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

Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13


July 2021 Minutes




6:00 PM




CALL TO ORDER: Chair Pro Tempore Kevin Lye called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Quorum was established with nine (8) members present; this nine-member Board requires five members to establish quorum and to take official Board action.

Members Present: Robert Armstrong, Ernest Caravalho, Sean Fitzsimmons, Ara Laylo, Kevin Lye, Kevin McDonald, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Laura Sturges.

Members Absent: Lori McCarney.

Guests: Sergeant Stephen Keogh (Honolulu Police Department); Ian Santee (Mayor Blangiardi's Office); Councilmember Car-ol Fukunaga, Kim Ribellia; Senator Karl Rhoads; Heather Lusk (Executive Director, Hawai'i Health & Harm Reduction Center); Chris Flaherty, Patti Barbee, Alicia Ruelke (‘Ikenakea Development); Dennis Silva, Chistian O'Connor (Kekaulike Senior Hous-ing); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua); Harry Cho (HART); Rick Baldwin, Steven Chu, Diwora Gil, Ronald Higa, Robert Higgins, Regina K. Hilo, Queston Lau, Susan Lebo, Ron Lee, Ken Lowney, Janice "JJ" Owens, Kim Ribellia, Ryan Tam, Maria Tijerina, Christine Tucker, Michele Vagnerini, Antonie Wuvster, Matt Zahn (Residents); Lloyd Yonenaka (Executive Secretary), Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). Names were not included if not recognized or were not legible on the sign-in sheet.


Election of Board Officers

Chair: McDonald nominated Lye for Chair. Lye declined and nominated McDonald for Chair. Caravalho nominated Shurbert-Kwock for Chair. Shubert-Kwock declined and nominated Caravalho for Chair. Hearing no other nominations, the board took a roll-call vote. Election of Chair was deferred to the next meeting as no candidate received a majority of votes; (4-4-0) (McDonald: Armstrong, Laylo, Lye, McDonald; Caravalho: Fitzsimmons, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges, Caravalho; Abstain: None).

Vice-Chair: Shubert-Kwock nominated Fitzsimmons for Vice-Chair. Hearing no other nominations, the board elected Fitz-simmons as Vice-Chair by UNANIMOUS CONSENT; 8-0-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Lye passed the gavel to Fitzsimmons.

Secretary: Hearing no nominations for Secretary, the board moved forward with the election of Treasurer.

Treasurer: Shubert-Kwock nominated Sturges for Treasurer. Hearing no other nominations, the board elected Sturges as Treasurer by UNANIMOUS CONSENT; 8-0-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Sergeant-at-Arms: Armstrong nominated McDonald for Sergeant-at-Arms. Hearing no other nominations, the board took a roll-call vote. McDonald was elected Sergeant-at-Arms; 6-2-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Sturges; Nay: Caravalho, Shubert-Kwock; Abstain: None).

Appointments by Chair: Deferred to next meeting.

Selection of meeting dates, time, and location: Hearing no objections, the board elected to retain the previous term's meeting date, time, and location by UNANIMOUS CONSENT; 8-0-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Adoption of oral testimony rules: Hearing no objections, the board elected to retain the previous term's oral testimony rules by UNANIMOUS CONSENT; 8-0-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Designation of Board committees and committee Chairs: Hearing no nominations for committees, the board moved forward with the agenda.

Allocation of publicity funds for audiovisual contracting and ‘Olelo rebroadcasts or for annual newsletter: Hearing no objec-tions, the board elected to retain the previous term's audiovisual contracting by UNANIMOUS CONSENT; 8-0-0 (Aye: Arm-strong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).


Honolulu Police Department (HPD): Sergeant Keogh reported statistics. Crime-mapping information may be found at

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Public Assistance: McDonald asked what this neighborhood board can do to assist HPD in combating crime and homelessness in the area, and also requested for the HPD Legislative Liaison to attend a board meeting. Sergeant Keogh responded that HPD enforce the laws that the elected officials vote into office and he recommended that these issues be brought to their attention, and also said he would follow up on the request made by McDonald.

2. 24/7 Policing: Shubert-Kwock expressed her satisfaction after learning that HPD may begin 24/7 policing.

3. Behavioral Therapist: Caravalho asked if HPD can partner with behavioral therapists to combat the increased home-less and mental health issues the community are facing. Sergeant Keogh responded that Crisis Intervention Training Officers are trained to handle these types of situations. Sergeant Keogh also explained the HONU program that was adopted by HPD over a year ago, to help willing homeless individuals get off the streets.

4. Police Scanner: Lye asked if the change of policy regarding police scanners will have a negative effect of the trans-parency of police reports. Sergeant Keogh responded that the media will report what they want to report.

5. Security Cameras: Fitzsimmons asked if the public security cameras on Hotel Street are operational. Sergeant Keogh responded that most of the cameras in Chinatown are operational and HPD is working on repairing/replacing the defective ones.

6. Security Cameras: Shubert-Kwock noted that a portion of the new City budget allocates funding for new security cameras.

7. Mental Health: Wuvster reported details about a mentally unstable individual by Longs and Safeway in Chinatown.

8. Caught-in-the-Act: Owens asked what happens when HPD catches someone breaking the law on camera. Sergeant Keogh responded that an HPD Officer monitors the cameras, and if they notice a potential issue they will have the closest HPD Officers on patrol go to the scene and investigate.

9. Violence: Higgins reported that there are constant violent attacks on the public by certain homeless individuals.

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: Lye presented images and reported observations by the Patrol during the prior month, includ-ing Lye invited the public to walk with the patrol on Tuesday evenings, departing at 8:00 p.m. from the Diamond Head tower lobby of Kukui Plaza.


Governor's Representative: No representative present.

Mayor's Representative: Deputy Director of Emergency Services Ian Santee [] reported on updates regarding last meetings departmental concerns and was available for questions.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Parking Garage Construction: Lye asked about the status of construction at Harbor Village Municipal Parking Garage. Santee responded that he will follow up on that issue.

2. Road Repair: Lye requested that the City repair the split/loose concrete pad on the corner of King and Alakea Street. Santee responded that he will forward that request to the necessary department(s).

3. Trash Can: Lye, on behalf of a community member, requested that a public trash can be installed at 162 North King Street. Santee responded that he will forward that request to the necessary department(s).

4. Handicap Parking: Shubert-Kwock reported that handicap parking is being abused by non-handicap drivers and commercial vehicles in the Municipal Parking garages. Santee responded that he will forward that request to the necessary department(s).

5. Re-Striping Road: Caravalho asked for an update on the re-striping road work on King and Bethel Street. Santee re-sponded that he will follow up on that issue.

6. HPD Patrols: McDonald asked if HPD has confirmation records confirming patrols are made by officers. Santee re-sponded that he will follow up on that issue.

7. Pauahi Recreation Center: Owens asked when Pauahi Recreation Center will re-open. Santee responded that he will follow up with the necessary department(s).

8. Mayor Issue: McDonald commented on a timing issue/miscommunication between the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board and the Mayor. Santee responded that he will follow up with the Mayor's office.

9. Mayor Issue: Shubert-Kwock noted that McDonald's comment is not the board's consensus.

Sturges departed at 7:15 p.m., seven (7) members present.

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga [] distributed a newsletter and reported the following.

• Resolution 21-48, CD1: Regarding the possible relocation of the Central Fire Station, this resolution was adopted by the City Council's Zoning Committee. Councilmember Fukunaga created a proposed floor draft for the Council to consider whether this resolution comes before the Council next week.

• Kamalii Mini-Park: Homeless campers increased. The Department of Facility and Maintenance (DFM) has been re-quested to install fencing around the park to deter homeless campers.

• Virtual "Talk Story": Neighborhood Board #13 members are invited to join a virtual meeting to learn about upcoming Downtown-Chinatown Weed & Seed projects.

• Graffiti Clean-Up: Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Sturges returned at 7:24 p.m., eight (8) members present.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Fire Station: Armstrong expressed his gratitude for Councilmember Fukunaga's position on the community's Fire Station relocation proposal.

2. Security & Parking: Shubert-Kwock asked for any information/update on the contracting of private security services in the Downtown area, and also commented on a potential parking lot development. Councilmember Fukunaga re-sponded that she will follow up on the issues.

3. Power Washing: Caravalho requested that the City begin power washing and cleaning the Chinatown area, as they've done in the past. Councilmember Fukunaga responded that she did file a riser based on Caravalho's request and will follow up on the issue.

4. Covid-19 Relief Funds: Owens asked about Covid-19 relief funds being allocated to help non-profit organizations. Councilmember Fukunaga responded that Owens may reach out to her office for assistance.

Laylo departed at 7:26 p.m., seven (7) members present.

Senator Karl Rhoads [] distributed a handout and spoke in detail of the handout.

• Funding: Governor Ige released $1.48 million dollars in capital improvement project funds and over $400,000 dol-lars to renovate parts of Central Middle School.

• Tier 4: Mayor Blangiardi announced that O'ahu has entered Tier 4 of the Covid-19 plan, which will ease some of the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place.

• Covid-19: As of July 8, 2021, statewide vaccinations levels are expected to reach 60%, resulting in lightened travel restrictions.

• Contact: Senator Karl Rhoads welcomes anyone to contact him with questions or concerns at: (808) 271-5995 or

Laylo returned at 7:30 p.m., eight (8) member present.

The Neighborhood Assistant departed at 7:30 p.m.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Follow-Up: Shubert-Kwock inquired if Senator Rhoads's office will follow up on a certain bill. Senator Rhoads re-sponded that the bill in question is actually Representative Saiki's bill, and was able to provide for details about the current status of the bill.

2. Absence: McDonald commented on Senator Rhoads's absence at these neighborhood board meetings during the pandemic. Senator Rhoads responded that the CDC advised not to go to indoor meetings, and that he submitted a report before every meeting.

3. Prisons: McDonald asked what Senator Rhoads is doing to expand the local prison system. Senator Rhoads respond-ed that it is an expensive and complicated process, but believes it is necessary because our jails and prisons are overcrowded.

4. Past Issue: Tijerina asked about Senator Rhoads's alleged benefit of an immunity agreement. Senator Rhoads re-sponded that about 20 years ago his wife was involved in extortion and bribery.

5. Repeat Offenders: Owens asked about repeat criminal offenders. Senator Rhoads responded that he feels some people choose a life crime.

The Neighborhood Assistant returned at 7:34 p.m.

Representative Scott Saiki []: No representative was present; No report was provided.

Representative Daniel Holt []: No representative was present; No report was provided.


Michaels Organization: Lau shared information regarding a senior residencies project. It will be 156 units restricted to peo-ple age 62 and older, most of the units will be available for rent at 60% AMI and below, the contractor is ‘Unlimited Construc-tion', and they have begun construction. The project is expected to be completed by the middle of 2023. For more infor-mation please call: (808) 691-9446.

Chinatown Business and Community Association (CBCA): Shubert-Kwock reported on a handout she distributed and high-lighted that CBCA continues to support HPD and the City Council in their efforts to clean up Chinatown. The handout includes an update from their June 8, 2021, meeting where developers attended and discussed their efforts in building an affordable 50% AMI housing. Shubert-Kwock announced that CBCA meets at 10:00 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Gold-en Palace.

Department of Health (DOH): A representative reported that the vaccination rates have significantly declined as we near 60% fully vaccinated, and the DOH is campaigning to encourage everyone 12 years and older to receive the vaccination.


Positive results from housing the homeless: Heather Lusk [] (Executive Director, Hawai'i Health & Harm Re-duction Center (HHHRC)) reported the following.

• Chinatown Project: 55 homeless individuals were assisted into housing by HHHRC's team. The team was consistent by visiting the individuals several times a month, they were able to be personal as each member of the team kept a low case load, and by informing the individuals of criminal actions and repercussions the homeless individuals avoided repeating crimes.

• Homeless Provider: HHHRC received the contract to be the Chinatown organization provider for the homeless pop-ulation in the area. Contact them if you would like to request their Outreach team to show up at a location.

• Housing First: Instead of relocating the homeless population into shelters, studies show that relocating the homeless population into housing is more effective. The study shows that over a five (5) year period, 85% of those who were placed in housing first continue to stay in housing and off the streets.

• Goal: HHHRC's goal is to turn the homeless population into contributing members of the community.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Evictions: Armstrong asked how the community will look when the housing and rent moratorium expires. Lusk re-sponded that she gets many calls about this, and that there are programs in place now to help prevent homeless-ness.

2. Service Times: Shubert-Kwock asked what days and hours HHHRC will be in Chinatown. Lusk responded that a medi-cal response van will be in Chinatown on Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and will start on River Street and end at Aala Park.

3. Priorities: Caravalho expressed his concerns with this program and recommended that HHHRC focus on homeless families and veterans before focusing on drug abusers.

4. Budget: Lye asked about HHHRC's budget sources and how much money was needed to assist the 55 homeless indi-viduals. Lusk responded that $200,000 dollars were provided by the DOH Hawaii Division which was used to pay for four (4) staff members and the 55 homeless individuals.

5. LEAD Program: Lye asked how the LEAD program works. Lusk responded that for low level criminal cases of home-less individuals, like being in a park after hours, HPD will offer the suspect the option of getting help from HHHRC's outreach program or they will face prosecution.

6. CORE Program: A resident asked for an update on the CORE program. Lusk responded that the CORE program is not in her jurisdiction, it was created by the Office of Housing (HOU).

7. Work Program: A resident asked if there are programs in Hawai'i that help homeless individuals get jobs and afford housing. Lusk responded that there is a program called "Work Team Hawai'i".

Resolution 2021-010: Armstrong gave a brief explanation and recited the drafted resolution regarding the potential reloca-tion of the Central Fire Station. The resolution is in opposition of the relocation of the Central Fire Station.


1. In Favor: McDonald noted that he is in favor of this resolution and believes that the Central Fire Station has a fine location and does not need to relocate. Caravalho noted that he is in favor of this resolution and added that if the Central Fire Station proclaimed the Kamalii Mini Park that they would have more than enough space. Lye spoke in favor of the resolution and noted that there are a lot unanswered questions by HFD. Fitzsimmons spoke in favor of the resolution

2. Undetermined: Shubert-Kwock noted that she is not firm in supporting this resolution because it does not support HFD, and that the current location of the Central Fire Station is historic land and cannot be developed into some-thing larger.

Armstrong MOVED and Lye SECONDED the Motion to Adopt Resolution 2021-010. The Motion was ADOPTED 7-0-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: Shubert-Kwock).

Chinatown Hotel Proposal: Chris Flaherly (‘Ikenakea Development) presented the following.

• Goal: To develop a hotel in Chinatown, the Business District of the Island, to serve as an anchor for the community and a catalyst for investment and redevelopment of the area. It will bring jobs, foot traffic, and revenues that cur-rently don't exist in Chinatown.

• Location: 128 Nimitz Park Highway.

• Capacity: 240 rooms; 300 sq.ft. average per room.

• Parking: 180 stalls.

• Amenities: Sky Lobby (8,000 sq.ft.), Fitness Center (2,000 sq.ft.), Roof Top Restaurant with Pool and Deck (10,000 sq.ft.), Meeting Space (3,000 sq.ft.), Community Space (12,000 sq.ft.).

• Cost: Total cost of land and development would be upwards of $127 million dollars.

Caravalho departed at 8:57 p.m., seven (7) members present.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Support: Shubert-Kwock raised a few concerns but expressed her support if the project is executed correctly.

2. Brand Operator: Armstrong asked if the developers have a Brand Operator for the hotel. Flaherly responded that they do not have a Brand Operator at this time, but they have three (3) letters of intent.

3. Rail Concerns: Lye asked about the impact of the rail system if it does or does not reach the hotel. Flaherly re-sponded that the statistics show that this development will be effective, whether or not the rail is operational.

4. Environmental & Historic Process: A resident asked where the project is at on the Environmental and Historic Preservation Review process. Flaherly responded that they've just begun that process and will provide updates.

5. Tsunami Zone: A resident asked about the hotel's location being in a tsunami zone. Flaherly responded that they be-lieve the structural integrity of the building will be able to withstand the average tsunami.

6. Opposed: Trucker noted that she is strongly opposed to this project because it does not follow the area's guide-lines/restrictions. Flaherly responded that they are not asking for any exemptions and they intend on rejuvenating Chinatown.

7. Increased Awareness: Lye noted that the board has recently received many comments and concerns from the pub-lic about this project.

Caravalho returned at 9:00 p.m., eight (8) members present.

Kekaulike Senior Housing Proposal: Christian O'Connor (Director of Development, Coastal Rim Properties) and Dennis Silva Jr. (Project Manager, AECOM) presented the following.

• Target: Affordable housing for those elderly individuals who've lost a spouse and a significant source of income.

• Location: 905 Kekaulike Street.

• Height: About 22 stories/ 216 ft.

• Unit Size: Classified as Micro-Studios at 300-400 sq.ft. per unit.

• Parking: No parking available, as the target audience does not drive frequently.

• Benefits: It is located next to major transportation hubs, doctors offices, drug stores, grocery stores, and other vital services. The area is permitted as BMX4 zoning, with ground floor retail stores featuring local businesses.

• Affordable: 191 units will be 50% AMI and 11 units will be 30% AMI. The application process will take about a year.

• Permit Process: First step is the Environmental Assessment, then the 201H application, lastly the Chinatown Special District Major is the last permit.

• Requesting Exemptions: The limit is 200ft and they are asking for 216 ft. The project also request a floor ratio ex-emption.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Similar Project: Shubert-Kwock asked about the status of another project. O'Connor responded that they should be getting the permit this month and starting construction in September.

2. Crime: McDonald noted his concerns with crime and homelessness, and that the target audience for this housing project are the most vulnerable to be put into this troublesome area. O'Connor responded that when you develop these areas, build housing, and establish good lightning, and so on, the environment changes for the better.

3. Exemptions: Lye asked how the exemption process works and what, if any, will be exchanged in return for the ex-emptions. Silva Jr. responded that the exemptions will be stated in the environmental assessment, and the 201H ap-plication. O'Connor also added that they are working for the State to accomplish affordable housing and these ex-emptions are required to make this project feasible.

4. Exemptions: Shubert-Kwock asked if the 16 ft. height exemption is being used to create additional units. O'Connor responded that the 16 ft. is used to create an amenity experience for the residents.

5. In Favor: Caravalho noted his support of this project as it is great for the elderly.

6. Future Projects: A resident raised her concerns about other developments using this project as a reasoning to build additional high-rises in the area that it is not zoned for. O'Connor responded that if they could have completed the goal of affordable housing by following all of the restrictions that they would have, but that is not financially possi-ble.

7. Opposed: Trucker commented that this project is not well planned and does not follow the zoning ordinances.

8. Opposed: Baldwin noted his strong opposition of this project.

9. Height Issue: Wuvster commented her belief that the tall buildings should be abutting the mountains and the build-ings should get shorter as they get closer to the ocean.

Caravalho MOVED and Shubert-Kwock SECONDED the Motion to support the Kekaulike Senior Housing Proposal. The Mo-tion was ADOPTED 5-2-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: Lye, McDonald; Abstain: Laylo).


Safe Haven: Due to the time extension, the representative left the meeting.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): Due to the time extension, the representative left the meeting.


June 3, 2021: Armstrong MOVED and Lye SECONDED the Motion to Adopt the June 3, 2021 meeting minutes. The Motion was ADOPTED 7-0-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: Shubert-Kwock).


Chair's Report: As the board was unable to elect a Chair, Lye reported the following.

Information to review the Sand Island Waste Water Treatment Facility, submit statements by Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Saturday, June 19, 2021 - opening of the Downtown Art sector

Request from a resident to make these meetings hybrids to allow for more participation.

Meeting Disclosure Safe Harbor: Lye noted that he, McDonald, and Sturges attended the Downtown-Chinatown Neighbor-hood Citizen Patrol one evening during June 2021 but did not discuss any matters on which a vote by the Board is reasonably likely. Sturges noted that she and two (2) other board members were at a bar at the same time, but not together.

O'ahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee: Caravalho attended the OMPO meeting on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 and reported that new protected bikeways will be developed in Downtown Honolulu. It will extend the two-way bikeway on South King Street to Alakea Street. First the roads in Downtown will be repaired/repaved and the bikeways will be developed afterwards. Construction is expected to begin at the end of 2021. Currently the only bikeways that exist in Chinatown are on Hotel Street.

Financial Report: The remaining balance as of June 2021, was $76.34.

Board Members' Concerns: Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons, as a new board member, commented on the several ways this board can be improved upon. Lye encouraged the board to read and comprehend the Neighborhood Plan as it would help to avoid some of the current issues the board has.

Discussion and action addressing concerns regarding member compliance with HRS 92: Lye noted that he filed a complaint against four (4) board members (Caravalho, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges, and past member Logue) for allegedly discussing board business together outside of the regular meeting location. Lye noted that it was McDonald who witnessed the alleged Sun-shine Law violation take place and McDonald reported that to Lye, who then filed the complaints.

Future Agenda Items for Board Consideration:


• The next regular meeting of Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday 1 July 2021 at Hawaii Pacific University, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, Multi-Purpose Room 2.

• The Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Citizen Patrol departs each Tuesday evening at 8:00 p.m. 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.

• Rebroadcasts of Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 meetings are scheduled on ‘ lelo channel 49 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 upon searching on .

• Find an archive of handouts and referenced materials apropos to Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 here.

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 10:32 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Spencer Johnson, Neighborhood Assistant

Final Review by:

Like Our Facebook


    Please send questions about this website to
    Copyright© 2006 - 2021 All rights reserved.
    Terms of Use / Legal Disclaimer / Privacy Statement
    Site Designed and Managed by MacBusiness Consulting