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



May 2023 Minutes




K palama Hale room 277 & WebEx

6:00 PM

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Ernest Caravalho called the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 meeting to order at 6:00 pm. Quorum was established with seven members present; this nine-member board requires five members to establish quorum and to take official board action.

Members Present: Ernest Caravalho, Sean Fitzsimmons, Ross Isokane (appointed at 7:12 pm), Kevin Lye, Lori McCarney, Kevin McDonald (6:07 pm), Willis Moore, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, and Laura Sturges.

Members Absent: None.

Guests: Lieutenant Arnold Sagucio, Officer Johanna Sai (Honolulu Police Department); Assistant Professor Jennifer Merkle, Program Chair Sheryl Sunia, Shane Paleka, Christopher Magnani, Dekuan Taylor, Alexis Fuentes (Hawaii Pacific University); Stanford Carr (Stanford Carr Development); Pamela Witty-Oakland (Komohale Services); Shawn Haruno (Hawaii Department of Health); Deputy Director Ian Santee (Honolulu Emergency Services Department); Richmond Luzar (Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam); Senator Karl Rhoads; Iris Oda (Board of Water Supply); Lee Stack (Chinatown Improvement District); Harry Cho, Johnny Reid (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation); Patrick Watson (Honua Consulting Com-pany); Eadean Buffington (Mililani Memorial Park & Mortuary); Ken Farm (Kalihi-Palama Neighborhood Board 15); Christine Trecker, Paul Chan, Hugh Kaiser, Robert Armstrong, Ronald Higa (residents); Dylan Buck (Neighborhood Commission Office). Names were not included if not recog-nized or not legible on the sign-in sheet; there were as many as 53 unique attendees.

Moore MOVED and Shubert-Kwock SECONDED to amend the agenda by moving item III.A. Filling of Vacancy after item III.B. Presentation on HPU 2023 Roundtable on Crime and the Chinatown Downtown Neighborhood.

Lye MOVED and McCarney SECONDED to amend the motion by inserting agenda items VII.F. through VII.S. to reflect the discussion and potential action of amendments to regular meeting minutes that have been previously approved by the Board. Discussion followed. The motion to amend PASSED 5-2-0 (Aye: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Lye, McCarney, Moore; Nay: Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Abstain: None).

The amended main motion to amend the agenda PASSED by unanimous consent.


Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): No representative present, a report with the following information had been submitted:

• April 2023 Statistics: 6 nuisance fires, 12 activated alarms (no fire), 90 medical emergencies, 2 motor vehicle collisions with pedestrians, 2 motor vehicle crashes/collisions, 3 hazardous materials incidents.

• Safety Tip: Home Fire Sprinklers - Fire sprinklers are the first line of defense against fires, often extinguishing the fire before the fire department arrives. Visit to learn more.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): Lieutenant Sagucio and Officer Sai reported the following:

• April 2023 Statistics: 10 motor vehicle thefts, 8 burglaries, 48 thefts, 19 unauthorized entries into motor vehicles (UEMV), 15 assaults, 6 sexual assaults, 2 graffiti offenses, 11 drug offenses, and 2,128 total calls for service.

McDonald joined the meeting at 6:07 pm; eight members present.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Security Cameras: Fitzsimmons asked and Lieutenant Sagucio responded that Mayor Blangiardi confirmed earlier in the day that all of the equipment is on-island and the next step will be installation; Shubert-Kwock commented that HPD Major Sung had been providing updates at the monthly Chinatown Business Community Association (CBCA) meetings.

2. Persistent Predicatable Need for Police Presence: Lye requested visible police foot patrols or similar presence late on weekend evenings at the top of Pauahi Street in light of [1] chronic disturbances of the peace every Saturday and Sunday morning between 1:45 am and 2:30 am as patrons depart from a nightclub near the corner of Pauahi and Bethel Streets, then scream and yell until reaching their vehi-cles parked in or near the 1171 Nu‘uanu Avenue parking lot, followed by engine-gunning and stereo-blasting while in and departing from the downtown area; and [2] a civilian vehicle exiting said parking lot during one such evening and inexplicably turning right from Bethel Street into oncoming traffic of South Beretania Street. Lt. Sagucio responded that HPD is in communication with the nightclub owners and will continue to patrol the area.


Presentation on Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) 2023 Roundtable on Crime and the Chinatown-Downtown Neighborhood: Merkle, Sunia, and HPU graduate and undergraduate students provided excerpts of their preliminary findings regarding crime in the Downtown-Chinatown neighborhood, based on a nearly nine-month process involving surveys, interviews, personal observations, participating in the Downtown-Chinatown Neighbor-hood Citizen Patrol, and hosting roundtable discussions with community members, community leaders and special guests to better understand what criminal justice-related challenges face the Downtown-Chinatown area and how the community may respond to those challenges. The presenters noted that small and microbusinesses are the lifeblood of Chinatown and are disproportionately impacted by crime in the area.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Disparities: Isokane asked and Merkle responded that crime-focused media reports and the homeless population contribute to disparities in public perception of the Downtown-Chinatown area.

2. Faith-Based Communities: Armstrong asked and Merkle responded that by tapping into faith-based organizations, volunteerism for community beautification projects can be enhanced.

Caravalho MOVED and Lye SECONDED to present certificates of appreciation from Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 to Jennifer Merkle and Sheryl Sunia; the motion WAS ADOPTED 8-0-0 (Aye: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Lye, McDonald, McCarney, Moore, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Shubert-Kwock left the meeting at 6:35 pm; seven members present.

Filing of Vacancy - One At-Large

• Public Testimony: Moore, Armstrong, McDonald, and Lye provided testimony in opposition to the decision of the Neighborhood Commis-sion (NC) to remove Robert Armstrong from the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 for the remainder of the 2021-2023 term following a contested case adjudicated earlier in 2023. Lye reiterated that the decision to vacate by the Commission had not been timely delivered as per Neighborhood Plan §2-18-103(d)(10)(c), was improper on technical grounds, and that the Commission should be held to statutory timelines just as members of the community engaging in time-sensitive processes defined within the Neighborhood Plan must adhere to such. Neighborhood Commission Office Deputy Director Whitsell suggested that the statutory sixty-day window to reply was flexible if additional time was needed to seek legal opinions. Fitzsimmons noted support of the NC decision to remove Arm-strong from NB 13. McCarney commented that this agenda item was consuming considerable time and wondered if there was a means to limit the length of discussion. Moore stated that the conversation should be about the Neighborhood Commission not following the Neighborhood Plan. Chair Caravalho commented that he had been advised that NB 13 could not override the decision of the Commission regarding the dismissal of Armstrong; Lye noted that NB 13 could move to appoint Armstrong (as he has indeed been removed from NB 13) and that any member of the community could then file a complaint as per the Neighborhood Plan to object to such.

Shubert-Kwock returned to the meeting at 6:43 pm; eight members present.

McDonald MOVED and Lye SECONDED to postpone this agenda item until further investigation is conducted to determine if the Neighborhood Commission did act Improperly in removing Armstrong from Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13. Discussion followed. Lye noted certain futility in asking the Neighborhood Commission to clarify or explain its actions, as Commission has steadfastly ignored properly submitted requests for explanations and clarification of other inscrutable actions for over a year in some cases, and recommended a friendly amendment to instead accept a nomination of Armstrong to stand for appointment to the open NB 13 seat. McDonald questioned the ability of the Commission to have even come to a decision in light of its inability to maintain quorum over the past several months.

The main motion to postpone this agenda item WAS NOT adopted 2-6-0 (Aye: McDonald, Moore; Nay: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Lye, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Abstain: None).

Robert Armstrong and Ross Isokane volunteered to fill the vacancy. Lye nominated Robert Armstrong; Caravalho nominated Ross Isokane. Hear-ing no other nominations, each volunteer provided a brief introduction, after which the Board took a roll-call vote. Ross Isokane was appointed to fill the vacancy 5-1-2 (Isokane: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, McCarney, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges; Armstrong: Lye; Abstain: McDonald, Moore).

Neighborhood Assistant Buck administered the Oath of Office to Isokane; nine members present.

Stanford Carr Development to brief on Maunakea Towers: Stanford Carr (Stanford Carr Development) provided a presentation on the intentions of SCD to purchase and renovate Maunakea Tower (1245 Maunakea Street), investing approximately $30 million to upgrade and modernize all of the units, common areas, and amenities over the course of a year. Pamela Witty-Oakland identified Komohale Services as a non-profit resource ser-vice to improve the lives of the elderly population by bringing necessary services to them, including meals on wheels, daily activities, hair-cuts/manicures, and vaccinations.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. In Support: Shubert-Kwock noted support of the project.

2. Fire Sprinklers: Lye inquired about the Fire and Life Safety Inspection and if the building could have achieved a score which would pre-clude the need to install in-unit sprinklers; Carr responded that the last renovation of the building was in 2000, fire sprinklers were now only installed in the corridors of the building, and intent is to now install fire sprinklers in every unit.

3. Units Available: McCarney asked and Carr responded that the number of units available will remain the same.

4. Rent: McCarney asked and Carr responded that rents will not be affected by the renovations as the property is subject to U.S. Depart-ment of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) parameters.

5. Younger Demographic: Chair Caravalho asked and Carr responded that his company has been awarded contracts for family housing and is working to build affordable homes for a variety of demographics other than just senior citizens.

Shubert-Kwock MOVED and Fitzsimmons SECONDED to support Stanford Carr Development's purchase and renovation of the Maunakea Tower Apartment Homes. Discussion followed. Hearing no objections, the motion WAS ADOPTED; 9-0-0 (Aye: Caravalho, Fitzsimmons, Isokane, Lye, McCarney, McDonald, Moore, Shubert-Kwock, Sturges,; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Department of Health (DOH) Laws surrounding Downtown-Chinatown: Shawn Haruno [Noise Section Supervisor, Indoor and Radiological Health Branch, State of Hawaii Department of Health], although unavailable at the time this agenda item arose, relayed a message that question about noise issues and the role of DOH may be forwarded to

• Disruptive leafblower use near BMX-4 properties: Lye provided multiple images collected over the previous year of early-morning leaf-blower activity near residential towers in the Downtown-Chinatown area and shared letters from three firms near the intersection of Nu‘uanu Avenue and Kukui Street disapproving of use of leafblowers outside of allowable hours, admitting to use of leafblowers before 8 am, and pledging to curtail use of leafblowers before 8 am.

• Mililani Memorial Park & Mortuary Vice President Buffington provided testimony that her staff sometimes will begin work at 7:30 am to clean the sidewalks of trash, and that her has purchased an electric leafblower to address noise complaints.

• Isokane asked and Lye responded that the DOH Noise Section maintains a record of noise complaints related to such issues.

• Shubert-Kwock expressed gratitude to Buffington for her efforts to improve the cleanliness of Downtown-Chinatown.

Introduction to the Community - New Owners of Stewbum & Stonewall changed their name to Beer House Beer Company: Arielle Travis had in-formed Chair Caravalho that due to unexpected travel she was unable to attend this meeting and had requested to be deferred to the next agenda.

PUBLIC CONCERNS: No discussants; written testimony labeled IV. is archived online.


Governor Josh Green's Representative: No representative present, a report was submitted. Chair Caravalho reported responses to questions raised at the previous meeting as provided by Governor's representative Shawn Hamamoto. To sign up to receive Governor Green's newsletters, contact (808) 586-0034 or visit

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative: Deputy Director Santee (HESD) provided a report and follow-up responses to questions raised at the previ-ous meeting. To explore career opportunities at the City and County of Honolulu, please visit:

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Sidewalk & Road Repairs: Moore commented that many paving bricks are missing along portions of Fort Street Mall and inquired of plans by the City to address such; Fitzsimmons asked if the City is currently planning to repave or repair roads and sidewalks in Down-town-Chinatown. Lye relayed a concern from a constituent regarding the need to resurface Bishop Street. Santee responded that he will follow up with the Department of Transportation Services (DTS) and the Department of Facility Maintenance (DFM).

2. Sidewalk Curb Cuts: Shubert-Kwock requested that the City reconstruct the accessibility curb cut fronting Sing Cheong Yuan Bakery on Maunakea Street as well as other curb cuts along Nu‘uanu Avenue and Smith Street, as such are damaged or too steeply graded. Arm-strong noted that some sidewalks at the intersection of North Beretania and River Streets do not have curb cuts.

3. Ammonia Odors at Fort Street Mall: Lye relayed a constituent concern of severe ammonia smells along Fort Street Mall between Be-retania and Hotel Street, particularly at the bases of trees near the entrance of the residential tower at 1132 Bishop Street, and relayed a request for a designated dog relief station to reduce focal arboreal urine deposition.

4. Permitted Chinatown Bulb-Out Use: Lye relayed an interaction between HPD and HPU students during the Citizen Patrol of 11 April 2023 during which the group was advised by a roll-by officer to not stand in a bulb-out at the intersection of Pauahi and Maunakea Streets prior to crossing the road, suggesting that such sent a mixed message regarding the ostensible primary purpose of the bulb-outs: namely, to reduce the distance (and hence time) required to safely cross an intersection.

5. Ambulance Lights and Sirens: Lye relayed a constituent concern about discretion provided to drivers of EMS and other vehicles by recent legislation; Santee responded that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) enables ambulance lights and sirens when responding to calls, for the safety of EMS staff and the community. Armstrong commented that the bill allows the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) some dis-cretion regarding use of sirens during late-night hours.

6. Portuguese Square Park Disrepair: Armstrong commented that the Portuguese Square Park compass rose near the intersection of Be-retania and Fort Streets is in need of repair; Shubert-Kwock provided background information on the history of the monument.

7. Crisis Outreach Response and Engagement (CORE): Chair Caravalho asked and Santee responded that CORE staff are instructed to return treated homeless individual to the same place from which they were picked up, and that a homeless individual from Chinatown may be transported for treatment in Waianae upon acceptance of services offered. Chair Caravalho commented that every community should host homeless services for their homeless residents instead of the Chinatown-Iwilei corridor hosting a majority of these services.

8. Provision of Food for Homeless: Shubert-Kwock commented that feeding programs for homeless individuals continue in Chinatown de-spite the relocation of River of Life to Iwilei.

Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam (District 6): Richmond Luzar spoke to a report and highlighted the following city and county FY2024 budget items impacting the Downtown-Chinatown community: $400,000 for the Chinatown Taskforce; $15,000 for an HPD speed-monitor trailer; $220,000 for 911 emergency response coordinator positions; $500,000 to improve the process for quick build methods; $100,000 for CORE posi-tions/competitive salaries; $250,000 for comfort stations/bathrooms.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Public Restrooms: Shubert-Kwock asked and Luzar responded that as of right now the budget line item is for comfort stations/bathrooms to be installed in public parks, such as ‘A‘ala Park. Chair Caravalho commented that the City needs to install public restrooms throughout Downtown-Chinatown.

2. Meeting with Mayor: Lye asked and Luzar responded that he believes the key takeaway from the community meeting with the Mayor earlier in the day was the ability to get a majority of the interested parties together, have an open dialogue, and develop relationships.

Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13): Senator Rhoads spoke to a report and highlighted the following: improvements to Kekaulike Mall are currently underway; Governor Green signed Act 16 into law which gives the operators of emergency vehicles the discretion to not use their sirens if it is not reasonably necessary under the circumstances; the red light camera safety program is now in effect in several locations; updates to the status of leaf blower bills; COVID-19 updates; and responses to questions raised at the previous meeting. Contact Senator Rhoads' office on (808) 586-6130 or

Fitzsimmons left the meeting at 8:17 pm; eight members present.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed.

1. Mental Health: Lye asked for talking points surrounding the state's Assisted Community Treatment law and what specific resources are needed to amplify its impact; Senator Rhoads responded that the mandatory treatment laws in Hawai‘i essentially mean that a psychia-trist may initiate proceedings leading to mandatory treatment by court-order signed off by a judge. Shubert-Kwock asked and Senator Rhoads responded that more rooms for mental health patients may become available in the near future as funding was budgeted this session for mental health.

2. Various Concerns: McDonald commented that he is disappointed in Senator Rhoads' lack of attendance at these meetings but was then beset by audio interference. Senator Rhoads responded that his priority during the legislative session is to handle the people's business at the legislature, and that he sends representatives to Neighborhood Board meetings to report on his behalf.

Fitzsimmons returned to the meeting at 8:21 pm; nine members present.

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

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


Board of Water Supply (BWS): Iris Oda announced that volunteers are needed at the Halawa Xeriscape Garden on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9:00 am to noon. For more information call (808) 748-5315 or email

Safe Haven: No representative present, a report was provided.

Chinatown Business Community Association (CBCA): Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock spoke to a report, highlighted discussions on the Kekaulike Mall and sidewalk repair projects, and noted that the next CBCA meeting is planned for Tuesday 9 May 2023 at 10:00 am in the Legend Seafood Restaurant private dining room.

Chinatown Improvement District (CID): Lee Stack noted attending the meeting with the Mayor earlier in the day and broaching the need for infra-structure improvements including internet and electrical upgrades in Chinatown; requesting security camera installations for activity-heavy corners at the intersections of River Street with King, Hotel, and Pauahi Streets; concern about the thoroughness of sidewalk repairs underway; and en-couraged the Mayor to work with a broader range of Downtown-Chinatown community groups regarding cultural and arts plans and initiatives in the area, such those planned along Nu‘uanu Stream. CID may be contacted on

Neighborhood Citizen Patrol: Kevin Lye presented images and reported observations by the patrol from April 2023, including removal of Walmart signage, AC Hotel conversion progress, pedestrians failing to make progress through marked crosswalks, homeless individuals sharpening sticks from within empty storefront alcoves, a recap of the HPU students joining the April 2023 patrol and references to the "abandoned police station," a visceral example of aggregation of individuals awaiting provision of services as postulated within Resolution 2023-002, drug paraphernalia and nightclub wristbands within the surface parking lot at 1171 Nu‘uanu Avenue the morning after departure of raucous clubgoers, unabashed open-air malleolar vein self-injection of illicit substances by belligerent trespassers next to a Nu‘uanu Avenue bus stop, increasing frequency of mid-sidewalk umbrellas, tents, or head-covering sheets used to amplify the impact of inhaled narcotics, nonpermitted semipermanent structures and bicycle chop shops on the grounds of the state Capitol, disregard of road-crossing signage at busy intersections, a Biki bike secured with personal locks to a fence, multiple civilian vehicles operating on prohibited portions of Hotel Street (and another call for DTS to evaluate signage addressing such), extensive and particularly vulgar graffiti, a damaged sidewalk span on Maunakea Street since repaired, swarms of feral birds being illegally fed by multiple residents, evidence of feral birds impacting food service areas, and a call for the Vector Control Branch [(808) 586-4590 or (808) 586-4708;] of the Hawaii Department of Health to finally act on what is increasingly evident as a public health concern. Lye invited the public to continue to walk with the patrol on the second Tuesday of every month, departing at 7:00 pm from outside the Diamond Head Tower lobby of Kukui Plaza [GPS: 1261 Fort Street]. Please bring a friend and a camera, join the patrol, and help identify areas of concern within the community.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed. Feeding Pigeons: Shubert-Kwock noted that City buildings in Downtown-Chinatown have begun posting signage to inform the public that feeding pigeons is not permitted, and that plastic anti-bird spike strips have been recently installed on buildings along Maunakea Street.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART): Harry Cho provided follow-up responses to questions raised at the previous meeting; Patrick Watson provided construction updates regarding the City Center Utilities Relocation (CCUR) Phase III contract and invited the public to join the next monthly CCUR Phase III Business and Community Meeting by Zoom on Wednesday 10 May 2023 at 6:00 pm; register at Traffic updates can be found on Sign up for the CCUR III eBlast on or email for more information.

Shubert-Kwock left the meeting at 8:43 pm; eight members present.

Shubert-Kwock returned to the meeting at 8:47 pm; nine members present.


Motion - Allocation of $1000 for Downtown-Chinatown Community Outreach Services: Lye MOVED and McDonald SECONDED to use the $1,000 allocated to the board for community outreach to provide low-cost decorative Chinese lanterns to string across Kekaulike Mall and North Hotel and North King Streets near Kekaulike Street in conjunction with the next Chinese-themed holiday or celebration in the area as a trial for a more extensive installation. Discussion followed; Lye presented additional options to consider for use of allocated funds, including provision of doorway gates and grates to prevent overnight occupation of city-owned street-level alcoves, and repainting and illuminating gates announcing entry into Chinatown. McCarney noted the possibility of allocating funding for the adopt-a-block program or related signage indicating sponsorship by NB 13. Isokane proposed use of funds for targeted Facebook ads after resolution of an official NB 13 social media page. Shubert-Kwock suggested allo-cating funding to paint "No Cars" on Hotel Street between River and Bethel Streets; Chair Caravalho posited that Uber drivers are often the cause of Hotel Street incursions. Without objection, resolution of this item was deferred to the next meeting to permit the board to consider the multi-ple proposals.

Moore left the meeting at 8:55 pm; eight members present.

Motion - Approval of a Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 Facebook account: Postponed to next meeting.

Reports by Board Members regarding attendance at other meetings affecting Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 business: Post-poned to next meeting.

Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes - Thursday, April 6, 2023: Postponed to next meeting.

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

Amendment of Adopted Regular Meeting Minutes - December 2021 through October 2022: Postponed to next meeting.

Board Concerns - proposed policy revisions provided to the Neighborhood Commission for their adoption, together with the Pearl City Neighbor-hood 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.


Next Regular Meeting: The next meeting of the Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 is scheduled for Thursday 1 June 2023 at 6:00 pm at Ke‘elikolani Middle School and on Webex.

Rebroadcast: Rebroadcasts of Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 meetings are scheduled on ‘ lelo channel 49 every third Thursday at 9:00 pm and at 9:00 am on the third Saturday of each month, with other airings identified on by searching on .

Archive: Find an archive of handouts and referenced materials appurtenant to Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13 on

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

Submitted by: Dylan Buck, Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Naomi Hanohano, Community Relations Specialist

Finalized by: Kevin Lye, Secretary, Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board 13

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