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Diamond Head Neighborhood Board Meeting September 2019 Minutes
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2019
ALA WAI CLUB HOUSE
CALL TO ORDER: Board member Bert Narita called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m. A quorum was established with 10 members present. (Note - This 15-member Board requires eight (8) members to establish quorum and to take official Board action).
Members Present: Julia Allen, John Beutel, Richard Figliuzzi (arrived at 6:35 p.m.), Mark Kamahele, Michelle Matson (arrived at 6:44 p.m.), Stefan Mrozewski, Bert Narita, Keolu Peralto, Don Persons, George West, Winston Welch, and Linda Wong.
Members Absent: Rene Julian, Barbara Miller, and Bruce Wong.
Guests: Captain Kainoa Asato (Honolulu Fire Department); Lieutenant John Nakashima (Honolulu Police Department, District 6); Lieutenant Taro Nakamura (Honolulu Police Department, District 7); Walea Constantinau (Mayor's Kirk Caldwell's Representative); Councilmember Ann Kobayashi; Davin Aoyagi (Councilmember Tommy Waters' Representative); Senator Les Ihara Jr.; Emma Bulgan (Representative Scott Nishimoto's Representative); Adrian Tam (Senator Stanley Chang's Representative); Carol Hoshiko (Kapiolani Community College); Amanda Stevens (Komen Hawaii); Brigitte Bieheller, Gayle Lanthier, Dawn Robinson, Chris Why, Carole Daly, Laurie Murphy, David Chee, Margie Katras, Tara Tannenloh, Kelli Hagert, Gina Schultz, Ted Hagum, Emily Nellestein, Carolyn Tanaka, Fannie Cline, Terrilee Campbell, James Campbell, Goro Sulivoadikusumo, Emma Bulgan, Maia Carrera, Celina Tarantino, Mary Jones, Amanda Stevens, Julie Farrell, Mela Kealoha-Lindsey, Kara Kaneshiro, Kayleigh Hanaoka, Dave Watase, Sam Slom, Becky Gardner, C Punua, Christian Cadelina, Travis Ferraora, Greg Nakamura, Katie Meadows, Hunt Meadows, Haile Meadows, Amelia Meadows, Keahi Tucker, Mary Pather, Race Skelton, Brian Lam, Jennifer Stikeleaten, Barbra Arementrout, Marisa Norfleet (Residents); and Lindon Valenciano (Neighborhood Assistant).
Hearing no objections, Board member Narita moved to agenda item "Public Safety Reports".
PUBLIC SAFETY REPORTS
Honolulu Fire Department (HFD - Waikiki Station): Captain Asato reported the following:
• July 2019 Statistics: There were 6 structure fires, 0 brushfire, 4 nuisance fires, 1 cooking fire, 10 activated alarms, 133 medical emergencies, 3 motor vehicle collisions with a pedestrian, 1 motor vehicle crashes, 0 hazardous material incidents, and 4 ocean rescue.
• Safety Tip: Senior Citizens Guidelines: HFD has the following guidelines for senior citizens which enables the HFD to assist them for medical emergencies. Follow these tips to keep your family safe:
o Always call 911 first for emergencies.
o Have a list of medications and medical history ready.
o Know where your advanced directives are (Comfort Care only- Do Not Resuscitate, Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment, etc.).
o If you live alone, make sure there is adequate access to reach you
o Make sure you address is clearly marked.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
• Statistics Breakdown: Resident Cline asked for current fire and car break-in statistics for the Diamond Head Monument area. Captain Asato responded in order to break down the statistics and get the locations he will check the logbook and report back.
Chair Figliuzzi arrived at 6:35 p.m., Board member Narita passed the gavel to Chair Figliuzzi,
11 members present.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD) - District 6 (Waikiki/ Diamond Head): Lieutenant Nakashima reported the following:
• August 2019 Statistics: There were 12 robberies, 27 burglaries, 186 thefts, 23 unauthorized entry into motor vehicles (UEMV), 44 assaults, 6 sex crimes, 6 bicycle and skateboard on sidewalk citations, 3 speeding citations, 625 parking citations, 38 park closure warnings, 130 park closure citations, and 2 park closure arrests. There were a total of 4,230 calls for service.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Abandoned Vehicles: L. Wong inquired and Lieutenant Nakashima responded the process of handling abandoned cars is for people to call 911 and, report it, and HPD will respond with marking the tires and issuing a citation after 24 hours with a work order for towing the vehicle. However, there is a work order backlog so the process could take some time.
2. Marijuana Smoking Complaint: L. Wong inquired and Lieutenant Nakashima responded that 911 should be called the unit where smoking marijuana is known, but he noted that HPD can't force entry into a resident's unit without a search warrant.
3. Park Closures: Kamahele inquired and Lieutenant Nakashima responded that the park closure statistics in the report includes beaches that are closed during the same time as parks from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.
4. Parking Citations: Mrozewski inquired about HPD's recent 4:00 AM mass ticketing of approximately 200 cars that were legally parked overnight along the mauka side of Kalakaua Avenue in Kapiolani Park, which appeared to be a regulatory interpretation issue reportedly in response to neighbors complaining about commercial vehicles parking illegally in Kapiolani Park overnight. Lieutenant Nakashima responded that when there is a regulatory question, HPD's supervising Sergeant can be called to review and explain the action taken.
5. Micro Mobility Rental Laws: Welch inquired and Lieutenant Nakashima responded that he will research regulations regarding micro-mobiles such as bikes, scooters, and Segways and signs that mark where you are allowed to ride.
Board member Matson arrived at 6:44 p.m., 12 members present.
6. Burglary Update: Matson inquired and Lieutenant Nakashima responded he will look into the burglaries on Nikolo St. and Gail St, so he can give an update if anyone was arrested or if any actions were taken.
Honolulu Police Department (HPD) - District 7 (Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights): Lieutenant Nakamura reported the following:
• August 2019 Statistics: There were 3 motor vehicle thefts, 11 burglaries, 29 thefts, and 12 UEMVs. There were a total of 6,183 total calls for service.
• Coffee with a Cop: Lieutenant Nakamura noted that on Wednesday, October 02, 2019, HPD will hold a Coffee With a Cop event at Manoa Starbucks. The event will run from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
• ATM Safety Tips: Lieutenant Nakamura reported safety tips when using the ATM including calling 911 if any suspicious behavior is observed. Lieutenant Nakamura added that Identity Theft is on the rise.
STATE AND CITY ADMINISTRATION REPORTS
Governor David Ige's Representative: No representative was present and no report was given.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Representative: Walea Constantinau of the Honolulu Film Office reported the following message from Mayor Caldwell relating to the Ala Moana Regional Park Master Plan:
• Ala Moana Regional Park is a very special park not only those who live on O'ahu, but also everyone in Hawai'i as four (4) million people visit the park each year. The Mayor is open to hearing from anyone and everyone with their ideas on how to improve this beloved park. The current Ala Moana Regional Park master plan calls for the following: hiring more park staff, renovating comfort stations, repairing the exercise paths, irrigating the great lawn, fixing rocky beach areas, beautifying the park, building a new playground, making the park safer, and offering local favorites in concessions, all of which were long overdue.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
• Carnival Playground: Matson inquired how a "world-class" carnival theme playground could be long overdue in historic Ala Moana Park and Constantinau responded she will take the question back to the Mayor.
Board of Water Supply: No representative was present.
Pickleball Courts: Resident Katras noted there are 34 public tennis courts in the Ala Moana and Diamond Head area and zero (0) dedicated pickleball courts although pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. She recommended that a few underutilized tennis courts in the area could be converted into pickleball courts. L. Wong noted the Board is advisory to the City and in order to consider advocating on this issue the Board would need something in writing. Chair Figliuzzi requested and Constantinau responded she will bring up the absence of pickleball courts in the area to the Mayor. Mrozewski inquired and Resident Katras responded there would be attendance of 50-60 people for pickleball every Sunday.
PRIORITY COMMUNITY ISSUES
Tour Helicopter Safety and Noise Impacts: Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Matson reported the following:
• Board Resolutions: Matson noted at least 12 Neighborhood Boards have adopted tour helicopter safety and noise resolutions that follow the format by Congressman Case. She added that a similar resolution was adopted by the Diamond Head Citizens Advisory Committee that urges Department of Land and Natural Resources to work with other agencies including the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration, to provide protection and relief for Diamond Head and Kaua'i State Parks.
• Congressional Action: Matson noted Congressman Ed Case is introducing a bill to Congress that would create a federal law with more substantial regulations and give the state some authority on this issue.
• Permitted Interaction Group: Matson added that the Tour Helicopter Safety and Noise Inter-Action Group has been working on a few projects including testifying on a tour aircraft resolution adopted by City Council.
Ala Wai Canal and Golf Course: Winston Welch reported the following:
• Ala Wai Canal Project Review: Welch noted the Board joined 6 of 7 other Neighborhood Boards to ask the Legislature not to appropriate funds for the project because the communities have been misinformed or uninformed. Welch noted no one is against flood control but there are questions about how the project is being done and if it's the best solution. Welch noted in July the City Council asked Oceanit to review the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project, but later in August the City Council voted on favor of the City signing a Project Partnership Agreement (PPA) with the State. Welch noted the community asked for Board consideration to not accept the PPA. Chair Figliuzzi urged the Board to read the comprehensive letter by ÔIolani School outlining some serious concerns.
• Community Not Consulted: Dave Watase of Stop Ala Wai Project reported the USACE developed a plan which didn't involve the community and the community wasn't engaged in the process of the project. Watase noted he doesn't agree with the plan and there are a lot of issues which the public wasn't informed of, such as closing schools like Hokulani Elementary School and destroying up to a thousand feet of streams and acres of natural forest.
• Board Consideration of Letters: Watase noted there are better solutions for flood mitigation and he asked the Board to consider and approve two (2) letters to send to the Mayor and Governor asking them to work together with USACE to develop a better plan which the community can be involved in and approve of. Chair Figliuzzi inquired and Watase responded that Oceanit would legitimize other alternatives and the concerns with the EIS.
• Legitimate Response: Chair Figliuzzi inquired if Watase had received legitimate responses to his suggestions for redesign of the project. Watase responded he looked at the data and the EIS information was used to scare the public about the need but doesn't correlate with historic data on the watershed and doesn't account for tide surge or catastrophic failure of detention basins similar to the KauaÔi dam failure.
• Lack of Information: Welch noted the half-billion-dollar project has a lot of unanswered questions. He added that www.stopalawaiproject.com is the only source where information about the project can be found, and urged the Board to adopt the two (2) letters to the Mayor and Governor requesting them to take some time for community input and more information regarding the project.
Welch moved and Matson seconded a motion to adopt the two (2) letters to the Mayor and Governor relating to Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Project.
1. Funding and Costs: Matson inquired and Watase clarified that the PPA has not been signed by the Mayor but can be signed at any time. Watase noted the City Council was pressured with an August 31 deadline to pass their Resolution or face loss of funding, but there is no expiration on the funding and the Mayor will sign the PPA after the Governor confirms that the State's share of the funds will be allocated. Watase noted concern about unknown maintenance costs and cost over-runs that are going to fall on the City and will be the City's responsibility to pay for through higher property taxes.
2. Community Notification and Commenting: Mrozewski noted concerns that the community didn't have adequate notice to express themselves regarding the issue at this meeting, and no project proponents were present. He added that the opportunity for public comment on the draft EIS was from 2012 through 2015, and the flood prevention plan was conceived to benefit a great number of people in the best possible way. Watase responded that Oceanit now has the opportunity to provide better alternatives with better flood protection. He added that he and other residents whose property would be affected were not notified with sufficient time to respond and some were not notified at all. L. Wong commented that the State Department of Health Director, Bruce Anderson, lives in Manoa and is against the project. Watase added that Anderson found out about the project from the newspaper.
3. Flawed Process: Beutel noted there needs to be better flood control but he doesn't have enough knowledge about the issue, and a system is needed to improve the process. Chair Figliuzzi agreed that it is a flawed process, and there is also time sensitivity regarding the Federal funding.
Hearing no further discussion, a roll call vote was carried, the motion to adopt the two (2) letters to the Mayor and Governor relating to Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Project PASSED, 8-1-3 (Aye: Allen, Figliuzzi, Kamahele, Matson, Peralto, Persons, Welch, and Linda Wong ; Nay: Mrozewski; Abstain: Beutel, Narita, and West;).
Diamond Head Monument Transients Update: Chair Figliuzzi reported that he sought counsel with a retired head lifeguard about the transient population problem at Diamond Head because of his many years of experience on this issue. Chair Figliuzzi noted a plan is necessary to give the transients an opportunity to dispose of their waste, provide homeless services, and give them notice that it is time for them to move because the issue will not be tolerated sweep after sweep. He noted the initial concern was that there was going to be physical confrontation between surfers and homeless because the area from the mountain top to the ocean has been substantially trashed while trying to find a way to mitigate the negative impacts constructively.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
1. Increased Encampments and Fire Hazards: Matson reported that the Department of Land and Natural Resources is concerned about the now approximately 47 encampments on and around Diamond Head, and expressed related concerns about the fire hazards to the surrounding community, the mountains of trash, and the shoreline water polluted with excrement found when Surfrider Foundation tested the water. She added that DLNR and the Honolulu Police Department can only do so much with their limited manpower, and stringent enforcement is needed because the situation is now so much worse.
2. Public Safety and Health Risks: Resident Cline presented the concerns of many of those present, pointing out that many are in attendance about this issue because they are concerned the situation is getting worse. She explained the area is dangerous and beach users are being threatened by the homeless, and they are concerned about their health and safety because the homeless are dumping their feces into the water and Japanese tourists are being robbed. Resident Cline emphasized that the community wants solutions, and there needs to be a plan for support and enforcement by the Department of Parks and Recreation and HPD because costly sweeps and beach clean-ups are not working and the homeless immediately return. She asked why the substantial taxpayer funding spent on sweeps is not used instead for regular enforcement.
3. Acknowledgement and Appreciation: Chair Figliuzzi inquired about the attendance on the issue and thanked the approximate 40 residents for showing support regarding the issue. He noted he had discussed the issue with Councilmember Waters and retired head lifeguard Edwin Costanos, and had helped people in the area, and he concluded there is a need to develop a demonstrable response to this critical situation.
4. Community Support: Matson expressed appreciation for the community being active on this issue. She explained that the Board's capacity is advisory to the elected officials who can act on this enforcement matter requiring both a City ordinance and State statute, and the Board will try to help the community the best they can. She added that the State Parks Division Administrator agrees that enforcement is a priority to resolve the problem, and encouraged the community to urge their City Councilmembers and State Senators and Representatives to develop and adopt this legislation and to attend the State Legislature and City Council meetings to support to their taking action on this issue
Kaimana Beach Improvements Appropriation Update: Wong reported that the Mayor's Assistant Deputy looked into the Kaimana Beach showers issue and responded that the Department of Facility Maintenance Stormwater Quality Branch is currently evaluating and developing a design package to replace the existing outdoor shower with one that conserves water, and the project is expected to begin in early 2020 and be completed in late 2020. She expressed concern that if the City waits too long they could lose the budgeted funding and the showers.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Public Interest and Support is Needed: Chair Figliuzzi noted that the community needs to demonstrate concern about Kaimana Beach like they do for Diamond Head. He added that Councilmember Waters suggested a press conference but he suggests a rally or a march would get the community engaged, and he is not going to give up on these issues.
Diamond Head Monument Transients - Questions, comments and concerns (continued)
1. Enforcement and Trash: Resident Cline expressed concern that no action is being taken regarding Diamond Head and asked if anything could be done at this meeting. Resident Tarantino, a volunteer member of Surfrider Foundation, addressed Diamond Head Beach Park and noted many issues with trash, hostile transient encampments and the State and City jurisdiction line clarification. She noted the lack of enforcement of park and beach hours and feeling powerless because people who are arrested are out of jail within 21 hours. She concluded the new beach path appears too narrow for a golf cart to remove the piles of trash and was concerned how trash will be removed.
2. Confrontation: Resident Allen explained that he has been surfing at Diamond Head for many years. He noted the concerns of confrontation with homeless at Diamond Head and if no official action is taken the concerned community could take action instead.
Kamahele departed the meeting at 7:56 p.m., 11 members present.
3. Board Involvement: Mrozewski expressed appreciation for the community's involvement at this meeting and noted the Board should respond with a letter to elected officials regarding the Diamond Head homeless encampment issue and the community's concerns.
4. Abuse of the Resource. Chair Figliuzzi requested the Board's support to continue to engage with the City because the transients at Diamond Head are vagrants abusing the treasured public resource. He noted the concern that there would be confrontation, and he is involved with this issue as he sought consultation to find a way to have the issue resolved peacefully and civilly.
5. Media Involvement: Welch commented that he had not been aware of the extent of this issue and suggested media involvement to accelerate action on the issue.
6. Public Safety and Health: Resident Why noted that Diamond Head Beach users are threatened by the encamped transients if they attend Board meetings, and this is at the breaking point because she fears for the beach users' safety and damage to property as they are accosted on the shoreline and find their tires are slashed. She reported that HPD claims they cannot do anything and pleaded with the Board for support.
7. Navigation Center: Resident Patterson recommended establishing a navigation center to move the transients into, as this has been successful in San Francisco where the problem is worse.
8. Immediate Action Required: Another resident reported that the beach users found over 20 used syringes in the sand and they can't bring children to use the beach. He emphasized this is why immediate action is required. Chair Figliuzzi announced that this issue will be at the top of the Board's Thursday October 10, 2019 meeting agenda to ensure timely responses from HPD and the community's elected officials.
9. Resident Hagert emphasized that involvement of the Hawaii Tourism Authority, cultural groups and the entire community is needed because the larger public's liberties and personal freedoms are being attacked and restricted along with tourism and the island's natural beauty, which are all connected and affected. She added that the tools and resources are needed to begin this effort with this Board and other community groups.
10. Government Officials: Matson listed the community's elected officials and asked if they were present. L. Wong added that the community in attendance for this issue should stay to hear from Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, who was present.
Hearing no objection Chair Figliuzzi deferred the Diamond Head/Kapahulu Proposed Chamber of Commerce Update until October 10, 2019 meeting and moved the agenda forward to "Elected Officials".
Councilmember Ann Kobayashi - Councilmember Ann Kobayashi distributed a newsletter and reported the following:
• Inefficient Use of Funds: Councilmember Kobayashi expressed extreme concern about how the City's money has been spent, and the need to efficiently use the money on community issues. She highlighted the following comparisons:
o Ala Wai Flood Control Project: Councilmember Kobayashi expressed appreciation for the Board's adoption of the letters to the Governor and Mayor concerning the Ala Wai project, because the City will be obligated to operate and maintain whatever the USACE might decide should be built. She reported that Oceanit, a scientific engineering company that advises on federal, state and city projects, is now contracted to find a less burdensome solution.
o Blaisdell Center: Councilmember Kobayashi expressed concern about the City administration's proposed Blaisdell Center reconstruction for more than a half-billion dollars. She concluded that these funds should instead be allocated for homeless solutions, fixing the roads, and cleaning and maintaining the parks.
o Thomas Square: Councilmember Kobayashi noted the City administration spent $4 million on Thomas Square, which included removing park vegetation and commissioning a mainland artist to design a 25-foot statue.
• Stadium Park Master Plan: Councilmember Kobayashi emphasized that City funds must be spent to fix the City first with what works for the community. She explained that Stadium Park had become unusable, flea-infested and unsafe for the community, so to take back and restore Stadium Park the City Council appropriated funds to develop a community-based master plan. She added that keeping the pressure on and working on Stadium Park so it is now a usable Park again is also what must be done for Diamond Head to enable citizens to use and enjoy the public assets they are paying for.
• Joint Effort: Councilmember Kobayashi noted that everyone needs to work together to make sure the community is heard. She acknowledged Dave Watase's continuous efforts to champion community's issues at seven (7) Neighborhood Boards.
• Conclusion: Councilmember Kobayashi concluded she is very frustrated with the process when citizens don't get what they need from the City.
Questions, comments and concerns followed:
• Best Direction to Pursue: Chair Figliuzzi commented that the Diamond Head Monument transient encampment situation has reached a crisis level and he had been preparing for this discussion over the past month with different directions to consider. He asked Councilmember Kobayashi if she could advise on a direction or process to best respond to the situation at Diamond Head. Councilmember Kobayashi suggested working on a master plan to safely return the Monument and its beach to the public, and then taking the plan to the Governor and to the Mayor as what must be done. Shared Responsibility: Matson commented that as discussed by DLNR's Diamond Head Advisory Committee, because the Diamond Head transient encampment situation has reached a crisis level, it is likely that the community's effort will require a Governor's Executive Order because the Diamond Head State Monument is within the State Conservation District and extends to the shoreline, and Diamond Head's beach parks are under Governor's Executive Order with agreement to be maintained by the City. She concluded that overall the Governor would issue the Executive Order to accomplish bringing in the troops to clean up the area and return it to public use.
• All Must Work Together: Councilmember Kobayashi agreed that all must work together and not give up, including the Governor, the Mayor, and the Neighborhood Boards and Community.
Councilmember Kobayashi was thanked with a round of applause.
Hearing no objections Chair Figliuzzi moved to agenda item Komen Race for the Cure.
Komen Race for the Cure: Executive Director Amanda Stevens reported the 25th annual Komen Race for the Cure will be held on Sunday, October 13, 2019, beginning in Kapiolani Park at 7:00 a.m. on Monsarrat Avenue, and there will be a road closure on Paki Ave. She noted any questions can be submitted to KomenHawaii.org.
ELECTED OFFICIALS (continued)
Councilmember Tommy Waters - Davin Aoyagi, representing Councilmember Tommy Waters, reported the following:
• Kaimana Beach: Aoyagi thanked L. Wong for her efforts to communicate with the Department of Facilities Management regarding Kaimana Beach, and noted there are funds available for the shower improvement project. Aoyagi added he will continue to follow up on the questions raised and will keep the Board updated.
• Helicopter Resolution: Aoyagi thanked Matson for her efforts in assisting with Resolution 19-188, the Tour Helicopter Safety and Noise Resolution, and all the issues with tour helicopters flying over residential neighborhoods. He added that the adoption of the Resolution by the City Council now provides Councilmember Waters with the opportunity to work with Congressman Case to address the issue.
• Diamond Head Beach Park: Aoyagi reported Councilmember Waters' office had been to the beach park three (3) times over the past month. He added that Councilmember Waters has been communicating with HPD and believes enforcement is not a permanent solution to address the underlying issues. He noted the mass clean-up of Diamond Head coordinated and planned by the City and State from September 23 through September 27, 2019; and a following clean-up planned by the Surfrider Foundation on September 28, 2019 from 9 am to noon as the first step to clean up the beach park weekly or bi-weekly with community groups. Aoyagi commented that both Councilmember Waters and he will be at the Surfrider clean-up event to help community members, and added that he understands the community's frustration with the process, delays and inaction.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Surfrider Foundation Clean-up: Chair Figliuzzi commented that the situation has reached the point where something must be done, and he will be attending the September 28, 2019 beach clean-up to communicate on this as well.
2. Involvement: L. Wong inquired about the beach clean-up on September 28, 2019 and asked why community groups would be brought into this explosive issue. She requested that Councilmember Waters attend Board meetings and communicate with the Board on an action plan.
3. Clean-ups: Resident Cline clarified that the coordinated State and City clean-up will be from September 23, 2019 - September 27, 2019 and the Surfrider Foundation along with her beach-user group and other non-profit organizations will conduct their follow-up on September 28, 2019 because they don't have the means to clean out the entire amount of trash. She added that HPD presence has been requested, and she inquired how the City will keep the homeless away in between sweeps, given the safety concern about confrontation.
4. Media: L. Wong suggested that the community get the media involved. A resident replied that Keahi Tucker of Hawaii News Now will be attending the beach clean-up.
5. Recognition: Aoyagi reiterated that the follow-up sweep is being conducted by the Surfrider Foundation. He credited their great volunteer efforts led by Stuart Coleman, and noted Councilmember Waters' office wants to help.
Representative Bertram Kobayashi: No representative was present and no report given.
State Representative Scott Nishimoto: Emma Bulgan of Representative Nishimoto's Office distributed a newsletter and announced the 16th Annual Community Clean-up and E-waste recycling at Kaimuki High School to be held on Saturday, September 28, 2019 from 9 am to 12 pm. She encouraged the Board to contact Representative Nishimoto's office with any proposals for forthcoming Legislative Session or any community concerns.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
• State Legislation: Matson inquired if Representative Nishimoto could sponsor a bill to assist with the immediate transient encampment crisis at Diamond Head and on the beaches, together with a companion bill from the Senate to help enact protective laws on this issue. Bulgan responded that Representative Nishimoto is currently working on a bill and she will convey the request.to the Representative.
Senator Les Ihara Jr. - Senator Les Ihara Jr reported the following on the Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Project:
• Attorney General: Senator Ihara commented that the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General attended a Senate caucus to discuss the status their role in the project. He added that a lawsuit is expected to challenge the project's final EIS being absent disclosure of 2-1/2 feet in additional sea-level rise that was determined between the draft and final EIS, as well as the absence of disclosure of a plan to address the storm water system should there be a 3-foot rise in floodwater.
• Fund Expenditure: Senator Ihara reported that the USACE can expend the $235 million appropriated federal funds with no expiration date and they are already beginning to spend the funds on this project even without a commitment from the City or the State for the required local partnership, and this reversal of many is good.
• Timely Delay: Senator Ihara suggested that should the project be delayed a year because of the lawsuit, the USACE could pause as requested by the Neighborhood Boards and review their data analysis and projections to find better alternatives that work for the community.
• Sea-Level Rise: Senator Ihara added that sea-level rise is a State interest, and not just Waikiki's, so this allows discussions on State policy.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
• National-Level Project: Chair Figliuzzi inquired about the context of the scope of the project if incorporated into an overall state policy relating to sea-level rise. Senator Ihara explained the two parts of this:
1) The Certificate of Participation (COP) is a private financial agreement between the State and a developer, in this case the USACE, and the COP does not require Legislative approval. But there is no provision for any potential dispute. A line item would be in the State budget to provide the State's share of $125 million together with its debt service of approximately $7 million annually.
2) This project could also be seen as a national project because of sea-level rise, which can be informative to share with other cities because a) there would already be a project on the ground to minimize the risk of climate change and violent storms, and b) it would demonstrate the need to take small steps to minimize harm. It would also be a collaborative project requiring consensus, including for the funding. Therefore to bring in State interest, the premise of this project would be the legitimate concern of sea-level rise.
• Sea- Level Rise: Matson inquired about refocusing on building a wall around the makai side of Waikiki to mitigate sea-level rise instead building walls around the Ala Wai Canal. Senator Ihara responded the Legislature can fund the local projects, but like the rail project it's up to the City to design and implement the local work.
• Certificate of Participation (COP): Welch inquired about the strength of the potential lawsuit and the Senate's view of the COP. Senator Ihara responded as follows:
1) The final EIS is defective and the project needs a Supplemental EIS to address sea-level rise.
2) The Senate will likely pass the COP but all the House members are facing re-election, and the House Representatives don't want to cause disarray.
• Homeless Encampments: L. Wong commented that Diamond Head homeless encampments have been growing more intense and the homeless encampment at Crane Park is still an on-going issue. She noted a recent law that prevents trespassers on Board of Water Supply lands. Senator Ihara agreed that enforcement is needed when public health and safety issues are involved, and more substantial resources are needed to move the encampments out. He suggested that a plan is needed for working together with the State Homeless Coordinator toward a solution with more staffing and homeless placement strategies, and noted that the situation has persisted for decades. L. Wong inquired and Senator Ihara responded that laws can help with the problem and address the issue so that needed resources can be allocated.
House Speaker Emeritus (HSE) Calvin Say: No representative was present and no report given.
Congressman Ed Case No representative was present and no report given.
Senator Stanley Chang -Adrian Tam, representing State Senator Chang, reported the following:
• Diamond Head: Tam commented that Senator Chang's office recognizes that emotions are running high about the Diamond Head homeless issue and they have been in contact with the State Homeless Coordinator, Scott Morishige, in the Governor's office. They will request that both the Mayor and the Governor ensure that weekly sweeps are conducted at Diamond Head to prevent more encampments from growing after the mass clean-up.
• Affordable Housing Summit: Senator Chang will be speaking at the Affordable Housing Summit sponsored by Faith Action to be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Art Auditorium, where Senator Chang will be discussing the Senate Housing Committee's plans for the forthcoming Legislative Session. Those interested in attending can call 989-9398.
Questions, comments, and concerns followed:
1. Diamond Head: Chair Figliuzzi inquired and Tam confirmed that he had been in attendance at this Board meeting during the Diamond Head homeless encampment discussion, and will bring it up to the Senator. Chair Figliuzzi commented that the Board will become more active on this issue, and Tam responded that Senator Chang's office will be as well.
2. Involvement at Board Meetings: L. Wong noted the growing concern of homeless and requested that Senator Chang and the State Homeless Coordinator be more involved with community issues by attending Board meetings. Tam clarified that following the forthcoming coordinated mass sweep and clean-up at Diamond Head they will request weekly enforcements to prevent homeless encampments from coming back.
3. Enforcement: Chair Figliuzzi agreed this is a good idea and added that there is need for daily enforcement patrols like the daily HPD and Task Force patrols conducted at Waikiki Beach; otherwise if this does not occur daily or nightly the transients will become re-entrenched, and a week later this would not help. Tam agreed reinforcement is needed.
Hearing no objections, Chair Figliuzzi deferred the following to the October 10, 2019 meeting:
• Election of Vice Chair(s)
• Standing Committees Review
• Board Communications Review
• Approval of the June 13, 2019; July 11, 2019; and August 8, 2019 Meeting Minutes
Treasurer's Report: L. Wong reported a remaining balance of $541.60.
Sub-District 1 - Allen reported the following:
• No Building Permit: The St. Louis Heights Community Association meeting was on Monday, September 9, where a major topic of discussion has been a resident without a permit to grade and build a carport in the area, who has now stopped construction and nothing is being done on the property. She noted that residents have contacted the Department of Planning and Permitting about the removal of trees and vegetation from this property, which has become a ground stabilization concern and could be dangerous for the community.
• Power Outage: Narita inquired and Allen responded that there had been no discussion the widespread power outage from St Louis Heights to Kaimuki, Palolo and Diamond Head during the previous weekend.
Sub-District 2 - Peralto reported the following:
• Crane Park Homeless Encampment: Together with the Diamond Head and St, Louis Heights homeless encampment issues, the Crane Park homeless encampment is still an issue and cause for concern.
• Bulky-Item Pickup: Bulky-item pickup has been an ongoing problem in Sub-District 2, many residents are not following the new scheduling process, particularly in the vicinity of lower Winam Avenue near Kapahulu and Palani Avenues.
• Abandoned Vehicles: Abandoned vehicles are still an on-going issue.
Peralto noted that updates on the above issues will be on the Board's October meeting agenda.
Sub-District 3 -
• Sub-District 3 Chair Vacancy: Mrozewski suggested that L. Wong serve as Sub-District 3 chair, and Matson recommended Mrozewski. Mrozewski respectfully declined and L. Wong was designated Sub-District 3 chair.
• Festival of Pacific Arts: L. Wong reported that the Festival of Pacific Arts will be held in June 2020, and will feature a large Ho'olaulea with canoes paddling from Hawai'i Kai to the Hawaii Convention Center for the Kamehameha Day Festival that day.
CHAIR'S REPORT AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Chair Figliuzzi reported the following:
• "Talk Story" Meeting with Congressman Ed Case: Chair Figliuzzi reported on the "Talk Story with Congressman Ed Case" meeting he attended with other Neighborhood Board Chairs:
o Tour Helicopters: Congressman Case was well-informed and transparent about the tour helicopter issue. He reported he had met with the head of FAA, who claimed nothing can be done because there are no federal laws or regulations regarding helicopter tours, and Congress would need to create the laws and regulations. Chair Figliuzzi relayed the concern of the tour helicopter operators continuing to be unresponsive to on-going public outcry and regulatory pressure, and it was concluded that the tour helicopter operators are unresponsive because they want to maintain their lucrative status quo given the present visitor demand, which is unsettling.
o Other Issues: Various other issues were comprehensively discussed throughout the meeting, which served to acquaint the Neighborhood Board Chairs with the needs, concerns and issues that Congressman Case can respond to.
o Good Connections: This meeting was also an opportunity meet, learn from and emulate other Neighborhood Board Chairs who are knowledgeable and contribute to their communities.
• Board Agenda Preparation: Chair Figliuzzi clarified the process of submitting the Board's meeting agendas to the Neighborhood Commission Office by the due date six days prior to the meeting. He requested 48-hours advance notice if any items need to be changed or added to the agenda, with no last-minute changes. He added that any ideas and involvement are welcome and he encouraged Board members to feel free to contact him.
• Next Regular Board Meeting:
The next regular Board meeting will be at Ala Wai Club House on Thursday, October 10, 2019.
ADJOURNMENT: As there was no further business before the Board, Chair Figliuzzi adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m.
Submitted by: Lindon Valenciano, Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed by: Christopher Naylon, Neighborhood Assistant
Reviewed by Michelle Matson, Board Secretary
Final Review by Richard Figliuzzi, Board Chairman
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