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Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board Meeting November 2020 Minutes
THURSDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2020
HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
1 ALOHA TOWER DRIVE
MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM 3
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Kevin Lye called the meeting to order at 6:03 pm. A quorum was established with six members present; this nine-member Board requires five members to establish quorum and to take official Board action.
Members present: Roxie-Anne Kamoshida, James Logue, Kevin Lye, Kevin McDonald, Willis Moore, and Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock.
Members absent: Sandy Ma and Robert Armstrong.
Guests: Captain Sean Arakaki (Honolulu Fire Department); Alexander Zannes (City and County of Honolulu communications director); Councilmember Carol Fukunaga; Chad Wolke (Congressman Ed Case's Office); Shawn Hamamoto (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation); Lee Stack (Chinatown Improvement District); Wes Frysztacki (Department of Transportation Services director) and Ty Fukumitsu (Department of Transportation Services head of Traffic Signals and Technology); Sandy Pohl (Downtown Art Center); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua), Noe Tanigawa (Hawaii Public Radio), Laura Sturges, Ernest Caravalho, Rikita Turner, Janice "J.J." Owens, Maria Roth-Tijerina, Thomas Kelleher, Michael Holl, Luana Love, Jared Kuroiwa, and Ronald Higa (residents); Jackson Coley (Neighborhood Commission Office). Names were not included if not recognized or legible on the sign-in sheet.
INTRODUCTION OF BOARD MEMBERS
The Board members introduced themselves to the assembly. Chair Lye reported that Board member Dolores Mollring had recently passed away. A moment of silence was observed in honor of member Mollring.
NOTICE OF POSSIBLE MEMBERSHIP VACANCY APPOINTMENT AS PER NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN SECTION 2-13-108(e): Chair Lye reported that the office of the Executive Secretary of the Neighborhood Commission had not yet mailed confirmation of the passing of member Mollring and hence the Board could not yet act to fill the resulting vacancy, but that the Board would likely be able to act to fill the vacancy during its next meeting.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS
Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): Captain Sean Arakaki reported the following:
• October 2020 fire statistics: There was 1 structure fire, 1 wildland/brush fire, 5 nuisance fires, 8 activated alarms, 137 medical emergencies, 3 motor vehicle collisions, 1 ocean rescue, and 1 hazardous materials incident.
• Thanksgiving safety tips: Stay in the kitchen when cooking, set a timer, avoid using outdoor gas-fueled turkey fryers, keep children away from cooking areas, and immediately call 911 in the event of a fire.
Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: Chair Lye projected images captured by the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Citizen Patrol during the prior month and demonstrated red on-asphalt signage within the newly designated King Street bus lane, security guards minimizing patrol-coverage efficiency, remnants of smashed vehicle windows on South Kukui Street, many sidewalk-sleepers and in-street sitters, and an ominously large shantytown at the corner of Dillingham and North King Street. Only one of 24 camera feeds was functioning during a stop at the nondescript HPD substation in Chinatown, where the Patrol was advised of yet another variation of the current status of the surveillance system revitalization plan. Chair Lye noted that member Mollring had been a long-time leader of the Patrol; Alexander Zannes expressed condolences on behalf of the Mayor and presented a proclamation declaring Thursday 5 November 2020 as Dolores Mollring Day. Shubert-Kwock reminisced about Mollring, noted that Mollring was a founding member of the Chinatown Business and Community Association, and praised her work and generosity.
Governor David Ige's Representative: No representative was present; copies of the October 2020 Capitol Connection had been posted to the online repository for review.a
Mayor's Representative: No representative was present; a report provided on 5 November 2020 and a climate-readiness information sheet had been posted to the online repository for review.a
City Councilmember Carol Fukunaga: Councilmember Fukunaga provided a newslettera and reported the following:
• Resolution 20-291 (regarding assistance for businesses shut down due to COVID-19) will be discussed at the City Council Committee on Economic Assistance and Revitalization on Wednesday 18 November 2020.
• Fire sprinklers: The deadline to comply with fire sprinkler installation laws has been pushed back in due to COVID-19.
• Security cameras: Councilmember Fukunaga voiced her intent to work with HPD to improve the camera system at the Chinatown substation.
• New elected officials: Concerns from the NB 13 have been forwarded to the new mayor and five new councilmembers.
• Honolulu Liquor Commission (HLC): Supermarkets and all retail operations are allowed to sell liquor until midnight, while bars and restaurants must stop service at 10pm. HLC recommends reporting repeat violations to HPD if the community wants to highlight a specific retail operation. Councilmember Fukunaga is looking into calls regarding Maunakea Liquor.
• Affordable housing resolution: The City Council approved a resolution which authorizes Douglas-Emmett to construct affordable housing at 1132 Bishop Street. The upper Union Mall will be the next location to be beautified and provided security.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Wheeler Street housing: Shubert-Kwock inquired about the Wheeler Street senior housing project; Councilmember Fukunaga responded that the City is looking at using CARES Act funds for affordable housing and is looking for businesses which are open to developing more housing.
2. COVID-19 tiers: Logue noted the City might return to Tier 1 COVID-19 restrictions and inquired about the Mayor's authority to make such decisions. Councilmember Fukunaga noted that the City is in a transitional period between mayors and is pursuing enforcement actions against River of Life (RoL).
3. Resolution 20-291: McDonald voiced approval of Resolution 20-291 and inquired how the government will decide which businesses will receive benefits. Councilmember Fukunaga responded that the most successful programs partnered with banking institutions to distribute assistance, and that a grant-like program with clear requirements for recipients is planned.
4. Home-based small businesses: Chair Lye asked if sole proprietorships or legitimate businesses without a non-residential addresses, specifically excluded from the initial round support from the City's Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund earlier in the year, would be permitted to benefit from a subsequent round; Councilmember Fukunaga responded that although the City did not structure the program to assist home-based businesses, increasing funding flexibility is being investigated.
5. Public safety: Resident Rikita Turner voiced concerns about safety while HPD pursues jaywalkers, and advocated reassigning resources and investigating HPD. Councilmember Fukunaga recommended contacting 911 when needed. Resident Owens voiced concerns regarding senior safety and requested HPD cars be placed at Pauahi Street to discourage crime. Councilmember Fukunaga voiced agreement and recommended consulting with HPD. McDonald voiced concerns regarding blatant drug users not being cited and voiced concerns regarding the HPD.
State Senator Karl Rhoads: No representative was present; a report had been posted to the online repository for review.a
State House Representative Scott Saiki: No representative was present; a report was provided and has been posted to the online repository for review.a
State House Representative Daniel Holt: No representative was present; no report was provided.
United States Congressman Ed Case: Chad Wolke reported the following:
• COVID-19: COVID-19 remains Congressman Case's priority. The Congressman is looking at ways to extend assistance programs and ensure these programs work efficiently.
• National mental health crisis hotline: The House recently passed a bill to designate 988 as a mental health crisis hotline, similar to 911 for medical emergencies. House Resolution (HR) 4564 sets aside funds to operate the hotline and HR 4585 sets aside funds for a suicide prevention campaign.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Hotline funding: Chair Lye posited and Wolke confirmed that funds had been authorized but not appropriated, and that it will take roughly one year to implement the 988 hotline.
2. Praise: Shubert-Kwock praised Congressman Case and his work in office.
3. Senior citizen safety: Resident Owens voiced concerns regarding senior citizens being abused. Wolke responded that a bill could be formed to address senior safety through a variety of means.
Absent representatives: McDonald voiced concerns regarding multiple elected officials and representatives not attending the Board meeting.
Board Resolutions: Resident Ernest Caravalho apologized to Moore, McDonald, and Chair Lye, and advocated that the Board draft resolutions regarding the issues in Downtown and Chinatown.
Chinatown Business and Community Association (CBCA): Shubert-Kwock noted concerns with homeless feeding activities from providers such as RoL and their impact on businesses in Chinatown, and advocated increased HPD presence and better training for private security guards.
Opposition to nomination: Resident Maria Roth-Tijerina voiced opposition to Judge Todd Eddins being nominated to the Supreme Court of the State of Hawai‘i.
Public safety: Resident Thomas Kelleher voiced concerns regarding crime near Fort Street Mall as well as stabbings and drug use in Chinatown.
Absent representatives (continued): Resident Turner stated that elected officials absent from the Board meeting should be ashamed of themselves, and voiced concerns regarding corruption and finger-pointing in government.
Chinatown Improvement District (CID): Lee Stack noted that CID is working with Pacific Gateway Center to provide free assistance regarding COVID-19 grants for small businesses in Chinatown (with more information is available on (808) 589-9927), advocated unabridged minutes for NB 13 meetings, anticipated a River Street Art-Walk project by the end of 2020, and praised Dolores Mollring's work and stated that CID will miss her.
Homelessness: Resident Michael Holl voiced concerns regarding homeless individuals spreading diseases in light of insufficient public restrooms, and noted assaults and violence near Kukui Plaza and long wait-times for HPD action.
Biki Utilization Update: No representative was present; provided information had been posted to the online repository for review.a
Update on Department of Transportation Services (DTS) Activities, Policies, and Plans Apropos to Downtown-Chinatown: Wes Frysztacki, DTS Director, reported the following:
• New administration: Director Frysztacki noted that he is unsure what staffing changes may occur when the new mayor takes office.
• Street rehabilitation: The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is preparing for street rehabilitation on Bethel and Merchant Streets; the $6.7 million, 270-day project was awarded to Road Builders Corp. The work team is currently looking for pipes and utilities in the roadway prior to asphalt removal. Work will be conducted 8:30 am. to 3:30 pm Monday through Friday and 6:30 pm. to 6:30 am Sunday through Friday. Signage will be posted; road closures and detours should be expected. Residents should be careful of fresh, hot asphalt.
• Crosswalks: DTS investigates crosswalks when requested; investigations may or may not result in changes. Director Frysztacki noted that some unwarranted crosswalks may be removed. Bill 47 obligates the DDC and DTS to appear before Neighborhood Boards prior to taking such action.
• Walk signals: Director Frysztacki noted a broken walk signal at Fort and Beretania Streets. Ty Fukumitsu, DTS Chief of Transportation Technology, noted that signals will break over time, and that broken signals can be reported to (808) 768-8387 [or 911 after business hours].
• Permits: DTS can grant street-use permits based on a variety of factors; Director Frysztacki noted that although DTS can permit an activity, current social distancing mandates mean it remains up to event coordinators to ensure social distancing.
• Metered stalls and businesses: Businesses have been allowed to use certain metered parking stalls as pick-up zones; Director Frysztacki noted other efforts made by the administration to encourage local business during the pandemic.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Sidewalk obstructions: Shubert-Kwock voiced concerns regarding block parties obstructing sidewalks and negatively impacting handicapped residents. Fukumitsu clarified that City permits require event coordinators to maintain emergency access and 35 inches of clear sidewalk space, and noted that DTS attends various events to ensure compliance with these restrictions.
2. Electronic bus stop signs: Chair Lye complimented the digital bus stop signage near 1814 Liliha Street similar to that seen in Orlando in 1998 and inquired about additional similar installations of LED signs providing bus route and real-time arrival information. Director Frysztacki responded that a demo program had been undertaken in 2002 but had been discontinued.
3. Homeless: McDonald inquired about the permissive mandate to displace homeless individuals living in areas of street rehabilitation and wondered why construction projects were more effective than HPD. Director Frysztacki responded that everyone, including the homeless, must vacate construction zones.
4. Bike and bus lanes: Logue inquired and Director Frysztacki clarified that the DTS is responsible for bike lanes. Logue inquired if bikes and buses could share dedicated mixed-use lanes; Director Frysztacki responded that DTS is extending the protected bike lane on King Street.
5. Street events: Logue voiced approval of a recent event in Chinatown which included closure of Hotel Street to encourage business activity and inquired if similar events are planned; Director Frysztacki noted that although this is under consideration, Hotel Street remains primarily a bus lane.
6. Parking garages: Shubert-Kwock voiced safety concerns regarding the parking garages in Downtown-Chinatown, noting broken lighting and homeless people living inside garages. Director Frysztacki responded that each parking garage has different circumstances which can lead to inadequate staffing, and that additional staff have been hired to help address these issues.
7. Underground pipes: Stack inquired if the City could notify property owners about deteriorated pipes when excavating and repairing sidewalks and streets, advocated prioritization of Chinatown for underground-utility projects, and voiced concerns about King Street becoming a throughway.
8. Bulbouts: Resident Noe Tanigawa voiced concerns regarding bulbouts in Chinatown; Director Frysztacki responded that bulbouts have reduced pedestrian collisions and will be improved with rehabilitation work.
9. Beretania/Fort Street intersection: Resident Michael Holl voiced concerns regarding the pedestrian signal at the intersection of Beretania and Fort Streets requiring pedestrians to walk at the same time that cars make a right-hand turn and advocated for separate walk and turn signals. Fukumitsu noted the intentionality of the design and clarified that motorists must wait until after pedestrians have cleared the path to initiate a turn.
Logue departed at 7:38 pm; five members present.
10. Crime: Resident Owens voiced concerns regarding criminal activity and broken security cameras in Downtown-Chinatown; Fukumitsu noted that Councilmember Fukunaga is working to replace broken cameras.
Shubert-Kwock departed at 7:41 pm; quorum was lost with only four members present.
11. All-crosses: Resident Turner suggested installing all-crosses in Downtown-Chinatown to halt traffic in all directions and permit pedestrians to use the entire intersection. Fukumitsu responded that DTS is considering something similar at the intersection of King and Bishop Streets, but such crosswalks ultimately delay both pedestrians and vehicles.
Resolution 2020-013: Requesting Greater Transparency and Accountability at the Honolulu Liquor Commission (HLC): Action on this item was administratively delayed to the next fully quorumed meeting of NB 13.
Request for Closure of  Nu‘uanu Avenue from Chaplain Lane to King Street and  Pauahi Street Extending a Half-Block in Both Directions from Nu'uanu Avenue on Saturday 12 December 2020 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for Arts on the Avenue: Sandy Pohl noted six new art-related businesses in the area. Although specific activities for the proposed event have not been set (to permit adaptation to extant COVID-19 restrictions closer to the planned event date), the event may include food trucks, music, and local art activities. No website to provide updated information was available. No action was undertaken by NB 13 in light of the lack of quorum.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed: Block parties: Resident Turner noted she has experience throwing block parties and offered to assist; Pohl offered to exchange contact information.
COMMUNITY GROUP REPORTS
Safe Haven: Greg Payton spoke to a written report posted to the online repository for review.a
• Placements: 101 homeless individuals with mental illness were placed into housing between January and November 2020.
• Mollring: Payton reminisced about member Mollring, noting noted how inclusive she was and how she volunteered at Safe Haven.
• Punawai Rest Stop: The Rest Stop has had roughly 70,000 total visits for services since January 2020 and recently reached its second anniversary.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Punawai Rest Stop: Resident Luana Love inquired if the Rest Stop includes resources to connect people to other services outside of the Rest Stop; Payton clarified that three case managers assist homeless people to secure housing.
2. River of Life (RoL): Resident Owens voiced concerns regarding RoL and homelessness in the vicinity of RoL, and recommended Safe Haven work with RoL; Payton clarified that the two entities do already work together.
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): Shawn Hamamoto spoke to a report available below as an Annex. For more information, please visit the HART website at www.honolulutransit.org, call the project hotline on (808) 566-2299, or email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Minutes of 1 October 2020: Action on this item was deferred in light of the lack of quorum.
BOARD BUSINESS AND REPORTS
Election of Board Secretary: Action on this item was deferred in light of the lack of quorum.
Chair's Report: Chair Lye reported that NCO hearings for Complaints 2019-12 (filed against NB 13) and 2020-01 (filed against NB 13 except Kevin Lye) took place on Monday 26 October 2020. Both complaints were dismissed in full, unanimously, by the Commissioners, although this came at a great price of hours of diligent preparation over the past 12 months. The Chair thanked Members who had contributed to the defense of the Board and submitted testimony for the Respondents' portfolios, including members Armstrong, Kamoshida, Logue, and McDonald. To mitigate against similar future filings, the Chair strongly encouraged every Member to immediately re-read (or read for the first time) the entirety of the current Neighborhood Plan, the Oahu's Neighborhood Board System Member Guidebook, and the Open Meetings Guide to "The Sunshine Law" for Neighborhood Boards.
With a contractor, NCO is conducting a small pilot study over the next few months to devise ways to improve community engagement before and after NB meetings, including emails providing an opportunity to collect questions a priori as well as post-meeting feedback; the degree of involvement of NB 13 has yet to be determined.
Kamoshida departed at 8:03 pm; three members present.
Treasurer's Report: Chair Lye reported a remaining balance of $292.51 from an initial allocation of $2825.00.
Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee: Appointed representative Logue was no longer present; reports from CAC meetings of 7 October 2020 and 4 November 2020 had not been provided for the Board.
Discussion Regarding Constriction of the Permitted Length of Reports Annexed to the Meeting Minutes to a Lesser Word Count Pending an Analysis of Printing Costs and Postal Fees: Action on this item was deferred in light of the lack of quorum.
Board Members' Concerns: McDonald voiced concerns regarding premature departure of Board members from meetings and Board members missing multiple meetings; Chair Lye noted that NCO would be able to reiterate the absence policy and tally member absences.
Resolution 2020-010: Regarding censure of Board Member Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock: Action on this item was deferred in light of the lack of quorum.
Resolution 2020-011: Regarding support from the Neighborhood Commission Office to facilitate telepresence meetings of Neighborhood Boards: Action on this item was deferred in light of the lack of quorum.
• Next Meeting - The next regular meeting of Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 is scheduled for Thursday 3 December 2020 at Hawaii Pacific University, One Aloha Tower Drive, Multi-Purpose Room 3 at 6:00 p.m; please monitor for updates regarding physical site accessibility and telepresence participation.
• Citizen Patrol - The Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Citizen Patrol departs each Tuesday evening at 8:00 pm from the Diamond Head Tower lobby of Kukui Plaza. Please wear a mask, bring a friend, join the patrol, and help identify areas of concern within our Downtown-Chinatown community.
• ‘ lelo - Rebroadcasts of Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 meetings are scheduled on ‘ lelo channel 49 for every third Thursday at 9:00 p.m., as well as 6:00 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. An archive of past meetings may be found on http://olelo.org/olelonet/ and searching on .
ADJOURNMENT: As there was no further business able to be conducted, Chair Lye adjourned the meeting at 8:10 pm.
Submitted by Jackson Coley, Public Relations Assistant
Reviewed by Chris Naylon, Community Relations Specialist
Finalized by Kevin Lye, Chair, Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART):
• West Oahu Stations Group (Kualaka‘i, Keone‘ae, Honouliuli) is 98% complete.
• Farrington Highway Stations Group (Ho‘ae‘ae, Pouhala, Halaulani) is 99% complete.
• Kamehameha Highway Stations Group (Waiawa, Kalauao, Halawa) is 96% complete.
• Kamehameha Highway resurfacing is 99% complete.
• Airport Guideway and Stations Group (Makalapa, Lelepaua, Ahua, Kahauiki) is 77% complete.
• City Center Utilities Relocation is 6.5% complete.
Dillingham Corridor Status
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) has notified area residents and businesses of the removal of controlled access (traffic controls, cones, directional signage) along Dillingham Boulevard between Laumaka Street and Mokauea Street. The controlled access is being removed as HART further develops its utility relocation design plans. HART's contractor, Nan, Inc., is returning the roadway and pedestrian walkways to a full level of service including the removal of steel plates, backfill of holes and levelling of surfaces. Business/residential sidewalk and pedestrian access will return to full functionality. Some measures may be temporary (asphalt vs. concrete). Traffic lane striping will be renewed as required, and HART will maintain the corridor until construction resumes. When construction resumes, controlled access will be reinstated. Please note ongoing work will continue along Kamehameha Highway between Middle Street and Laumaka Street for Airport Guideway and Stations work.
Public-Private Partnership (P3) Update
While the City has withdrawn from the P3 procurement for the City Center section, HART has decided not to immediately cancel the procurement and to weigh options on how best to move forward, take the time to conduct post-proposal meetings with our P3 bidders who not only stayed with us during the entire process, but examined every foot of the City Center section and determine how best to proceed. With this approach, HART plans to conclude a professional analysis and make recommendations to the HART Board as well as the City Administration on whether there was a viable path forward with respect to P3 proposals. HART envisions these decisions will be made in early November so the City and HART can move forward and address concerns and requirements of the Federal Transit Administration. The next HART board meeting is anticipated to be scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 2020 (posting on November 6th).
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