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Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board Meeting MARCH 2021 Minutes
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
THURSDAY 4 MARCH 2021
HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
1 ALOHA TOWER DRIVE
MULTI-PURPOSE ROOM 2
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Kevin Lye called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. A quorum was established with nine members present; this nine-member Board requires five members to establish quorum and to take official Board action.
Members Present: Robert Armstrong, Ernest Caravalho, Roxie-Anne Kamoshida (6:02 pm), James Logue, Kevin Lye, Kevin McDonald, Willis Moore, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Laura Sturges.
Members Absent: None
Guests: Chief Kevin Mokulehua and Michael Ito (Honolulu Fire Department); Lieutenant James Ferrell and Sergeant Johnny Fiatoa (Honolulu Police Department); Ian Santee (Mayor Rick Blangiardi's office); Councilmember Carol Fukunaga; Honglong Li (Department of Transporta-tion Services); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua); Ronald Higa, Janice "JJ" Owens, Lee Stack (residents); Casey Ishitani (Neighborhood Commission Office). Names were not included if not recognized or were not legible on the sign-in sheet.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): Chief Mokulehua spoke to HFD statistics posted to the NB 13 online repository and reported the following: Questions, comments and concerns followed. 1. Rapid Response Vehicles: Chair Lye requested information about the RRV plan anonymously denounced by firstname.lastname@example.org in an escalating series of letters to Neighborhood Board chairs; Management Analyst Ito responded that CARES Act funding was used to acquire vehicles for responding to emergencies in lieu of ladder trucks. 2. Kamalii Mini Park: Chair Lye requested that HFD, upon subsuming control of the park, mitigate the growing pigeon problem with owl decoys or other means. 3. Bulb-outs: Shubert-Kwock raised concerns about the long-planned concretification of bulb-outs in Chinatown and again questioned data provided by the Department of Transportation Services demonstrating the ability of emergency vehicles to effectively navigate around bulb-outs.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD): Lt. Ferrell and Sgt. Fiatoa reported statistics for February 2021 and a safety tip regarding unauthorized entry of vehicles. Crime-mapping information may be found at https://www.honolulupd.org/information/crime-mapping/. Questions, comments and concerns followed. 1. Panhandling: Chair Lye and Armstrong again inquired as to which provided HPD statistic tracked nonemergent calls made to 911 about panhandling; Lt. Ferrell clarified that panhandling itself is not a crime, but confirmed that pausing on a median and failing to timely progress through a crosswalk at an intersection is illegal--hence residents should call 911 when such behavior is observed.
- Chinatown Substation: Chair Lye projected pertinent images and, with McDonald, raised concerns from the Downtown--Chinatown Neighborhood Citizen Patrol that signage for the substation at 79 North Hotel Street is insufficient for residents or visitors seeking assistance. Shubert-Kwock inquired why the substation blinds remained closed; Lt. Ferrell noted that this was for safety of HPD officers. 3. Fourth Watch: Shubert-Kwock requested more HPD Fourth Watch foot patrols. 4. Legislation request: McDonald inquired if there was any legislation NB 13 could support to in turn assist HPD. 5. Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park: Caravalho raised concerns regarding homeless individuals in tents who harass residents, defecate and urinate behind statues, and vandalize businesses. 6. River Street: Resident Owens raised concerns regarding chronic harassment of residents by homeless individuals along the River Street wall.
Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: Chair Lye presented images posted to the NB 13 online repository and reported that the patrol had focused on surveying the Chinatown district during the preceding month and had met with the contactor removing graffiti from the brick elevator building for Smith--Beretania Mini Park, had interacted with sundry nighttime security personnel, and had documented numerous semi-permanent sidewalk-obstructing structures. Concern was raised about the burgeoning problems with pigeons as well as feral roosters and chickens in the district; city- and state-level representatives were asked to impress upon the Department of Health Vector Control Branch the need to now develop a rational plan for culling, sterilization, enforcement of feral-bird feeding prohibitions, or other methods to stem this problem. Lye invited the public to walk with the patrol on Tuesday evenings, departing at 8 pm from the Kukui Plaza Diamond Head tower lobby.
ELECTED OFFICIALS Governor's Representative: No representative [email@example.com] was present; no report was available for review.
Mayor's Representative: Acting Director of Emergency Services (HESD) Ian Santee [firstname.lastname@example.org] reported the following. • Homelessness: In response to reports of violent homeless individuals in front of 150 N. Hotel Street, the Office of Housing (HOU) will continue to send outreach to the area. Violent individuals should, however, always be referred to HPD. The Mayor's office is allocating $37.5 million for affordable housing and $10.7 million for services targeting people experiencing homelessness across the island. • Crime: No updates are available about a 30 January 2021 shooting on River Street, but a suspect was arrested regarding the broken UPS Store window at 1050 Bishop Street. • Pandemic: The reopening tier system and strategy mandates that each tier is maintained for a minimum of four weeks; in order to move forward to a less-restrictive tier, the preceding two weeks of the current tier must meet all of the less-restrictive tier's criteria. For example, while in Tier 3, in order to move to Tier 4, Tier 4 criteria for average daily case counts and test positivity rate must be met for at least the final two weeks of a four-week Tier 3 period. The City and County will be working with partners in the private sector to ensure vaccinations are available at pharmacies across the island. • Thomas Square: Department of Enterprise Services reported that a contractor had turned off the electricity and that such had been restored, ostensibly to permit illumination of the state flag flying at night, on 10 February 2021. • Eviction moratorium: Department of Planning and Permitting responded that such matters fall under the purview of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Questions, comments, and concerns followed. 1. River of Life: Shubert-Kwock requested updates regarding River of Life's relocation from Chinatown. 2. Garage repairs: Shubert-Kwock requested repairs to the Harbor Village and Kekaulike Courtyards municipal parking garages. 3. TheBus: Moore requested updating of obsolete messaging and that buses should now operate at full capacity. 4. Prosecution: McDonald requested increased prosecution of criminals. 5. Harassment: Resident Owens reiterated concerns regarding harassment arising from individuals along the River Street wall.
Councilmember Carol Fukunaga: CM Fukunaga [email@example.com] spoke to a newsletter posted to the NB 13 online repository and reported the following: • Chinatown Improvements: The fiscal year 2022 Capital Improvement Project (CIP) budget proposal provides assistance to Chinatown including municipal parking, street rehabilitation, reconstruction of sidewalks, and park improvements. • Graffiti: Graffiti was removed from the Smith--Beretania municipal parking garage building. Questions, comments, and concerns followed. 1. Cameras: Shubert-Kwock requested updates regarding security cameras; CM Fukunaga confirmed that more cameras have been requested. Armstrong requested that HPD assume control of monitoring camera feeds; resident Owens requested cameras on River Street. 2. Homelessness: Caravalho inquired about City Council assistance to homeless individuals; CM Fukunaga responded that information about the H4 clinic may be found at http://h4hawaii.org/ and that information about the Institute for Human Services (IHS) may be found at https://ihshawaii.org/. 3. Rent relief: McDonald inquired and CM Fukunaga confirmed that rent-relief measures will cross over to the House during the legislative session.
Senator Karl Rhoads: No representative [firstname.lastname@example.org] was present; a report had been provided and posted to the NB 13 online repository.
Representative Scott Saiki: No representative was present [email@example.com]; a report had been provided and posted to the NB 13 online repository.
Representative Daniel Holt: No representative was present [firstname.lastname@example.org]; no report was provided.
PUBLIC CONCERNS Chinatown Business and Community Association (CBCA): Shubert-Kwock reported that she had met with the mayor during his recent walking tour of Chinatown, and had discussed budget proposals, refurbishments, and homelessness. The next CBCA meeting is scheduled for 10 am on Tuesday 9 March 2021 at Golden Palace.
Kekaulike Mall: Honglong Li of the Department of Transportation Services made an initial announcement of the impending Kekaulike Mall and Kekaulike Street Multimodal Improvement Project and offered to return to NB 13 to provide a report about connecting this space with the Hōlau transit station and to receive public comments on 1 April 2021.
Chinatown Improvement District: Lee Stack reported requests to the City and County including power washing sidewalks at night, more security cameras, increased fines for graffiti, and a ban on smoking within 20 feet of businesses. More information can be found at https://www.cidchinatownhawaii.org/home.html.
NEW BUSINESS Next Step Shelter: Patricio Battani of Waikiki Health shared some lessons in addressing homelessness, and suggested that approximately 13 percent of Hawaii residents are chronically homeless or have been homeless for more than 6 months at one time. Proposed solutions include strengthening employment opportunities, providing educational opportunities, and catalyzing collaborations between civic and private resources. Battani disclosed that the Next Step Shelter in Kaka'ako is slated to close in June 2022. Armstrong inquired and Battani noted that a significant portion of homeless individuals likely have mental health or substance abuse disorders. Resident Owens recommended that Waikiki Health remain in contact with Mental Health Kokua.
Resolution 2021-002: Armstrong moved to adopt NB 13 Resolution 2021-002 [requesting that the City and County of Honolulu revise its implementation of the State of Hawai‘i COVID-19 vaccination plan to equitably accommodate at-risk populations in the Downtown and Chinatown neighborhoods]:
RESOLVED that Downtown--Chinatown Neighborhood Board № 13 implores the City and County of Honolulu to work with the Hawai‘i Lieutenant Governor and the State Department of Health to craft and implement within the Downtown and Chinatown areas a truly geographically focused COVID-19 vaccination plan which leverages inherent housing, work spaces, schools, and population concentrations to as quickly as possible achieve herd immunity against the virus causing COVID-19 within the state of Hawai‘i.
Discussion: McDonald raised concerns that the resolution might promote accelerated vaccination of incarcerated and homeless individuals; Armstrong noted that providing per-building vaccinations within the district would permit rapid dispersal to residents in need. Chair Lye noted that the state's COVID vaccination plan mandates a geographically focused plan, that cold chain logistics had been considered while developing the resolution, and that the proposed process had already been tested at Honuakaha senior housing on Queen Street. Resident Owens requested provision of additional education about the need for COVID-19 vaccination.
Resolution 2021-002 WAS ADOPTED 6--0--3 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Kamoshida, Logue, Lye, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: McDonald, Moore, Shubert-Kwock).
Discussion of City Council Resolution 21-48 supporting Public Infrastructure Map designation for relocation of HFD Central Fire Station (2020/PIM-1): HFD Management Analyst Michael Ito and Chief Kevin Mokulehua provided an update to a presentation by HFD Chief Bratakos during the September 2020 meeting of NB 13, and reiterated that as the current HFD Station 1 is beholden to historical preservation, the costs for expansion and updating such are prohibitive. Although note was made of alternative station sites proposed by NB 13 in September 2020, 1171 Nu‘uanu Avenue (a surface parking lot along Beretania Street between Bethel Street and Nu‘uanu Avenue) remains a site of particular interest by HFD for station development. The proposed new station may be designed to include a residential tower. Chair Lye acknowledged that safety was paramount but raised concerns (along with Armstrong) about increased noise pollution to at least four condominium and apartment towers surrounding the 1171 Nu‘uanu Avenue lot, and wondered if audio baffles could be used to mitigate against upward escape of sound from fixed-position sirens when vehicles exited such a station. Ito noted that residences atop the station may be fitted with noise buffers. Shubert-Kwock raised concerns about emergency vehicle navigation within Chinatown in light of sidewalk bulb-outs. A resident requested that the proposed station be built next to Nimitz Highway; Chief Mokulehua reiterated that such was not possible, as that area is within an inundation zone. Sturges recommended preserving the current station as a museum and building the new station nearby on Kamali‘i Mini Park. Councilmember Fukunaga confirmed that the outcome of City Council Resolution 21-48 is dependent on community feedback. Testimony may be submitted through https://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html?view=form.
Shubert-Kwock departed at 8:48 pm; eight members present.
COMMUNITY GROUP REPORTS Safe Haven: Greg Payton of Mental Health Kokua (MHK) [email@example.com] spoke to a handout posted to the NB 13 online reposi-tory providing facility statistics and also noted 2021 legislative priorities for Partners in Care.
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): A report had been posted to the NB 13 online repository. Chair Lye noted a statement from HART that old-growth trees along Halekauwila Street fronting the Prince Kuhio Federal Building at 300 Ala Moana Boulevard will indeed be removed for rail construction. 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.
MEETING MINUTES Regular meeting minutes for Thursday 7 January 2021: Chair Lye reiterated that the draft meeting minutes had not been timely received from NCO but had, upon eventual receipt on 4 February 2021, been revamped and vetted upon circulation for review by members of the Board; no additional amendments to same were sought upon inquiry. The vetted minutes were adopted without objection 8--0--0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Kamoshida, Logue, Lye, McDonald, Moore, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).
Regular meeting minutes for Thursday 4 February 2021: Chair Lye reiterated that the draft meeting minutes had, upon receipt, been revamped and vetted upon circulation for review by members of the Board; no additional amendments to same were sought upon inquiry. The vetted minutes were adopted without objection 8--0--0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Kamoshida, Logue, Lye, McDonald, Moore, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).
BOARD BUSINESS AND REPORTS Chair's Report: Lye reiterated that he had spoken with Mayor Blangiardi and Managing Director Michael Formby during the Mayor's walkabout on 23 February 2021 and that a commitment had subsequently been made for both to visit NB 13. Lye also made note of sundry postings and testimonies on the NB 13 online repository.
Informational Meeting Disclosure Safe Harbor: Caravalho, Shubert-Kwock, and Chair Lye had each independently attended or otherwise been involved with the Mayor's walkabout on 23 February 2021, but had not been collocated or discussed any matters related thereto. Armstrong and Chair Lye attended a meeting about security cameras in Chinatown with HPD, Department of Information Technology, and CM Fukunaga on 2 March 2021.
Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee: Logue reported that he had not been able to attend the latest online meeting. Lye noted posting information about the OahuMPO fiscal year 2020 audit report to the NB 13 online repository for review.
Financial Report: Treasurer Armstrong noted a remaining balance of $189.10.
Board Members' Concerns: Armstrong noted that unemployment benefits are taxable. Chair Lye relayed a concern about unsanitary practices permitted by the UberEats food delivery service wherein drivers may deliver food in vehicles also transporting dogs which may, through barking or other means, convey saliva, fur, dander, and other bodily materials onto food packaging; use of this service was not recommended until this policy was remedied. McDonald raised concerns regarding elected representatives not appearing at NB 13 meetings.
Election of Board Secretary: Action on this item was deferred.
ANNOUNCEMENTS • The next regular meeting of Downtown--Chinatown Neighborhood Board № 13 is scheduled for 6:00 pm on Thursday 1 April 2021 at Hawaii Pacific University, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, Multi-Purpose Room 2; please monitor for updates regarding physical site accessibility. • 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. • Broadcasts of Downtown--Chinatown Neighborhood Board № 13 meetings are scheduled on ‘Ōlelo channel 49 every third Thursday at 9:00 pm, as well as 6:00 am on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. An archive of past meetings may be found on https://olelo.org/olelonet/ upon searching on <Downtown Chinatown>.
ADJOURNMENT: With no further business to be conducted, Chair Lye adjourned the meeting without objection at 9:01 pm.
Submitted by Casey Ishitani, Public Relations Reviewed by Lloyd Yonenaka, NCO Executive Secretary Finalized by Kevin Lye, Chair, Downtown--Chinatown Neighborhood Board № 13
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