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

DOWNTOWN - CHINATOWN NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 13

 

December 2022 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2022

6:00 P.M. HYBRID

Kapalama Hale & WebEx

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Ernest Caravalho called the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 meeting to order at 6:00 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, Kevin Lye, Kevin McDonald, Lori McCarney, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, and Laura Sturges.

Members Absent: Ara Laylo.

Guests: Captain Sean Arakaki (Honolulu Fire Department); Lieutenant Arnold Sagucio (Honolulu Police Department); Deputy Director of EMS Ian Santee (Mayor Blangiardi's Representative); Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Richmond Luzar; Max Kibbe (Senator Rhoads's Representative); Iris Oda (Board of Water Supply); Lee Stack (Chinatown Improvement District); Harry Cho, Johnny Reid (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation); Leonard Kam, Kalene Sakamoto (Chinatown 808); Karl Sakamoto, Alan G. Lee, Dore Minatodani, Maria Tijerina, Nicole Reid, Anthony Sato, Austin Salcedo (Residents); Executive Secretary Lloyd Yonenaka, Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). Note: Name was not included if not legible. There were 33 total attendees.

Lye MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED to postpone the meeting for seven (7) to ten (10) days to avoid a potential Sunshine Law violation as multiple members of the board, and at least one (1) resident, had not received the emailed meeting notice on time or at all. Discussion followed. Hearing no further discussion, the board took a roll call vote. The motion was NOT PASSED; 2-5-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Lye; Nay: Fitzsimmons, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges, Caravalho; Abstain: McDonald).

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): Captain Arakaki reported the following.

• November 2022 Statistics: There was one (1) structure fire, three (3) nuisance fires, seven (7) activated alarms (no fire), 91 medical emergencies, and four (4) motor vehicle crash/collisions.

• Safety Tip: Cooking Safety Tips - The HFD highly recommends cooking with caution, especially during the holidays, as cooking fires are the number one (1) cause of home fires. Visit https://fire.honolulu.gov/ to learn more.

Lye announced that, as he cannot continue to participate in the meeting because he is on holiday and has some travels to take care of at this time, there will be no Neighborhood Citizen Patrol report (item VI.F.) tonight because there was insufficient notice and ability to prepare for the meeting. Lye also commented that he would vote to approve item VII.D. Consideration of item ‘Board Members Concerns', and is hopeful that the board will not approve the draft meeting minutes from Thursday, November 3, 2022 until the next meeting.

Lye left the meeting at 6:35 p.m.; seven (7) members present.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): Lieutenant Sagucio reported the following.

• November 2022 Statistics: There were five (5) motor vehicle thefts, five (5) burglaries, 42 thefts, 22 unauthorized entry into motor vehicles (UEMV), 46 assaults, four (4) sexual assaults, one (1) graffiti case, six (6) drug offenses, and 2,151 total calls for service.

• Safety Tip: HPD encourages the public to be considerate of every vehicle that is stalled or pulled to the side on the freeway, especially of first responders, as it is the most dangerous place to be due to high vehicle speeds.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Decrease in Crime: Armstrong asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that the decrease in totals calls for service and UEMV's could be a result of better law enforcement as well as people taking more precautions to protect their personal vehicles. McDonald asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that there are no statistics available on the number of people who are victims of petty theft but choose not to file reports with HPD because they believe they are no repercussions or resolutions for those committed crimes.

2. Security Cameras: Armstrong asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that HPD has secured the funding for the security cameras to be installed throughout Downtown-Chinatown, and is hopeful that the equipment will be delivered on island in January 2023.

3. Repeat Offenders: Shubert-Kwock raised safety concerns as a violent repeated criminal offender, named Richard, is out on the streets again with a history of assaulting people. Lieutenant Sagucio responded that HPD will continue to enforce the laws, but prosecution is up to the Prosecuting Attorney and the court system. McCarney asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that it is a civil rights violation for law enforcement officers to publicize an individual's criminal record, and recommended that she communicate with the residents to find out more information. Armstrong commented that the public should be notified of upcoming court hearing dates for dangerous individuals so that they may provide testimony in support of high bail and sufficient mental health services. McDonald noted that Senator Rhoads is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that is responsible for the appointment of many of these judges.

4. Tasers: Sturges asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that it is legal in Hawai'i for a person to possess and discharge a taser after they have received the required certifications.

NEW BUSINESS / PRESENTATIONS

Chinatown 808 "Night in Chinatown" Festival & Parade: Leonard Kam and Kalene Sakamoto announced that after almost three (3) years since the last Night in Chinatown event, Chinatown 808 has been tasked with organizing both the festival and parade. Chinatown 808 is a nonprofit organization comprised of dedicated volunteers that are best known for putting on the Night in Chinatown Festival, Chinese New Year events, as well as the Dragon Boat Races. The 2023 Lunar New Year parade starts at the Hawaii State Capitol lawn with participants marching along Hotel Street, where they enter Honolulu Chinatown and are brought to the Night in Chinatown Festival along Beretania Street, which flows into the historical A'ala Park. The parade set up is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, 2023, and will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The festival is a free, family-friendly, event between Maunakea Street and A'ala Park on Saturday, January 14, 2023 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Beretania Street will be closed between A'ala Street and Maunakea Street on Saturday, January 14, 2023 from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. For more information visit: https://chinatown808.com/nightinchinatown/

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Sponsorships: Shubert-Kwock asked and Kam responded that Chinatown 808 is in communications with the City regarding their sponsorship, and that sponsorships have already been secured from American Savings Bank, Hawaii Federal Credit Union, and Home Street Bank.

Shubert-Kwock MOVED and Fitzsimmons SECONDED to support the ‘Night in Chinatown' Festival and Parade events scheduled for Saturday, January 14, 2022. Hearing no objections, the motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese New Year's Event: Leonard Kam and Kalene Sakamoto announced that the Chinese Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2023 Chinese New Year's event at the Chinatown Cultural Plaza to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit. This is a two (2) day event is free, family-friendly, and features many different food vendors and entertainment. The event is scheduled for Friday, January 13, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and is also scheduled for Saturday, January 14, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information visit: https://www.chinesechamber.com/events-1/chinese-new-year-celebration-saturday-3

• Street Closures: Street closure will begin prior to start time of 6:00 p.m. King Street will be closed from just before 6:00 p.m. until approximately 7:30 p.m. Busses will be re-routed to Nimitz. Surrounding streets from River, N. Beretania, and Bethel will be closed from 6:00 p.m. until possibly 10:00 p.m. Hotel Street will be closed from 7:00 p.m. and buses traveling in the Ewa direction will be re-routed to Beretania and buses traveling in the Diamond Head direction will be re-routed to Nimitz. Nuuanu will remain open while King Street is closed. Once King Street reopens, Nuuanu will close.

Shubert-Kwock MOVED and McCarney SECONDED to support the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Chinese New Year's events scheduled for Friday, January 13, 2022 and Saturday, January 14, 2022. Hearing no objections, the motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) Updates on New Meeting Location: Lloyd Yonenaka, Executive Secretary of the NCO, announced that the board's request to begin meeting at Ke'elikolani Middle School (KMS) was approved and will be available for the board's next meeting in February 2023. Executive Secretary Yonenaka further explained why the board's initial requests to meet at Honolulu Hale or the Hawai'i State Capitol were not feasible options.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Honolulu Hale: McDonald asked and Executive Secretary Yonenaka responded that he made the decision to reject the board's request to meet at Honolulu Hale. McDonald asked and Executive Secretary Yonenaka responded that Mission Memorial Auditorium is not a feasible option because they cannot commit to the board's meeting date on a monthly basis. Chair Caravalho noted that Honolulu Hale will undergo renovations in the near future, so the board should consider other meeting locations.

Hallowbaloo Updates on October 2022 Event: Postponed to the next meeting.

Resolution - Urging the Hawai‘i State Legislature to enact comprehensive tobacco regulations and end the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use: Postponed to the next meeting. A copy of the draft resolution can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu

Resolution - Urging the Hawai'i State Legislature to convene a special session to address community concerns over public safety, government waste, and statutory inconsistency in felony prosecutions as a result of the State v. Obrero decision: Postponed to the next meeting. A copy of the draft resolution can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu

PUBLIC CONCERNS

Request for Board Action: Maria Tijerina requested that the board address the multiple concerns she's raised over the course of several meetings in regards to Senator Rhoads's character and capabilities as an elected official.

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Governor David Ige's Representative: No representative present, a report was submitted which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative: Deputy Director Ian Santee (Honolulu Emergency Services Department) provided the report on the Mayor's monthly newsletter, which can be found at: https://www.oneoahu.org/newsletter. Santee also reported follow up responses to questions raised at the last meeting and was available to take questions.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Housing First Vouchers: Stack asked and Deputy Director Santee responded that he will follow up to confirm if the Housing First Vouchers program is under the City or State management, and if it is under the City to find out how many Housing First vouchers have been given out for the Chinatown area for the city's affordable housing in Chinatown over the past five (5) years.

2. Sidewalk Repairs: Shubert-Kwock raised safety concerns with the sidewalk located at 1127 Maunakea Street. It was reported that the sidewalk is dangerous, does not meet ADA standards, and needs to be rebuilt.

Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam (District 6): Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam provided his report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam highlighted the rededication of Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park, storm drain improvements, HPD's efforts to install 20-30 security cameras throughout the Downtown-Chinatown community, and the Mayor's intention to allocate an estimated additional $600,000 to increase police presence in this community throughout 2023.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Efforts to Save Small Businesses: McDonald asked and Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam responded that the City's Office of Economic Revitalization (OER) has been actively providing support and services over the past two (2) years to the assist businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic.

2. Staff Contact Information: Shubert-Kwock asked and Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam responded that everyone from his staff will be onboard later this month and will post their contact information at that time, but until then you may contact Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam directly at 808-348-8885.

3. Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park: Chair Caravalho raised concerns with the lack of communication from the City Council and Mayor Blangiardi's administration to the Chinatown Lions Club, and other invested parties, regarding the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Park event. Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam responded that additional improvements are scheduled for the near future and that he will communicate the request to the administration. Armstrong commented that the board members should be invited to these events.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Max Kibbe provided the report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. Kibbe highlighted updated Covid-19 statistics and Senator Rhoads's support to fund the removal of feral chickens. To contact Senator Rhoads's Office call 808-586-6130 or email senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Kickback Scheme: McDonald again asked for Senator Rhoads's thoughts on an article published by the Hawaii Free Press on Thursday, October 6, 2022, which states that the federal court determined in 2001 that Senator Rhoads participated in a Honolulu City Council kickback scheme in the late 1990's.

2. Legislation to Address Crime and Homelessness: McDonald requested that Senator Rhoads communicate to this board regarding the legislation he will propose during the upcoming session to reduce the issues related to crime and homelessness.

Representative Scott Saiki (District 26): No representative present.

Representative Daniel Holt (District 28): No representative present.

MONTHLY REPORTS

Board of Water Supply (BWS): Iris Oda provided the report, and highlighted that the BWS continues to encourage the public to conserve and protect our precious water resources as a result of the Red Hill fuel leaks. Oda also announced that BWS is currently hiring and those interested may find more information at: https://www.boardofwatersupply.com/

Safe Haven: No representative present, a report was submitted which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu

Chinatown Business Community Association (CBCA): Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock provided the report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. The next CBCA will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at Yong's Kitchen (1157 Maunakea Street).

Chinatown Citizen Patrol: Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock provided the report on behalf of the Chinatown Citizen Patrol. The Chinatown Citizen Patrol conducts two (2) patrols every other Thursday at 8:30 a.m. and typically gathers around 20 volunteers to identify and communicate areas of concern to HPD and elected officials.

Chinatown Improvement District (CID): Lee Stack reported that the CID is scheduling to remove the lanterns that were distributed throughout Chinatown in September 2022 to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The CID is pleased to see that the brackets mounted to the light poles have been decorated with large festive ornaments. The CID attended the Hawai'i International Film Festival which featured multiple interesting documentaries on Chinatown.

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: This item was recognized earlier in the meeting.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): Harry Cho provided construction updates regarding the City Center Utilities Relocation (CCUR) Phase III contract, on behalf of the Frank V. Coluccio Construction Company (FVCCC) who will be performing the work. Traffic updates can be found at: https://honolulutransit.org/hart-traffic/. Cho invited the public to join HCC's next monthly CCUR Phase III Business and Community Meeting on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom. You can register at: https://bit.ly/HARTPhase3. Sign up for the CCUR III eBlast: http://eepurl.com/h1g2W5. You can also email ccur3@honuaconsulting.com for more information.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Flange-Bearing Frogs: McDonald requested that Cho follow up with more details regarding who is responsible for the decision to use flange-bearing frogs versus standard tread-bearing frogs, have they been held accountable, and if they are still employed by HART.

2. Chinatown Station: Shubert-Kwock invited HART representatives to attend the next CBCA meeting on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 at 10:30 a.m. at Yong's Kitchen to discuss the design plans of the Chinatown Rail Station.

BOARD BUSINESS

Election of Officers - Secretary: Hearing no nominations, this item was postponed to the next meeting.

Determination of a New Meeting Location: Armstrong MOVED and McCarney SECONDED to use the Ke'elikolani Middle School Cafeteria as the board's in-person meeting location until further notice. Discussion followed. Hearing no objections, the motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes - Thursday, November 3, 2022: McCarney MOVED and Sturges SECONDED to approve the minutes as written. Discussion followed. Hearing an objection, the board took a roll call vote. The motion PASSED; 5-2-0 (Aye: Fitzsimmons, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges, Caravalho; Nay: Armstrong, McDonald; Abstain: None).

Consideration of item ‘Board Members Concerns': Chair Caravalho announced that this item was deemed a Sunshine Law violation by the Office of Information of Practices (OIP), as it does not adequately inform the public of what the items to be discussed and/or any action taken would be, so the item will be postponed indefinitely.

Future Items for Board Consideration: McCarney suggested that the board be connected, or registered as recipients of notices, to the Department of Transportation Services (DTS) calendar of events as there are many events scheduled that affect this community but no notice or presentation has been provided to the board. Shubert-Kwock commented that Chair Caravalho should issue a policy statement regarding the request for event coordinators to come before the board to discuss any questions or concerns the public may have well in advance of the event date(s). McDonald commented that it seems hypocritical for this board to request that event coordinators follow the rules, when this meeting may in fact be in violation of Sunshine Law.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Regular Meeting: The Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 will be recessing their regular meeting in January 2023. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 2, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. at Ke'elikolani Middle School Cafeteria and virtually 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 .

Archive: Find an archive of handouts and referenced materials apropos to Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:29 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Dylan Whitsell, Deputy

Finalized by: Ernest Caravalho, Chair

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