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Kaimuki Neighborhood Board Minutes Posted for September 18, 2013 Meeting - NEXT MEETING WEDNESDAY - NOV. 20, 2013
Next meeting is 11/20/2013 Read the agenda. . Click here.
DRAFT REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
KAIMUKI CHRISTIAN CHURCH FELLOWSHIP HALL
CALL TO ORDER: Chair pro tem Lyle Bullock called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m. with five (5) members present. Quorum was NOT established. Note -- This 11 member Board requires six (6) members to establish quorum and to take official Board action.
Members Present: Lyle Bullock, Paul Hoe, Brian Kang, Marilyn Moniz-Kahoohanohano, Leonard Tam, and Lori Yamada (arrived at 7:06 p.m.).
Members Absent: Russell McGuire and Sharon Schneider.
Vacancies: There were three (3) vacancies on the Board, including two (2) vacancies in Subdistrict 1 and one (1) vacancy in Subdistrict 3.
Guests: Maurice Asato (Honolulu Police Department), Ricky Mamiya (Honolulu Fire Department), Senator Les Ihara, Representative Bertrand Kobayashi, House Speaker Emeritus Calvin Say, Mark Wong (Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative), James Larson (Councilmember Ann Kobayashi's Office Staff), Micah Munekata (Councilmember Stanley Chang's Office Staff), Lorna Heller (Board of Water Supply), Fred Pablo (Governor Neil Abercrombie's Representative), Leon Kau, Vickie Kau, Anselm Chuh, Zee Chuh, Ben Nakaoka, Miles Takaaze (Leahi Hospital), Evan Miyaki, and Risé Doi (Neighborhood Commission Office Staff).
Noting that quorum had not been established, Chair Bullock took the agenda out of order and allowed Honolulu Fire Department to deliver a report first.
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS
Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) -- Captain Ricky Mamiya reported the following:
· August 2013 Fire Statistics: There were 4 structure fires, 1 rubbish fire, 1 vehicle fire, 70 medical emergencies, 2 search and rescues, and 31 miscellaneous calls.
· Halloween Safety Tips: When selecting a Halloween costume, avoid billowing or long-trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, ensure the eye holes are large enough. Provide children with flashlights or glow sticks for lighting. Keep decorations away from open flames.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed: Sirens: Resident Leon Kau asked about the use of sirens and why some emergency vehicles do not use them. Mamiya noted that the use of sirens is mandatory for HFD when responding to an emergency.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD) -- Lieutenant Maurice Asato reported the following:
- August 2013 Crime Statistics: There were 20 burglaries, 2 robberies, 60 thefts, and 14 unauthorized entry of motor vehicles (UEMV).
- Personal Safety Tips: Asato noted to trust instincts and use common sense when on the streets, in a car, or traveling.
Questions, comments and concerns followed: Mahalo: Chair Bullock thanked HPD and the community policing team for helping out with some of the parks and cleaning up the neighborhood.
Board member Yamada arrived at 7:06 p.m., six (6) members present. Quorum was established.
Board of Water Supply (BWS) -- Lorna Heller reported the following:
· Water Main Break: There was one (1) water main break in the Kaimuki area during August 2013.
- About BWS: BWS was established in 1929 as a semi-autonomous agency of the City and County of Honolulu. As a semi-autonomous agency, BWS is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors that approves the budget and water rates, and sets policy and overall direction of BWS. BWS Board members consist of business and government professionals who ensure that the funds collected from customers will be solely used for the benefit of the water supply system. Five (5) members are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by City Council; the other two (2) members serve in ex-officio capacity as the City's Director and Chief Engineer of the Department of Facility Maintenance (DFM) and the State's Director of the Department of Transportation (HDOT). The BWS Board and semi-autonomous status also promotes greater efficiency in decision-making, encourages continuity of management, and fosters the establishment and monitoring of long-range planning.
- Oahu's Municipal Water Resources and Distribution System: BWS manages Oahu's municipal water resources and distribution system, which includes 2,100 miles of pipeline, 90 booster pump stations, 172 reservoirs, and 166,000 customers. This includes repairing and replacing aging infrastructure and installing and maintaining facilities critical to delivering water. BWS operations and capital improvement program are funded by a combination of operating revenues, low interest bonds, and state revolving fund loans. BWS does not receive any funds generated from City property taxes.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
- Extra Pay: Resident Kau asked if the BWS Board members are paid members. Heller will follow up.
- Long Wait Times: Kau also commented that the wait times for phone inquiries are extra long. Heller apologized and will follow up.
Chair Bullock noted that quorum had been established, and returned the meeting to the original agenda order.
FILLING OF BOARD VACANCIES: Chair Bullock opened the floor for nominations or volunteers to fill the three (3) vacancies. There were no nominations or volunteers at this time.
Approval of the August 21, 2013 Regular Meeting Minutes -- Hoe moved and Kang seconded to adopt the August 21, 2013 minutes as published. The motion was ADOPTED by UNANIMOUS CONSENT, 6-0-0 (Aye: Bullock, Hoe, Kang, Moniz-Kahoohanohano, Tam, and Yamada).
Treasurer's Report -- Board member Kang read the financial statement for August 2013. Costs included $5.38 for printing, $32.20 for postage, leaving a balance of $567.20. The report was filed.
Permitted Interaction Group (PIG) Creation -- Chair Bullock recommended forming a permitted interaction group (PIG) that will promote awareness about the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board and appointed Board members Hoe, Kang, McGuire, and Moniz-Kahoohanohano. Yamada moved and Kang seconded to create a PIG that will promote the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board to increase attendance at the monthly meetings. The motion was ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY, 6-0-0 (Aye: Bullock, Hoe, Kang, Moniz-Kahoohanohano, Tam, and Yamada). Chair Bullock requested a report about the proposed activities of the PIG.
- Taxes: Resident Leon Kau expressed opposition to the recent bill that had passed first reading in City Council regarding eliminating a renter's tax exemption for real property taxes if they have a million dollar property not being used and seniors losing tax exemption.
- Mauumae Park: Resident Evan Mukaki recently adopted Mauumae Park and requested that the park establish a closing time. Mukaki noted that there are homeless people, chickens, moped riding, and fighting in the park. Mukaki also asked about installing playground equipment and constructing a parking lot. Chair Bullock commented that the City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is responsible for improvements in the park and also noted that HPD can address the homeless issue and dangerous activities in the park. Micah Munekata from Councilmember Stanley Chang's office noted that a recommended park closure time needs to go through the Neighborhood Board, and suggested that the Board put the item on next month's agenda. In addition, Board member Yamada commented that the signs need to be changed to allow dogs with leashes in the park. Chair Bullock noted that the Board will take action on recommending a park closure time and changing the signs, and will list the items in the next agenda.
- 10th Avenue and Pahoa Avenue: A resident commented that a new water meter was installed near the sidewalk for a house on the corner of 10th Avenue and Pahoa Avenue. During the installation, the concrete from the sidewalk was replaced with black tar asphalt. The resident asked if it was the responsibility of BWS or a contractor. The resident also noted that a tow away sign in the area needed to be replaced.
- Leahi Hospital: Miles Takaaze from Leahi Hospital thanked the legislators for approval of $590,000 to repair and renovate Atherton Building. Construction will begin in February or April 2014.
University of Hawaii (UH) President Selection Committee Presentation: John Holzman, Chair of the UH Board of Regents, delivered a presentation about the process of finding a qualified candidate for the president of UH, and heard the Board members' and community's thoughts about the candidate selection process and the overall direction that UH should take.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
- Biotechnology: Resident Anselm Chuh suggested that UH look more into the research of biotechnology and applying it to agriculture in tropical climates.
- UH Athletics: Resident Kau questioned whether UH should continue with its athletic department, commenting that UH is losing money and the athletic program does not make students smarter. Board member Kahoohanohano commented that the UH athletic program provides opportunities for student athletes and provides exposure for the university. Kahoohanohano also noted that some of the athletic program costs are subsidized through fundraising. Holzman commented that most athletes are good students, and cheering for a home team can unite the state. Kahoohanohano noted that the athletes at UH are encouraged to bring pride to the university and state. Board member Hoe commented that athletics are part of the student experience. Resident Ben Nakaoka commented that the success and failure of the football team affects donations, and noted that the football team provides visibility for UH across the country.
- UH President Candidate: Kuhio Sam from the UH Foundation commented that the next UH President should see the value of each department and understand the value beyond money. Resident Geoffrey Benton commented that the next UH President should be somebody born and raised local, or at least somebody who understands local culture. Holzman commented that it is a priority to find someone who shares a connection with and appreciates the culture of Hawaii. Chair Bullock noted that there are great people in each department who know how to guide, and that the next UH President should reach out and get more students to attend UH and thereby grow the economy. Board member Yamada suggested having co-presidents instead of only one UH President. Board member Tam suggested considering local candidates, noting that priorities may be different for a local candidate versus a candidate from the mainland. Holzman recommended that the public go to www.hawaii.edu and click on "presidential selection" to submit comments.
- Academics: Mark Wong, Mayor Caldwell's representative, commented that academics should be as important as athletics, and would like to see more emphasis placed on academics at UH.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative -- Mark Wong provided the City newsletter and reported the following:
· TheBus App: TheBus app is now available in Chinese and Japanese in addition to English.
· Tree Blocking Sidewalk: A resident had noted that a tree on the 900 block of Koko Head Avenue was blocking the sidewalk. A supervisor of the Division of Urban Forestry (DUF) inspected the sidewalk area along the noted location on Koko Head Avenue. The mature, healthy City monkeypod tree of concern has existed in this location for several decades. The DUF supervisor determined there is ample space for pedestrians to walk around the tree. As an option, pedestrians may use the sidewalk on the Diamond Head side of the street.
· Pedestrian Push Button: DTS checked and replaced the failed pedestrian push button on 12th Avenue and Waialae Avenue.
· Left Turn Arrow: A resident had asked if there could be a left turn arrow from 16th Avenue onto Waialae Avenue. The Department of Transportation Services (DTS) will conduct an investigation, which may require research, site inspections, field assessments, collision history, and traffic data analysis. The Kaimuki Neighborhood Board will be informed of the status of the DTS study by the January 2014 Kaimuki Neighborhood Board meeting.
· Sewer Usage: In response to a resident's concern about sewer usage being accurately measured, Wong commented that customers who are not on the submeter irrigation program are given 20% irrigation credit on their water consumption for the sewer volume charge on their monthly billings. However, customers on the submeter irrigation program are given credit based on their monthly submeter readings, which is subtracted from BWS water consumption. Delays have occurred in crediting these customers due to meter error readings in the new billing system. The City Department of Environmental Services (ENV) is working with BWS to address these concerns and expedite submeter credits in the near future.
· Water Spigots: A Board member had asked why spigots at parks are being removed. Depending on the park, there are various reasons to remove the spigot to prevent hazards and to control excessive use of water.
· Construction: The City is aware of the Kaimuki Christmas Parade and has been working with the Kaimuki Business Professional Association to secure any road work, equipment, and other construction concerns before the parade.
Questions, comments, concerns followed: Budget: A resident asked what will it take to manage the budget, and commented he would rather reduce HPD by a certain percentage than have senior citizens' tax exemption taken away.
Councilmember Ann Kobayashi -- James Larson introduced himself and provided Councilmember Kobayashi's newsletter. Larson reported that the office had wished Jarret Yip a fond farewell as he is pursuing a master's degree, and offered to take back any questions and concerns.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Exemptions for Seniors: Resident Kau raised a concern about a bill removing tax exemptions for seniors. Larson clarified that the senior citizen exemption in the amount of $120,000 will not be removed for persons over 65. However, the "in lieu of exemption" will be removed on September 30, 2013. Board member Tam commented that seniors may get tax exemptions but the property taxes are still high. Tam asked why the bill is taking away from seniors instead of everybody. Larson could not speculate and noted the bill was introduced by Council Chair Ernie Martin, by request.
2. Property Taxes: Board member Tam commented there is a bill relating to property taxes going up for $1 million properties, and raised a concern that renters of $1 million properties will have higher rent. Larson commented that it is possible that rent for $1 million properties could go up. Larson noted that as a renter himself, he does not rent $1 million properties. Larson stated that the bill is still in first reading and encouraged the community to provide input.
Councilmember Stanley Chang -- Micah Munekata provided Councilmember Chang's newsletter and reported that Bill 58 and Bill 59 have passed first reading. Bill 58 prohibits affixing personal property to City property. Bill 59 prohibits lying down on a public sidewalk. These bills were generated by public outcry of the right to move along public right of ways; it has become a public safety issue.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
- Homeless: Resident Chuh commented that if people can cross the street to go around a tree that is blocking a sidewalk, then people should also be able to cross the street if there is a homeless person blocking the sidewalk. Chuh also expressed concern that the City will pass regulations which benefit tourists and not residents, even though residents are the taxpayers.
- Property Taxes: Board member Tam raised a concern that he pays almost $3,000 in property taxes and suggested charging nonprofit organizations an 80 % or 90% exemption instead of $300 per year.
- Council Calendar: Resident Kau asked about the council dates. Munekata indicated there is a City Council Calendar at www.honolulu.gov and that the full council meetings are open to the public at Honolulu Hale.
Governor Neil Abercrombie's Representative -- Fred Pablo reported that there will be a special legislative session to address the issue of same-sex marriage. Currently, the State of Hawaii recognizes civil unions, but not same-sex marriages. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriages could be recognized. The Department of Veteran Affairs has announced it will be recognizing same-sex marriage. The IRS will recognize same-sex marriage tax benefits. Same-sex couples who get married will be allowed to file for federal tax benefits.
Senator Sam Slom -- No representative was present and no report was provided.
Senator Les Ihara, Jr. -- Senator Ihara reported the following:
- Same-Sex Marriage: The Chamber of Commerce is conducting a study on the impact of same-sex marriage on businesses.
- Cost of Special Session: The cost is around $25,500.
- Pending Lawsuit: There is a pending lawsuit against the State and Loretta Fuddy from the State Department of Health (DOH) for refusing to give a marriage license for a same-sex marriage. If the marriage equality bill does not pass, there will be a lawsuit. However, if a marriage equality bill passes, then there will not be a lawsuit. If there is a lawsuit, it will be costly.
- Religious Exemption: A church can discriminate against a member of the church or organization but cannot discriminate against the public. There are efforts to expand the exemption so that a church does not have to perform a same-sex marriage.
- Chief Justice Nominees: There are six (6) nominees for the Maui District Court. The Senate may convene to confirm and fill the vacancies.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
- Filibuster: Resident Kau asked if filibustering is allowed at the state legislature. Senator Ihara noted that members of the House of Representatives are allowed to speak 10 minutes each twice on the floor, but may yield their time to allow another member to continue speaking. In the Senate, there is no time limit on speaking.
- Length of Special Session: Senator Ihara indicated that a special session typically lasts five (5) days, but can go longer if amendments to the bill are proposed. A special session cannot exceed 30 days. Monday, October 28, 2013 will be the first day of the special session.
- Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA): Board member Tam asked if Senator Ihara supports HCDA. Senator Ihara commented he is in favor of passing a bill to limit the power of HCDA and allow for more public input. Tam expressed his opposition against HCDA.
Representative Calvin K.Y. Say -- House Speaker Emeritus Say provided a newsletter and responded to the public's questions, comments, and concerns:
- Same-Sex Marriage: Representative Bertrand Kobayashi commented that there are currently around 26-28 House members in favor of marriage equality. House Speaker Emeritus Say commented that his office has received many calls about the issue. Speaker Emeritus Say noted that in 1998 he had signed a bill for a constitutional amendment limiting marriage between a man and a woman. Speaker Emeritus Say commented that today, the public should decide whether same-sex marriage should be recognized. Regarding the same-sex marriage bill, Speaker Emeritus Say indicated that he will vote yes with reservations, with reservations regarding the language of religious exemption.
- UH: Speaker Emeritus Say commented that UH should work to restore trust between the legislative branch and the UH system. House Speaker Emeritus Say suggested that UH should highlight accomplishments that are not publicized.
- HCDA: Speaker Emeritus Say expressed support for HCDA and development in Kakaako, noting that if the supply of homes is not increased, the younger generation will not be able to afford the high price of housing. Board member Tam commented that every block is soon going to have a high rise and shopping malls.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed: High Costs of Repair: Resident Chuh noted that many houses in older neighborhoods are dilapidated, and there are high costs of construction and repair. Chuh suggested there should be a subsidy to help homeowners maintain houses and preserve older neighborhoods.
Representative Bertrand Kobayashi -- Representative Kobayashi reported that many people have been calling about same-sex marriage and a few have called about the molasses spill, but besides those two items, the office has been quiet.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed: Gambling: Resident Kau asked if the City could legalize gambling. Speaker Emeritus commented that legalizing gambling would be a state issue, and expressed concern about the social ills of gambling. Senator Ihara mentioned the economic impacts, noting that hotel occupancy rates and prices would be maxed out if gambling was legalized, and tourists would be in spending money in casinos instead of local restaurants. Senator Ihara commented it is better to utilize the tourist dollars that come in and spread money out in the community.
· Next Board Meeting: The next meeting of the Kaimuki Neighborhood Board No. 4 will be on Wednesday, October 15, 7:00 p.m. at the Kaimuki Christian Church, Fellowship Hall, 1117 Koko Head Avenue.
· Liquor Commission: There will be a Liquor Commission hearing for a liquor license for Brew on Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. at the Office of the Liquor Commission.
· Pop-Up Sale: There will be a pop-up sale on Friday, October 18, 2013 at the Kaimuki Library from 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.
Submitted By: Risé Doi, Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed By: Jenilea Heath, Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed and Finalized By: Lyle Bullock Jr., Chair
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