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

DOWNTOWN - CHINATOWN NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 13

 

April 2023 Minutes

 

DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2023 at 6:00 P.M.

Ke'elikolani Middle School Cafeteria & 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 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, Sean Fitzsimmons, Willis Moore, Kevin Lye, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, Laura Sturges, and Kevin McDonald (6:08 p.m.).

Members Absent: Lori McCarney.

Guests: Captain Sean Arakaki (Honolulu Fire Department); Lieutenant Arnold Sagucio (Honolulu Police Department); Sultan White (Trust for Public Land); Shawn Hamamoto (Governor Green's Representative); Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Richmond Luzar; Audrey Stalcup (Senator Rhoads's Representative); Steven Norstrom (Board of Water Supply); Greg Payton (Mental Health Kokua); Lee Stack (Chinatown Improvement District); Harry Cho (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation); Patrick Watson (Honua Consulting Company); Miku Lenentine (Center for Resilient Neighborhoods); Ken Farm (Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board); Christopher Magnani, Christine Trecker, Gary Wong, Stanton Ching, Jennifer Merkle, Jarret Espiritu, Haoa Morris, James Lee, John Browning, Ronald Higa, Cecelia Chang, Weiwei He, Mollie King, Fran Nichols, Phil Li, Frank Belen, Don Murphy, Ron Brown, Sylvia Ching; Kelsie-Ann S.K., Ross Isokane, Les Gusman, Alicia Salta, Dorothy Aiwohi, Hong Shi, Maria Tijerina, Haj Toyama; Glennon Gingo (Residents); Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). Note: Name was not included if not legible. There were 66 total attendees.

PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS

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

• March 2023 Statistics: There was one (1) structure fire, six (6) nuisance fires, two (2) cooking fires, 12 activated alarms (no fire), 146 medical emergencies, one (1) motor vehicle collision with pedestrian, and four (4) motor vehicle crash/collisions.

• Safety Tip: Evacuation Planning - Have an emergency preparedness plan ready in case of an environmental emergency, fire, or natural disaster. Know two ways out of your home, and consider the route you will take if you need to evacuate from your neighborhood due to an emergency. Visit https://fire.honolulu.gov/ to learn more.

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

• March 2023 Statistics: There were 11 motor vehicle thefts, 10 burglaries, 45 thefts, 29 unauthorized entry into motor vehicles (UEMV), 35 assaults, one (1) sexual assault, seven (7) drug offenses, and 2,371 total calls for service.

• Safety Tip: Personal Information Safety - During tax season, HPD encourages the public to be mindful and vigilant of protecting their personal financial information an to be aware of phone scams requesting sensitive information.

McDonald joined the meeting at 6:08 p.m.; eight (8) members present.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Additional Funding for Chinatown: Butera raised concerns regarding the recent allocation of over $600,000 for HPD to increase their enforcement in the Chinatown District. Lieutenant Sagucio responded that the funding is being closely monitored, and added that the extra officers are actively patrolling the area.

2. Patrolling Hotel Street: A resident requested and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that he will for the request for additional HPD enforcement on Hotel Street between the hours of 1:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. to the First Watch Commander.

3. Foot Patrol: Shubert-Kwock provided testimony in support of the request for additional HPD foot patrol officers in the area.

4. Motorcycle Noise Complaint: Armstrong asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that officers did respond to the noise complaints regarding a congregation of motorcyclists at a particular establishment in Chinatown.

5. Security Cameras: Armstrong asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that the security cameras have been fully budgeted for, but are still delayed due to supply chain issues.

6. Blocking Fire Hydrants: Lye presented several images of fire hydrants blocked by various objects/structures and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that HPD has corrected the dumpster issue but the other issues require communications with residents and merchants.

NEW BUSINESS / PRESENTATIONS

Reimagine ‘A'ala Park - Centering Community in ‘A'ala Park's Conceptual Design: Sultan White (Program Manager - Trust for Public Land) presented on the conceptual design for revitalizing ‘A'ala Park. A copy of the presentation can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. White highlighted the history of ‘A'ala Park, dating back to 1880, the grass roots community engagement efforts completed by Trust for Public Land to revitalize the park and the next steps moving forward. To download the Grass Roots Community Engagement Report, go to: https://www.tpl.org/our-work/parks-people-hawaii. For more information, contact Sultan White at: Sultan.White@TPL.org

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Audio Problems: Shubert-Kwock, Chair Caravalho, and Moore commented that the audio from White's presentation made it hard for the audience to follow along and requested that White return in the future to represent.

2. Gratitude: Armstrong expressed his gratitude towards White and Trust for Public Land for their efforts to improve this community.

3. Updates: Lye requested that White return to share any updates with this Neighborhood Board, following the upcoming Zoom meeting and Keiki Community Fair.

PUBLIC CONCERNS

HPU Round Table Announcement: Christopher Magnani and Jennifer Merkle (HPU) invited the public to attend a presentation and round table discussion to unveil findings and grass roots plants to enhance the community regarding perceptions of crime and safety among Downtown-Chinatown residents. The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 27, 2023 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in Multipurpose Room 3 at the Hawaii Pacific University (HPU).

Bulky Item Pick Up Program: Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock announced that the Department of Environmental Services (ENV) will only pick up bulky items from residents who have subscribed to the service, and encouraged residents to spread the word that those boxes piled up on the sidewalk will not be disposed of.

Duration of Neighborhood Board Meetings: Ross Isokane commented that these meetings often run out of time with unfinished business being postponed to the next meeting, and this may affect the accessibility of residents to participate in these meetings as they may not have the time or patience to sit through three (3) hour meetings every month.

CERENE Announcement: Miku Lenentine (Center for Resilient Neighborhoods - CERENE) invited the public to attend an upcoming Action 15: Resilience Hub Open House meeting on Monday, April 24, 2023 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. via Zoom. To RSVP for the meeting, go to:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfnKmIVhryHWoSD7SyO8aDGJGWd87n1_D1ElUFUthcfY71how/viewform?usp=sf_link

Various Concerns: Kevin Lye raised the following concerns/announcements: (1) the July 2022 regular meeting recording for this Board is missing from Olelo's website; (2) regarding agenda item VIII.B., the archive of past meetings can no longer be found by searching ; (3) proposal for dynamic agenda/minutes format; (4) request for information from the Neighborhood Commission Office regarding Chair Caravalho's accidental recusal from discussion/vote at a previous meeting; (5) updates regarding recent ‘Love Chinatown' taskforce meeting regarding homelessness.

ELECTED OFFICIALS

Governor Josh Green's Representative: Shawn Hamamoto provided the report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. Hamamoto highlighted an article on the Grants-in-Aid application as it provides relief for nonprofits and dog seeking a forever home, in addition to several actions taken by Governor Green in his first 100 days in office. To sign up to receive Governor Green's newsletters, contact: (808) 586-0034 or gov.communications@hawaii.gov. Hamamoto also reported responses to questions raised at the previous meeting.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Homeless Facilities/Services: Shubert-Kwock requested assistance from the State regarding the need for additional homeless facilities/services to be provided to these residents' island-wide.

2. Encampment: Lye noted a semi-permanent homeless encampment that currently exists at 710 Lunalilo Street underneath the pedestrian overpass.

3. Kauhale Project: Armstrong raised concerns with the Governor's recent proposal of establishing a Kauhale Project (tiny homes) for the homeless population on the State Capitol grounds. McDonald supported the idea designating land on O'ahu as a place for homeless residents to proceed with their lifestyles in a way that will not interfere with the rest of the public. Chair Caravalho raised concerns with rumors that the Walmart (Downtown location) will be converted into a homeless shelter.

4. Homeless Structures around ‘Iolani Palace: Moore expressed his gratitude for the Governor's involvement with the recent clearing of the homeless structures between ‘Iolani Palace and the Hawai'i State Library.

5. Overcrowded Prison: McDonald raised concerns with the current state of the Hawaii's prison system and asked how the Governor is addressing these concerns.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative: No representative present. A report was submitted, which can be found at: https://www.oneoahu.org/newsletter. To explore career opportunities at the City and County of Honolulu, please visit: https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/honolulu.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. CORE Program: Lye requested additional information regarding the cost of the Crisis Outreach Response and Engagement (CORE) program.

2. Neighborhood Commission: Lye noted the three (3) existing vacancies on the Neighborhood Commission and that there is at least one (1) applicant ready to fulfill the mayoral appointed position.

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 legislative updates regarding the following bills that directly affect this community: Bill 28 regarding the requirement for Narcan to be available in bars and nightclubs; Bill 21 relating to housing and building codes; Bill 10 relating to increasing the availability of residents in commercial budlings. Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam also noted that the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is planning to establish two (2) pickle ball courts in Smith-Beretania Park, and the Kekaulike Mall Improvement Project construction start date was delayed and expects to begin in two (2) weeks.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Business Community: McDonald asked and Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam responded that his focus this session has been on the residential community and encouraged McDonald to communicate any of his ideas to improve the business community to his office.

2. Leaf Blowers: Lye requested that Councilmember Dos Santos-Tam provide suggestions to the Board on ways to change some of the zoning requirements for the Downtown towers relative to the leaf blower noise.

3. Public Restrooms: Chair Caravalho requested that additional restrooms be implemented throughout Downtown-Chinatown.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Audrey Stalcup provided the report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. Stalcup highlighted: the Red-Light safety program is now in effect in specific locations; updates to the status of multiple Bills; Covid-19 updates; and responses to questions raised at the previous meeting. To contact Senator Rhoads's Office call 808-586-6130 or email senrhoads@capitol.hawaii.gov

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Additional Funding for Homeless Examinations: Chang inquired if Senator Rhoads would support additional legislative funding for examinations and assessments of homeless individuals that are necessary for temporary and permanent housing opportunities.

2. Attendance at Meetings: McDonald commented that there is not more of an important time for our elected officials to attend these Neighborhood Board meetings than while the legislature is in session. Stalcup responded that Senator Rhoads aims to send a representative from his office to attend Neighborhood Board meetings when he is not able to attend himself.

3. Criminal Activity: McDonald commented that a state judge ruled that Senator Rhoads did participate in criminal activity approximately eight (8) years ago when he was in the House of Representatives, and Senator Rhoads has not explained his position in the multiple times McDonald has requested he do so. Stalcup encouraged McDonald to email his information to Senator Rhoads for additional response.

4. Senate Bill 23: Lye encouraged Senator Rhoads to let the public know what relief the language of Senate Bill 23, relating to leaf blowers, would bring to the residents who live near the chronic early morning leaf blowing offenders.

Representative Scott Saiki (District 26): No representative present. A report was submitted, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu.

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

MONTHLY REPORTS

Board of Water Supply (BWS): Steven Norstrom provided the report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. Norstrom announced that ‘Detect a Leak Week' will run from Sunday, April 16, 2023 through Saturday, April 22, 2023. For more information visit: https://www.boardofwatersupply.com/

Safe Haven: Greg Payton provided the report, which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1F4DdI9R8Er12TNf6Bl-yb4p4EW0-68vu. Payton highlighted the following updates regarding Mental Health Kokua's (MHK) Safe Haven program: Phase 1 - Relocate 14 low-income tenants, to begin in November 2022; Phase 2 - From March 2023 to June 2023, Safe Haven will be discontinued and the residents of Pauahi Hale will be relocated; Phase 3 - From July 2023 to October 2023, prepare Pauahi Hale for return to the City & County of Honolulu and complete the relocation of remaining low-income tenants.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Discharge Policy: Butera asked and Payton responded in depth with MHK's discharge policy, and clarified that it is not MHK's policy to discharge people onto the street.

2. Resource Center: Watson asked and Krucky responded that the resource center on Iwilei Road was built by the previous administration using affordable housing funding, so at this time it cannot be used a shelter.

3. Relocation of Low-Income Tenants: Butera asked and Payton responded that MHK has met with an investor regarding the relocation of several low-income tenants into permanented support housing at the building behind Maunakea Liquor Store.

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, April 11, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at Legends Restaurant Private Dining Room.

Chinatown Improvement District (CID): Lee Stack provided her report and highlighted that the CID voted in support of Resolution 2023-002, relating to homeless facilities in the Chinatown-Iwilei area.

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: Kevin 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. Please bring a friend, join the patrol, and help identify areas of concern within the community.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): Harry Cho provided traffic impact updates regarding Dillingham Boulevard, and follow up responses to questions raised at the last meeting. Patrick Watson 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/. Watson invited the public to join HCC's next monthly CCUR Phase III Business and Community Meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 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. Wheel Flanges: McDonald asked who is responsible for the decision to purchase the wrong wheel flanges that cost the City millions of dollars.

2. Cost to Reconnect Power: Lye requested clarification regarding the additional $85 million now required to reconnect the electricity following the utility work.

Shubert-Kwock left the meeting at 8:05 p.m.; seven (7) members present.

BOARD BUSINESS

Resolution 2023-002 - Regarding the Impact of Facilities for the Homeless in the Chinatown-Iwilei Area:

• Public Testimony: Trecker commented in support of the resolution and recited the "Resolved" clauses from the resolution. Brown, Chang, He, Shi, Nichols, and Li commented in support of the resolution and noted the unusual concentration of facilities for the homeless in the Chinatown-Iwilei area that exist today. Farm commented that a majority of the resolution in question affects the Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board No.15 and a joint meeting between these boards would be beneficial.

McDonald MOVED and Lye SECONDED to adopt Resolution 2023-002 as written. Discussion followed.

Armstrong MOVED and Moore SECONDED to amend the resolution to allow the State of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu, and providers 30 days to review and respond to the resolution. Discussion followed. Hearing no further discussion, the board took a roll call vote. The motion to amend the resolution WAS NOT passed; 3-4-0 (Aye: Armstrong, Moore, Sturges; Nay: Fitzsimmons, Lye, McDonald, Caravalho; Abstain: None).

Discussion followed. The main motion to adopt the resolution as written PASSED; 5-1-1 (Aye: Fitzsimmons, Lye, McDonald, Sturges, Caravalho; Nay: Armstrong; Abstain: Moore).

Resolution 2023-003 - Regarding Reduction of Vehicle Noise: Armstrong introduced the resolution.

• Public Testimony: Gingo commented in support of the resolution and further encouraged the board to communicate with motorcycle lobbyists to address other problems.

Lye MOVED and Sturges SECONDED to adopt Resolution 2023-003 as written. Discussion followed. Hearing no objections, the motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

Discussion of allocation of $1000 dollars for Downtown Chinatown clean-up: McDonald MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED to postpone this agenda item to the next meeting and to encourage each board member to provide an idea at the next meeting of how to spend the $1,000. Discussion followed. The motion PASSED; 6-0-1 (Aye: Armstrong, Fitzsimmons, Lye, McDonald, Sturges, Caravalho; Nay: None; Abstain: Moore).

Amendment of Regular Meeting Minutes - Thursday, November 3, 2022: Postponed to next meeting.

Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes - Thursday, December 1, 2022; Thursday, February 2, 2023; Thursday, March 2, 2023: McDonald MOVED and Armstrong SECONDED to approve the minutes as written. Hearing no objections, the motion PASSED by Unanimous Consent.

Board Concerns - proposed policy revisions provided to the Neighborhood Commission for their adoption, together with the Pearl City Neighborhood Board's adopted Resolution addressing this issue. Also portions of such proposed policies and the Sunshine Law (HRS 92-9 and HRS 92-3.7) together with the Neighborhood Plan's requirement for written minutes: Postponed to next meeting.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Next Regular Meeting: The next meeting of the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board No. 13 is scheduled for Thursday, May 4, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

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 8:58 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Dylan Whitsell, Deputy

Finalized by: Ernest Caravalho, Chair

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