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

Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13

 

September 2021 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

6:00 P.M.

WEBEX

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Pro Tem Sean Fitzsimmons called the Downtown - Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. Quorum was established with eight (8) members present. Note: This nine-member Board requires five (5) members to establish quorum and to take official Board action.

Members Present: Robert Armstrong, Ernest Caravalho, Sean Fitzsimmons, Ara Laylo, Kevin Lye, Lori McCarney, Kevin McDonald, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Laura Sturges (arrived at 6:05 p.m).

Members Absent: None.

Guests: Chief Kevin Mokulehua, Battalion Chief Chris Cabasa (Honolulu Fire Department); Steven Norstrom (Board of Water Supply); Derek Chow (Governor Ige's Representative); Ian Santee (Mayor Blangiardi's Representative); Councilmember Carol Fukunaga, Kim Ribellia; Senator Karl Rhoads; Nancy Ball, Major Ronalee Fenrich (Salvation Army); Mark Tarone (Hallowbaloo); Scott Morishige (Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness); Jason Chang, Malia Kaaihue, Kirra Downing (Queen's Medical Center); Cecilia Fong (American Savings Bank); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua); Carlos Santana, Rob Harris, Isaiah Sato, Andy Dahlburg, Madelyn Hicks, Demos Pragastis, Maria Roth-Tijerina, Sharon Mizuno, Claire Fukuoka, Scott Stay, Nathan Saint Clare, Timm Wikelski, Linda Lileikis, Nicole Shiraishi, Patti Barbee, Avery Aetonu, Noe Tanigawa, Hugh Janus, Angel McClure, Ethan J. Twer, Chris Kuaiwa (Residents); Lloyd Yonenaka (Executive Secretary), Claire Tamamoto (Neighborhood Commission Member), Dylan Whitsell, Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). There were 60 total attendees.

BOARD BUSINESS

Election of Board Officers

Chair: Shubert-Kwock nominated Caravalho for Chair. Lye nominated McDonald 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; (4-3-2) (McDonald: Armstrong, Laylo, Lye, McDonald; Caravalho: Shubert-Kwock, Sturges, Caravalho; Abstain: Fitzsimmons, McCarney).

Secretary: Caravalho nominated Shubert-Kwock for Secretary. Lye nominated McCarney, McCarney declined. Lye nominated Laylo, Laylo declined. Hearing no other nominations, the board took a roll call vote. Election of Secretary was deferred to the next meeting as the candidate did not receive a majority of votes; (4-1-4) (Aye: Caravalho, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: Armstrong; Abstain: Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald).

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): Chief Kevin Mokulehua reported statistics and a safety tip senior citizens during medical emergencies, found at https://fire.honolulu.gov/.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Kamali'i Mini Park: Lye asked about Kamali'i Mini Park. Battalion Chief Cabasa responded that HFD has received the complaints regarding the Mini Park and HFD is doing their best to address them. Battalion Chief added that the Mini Park is under HFD jurisdiction, and they are working on installing a fence.

2. Kamali'i Mini Park: Sturges asked if HFD plans on turning the park into a parking lot. Battalion Chief Cabasa responded that the initial plan was to designate park of the park for City Departments to park their vehicles.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): There was no representative present. Reported statistics can be found at https://www.honolulupd.org/.

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: Lye presented images and reported observations by the patrol during the prior month, including Lye inviting 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. Please be advised that the departing time may change to 7:00 p.m. in the future.

Board of Water Supply (BWS): Steven Norstrom reported the following.

• Breaks: There were no water main breaks.

• Upcoming Event: BWS is hosting their second annual ‘Imagine A Day Without Water' event at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 21, 2021. The event will be accessible virtually by visiting the following website: www.boardofwatersupply.com/iadww.

• General Announcements: The BWS report, general announcements, and additional information can be found at: www.boardofwatersupply.com.

Questions, comments and concerns followed. Water Bills: McDonald ask how BWS is working with residents struggling to pay their water bills during this pandemic. Norstrom responded that BWS has implemented payment plans to assist those residents.

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Governor David Ige's Representative: Derek Chow [derek.j.chow@hawaii.gov] reported the following.

• Covid-19: Governor Ige continues to push for everyone to be vaccinated now that the Pfizer vaccine was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and urges everyone to socially distance over the Labor Day weekend. Chow reported that 87% of the State Executive Branch employees are fully vaccinated, 5% are partially vaccinated, and over the next few weeks 92% will be fully vaccinated.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Vaccine Mandate: McDonald asked how the Governor will address those individuals who are strongly against the vaccine mandate.

2. Afghanistan: Armstrong asked for the Governor's response to the recent events which occurred in Afghanistan.

3. Curfew: Laylo asked what the chances of an enforced curfew are over Labor Day weekend. Chow responded that, at this point, the Governor has not instituted a curfew and it would be up to each County's Mayor.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative: Ian Santee [isantee@honolulu.gov] reported the following.

• New Website: The Department of Environmental Services (ENV) launched its revamped Refuse Division website today at www.honolulu.gov/opala. Visit the webpages, including the New Landfill Siting page, which includes a limited-time public survey. The City is forming a Landfill Advisory Committee (LAC) to evaluate and rank potential landfill sites, based in part on information from the survey. The LAC meetings are planned to begin in October and open to the public. For the latest updates, visit the website and/or follow us on Facebook (@HNL_Opala) and Twitter (@hnl_env).

• Follow-Ups: Santee provided responses for several questions asked at the previous meeting, and was available for questions.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. CORE Program: Shubert-Kwock requested a status update on HPD's "CORE" program. Santee responded that he will follow-up with a response at the next meeting.

2. HPD Representative: Fitzsimmons requested that an HPD representative be present at all Downtown - Chinatown Neighborhood Board meetings.

3. Repeat Offenders: McDonald asked if the Mayor is taking any steps to keep repeat criminal offenders from returning to our communities to cause more trouble for residents.

4. Vaccine Passport: McDonald asked why the Mayor is in support of the Safe Access Vaccine Passport. Santee responded that he will relay those questions to the Mayor.

5. 24/7 Foot Patrol: Caravalho commented that the HPD 24/7 foot patrol service disappears around 11:00 p.m. and asked what the Mayor will do to provide the service as promised.

6. Weed & Seed: Caravalho asked when the Mayor will post signage for the Weed & Seed community because there currently are none.

7. No Parking: Caravalho asked when the Mayor will put up ‘No Parking' signage along Hotel Street.

8. Vaccine Passport: Armstrong commented in support of the Safe Access Vaccine Passport.

9. Recently Contracted Covid-19: Lye asked how the City will ask businesses to deal with people that have recently contracted Covid-19 and therefore will not be able to provide a negative Covid-19 test for up to 50 days.

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga (District 6): Councilmember Fukunaga [cafukunaga@honolulu.gov] reported the following.

• Free Covid-19 Testing: The City has orchestrated additional free covid-19 testing sites for the public and extended the free testing locations until Saturday, September 4, 2021.

• ID Extension: Another extension has been granted for State ID renewals until Monday, October 4, 2021, affecting about 90,000 individuals.

• Security Services: Councilmember Fukunaga's Office has submitted a request to release the funding for the 24/7 foot patrol by HPD.

• Power Washing: Councilmember Fukunaga's Office has submitted a request to release the funding for the power washing services by the Department of Facility Maintenance (DFM).

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Drug Dealing: Shubert-Kwock reported on the drug dealing going on around River Street. Councilmember Fukunaga responded that her office relayed that information to the Prosecuting Attorneys Department (PAT).

2. Chinatown Issues: Caravalho commented on illegal vehicular traffic on Hotel Street, the Weed & Seed project signage, and the dangers of Chinatown at night.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Senator Rhoads [senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov] reported the following.

• Falls of Clyde: Senator Rhoads spoke with Director Jade Butay (Department of Transportation (DOT)) who informed Senator Rhoads that DOT had posted a Request for Proposal for the removal of the ship.

• Backup Generator: $500,000 in Capitol Improvement Project Funds were released to purchase a backup generator for the Kekauluohi archival storage area chiller system.

• Pauahi Recreation Center (PRC): Senator Rhoads wrote a letter to Director of the Parks and Recreation Department (DPR), Laura Thielen, requesting that the PRC be re-opened.

• Child Tax Payments: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began disbursing advance Child Tax Credit payments on July 15, 2021. Advance Child Tax Credit payments are early payments from the IRS of 50% of the estimated amount of the Child Tax Credit that you may properly claim on your 2021 tax return during the 2022 tax filing season. For more information, please visit the following website:

https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021

• In-Home Vaccinations: The Department of Health is launching in-home COVID-19 vaccinations. Mobile vaccine providers will be performing house calls to make getting vaccinated more convenient. For more information, please call the following numbers: (808) 586-8332 or (833) 711-0645.

• Contact: Senator Rhoads welcomes anyone to contact him with questions or concerns at: (808) 586-6130 or email senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Prisons: McDonald asked how Senator Rhoads is dealing with repeat criminal offenders. Senator Rhoads responded that he believes the size of jails and prisons should be increased.

2. Child Abuse: Roth-Tijerina asked why Senator Rhoads pushed forward a bill to ensure the protection of animal victims of sexual abuse instead ensuring protection of child victims of sexual abuse. Senator Rhoads responded that he has rolled out bills regarding protecting children from abuse, and of course he cares about the safety of children.

Representative Scott Saiki (District 26): There was no representative present.

Representative Daniel Holt (District 29): There was no representative present.

Representative Ed Case (District 1): There was no representative present.

PUBLIC CONCERNS

Chinatown Business and Community Association (CBCA): Shubert-Kwock reported the following.

• Met with HPD: An HPD representative attended the last CBCA meeting to discuss plans to improve Chinatown.

• Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Golden Palace.

NEW BUSINESS / COMMUNITY GROUP REPORTS

Salvation Army: Nancy Ball and Rob Noland reported the following.

• Solution: Salvation Army is trying to be a part of the solution in Chinatown with homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse.

• Classes: Salvation Army offers classes and programs to help a lot of male homeless individuals get jobs and ultimately stay off the streets.

• Revolution Hawaii: Local program that brings young adults ages 18 to 29 together, and they spend a year doing outreach work in the Chinatown area. This is the 16th year the program has operated, and the goal is to build relationships with homeless community.

Questions, comments and concerns followed. Revolution Hawaii: Shubert-Kwock asked if Revolution Hawaii could make contact with specific individuals. Noland responded that they work with everybody and will try to reach them.

Hallowbaloo: Mark Tarone reported, on behalf of the Hawaii Halloween LLC, that they applied for a permit and he explained the permit process. Due to the surge of Covid-19 cases, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will decide by Saturday, October 2, 2021 if this event will be approved or not. Tarone is here to keep the event alive if it is approved by DOT. Only vaccinated customers will be allowed and employees will need to be vaccinated or provide a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Opposed: Caravalho commented in opposition of the event taking place during this surge in Covid-19 cases.

2. Vaccine Passes: Laylo asked if future vaccination passes will be utilized. Tarone responded that yes he has submitted a plan to the Neighborhood Board and distributed to the community as well.

3. Maximum Capacity: Shubert-Kwock asked what the maximum amount of people for this event is. Tarone responded 25 people at this time.

4. Vaccination: A resident asked why only vaccinated individuals would be allowed. Tarone responded that it was a tough decision, but that was the decision they made.

5. Board Action: Lye asked if Tarone would need anything from the Board. Tarone responded that a motion of support for the event would be appreciated at a later time.

Homelessness: Scott Morishige (Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness) reported general updates on the following topics that deal with homeless care: new outreach provider, mobile medical unit, working closely with the Institute of Human Services (IHS), working with HPD and hospital staff, Act 26, Homeless Outreach & Navigation for Unsheltered Persons (HONU) Program, and the expired eviction moratorium.

Queen's Medical Center (QMC): Jason Chang (President of QMC) and Malia Kaaihue reported the following.

• Statistics: QMC handles 40% of the States patients, 68% of the States homeless population and 70% of the States behavioral health population.

• Investment: QMC is investing approximately $1 billion dollars to keep pace with the increasing demand for innovative health care services and improve services most threatened by inadequate space and outdated infrastructure.

• New Developments: The proposed Punchbowl expansion will occur in four (4) phases over the next 15 years. Phases include time to decommission existing services, remove outdated and inefficient structures, construct new buildings, open spaces and public plazas, and lightly renovate several existing buildings to remain. QMC is in the process of submitting a PRU application for these improvements.

• More information: Visit the following website, email or call: https://campaign.queens.org/punchbowl-expansion/; info@dtlhawaii.com; (808) 593-3048.

Vaccination Clinics sponsored by American Savings Bank (ASB) & Hawai'i Pacific Health (HPH): Cecilia Fong reported on behalf of ASB that they are partnering with HPH to sponsor two (2) vaccination clinics on Sunday, September 12, 2021, and Sunday, October 3, 2021. Both clinics will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Parking is free and everyone who participates will receive a free treat.

Safe Haven: Greg Payton [gpayton@mhkhawaii.org] reported the following.

• Update: Recently placed an additional five (5) people into housing from off the streets.

• 2021: From January 2021 to August 2021, 67 individuals have been housed and provided with several care facilities.

• Puanawai Rest Stop: Even during Covid-19, this facility sees about 230 people every day.

• Vaccinated: More than 80% of staff is vaccinated and 95% of clients are vaccinated.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): There was no representative present.

BOARD BUSINESS (CONTINUED) AND REPORTS

Treasurer's Report: The remaining balance is $384.02.

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC): Caravalho reported that the CAC meeting occurred yesterday, Wednesday, September 1, 2021, and he will put together a detailed report to present at the next Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board meeting.

Board Members' Concerns: Deferred to next meeting.

Future Agenda Items: Deferred to next meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Regular Meeting: The next meeting of the Downtown - Chinatown Neighborhood Board No.13 is scheduled to be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 7, 2021 via Webex.

Rebroadcast: 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 https://olelo.org/olelonet/ upon searching on .

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: The Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Citizen Patrol departs each Tuesday evening at 8:00 p.m. (be advised that departure time may change to 7:00 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.

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

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Dylan Whitsell, Community Relations Specialist

Final approval by:

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