, voicing ways in which more community members may attend and stay for the entirety of a meeting. The format of the meeting in regards to when community concerns, new business, and elected officials present will change slightly.

APPROVAL OF JULY 7, 2016 REGULAR MEETING MINUTES -- The Board approved the August 4, 2016 regular meeting minutes by UNANIMOUS CONSENT, as amended 7-0-0. (AYE: Au, Chang, Mancos, Mollring, Smyth, Tom, and Yuen; Nay: none; Abstain: none).

Page 4: Carol FUKUNAGA

BOARD BUISNESS AND REPORTS

Future Agenda Items -- Tom noted that the River of Life Organization would be open to coming to a future meeting, possibly October 2016. Au will add a Chinese organization to come in November 2016 to discuss their New Year event plans. The Charter Commission proposed amendments will be added to the October 2016 meeting. The Methadone Clinic will be invited to give a presentation. A request for an update on the proposed senior housing will be made.

Participation -- Tom asked Saupe and Mancos ways in which they believe there can be more business and community participation at the meetings. Mancos and Saupe agreed that not making individuals/businesses wait two (2) hours to introduce themselves or ask about issues, changing the board format would be a good start. Saupe added that putting a geocaching advertisement on Facebook to get the message out about the meeting could be another way to inform people of the meetings. Mollring noted that in the Downtown area, language barriers are an issue when trying to find out what problems people and businesses face and to inform them that there is a platform to voice concerns. Smyth noted that the board should send letters to organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce that have communications with businesses to inform them of the work the Neighborhood Board system provides for the betterment of the community.

Treasurer's Report -- Treasurer Mollring reported a remaining balance of $320.52. The report was filed.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Meeting -- The next Downtown Neighborhood Board No. 13 meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 5, 2016, at the Hawaii Pacific University, One Aloha Tower Drive, Multi-Purpose Room 3 at 7:00 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT -- The meeting adjourned at 9:17 p.m.

Submitted by: Sharon Baillie, Neighborhood Assistant I
Reviewed by: Neil Baarde, Neighborhood Assistant II
Final Review by: Chair Alvin Au and Vice Chair Bob Tom

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