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

Downtown / Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13

 

March 2022 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2022

6:00 P.M. VIA WEBEX

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Laura Sturges called the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Quorum was established with seven (7) 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, Ara Laylo, Kevin Lye, Lori McCarney, Laura Sturges, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Sean Fitzsimmons (6:18 p.m.), and Kevin McDonald (6:54 p.m.).

Members Absent: None.

Guests: Captain Sean Arakaki (Honolulu Fire Department); Steven Norstrom (Board of Water Supply); Ian Santee (Mayor Blangiardi's Representative); Councilmember Carol Fukunaga; Marsha Goriainov (Senator Rhoads's Office); Layce Yamauchi (Representative Saiki's Office); Shawn Hamamoto (Representative Holt's Office); Brianna Worley (Hanks Café); Nicole Reid, Brandon Reid (The Manifest); Teri Skillman (Hawaii Arts Alliance); Marilyn Yamamoto, Ikaika Hussey, James Tennant, Maria Roth-Tijerina, Noe Tanigawa, Chance Na'auao-Ota, Alicia Salta, Lee Stack, Bixby Ho (Residents); Executive Secretary Lloyd Yonenaka, Deputy Dylan Whitsell, Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). There were 29 total attendees.

Opening Remarks by the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO): Executive Secretary Lloyd Yonenaka congratulated the Board on electing a Chair and spoke briefly about supporting the new Chair and respecting one another.

BOARD BUSINESS

Election of Board Officers: Caravalho nominated Shubert-Kwock for Secretary. Hearing no other nominations, the Board took a roll-call vote. The Motion did NOT PASS; 4-2-1 (Aye: Caravalho, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: Armstrong, Lye; Abstain: Laylo).

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): No representative present, statistics found at https://fire.honolulu.gov/.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): No representative present, statistics 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 the second Tuesday of every month, departing at 7:00 p.m. from the Diamond Head Tower lobby of Kukui Plaza.

Fitzsimmons joined the meeting at 6:18 p.m.; eight (8) members present.

MONTHLY REPORTS

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

• Breaks: No water main breaks reported for February 2022.

• General Announcements: BWS is hosting ‘World Water Day' to spread awareness about ground water. The BWS report, general announcements, and additional information can be found at:

www.boardofwatersupply.com.

Safe Haven: Chair Sturges reported that Mental Health Kokua (MHK) Safe Haven is making progress with the City to relocate Safe Haven out of Chinatown within the next few months, and the new location will be announced by the City and MHK when plans are confirmed.

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC): Caravalho reported that due to technical difficulties, the report will be provided at the next meeting.

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. Feral Chickens: Caravalho raised noise and health concerns relating to feral birds and chickens.

2. Security Cameras: Lye commented that Mayor Blangiardi did not address the longstanding issue of broken security cameras in the Downtown-Chinatown area during the Mayor's press conference on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. Lye added that it will also require manpower or artificial intelligence to monitor the cameras.

3. Sit-Lie Statistics: Lye made note of HPD's Sit/Lie statistics as 9,359 warnings were given between July 2021 to December 2021 and only 92 actual citations were issued.

4. Jersey Barrier: Lye reported that a portion of a jersey barrier is blocking the sidewalk at the corner of River Street and South King Street and that illegal activities occur behind the barrier.

5. Senate Bill 2318: Fitzsimmons requested Mayor Blangiardi's position on Senate Bill 2318, which would have required HPD to collect data on who is being subjected to police stops as well as records of use of force and arrests.

6. Smith-Beretania Park: Shubert-Kwock asked if there are any plans to temporarily close Smith-Beretania Park due to multiple reports of criminal activity taking place there. Armstrong requested that Chair Sturges include Smith-Beretania Park on the April 2022 agenda.

7. Homeless Encampment: Shubert-Kwock reported an increase in homeless encampments near the intersections of Nimitz Highway and Sumner Street, and Iwilei Road and Sumner Street.

8. CORE Program: Shubert-Kwock requested statistics on the effectiveness of the CORE Program.

Councilmember Carol Fukunaga (District 6): Councilmember (CM) Fukunaga [cafukunaga@honolulu.gov] provided her report, an update on the feral animal eradication process, and an update on the current status of fire sprinkler retrofits for condominium associations. CM Fukunaga also discussed City Council Resolution 22-32 relating to the distribution of food on the public sidewalk. To view CM Fukunaga's report:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/426f4vmu1dgwcrr/03-03-22%20Councilmember%20Fukunaga%20Downtown%20NB%20%2313%20Rpt.pdf?dl=0

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. River of Life: Shubert-Kwock noted the significance of the City and County solidifying a date for the relocation of the River of Life feeding program to Iwilei. CM Fukunaga responded that the new facility has a large open seating cafeteria, commercial kitchen, and two (2) floors of miniature apartments that can be used for MHK services.

2. Gratitude: Caravalho thanked CM Fukunaga for her service to her community as her term comes to an end. Laylo echoed the comments made by Caravalho.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Marsha Goriainov provided the report on feral chickens, Mayor Blangiardi's announcement to end the Safe Access program on Saturday, March 5, 2022, Governor Ige's announcement to end the Safe Travels Hawaii program on Friday, March 25, 2022, the State Capitol opening to the public on Monday, March 7, 2022, and the reduced number of daily Covid-19 cases.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Senate Bill 2096: Roth-Tijerina raised her concerns with Senator Rhoads's comments at a previous public hearing for Senate Bill 2096.

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): Shawn Hamamoto provided the report and highlighted the following measures that were passed out of the State's Finance Committee this week: House Bill (HB) 2511 House Draft (HD) 1 regarding the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL); HB2510 HD1 regarding increasing the minimum wage; HB2171 HD2 regarding public safety

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Attendance: McDonald commented that elected officials are expected to be present at these meeting especially during the legislative session.

2. Increased Taxes: McDonald noted multiple bill proposals regarding increased taxes for the general public and commented that now is not the time for that due to the pandemic, and noted that if the State had a $3 billion dollar surplus why are we raising taxes.

3. Minimum Wage: McDonald commented his opposition to the proposed minimum wage increase bill following the pandemic because small businesses can't afford it. Caravalho echoed McDonald's comments and added that the time to increase the minimum wage was years ago. Laylo commented in support of raising the minimum wage now. Armstrong echoed Laylo's support of HB2510-HD1.

4. Hawaiian Home Lands: Shubert-Kwock asked and Hamamoto responded that HB2511-HD1 would appropriate $600 million dollars for DHHL, not the general housing crisis, because Hawaiians have been on a waitlist for decades to receive homestead housing.

PUBLIC CONCERNS

Road Closures: Chair Sturges reported a resident's concern regarding upcoming road closures on Alakea Street and Beretania Street due to the Kokua Elderly Housing project construction. The road closures will be in effect beginning Friday, March 11, 2022 from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2022, and again on Saturday, March 12, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2022. Five (5) lanes will be closed on Beretania Street and two (2) lanes will be closed on Alakea Street.

CBCA Announcement: Shubert-Kwock provided the report from the Tuesday, February 8, 2022 Chinatown Business Community Association (CBCA) meeting and announced that the next CBCA meeting will be held at Golden Palace on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. The CBCA meets on the second Tuesday of the month and are joined by City Officials, HPD, Chinatown Stakeholders, and residents. Shubert-Kwock also announced that the HPD spearheaded a successful community cleaning day on Saturday, February 26, 2022 where multiple organizations and community members helped to repaint several areas of Chinatown.

NEW BUSINESS / PRESENTATIONS

Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebration Fundraiser Block Party: Brianna Worley presented on the 2022 Cinco De Mayo Block Party hosted by Hank's Café. Worley noted the historical significance of Cinco De Mayo and a brief history of this event over the past few years. The Cinco De Mayo Block Party is scheduled for Thursday, May 5, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., with the cessation of amplified music starting at 10:00 p.m. The purpose of this event is to stimulate economic activity by attracting residents and tourists to the Downtown-Chinatown area. It is free and open to the public to enter, will feature non-profit organizations, musical entertainment and performers. Portions of the proceeds of the event will be donated to the Miss Latina Hawaii scholarship organization and the Rotary Pau Hana club of Honolulu. The event will be located at the intersection of Nuunanu Avenue and Hotel Street. The event will include food booths/trucks, arts and crafts booths, alcohol for sale (age 21+), contests, and more.

Chair Sturges passed the gavel to Vice Chair Fitzsimmons at 7:18 p.m.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. In Support: Laylo commented in support of these types of events because they create a safe place in Chinatown and change the narrative of how some people currently view Chinatown. Caravalho commented that it is time to move forward by letting the public know that Chinatown is open and ready for business following the pandemic. McDonald echoed Laylo's and Caravalho's comments and added that Chinatown was designed to be a district for events such as this one. McCarney commented that many businesses have relocated to areas outside of this district because they did not feel that their businesses were welcomed by the community. McCarney added that Chinatown can be a "shining light" for this community by hosting diverse cultural events such as Cinco De Mayo, St. Patrick's Day, Pride events, and many more.

2. Conflict of Interest: Shubert-Kwock commented that any Board member with ownership of businesses that may benefit from this event should identify themselves. McDonald noted that he is a bar owner and operator, but does not currently own or operate a bar in the Downtown-Chinatown district.

3. Recent Performance: Shubert-Kwock noted her attendance at several of these Cinco De Mayo festivals in recent years and commented that some years the organizers do a great job and other times they do not. Lye echoed Shubert-Kwock's comments about this events' past performance because some concerns have been raised. Lye requested that the event coordinator return to this Boards' next meeting with a report of issues that occurred at the last event and some type of quality improvement plan to address those issues. Worley responded that their goal is to always keep the Board and the public informed. Stack commented that there are impacts to small business for these events such as parking stalls and sidewalks being restricted.

4. Noise Concerns: Shubert-Kwock raised concerns regarding loud noises from the event and participants that extend past the permitted hours occurring on a work night. Worley responded that no citations were issued at the last Cinco De Mayo festival and all required post-event reports were submitted to the Honolulu Liquor Commission. Armstrong commented that the event coordinators should strongly consider modifying the end time of the event to 11:00 p.m. because midnight on a Thursday is too late.

5. Camera On: Lye requested that the event coordinator come back on camera so that the Board can look them in the eye as they present and respond to questions.

6. Community Input: Laylo recommended that the event coordinators display transparency through open conversations with the community, including residents and business owners.

7. Over-Serving Liquor: Laylo recommended that the staff hired to serve liquor are capable of reading a customer's level of inebriation to avoid over-serving which would reduce potential issues. Caravalho commented that he has witnessed staff at Hank's Café, The Manifest, and other businesses successfully turn away customers who appeared to be inebriated. Stack commented that the Waikiki district has decided not to allow liquor sales at some public events due to the risks involved, so it can be done without liquor.

Lye MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED the motion to table further discussion and Board action regarding the Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebration Fundraiser Block Party until the next meeting in April 2022.

Discussion:

1. Vote Tonight: McCarney commented that if the Board defers taking action on this event tonight that it will jeopardize the entire event. McDonald commented that the Board should vote tonight.

2. Defer Action: Lye commented that the event coordinators have heard several concerns raised at tonight's meeting for them to consider and an updated presentation at the next meeting would be appropriate before taking a vote.

Hearing no further discussion, the Board took a roll-call vote. The motion to table did NOT PASS; 3-5-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Lye, Shubert-Kwock; Nay: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, McDonald, McCarney; Abstain: Sturges).

McDonald MOVED and Caravalho SECONDED the motion to support the Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebration Fundraiser Block Party on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Discussion:

1. In Support: Fitzsimmons commented that it is unreasonable for the Board to defer action on this event until the next meeting because 30 days is not enough time to plan any event in this district. Caravalho recommend that the Board give Hank's Café a chance with this event and see how they perform. McDonald noted his support and readiness to vote on the event.

2. Opposed: Shubert-Kwock commented that deferring action until the next meeting is not reflecting the Board's opposition to the event but as a question of proper management because some concerns have not been addressed. Worley commented that Hank's Café is taking note of all the concerns raised and their goal is to improve every year. Lye commented that the reason for making the motion to table this discussion until the next meeting was that he did not believe the community was well informed about this event. Armstrong commented that the agenda description for this event was too general for the community to gather any substantial information and that if they knew the event would go on until midnight on a Thursday that they would raise some concerns.

Hearing no further discussion, the Board took a roll-call vote. The motion to support the Cinco De Mayo Cultural Celebration Fundraiser Block Party on Thursday, May 5, 2022 PASSED; 5-1-3 (Aye: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, McDonald, McCarney; Nay: Armstrong; Abstain: Lye, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges).

The Manifest - 4:00 a.m. Service License Application: Nicole and Brandon Reid (Owners of The Manifest) presented on their service license application to the Honolulu Liquor Commission that would allow The Manifest to operate until 4:00 a.m. The Manifest has successfully operated under a general dispenser license for the past 12 years to operate until 2:00 a.m. The Manifest specializes in these four (4) main attractions: (1) showcase local artists of all kinds; (2) full service café and bar open during the day and night; (3) arcade section with a regulation pool table, vintage arcade games, and weekly tournaments; (4) available for hosting both private and public events such as weddings, art openings, book releases, and corporate events. The Manifest is requesting the Board's support for them to receive an initial preliminary hearing from the Honolulu Liquor Commission in order for The Manifest to be awarded a 4:00 a.m. service license.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Gratitude: Laylo applauded Nicole and Brandon Reid for their long history of being good stewards of their current license and for continuing to serve the community. Caravalho echoed Laylo's comments and added that in his experience The Manifest has done a great job with security, cleanliness, and restricting drug use.

2. Licensing: Fitzsimmons commented that he was under the impression that the Honolulu Liquor Commission was planning to phase out cabaret licenses altogether pre-pandemic. Worley responded that The Manifest is requesting a change of class license versus a brand new license.

3. Conflict of Interest: Shubert-Kwock commented that any Board member with ownership of similar businesses should identify themselves before the Board takes a vote.

4. Too Late: Shubert-Kwock commented that HPD was not supportive of 4:00 a.m. service licenses in the past because of the various problems that occur shortly after leaving an establishment.

5. Weekends Only: Armstrong asked if this 4:00 a.m. service license will only be applied to Friday and Saturday nights. N. Reid responded that the license would allow them to remain open every day until 4:00 a.m., but they only intend to remain open till 4:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. N. Reid added that they currently have a license to serve until 2:00 a.m. but often close early on weekdays.

6. Potential Violation: Lye commented to the Board that by having an open discussions about this agenda item outside of a public meeting may have violated laws set forth by the Office of Information Practices (OIP).

7. 4:00 A.M. Service Daily: Lye asked, if the 4:00 a.m. license was granted, what would prevent The Manifest from operating until 4:00 a.m. every night of the week as opposed to only on Friday and Saturday nights. N. Reid responded that even if The Manifest wanted to stay open till 4:00 a.m. daily it would require a deep staff roster, which they do not have, and there would have to be sufficient demand for that service to make it profitable which is unlikely on regular weeknights.

8. Responsibility: Lye commented that once people begin to cycle out of The Manifest around 3:30 a.m. they are no longer the responsibility of The Manifest.

9. Misconceptions: McDonald commented by explaining some common misconceptions with establishments operating until 4:00 a.m. and asked Nicole and Brandon Reid to present some of the benefits the community would gain as a result of The Manifest receiving the 4:00 a.m. license. Brandon Reid responded that one benefit to the community is that customers from The Manifest leaving between 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. are observing what is occurring in the surrounding area and serve as "eyes on the streets" to witness and report any negligent or criminal activities that may occur.

The Neighborhood Assistant left the meeting at 9:00 p.m. The following minutes were prepared by Board member Shubert-Kwock.

10. Opposed: Stack commented that she is a property owner in Chinatown within 500 feet from The Manifest and does not support their request for a 4:00 a.m. service license.

Chair Sturges called for a vote after a motion was made and seconded. The motion to support The Manifest's requested 4:00 a.m. service license from the Honolulu Liquor Commission PASSED; 7-1-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Laylo, McCarney, McDonald, Sturges; Nay: Lye; Abstain: Shubert-Kwock).

Chair Sturges called for action to rescind the previous month's vote on Public Concerns on Hawaii Arts Alliance's street party. Extensive discussion followed, then Chair Sturges called for a validation of such votes. The votes were as followed: 5-0-4 (Aye: Armstrong, McDonald, Shubert-Kwock, Lye, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: Fitzsimmons, McCarney, Laylo, Caravalho).

Arts Festival: Teri Skillman (Executive Director of Hawaii Arts Alliance - HAA) presented that the HAA promotes observing the nationally designated months of April (Arts Advocacy Month) and October (Arts & Humanities Month) as the two (2) festival months. HAA consists of 10 nonprofit arts groups and is headed and supervised by executive director, Teri Skillman. The Hawaii Arts Alliance was started by architect, Alfred Preis in 1980. American Savings Bank, Trust of Public Lands are working on Aala Park. Our Art Festival street event is set for Saturday, April 23, 2022 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is a non-alcohol family event. King Street, Hotel, Nuuanu, Bethel Streets will be closed. The Art Festival will have tents, entertainment and supporting restaurants to promote Arts. "HEART" for Downtown - coined for, Historic, Entertainment, Arts, Restaurants and Theatre to provide access to Art. We also recently advocated with Hawaii Board of Education to promote art in schools.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Concerns: Shubert-Kwock commented that she fully supports the arts for kids and family, but in the past arts were used and abused as an excuse to sell more alcohol on our streets. At one time we had 40 liquor block parties and this led to a Joint Fact Finding (JFF) commissioned by Council Member Carol Fukunaga and the Honolulu Liquor Commission's Assistant Director, Anna Hirai, to characterize these events as "too many, too loud and too drunk". I am also concerned that the Hawaii Arts Alliance would dominate every Saturday so other organizations can't do their events. Skillman responded no HAA is only asking for April 2022 and October 2022.

McDonald MOVED and McCarney SECONDED the motion to support the Arts Festival event on Saturday, April 23, 2022. Chair Sturges called for the vote. The motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

McDonald MOVED and McCarney SECONDED the motion to defer all remaining items on the agenda including approval of minutes and the two resolutions to next meeting. The motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

Red Hill Fuel Tanks Decommissioning - Resolution: Deferred to next meeting.

Anti-Corruption for Legislature - Resolution: Deferred to next meeting.

BOARD BUSINESS AND REPORTS

Approval of Thursday, December 2, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes: Deferred to next meeting.

Treasurer's Report: Deferred to next meeting.

Board Member Concerns: Deferred to next meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Regular Meeting: The next Downtown - Chinatown Neighborhood Board meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 7, 2022 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 on the second Tuesday of each month 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 9:45 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Dylan Whitsell, Deputy

Final approval by:

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