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

Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 

 

December 2021 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2021

6:00 P.M. VIA WEBEX

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Pro Tem Laura Sturges called the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. Quorum was established with six (6) 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, Kevin Lye, Lori McCarney, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Laura Sturges, Kevin McDonald (6:07 p.m.), Sean Fitzsimmons (6:16 p.m.).

Members Absent: Ara Laylo.

Guests: Captain Sean Arakaki (Honolulu Fire Department); Sergeant Gregory Timme (Honolulu Police Department); Steven Norstrom (Board of Water Supply); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua); Ian Santee (Mayor Blangiardi's Representative); Kimberly Ribellia (Councilmember Fukunaga's Representative); Senator Karl Rhoads; Layce Yamauchi (Representative Saiki's Office); Makanani Sala (Mayor's Office of Culture and Arts); Janice Jensen, Randall Wakumoto, Cami Kloster (Group 70, Storm Water Utility); Kainoa Kuameheiwa-Rego, Jacob Aki (Common Cause Hawai'i); Sam Moku (Mayor Blangiardi's Chief of Staff); Emi Anamizu, Marilyn Lee-Tom, Jeri Yamada, Keolu Peralto, Sandy Ma, Noe Tanigawa, Maria Tijerina, Jesse Gibbon, John Kaulukoa (Residents); Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). There were 30 total attendees.

BOARD BUSINESS

Election of Board Officers: Lye MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED the Motion to defer the Election of Board Officers until after the Public Safety Reports.

Discussion: Opposed: McCarney commented that delaying the election will not solve the Board's problem.

The Motion WAS NOT ADOPTED; 3-3-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Lye; Nay: McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Abstain: None).

McDonald joined the meeting at 6:07 p.m.; seven (7) members present.

McCarney MOVED and Caravalho SECONDED the Motion to defer the Election of Board Officers until the next meeting.

Discussion:

1. Opposed: Shubert-Kwock commented that the elections have been deferred for several meetings now due to split votes and is against any further delays.

2. In Support: McCarney commented that the absence of a Chairperson has not hindered the Board from holding meetings and taking action, and the failed elections at the beginning of every meeting continue to waste a significant amount of time.

The Motion PASSED; 6-1-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Lye, McDonald, McCarney, Sturges; Nay: Shubert-Kwock; Abstain: None).

Lye MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED the Motion to request that a formal letter from the Department of Corporation Counsel (COR) be submitted to this Board explaining why a Board Member is allowed to abstain their vote during the ‘Election of Officers' when the Neighborhood Plan Section 2-14-115(c) states that a Member must declare a name when voting to elect an officer.

Discussion: In Support: Armstrong commented that he agrees with Lye's interpretation of the Neighborhood Plan Section 214-115(c).

The Motion PASSED; 6-1-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Lye, McDonald, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: Caravalho; Abstain: None).

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): Captain Sean Arakaki reported statistics and a safety tip for holiday cooking, found at https://fire.honolulu.gov/.

Fitzsimmons joined the meeting at 6:16 p.m.; eight (8) members present.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): Sergeant Gregory Timme reported statistics and a safety tip for theft prevention, found at https://www.honolulupd.org/.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Gratitude: Shubert-Kwock commented her support of HPD's services in the community and extended a friendly reminder that this particular community needs a lot of help.

2. Increased Crime: Armstrong asked if any of the reported crime statistical categories have decreased since last month, and added that as a majority of the crimes have been increasing does HPD have any reasoning for why that may be. Sergeant Timme responded that the significant increase has been with assaults, a certain juvenile criminal element may play a role in that, and that he cannot provide any further specifics as it may interfere with current investigations.

3. Homeless Sweeps: McDonald questioned the permanency of HPD's homeless sweep service and asked what legislation McDonald can recommend to the elected officials. Sergeant Timme responded that he will relay the request to HPD's Legislative Liaison Office.

4. Panhandlers: Lye commented that panhandling is not illegal, but asked how the public and HPD can work together to reduce these situations. Sergeant Timme responded that introducing legislation which specifically makes panhandling illegal without being vague may be the best solution.

5. Weapons and Drugs: Caravalho noted how many individuals have been congregating at Sun Yat-Sen Park to do drugs while carrying knifes and other weapons on them and HPD does not confront them. Sergeant Timme responded that he cannot give accurate responses to generalizations, and that a person's pockets are considered private unless the officer has enough reason to search the person.

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.

MONTHLY REPORTS

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

• Breaks: There was a six (6) inch water main break at 814 Kinau Street.

• Contest: BWS is hosting their water conservation week poster and poetry contest for students across the island. The theme is "Water is Life, Treat it Right". The deadline to enter will be Monday, February 28, 2022.

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

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Red Hill Fuel Leak: Caravalho asked what actions BWS is taking to address the Red Hill Fuel Tank Leaks. Norstrom responded that the BWS system is not contaminated as the Navy system, but BWS is increasing their quarterly testing of the Red Hill aquifer to weekly testing.

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

• Statistics: From January 2021 to November 2021, 77 individuals have been housed and provided with several care facilities.

• Punawai Rest Stop: Even during Covid-19, this facility sees about 230 people a month and 2,500 duplicated people every year. So far this year over 65,000 visits have been made.

• Relocation: There are three (3) potential locations on the table, with one (1) being the top contender and the goal is to be relocated within the next six (6) months. More information will be released at the next meeting.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Relocation: Fitzsimmons asked for the locations of the potential sites. Payton responded that the ideal site they are looking at is Iwilei, and the others have not been approved yet.

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC): Caravalho reported that the next CAC meeting will be held in January 2022, and noted that he shared copies of the Sunshine Law revisions regarding virtual meetings and physical locations with all the Board Members.

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative: Ian Santee [isantee@honolulu.gov] provided responses for several questions asked at the previous meeting, and was available to take questions.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Nuisance Animals: Lye commented that he was hoping for an interpretation from the correct authority on this specific case.

2. Tree Trimming: Lye asked what it would take for the City to send tree trimmers to Chaplain Lane for the purpose of removing or reducing the nuisance animal's habitat. Santee responded that he will forward that request to the Department of Facility Maintenance (DFM).

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga (District 6): Kimberly Ribellia [cafukunaga@honolulu.gov] reported on the Mayor's recent lifting of previous Covid-19 restrictions, an update on the fire sprinkler legislation (Bill 37), the CORE Homeless Outreach Program, and the City's Rental and Utility Relief Program.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Senator Rhoads [senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov] reported on feral chickens, the Omicron variant, Covid-19 booster shots, Covid-19 vaccination clinics, and the Department of Health launching in-home Covid-19 vaccinations.

• Covid-19 Resources: www.hawaiicovid19.com / www.oneoahu.org

• 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. Missing Girl: Tijerina commented on the recent disappearance of Isabella "Ariel" Kalua and questioned the Judge's ethics.

2. Weeds: Armstrong expressed his gratitude for the City or State for trimming the overgrown weeds on Vineyard Avenue between Pali Highway and Nuuanu Avenue. Senator Rhoads responded that he cannot take credit for that operation.

3. Legislation on Homelessness: McDonald noted that the community's biggest problem is with homelessness, and asked what legislation Senator Rhoads plans to introduce or sponsor in the upcoming session to combat these issues. Senator Rhoads responded that in the past he introduced the Bill that makes it illegal for anyone to block the sidewalk, and added that the focus should be on the underlying problems of mental illness and drug addiction. Caravalho commented that HPD sweeps of homeless individuals are not effective and other solutions should be discussed.

4. Noise Disturbance: Lye noted feral roosters at Smith-Beretania Park and 1171 Nuuanu Avenue.

5. New Poles: Lye asked if the new poles that were installed on the sidewalk at Vineyard Avenue and Pali Highway were ADA compliant. Senator Rhoads responded that he will check on that.

Representative Scott Saiki (District 26): Layce Yamauchi distributed Representative Saiki's newsletter to all the board members and was available to take questions.

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

PUBLIC CONCERNS

New Community Member: Makanani Sala and Jeri Yamada announced that Riverwalk Art Festival will be held along College Walk on Friday, February 11, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The purpose of the festival is to support our local arts community and make sure the arts are accessible to the citizen of O'ahu. The festival is free, open to the public, presented by the City and County of Honolulu, sponsored by the Creative City, and produced by Events International.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. In Support: McDonald expressed his support for this event and the many other events that used to take place in Chinatown before the pandemic began. Caravalho also expressed his support and noted that events like these help to reduce crime and clean up the area.

McDonald & Shubert-Kwock left the meeting at 7:30 p.m. due to technical difficulties; six (6) members present.

NEW BUSINESS / PRESENTATIONS

Group 70, Storm Water Utility: Janice Jensen, Randall Wakumoto, and Cami Kloster (Storm Water Quality Division) explained the need for a storm water utility fee. This utility will help pay for maintenance and upgrades to storm water drainage, resulting in reduced flooding, and environmental benefits. The fee will be based on a property's impervious area. An impervious area is a hard surface, such as a roof, driveway, or walkway, preventing water from entering the ground. A pervious area would be identified as grass or landscaping, allowing water to enter the ground. The expected range of Base Rate will be $5.50 - $6.80/month per 1,000 sq.ft. of impervious area. A typical single-family home falls in Tier 4: $19.50 - $23.00/month. This fee would paid by everyone, from business to schools, churches, and federal facilities. Everyone will be eligible to reduce their utility fee by implementing strategies that encourage water flow into the ground, reducing runoff. Examples of these credits include rain gardens, downspout redirection, permeable pavers, and rainwater capture. Visit: www.stormwaterutilityoahu.org for more information.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Vote on It: Armstrong commented that this proposal should be included on the November 2022 election ballot for the tax payers to decide.

2. No Reductions: Lye noted that during the previous presentation in May 2021 the proposed fee was said to be a revenue neutral endeavor offset by reductions, and asked what caused that to change. Wakumoto responded that the previous proposal of this fee being offset by reductions was strongly considered, but after much discussion decided that it needs to be a separate fee and those funds are required to complete storm water projects.

3. Public Roadways: McCarney commented that public roadways should not be exempt because that land encompasses a large portion of the island, so they should contribute to the fee as well. Wakumoto responded that the reason why public roadways are exempt is because they essentially serve the functions of what storm water utility is geared for, which is to address the drainage system.

Common Cause Hawai'i: Kainoa Kuameheiwa-Rego reported that Common Cause Hawai'i is a non-partisan, non-profit, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of our democracy and ensuring a fair and transparent redistricting process. Part and parcel of ensuring a fair and transparent process is ensuring pertinent information about the processes given or shared with public. The City and County of Honolulu passed the final draft of their redistricting plan at their meeting on Tuesday, October 26, 2021. The final report and reapportionment plan was filed with the city clerk on Wednesday, November 24, 2021. To learn more about the Reapportionment Commission, visit their website at: https://elections.hawaii.gov/about-us/boards-and-commissions/reapportionment/ Use the following link to view the interactive proposed maps:

https://histategis.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=45858f8b23ff4fb0b9ddc37126b0c968

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Split Housing Projects: Caravalho asked why House District 29 will be become part of House District 27 due to an abnormal separation of housing districts. Kaumeheiwa-Rego responded that Caravalho should ask that question at the upcoming Reapportionment Commission meeting.

2. Announcements: Lye asked if Common Cause Hawai'i reaches out to the public or makes general announcements through email or text messages. Kaumeheiwa-Rego responded that Common Cause Hawai'i sends out physical mailings, email blasts, and social media messaging.

BOARD BUSINESS AND REPORTS

Approval of Thursday, July 1, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes: Armstrong MOVED and Caravalho SECONDED the Motion to adopt the July 1, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes.

Discussion:

1. Opposed: Lye commented that the minutes should be approved after a Chair is elected.

2. In Favor: McCarney commented that not much is gained by aggressively revising the drafted minutes.

The Motion PASSED; 5-1-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, McCarney, Sturges; Nay: Lye; Abstain: None).

Approval of Thursday, September 2, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes: McCarney MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED the Motion to adopt the September 2, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes.

Discussion: Opposed: Lye commented that it would be nice if we had a chance to repair the dollar dollars errors.

The Motion PASSED; 5-1-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, McCarney, Sturges; Nay: Lye; Abstain: None).

Approval of Thursday, November 4, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes: A correction was noted.

Correction: Page 2 City-Led Improvements - Strike out "polls" and replace with "poles".

Lye MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED the Motion to adopt the November 4, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes as amended by Member Lye. The Motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent; 6-0-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Lye, McCarney, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Treasurer's Report: The remaining balance was $321.06.

Board Member Concerns

Technical Difficulties: Caravalho commented that due to the technical difficulties experienced during agenda item ‘Public Concerns', it appears that Member Shubert-Kwock was unable to rejoin the meeting and the same complications may have occurred for Member McDonald as well. Caravalho added that with the recent lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, he is in favor of returning to in-person meetings. Armstrong echoed Caravalho's comments about returning to in-person meetings in February 2022 unless the Covid-19 situation worsens.

Board Action: Lye expressed his goals for the Board to return to an active position with the community by drafting and adopting resolutions to address both current and future issues.

Red Hill Fuel Leak: Caravalho expressed his grave concerns with the Red Hill Fuel Tank complications and proposed that the Board strongly consider drafting a resolution supporting the closer of the Red Hill Fuel Tank operations. Armstrong agreed that this is a significant issue and proposed continuing the conversation in February 2022 when more details arise.

Resolutions: McCarney inquired about the process of drafting, introducing, and adopting resolutions. Lye explained the resolution process.

Future Items for Board Consideration:

Upcoming Speakers: Lye shared that he has been compiling a list of different organizations and their representatives in the community that have been eager to come and present to this Board and encouraged Chair Pro Tem Fitzsimmons to include them when there is available space on the agendas.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Regular Meeting: The Downtown - Chinatown Neighborhood Board No.13 is recessing in January 2022. Their next scheduled meeting is for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 3, 2021 at a location to be determined.

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 8:44 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Dylan Whitsell, Deputy

Final approval by:

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