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

Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13

 

October 2021 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2021

6:00 P.M. VIA WEBEX

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Pro Tem Sean Fitzsimmons called the Downtown - Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 meeting to order at 6:03 p.m. Quorum was established with nine (9) 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.

Members Absent: None.

Guests: Firefighter Kirk Williams (Honolulu Fire Department); Sergeant Steve Keogh (Honolulu Police Department); Steven Norstrom (Board of Water Supply); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua); Derek Chow (Governor Ige's Representative); Ian Santee (Mayor Blangiardi's Representative); Councilmember Carol Fukunaga, Kim Ribellia; Senator Karl Rhoads; Connie Mitchell (Institute for Human Services); Daniel Alexander (Department of Transportation Services); James Logue, Valerie Wang, Robert Greenberg, Keolu Peralto (Residents); Dylan Whitsell, Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). There were 31 total attendees.

BOARD BUSINESS

Election of Board Officers

Chair: Lye nominated McDonald for Chair. Sturges nominated Caravalho for Chair. McCarney nominated Fitzsimmons for Chair, Fitzsimmons declined. Fitzsimmons nominated McCarney for Chair, McCarney declined. Fitzsimmons nominated Laylo for Chair, Laylo declined. 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; (4-4-1) (McDonald: Armstrong, Laylo, Lye, McDonald; Caravalho: Fitzsimmons, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges, Caravalho; Abstain: McCarney).

Secretary: Fitzsimmons nominated Laylo for Secretary, Laylo declined. Caravalho nominated Armstrong for Secretary, Armstrong declined. Lye nominated McCarney, McCarney declined. Fitzsimmons nominated Shubert-Kwock for Secretary, Shubert-Kwock declined. Fitzsimmons nominated Lye for Secretary, Lye declined. Hearing no other nominations, election of Secretary was deferred to the next meeting.

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): Firefighter Kirk Williams reported statistics and a safety tip for senior citizens during medical emergencies, found at https://fire.honolulu.gov/.

Questions, comments and concerns followed. Kamali'i Mini Park: Lye asked for any updates regarding the fencing for Kamali'i Mini Park. Firefighter Williams responded that he does not have any new updates as the plans to install a fence are still being processed.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): Sergeant Steve Keogh reported statistics and a safety tip for hurricane preparedness, found at https://www.honolulupd.org/.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Legislation: McDonald asked what laws or ordinances the public can ask our legislatures to introduce/support that may help HPD with the problems they are currently facing and requested that an HPD Legislative Liaison attend one of these meetings. Sergeant Keogh responded that he submitted McDonald's request the first time it was asked and shared information on how to contact Assistant Chief Glenn Hayashi.

2. Noise Disturbance: Lye asked if the same noise disturbance parameters for establishments, of 10 minutes continually or intermittently over a half hour, also apply to individuals on the street. Sergeant Keogh responded that yes if an individual is causing loud disturbances you should call 911.

3. 24/7 Foot Patrol: Shubert-Kwock asked if the circulating rumor about the cancellation of HPD's 24/7 foot patrol service in Chinatown is true. Sergeant Keogh responded no he hasn't heard anything about that.

4. Response Time: Laylo requested an explanation for why 911 calls in Downtown-Chinatown may take HPD Officers over 20 minutes to arrive at the scene. Sergeant Keogh responded that in his experience he does not remember any service calls taking 20 minutes because the District isn't very large. Sergeant Keogh responded that other variables may be a factor.

5. 24/7 Foot Patrol (Continued): Caravalho echoed Shubert-Kwock's question and clarified that the rumor is the HPD 24/7 foot patrol service will no longer resume their patrols in the late night hours and asked for confirmation. Sergeant Keogh responded that he believes the only reduction of that service would be on the weekends from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and that he will look into it.

6. Bike Lane: McCarney reported that the new bike lane on Alakea Street is never bike-able due to cars parking in the bike lane and asked what HPD is doing about this issue. Sergeant Keogh responded that witnesses should report the illegally parked cars and that he will patrol the area for further investigation.

7. HPD Recruitment: Armstrong asked for updates on HPD's hiring situation. Sergeant Keogh responded that HPD is currently experiencing a deficiency, meaning that more officers are quitting versus joining the force, but there are large recruitment classes taking place right now.

8. 24/7 Foot Patrol (Continued Again): Sergeant Keogh announced that the HPD foot patrol service in Chinatown will no longer be available from 11:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. on any day of the week. Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons asked why that shift is being removed. Sergeant Keogh responded that he does not have an answer at this time and then he experienced technical difficulties that resulted in him exiting the meeting.

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 7:00 p.m. from the Diamond Head Tower lobby of Kukui Plaza. Please be advised that the departure time has been changed to 7:00 p.m.

Honolulu Police Department (Continued): Armstrong MOVED and McDonald SECONDED the Motion to Register the Board's grave concern over the removal of the overnight ‘Foot Patrol' service, to Register the Board's concern over the lack of notification and courtesy toward the Neighborhood Board, and to Request that the Honolulu Police Department maintain their ‘Foot Patrol' service between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. until a notable decrease in crime statistics is presented to this Board.

Discussion:

1. Friendly Amendment: McCarney suggested a friendly amendment to Armstrong's motion that would request HPD to maintain the level of police presence that they have instituted in Downtown-Chinatown until there is a remarkable and significant decrease in crime in this community.

2. Consideration: McDonald commented that he is supportive of this motion but was not sure if it is necessary given that HPD stated they will not be reducing the overall police presence in Downtown-Chinatown.

3. Point of Order: Lye advised the Board that the Neighborhood Plan prohibits the Board from taking action on any item that is not on the agenda if it affects a significant amount of the neighborhood residents. Armstrong responded that while it is all well and good to live in fear of another complaint he thinks the Board needs to act immediately. Neighborhood Assistant Buck echoed Lye's advice and noted that to openly defy the Neighborhood Plan would not look good for this Board. Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons noted that this item will be added to next month's agenda. Lye added that he is favor of this motion and that Armstrong's concerns will be documented in the minutes.

The Motion was withdrawn, to be discussed at the next meeting.

PUBLIC CONCERNS: There were no concerns.

MONTHLY REPORTS

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.

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

• Statistics: From January 2021 to September 2021, 69 individuals have been housed and provided with several care facilities.

• Punawai 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.

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC): Caravalho reported that the CAC meeting topics included the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBBP), roundabouts, naming streets, re-claiming streets, and the Complete Streets project.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Roundabouts: Lye asked which part of the island the proposed roundabouts would be installed. Caravalho responded that the discussion was focused on the Waianae side of O'ahu.

2. Vision 0: McCarney commented that she attended the CAC meeting as a representative of another group and that Caravalho provided a good summary of the meeting. McCarney added that the Vision 0 goal of zero fatalities related to pedestrians was another topic from the meeting.

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.

• Follow Ups: Chow provided responses to questions asked at the last meeting.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Afghanistan: Armstrong noted that according to national press releases, Hawai'i is one (1) of four (4) states in the country that has not welcomed Afghani refugees and as the "Aloha" state we should.

2. Economy: McDonald asked what benchmarks need to be met in order for the state to revamp its economy. Chow responded that he will provide a response at the next meeting.

3. Curfew: Laylo asked when the 10:00 p.m. curfew for serving alcohol will be extended to 12:00 a.m. or lifted entirely. Chow responded that he will provide a response at the next meeting.

4. Fundraisers: McCarney noted that organizations, such as non-profits, are having a much harder time this year trying to fundraise because they do not have the government funding that they did last year and they are still restricted from holding large fundraising events that have been their lifeline in the past.

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

• Illegal Vacation Rentals: The City Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) is working on a measure that would get illegal short-term vacation rentals out of our residential communities and boost the number of housing units available to local residents. The measure would allow all legal bed-and-breakfast and transient vacation units to continue operating, but would not allow any new short-term vacation rental properties in residential areas. The new measure aims to give residential neighborhoods back to the community, and prevent unknown visitors from coming in week after week. To see all the proposed amendments, visit: (http://www.honolulu.gov/visitors/icalrepeat.detail/2021/09/08/13476/-/planning-commission-meeting.html).

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

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. HPD Reduction: Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons asked why the Weed & Seed program was allocated at least $1 million dollars yet the HPD presence in Downtown-Chinatown is being reduced. Santee responded that he will follow up with a response at the next meeting.

2. Shutdowns: McDonald commented in opposition of the local government's decision making regarding struggling businesses during this pandemic, and asked what the Mayor's plans are to offset the damages caused to local businesses. Santee responded that he will forward that message to the Mayor.

3. HPD 24/7 Foot Patrol: Armstrong asked if the Mayor will guarantee that the HPD 24/7 foot patrol service in Chinatown will continue through the rest of 2021 and if any changes are made to notify the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board.

4. Exemptions: Lye asked if businesses are aware that the City's 90-day ex emption policy is valid. Santee responded that he will follow up with a response at the next meeting.

5. Closing Time: Caravalho requested the reasoning for the Mayor's decision to close Restaurants and Bars at 10:00 p.m. if everyone is either vaccinated or tested negative. Santee responded that he will forward that question to the Mayor.

6. Haiku Stairs: McDonald commented in opposition of the City's decision to tear down the Haiku Stairs Hiking Trail and asked if any action is being taken to reverse this decision and preserve the trail. Santee responded that he will follow up with a response at the next meeting.

Shubert-Kwock left the meeting at 7:42 p.m.; eight (8) members present.

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga (District 6): Councilmember Fukunaga [cafukunaga@honolulu.gov] reported on the fire safety upgrades for condominium associations, clean parks and spaces in the neighborhood, 2021 reapportionment maps, another extension for Driver's License/State ID renewals, and provided responses for questions asked at the last meeting.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Senator Rhoads [senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov] reported on the closure of the Pauahi Recreation Center, the Hawaii SMART Health Card program, the Pfizer Covid-19 booster shot authorization for certain individuals, Covid-19 vaccination clinics, the Department of Health launching in-home Covid-19 vaccinations, and CVS Pharmacies now offering free Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots.

• 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. Pauahi Recreation Center: Armstrong asked if the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) notified anyone in the community of the closure of Pauahi Recreation Center. Senator Rhoads responded that DPR did not notify him and he is unsure of where he learned that information.

2. Legislation: McDonald asked what legislation Senator Rhoads plans on introducing to help assist the badly crippled small business community and its employees. Senator Rhoads responded that he has supported measures to help the businesses that suffered, such as the $700 million dollars of unemployment insurance that the State paid and normally would have been paid by businesses.

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.

PRESENTATIONS

Institute for Human Services (IHS): Connie Mitchell presented on various homeless outreach programs tailored towards housing and mental illnesses, homeless shelter updates, partnerships with hospitals, partnerships with HPD, case management, the mobile hygiene van, proposed legislation, and volunteer opportunities.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Volunteer: Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons asked where people should go if they wanted to volunteer. Mitchell responded that those interested in volunteering can visit https://ihshawaii.org/ or email info@ihshawaii.org.

2. Payment: Caravalho asked if IHS charges a fee to individuals who use their facilities. Mitchell responded yes they charge a very small fee and those with no money are asked to pay by helping out around the facility.

3. Abuse: Caravalho noted a rumor he heard that homeless individuals are scared to go to these facilities because they are scared that they will get in trouble or abused, and asked if that sort of thing happens. Mitchell responded that conflicts in the shelters do occur, but violence is not tolerated and those individuals responsible for the incident are asked to leave the shelter.

4. Bus Stop: Armstrong asked what people should do when they see a homeless individual inhabiting a bus stop. Mitchell responded that there are several departments/organizations that do outreach, and you can start by calling the Governor's Office on Homelessness. Mitchell added that if the homeless individual appears to suffer from a mental illness, you should call IHS because that is their focus.

Vaccination Clinics sponsored by American Savings Bank (ASB): There was no representative present.

McCarney MOVED and Caravalho SECONDED the Motion to add the following presentation to the agenda: Updates on Complete Streets, Kalihi by Daniel Alexander (Department of Transportation Services).

Discussion:

1. Opposed: Armstrong raised concerns about the order of the agenda that was discussed earlier in the meeting, and proposed that this presentation be added to the next agenda. Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons noted his disagreement with Armstrong's proposal.

2. Point of Order: Lye commented that the addition of this topic could be permissible as long as the board does not take any action regarding the contents of the presentation.

3. In Support: McDonald commented that he is in favor of adding the presentation to the agenda at this meeting as long as it does not cause the board to break any rules. Lye responded that given the brief explanation of the proposed presentation, the argument can be made that this presentation does not affect a significant number of people of the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board district and therefore is acceptable to amend tonight's agenda.

The Motion PASSED by roll call vote; 8-0-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, Lye, McDonald, McCarney, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Updates on Complete Streets, Kalihi: Daniel Alexander (Department of Transportation Services) presented on Complete Streets' project goal of making improvements that make it safer for people to walk, bike, drive, and use the bus. Alexander presented images of the affected streets and the affected portion of Chinatown, which will be on School Street to Middle Street. Complete Streets has engaged with the community through workshops, web-mapping and online comments, attending Stakeholder meetings, Community Advisory Committee meetings, and Neighborhood Board meetings. The final large community workshop meeting for Complete Streets will be held virtually on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. You can register at www.honolulu.gov/completestreets/kalihi or contact Daniel Alexander via email [daniel.alexander@honolulu.gov] or phone [808-768-6652].

BOARD BUSINESS AND REPORTS

Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes - Thursday, July 1, 2021 & Thursday, September 2, 2021: Deferred to next meeting.

Treasurer's Report: The remaining balance is $342.33.

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, November 4, 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 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 8:42 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Dylan Whitsell, Community Relations Specialist

Final approval by:

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