Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hauula Fire Station Relocation Controversy Drives Honolulu Mayor to Illegally Shut Down Reynolds Recycling Center

 

Hawaii Eminent Domain Abuse – Honolulu Mayor Goes Amok on Free Speech and Private Property Rights!

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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell impounded free speech signs

on private property on October 18, 2013, again!

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Upon taking office, he went on the rampage by implementing

first raid of the signs on May 29, 2013. There is a federal lawsuit  against the city pending.

PRIVATE  fee owners own this commercial lot. The eminent domain

trial is set for March 2014.  Mayor Caldwell’s threats and intimidation are grossly premature and illegal.

On October 21, 2013, the Mayor rampaged further by posting signs on the private property to threaten Reynolds Recycling into closure. The threatening sign was posted in the middle of the entry way to the business. The problem is the city does not own this lot!

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The city owns the adjacent lot below but it has no posted signs of any kind at all. Maybe after the Mayor has been exposed, he’ll post a similar sign on this city-owned lot to appear even-handed. But it’s too late. His browbeating and abusing the office of the Mayor’s office are too evident.

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Does Hau’ula need a recycling center?

What do you think of the Mayor’s illegal activities?

808 768-4141  mayor@honolulu.gov  Honolulu Mayor

808 768-5002 emartin@honolulu.gov  City Councilman

 

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell illegally shuts down Hauula Reynolds Recycling and free speech on private property!

The Ayatollah Kirk Caldwell strikes again!

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City and County crew illegally raided free speech signs on private property on October 18, 2013, for the second time.  The owners have fee title to the land; the date for eminent domain trial is not until March, 2014* but Mayor Kirk Caldwell rampages on.

 

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The Honolulu Mayor’s crew at work.

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell apparently cannot tolerate dissent.

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell quickly installed this illegal sign on private property on October 21, 2013 when Reynolds Recycling was closed on Mondays.

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Adjacent Lot 64 is owned by the city. The city did not install a NOTICE on their own property but instead installed the NOTICE on private property next door.

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The following day, Reynolds could not open for business. This created a hardship for those without vehicles.

 

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This gentleman was seen by Pounders Beach in Laie,  having walked from the closed Hauula Recycling. He was probably walking to the Kahuku Recycling Center which is about 6 miles north.

 

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Due to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s strong arm tactics, the Hauula Reynolds Recycling left after the city’s illegal NOTICE’s threat in front of its operation.

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Irate residents have been calling. They say they’re getting the run-around with no return calls from the Mayor’s office.

The Star Advertiser reported that the Mayor’s spokesman said the Mayor wants to help Reynolds find another site in Hauula.

This is tall tale spin, there is no other available commercial site in Hau’ula.

Perhaps the city will allow Reynolds Recycling back onto Lot 64 that it owns. This will turn the city into a thief – stealing business from a private owners next door.

The Mayor’s status quo public media spin is in high gear:

 Jesse Broder Van Dyke, spokes­man for Mayor Kirk Caldwell, said the city’s actions were legitimate.

“Since the city has control of the property, it has the responsibility to ensure it is not being used improperly,”Broder Van Dyke said. “The commercial activity that was occurring was not authorized by the city.”

 On the other hand,

“Reynolds marketing and development director Bruce Iverson said he and other company officials were “dumbfounded” when the city sent his company a letter earlier this month demanding that it vacate immediately. Reynolds has been on the property since January and had obtained all the documents necessary to operate, including at least one from the city.”

Who do you trust?

The Mayor and his spin doctors or a business trying to provide a service?

* Update: The eminent domain case is slated to be heard on July 7, 2014 with Judge Rhonda Nishimura of the First Circuit.

 

 

 

 

Mayor Kirk Caldwell Continues Rampage against Free Speech Signs in Hau’ula, Oahu, Hawaii, 96717

Mayor Kirk Caldwell continues his rampage against private property rights to push for his pet $13 Million Hau’ula  Fire  Station Relocation Project

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The City County of Honolulu purchased Lot 64 in April, 2010. It was an overgrown commercial-zoned lot of 20,297 sq ft. c.  Lot 64 has sufficient land area for a typical fire station like that of Kane’ohe,

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Wahiawa, EMwahiawa

 

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or Makaloa by Pam Am Building along Kapiolani Blvd. SONY DSC

A typical fire station sits on approximately 19,000 sq. ft. of land area.

A city maintenance crew came to  grub and clear its Lot 64  for the first time on October 18, 2013 – around 9:00 am.  The crew finished grubbing and hauling the debris around 12:00 pm.

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Thereafter, two policemen from the Kahuku sub-station arrived on scene. We pointed out the survey pins of the city-owned Lot 64 to them. It appeared they were dispatched to check if the cleaning and clearing was completed. They left thereafter. We wondered why police resources were used to follow-up on the city’s maintenance  work.

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Around 1:00 pm,  police cars converged on our Lot 65 by Reynolds Recycling Container. One was parked on the Masa Market parking lot across the street.

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Two women, one with a camera and a clerk appeared on the scene at Lot 65.

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This city worker began seizing the free speech sign that said,

“No  $$ for Bus.

Got $7Billion for Rail

MORE BUS PLS”

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Other city workers proceeded to seize our free speech protest signs against Eminent Domain Abuse on our private property Lot 65. The court hearing for ‘public use’ relating to this eminent domain taking is set for March, 2014.

This was the second free speech signs raid on Lot 65. The first was on May 29, 2013. A lawsuit was filed against the city’s illegal actions on August 13, 2013, awaiting trial.

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City workers used a bulldozer to uproot and seize three 4′ x 8′ protest signs.

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The Mayor  wants to  shut down Reynolds Recycling in Hau’ula. The Department of Planning and Permitting
issued the permit to operate on January 29, 2013.

The Mayor of Honolulu is having a melt-down. What a shame! Bullies don’t belong at Honolulu Hale.

Honolulu Mayor’s Disjointed Leadership Could Render Kahuku Golf Course Into Oblivion

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/honolulu-mayors-disjointed-leadership_b_4113950.html  Posted: 10/17/2013 12:15 pm

                             

                           Oahu’s Kahuku Municipal Golf Course Could Disappear

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It’s Oahu’s best kept secret that the Kahuku Municipal Golf Course was never owned by the City and County of Honolulu.

The city leased the pristine grounds that included sandy beach frontage, sand dunes, and plantation-era graveyards as a ‘municipal’ golf course. Unknown to most, this ‘public’ course has been on a month-to-month lease for many years.

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The 122-acre beachfront course opened in 1937 through the sweat and toil of the plantation camp workers, on land owned by the Estate of James Campbell.
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There is nothing ostentatious about this nine-hole walking golf course except the setting is peaceful and it provides inexpensive recreation for locals of all ages. Users enjoy it without much ado or fancy expectations from the City and County. As Oahu continues to grow, the need for such open space will become more acute, not less.

When the Campbell Estate dissolved its 107-year-old Trust and conducted a fire sale of its assets, this ‘municipal’ golf course was a part of a private bulk purchase by Continental Pacific, LLC in 2006. Continental Pacific, LLC (CP) focuses on acquiring large tracts of real estate and reselling them for profit.

Although a few local activists had raised concerns about losing the ‘public’ course at that time, neither Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz nor Mayor Mufi Hannemann seized the opportunity to ensure that this ‘public’ golf course remained in public hands.

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Acquiring the historic Kahuku Golf Course and the Plantation Camp Village would have been the right direction to take.

The city has a history of land-banking property for future parks and saving historical plantation camps to avoid massive social disruptions and homelessness. Also, this iconic region is a golden goose for Oahu’s tourism industry. There are compelling reasons to preserve the open space and rural charm of this region.

The 2008 financial crisis created a severe downturn on the economy that dampened many real estate ventures. There was a lull in flipping real estate for profits.

Having missed the first wave sale from Campbell Estate in 2006, the city could have stepped up to acquire the Kahuku Golf Course when Continental Pacific, LLC predictably listed the Kahuku Golf Course for $10 Million in 2011.

Continental Pacific, LLC had no buyers then.

It listed again at $11,495,000 on Oct. 15, 2012 offering financing terms with “Cash, Open, Private Mortgage, or Seller Financing.”

It was unfortunate that city hall again failed to capitalize on this subsequent window of opportunity to put in Golf Course in public hands. It was not that the City Council Chair Ernie Martin didn’t try.

In April 2012, Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin, Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi, and the Council unanimously adopted and funded Resolution 12-089 — urging the Mayor to initiate the acquisition of the land beneath Kahuku Golf Course.

Then-Mayor Peter Carlisle and current Mayor Kirk Caldwell both declined to cooperate with the City Council.

In September 2013, the public learned that CP was negotiating a purchase with a Chinese investor for the Kahuku Golf Course.

City Councilman Ernie Martin explained that the mayors considered the situation “a private matter that the county should not get involved in.”

The public submitted petitions to preserve the course to Mayor Kirk Caldwell with no success.

On Oct. 10, 2013, Mayor Caldwell’s representative to the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board — Justin Gruenstein, former campaign chair for ‘Hannemann for Congress’ — tried to explain Caldwell’s non-performance. Gruenstein attempted to soft-sell that it would be too expensive to own the course and bring the golf course up to city standards. The city had no money.

Thus, acquisition of the $11 million 122-acre beachfront golf course that has been in public domain since 1937 was off the table! Gruenstein stated the approved funds would revert to the City General Fund.

The public’s response to Gruenstein’s excuse was “baloney.” The city could land bank. The city owned many properties that were not maintained nor fixed up to city standards.

It’s outrageous to see Mayor Caldwell’s arbitrary responses towards issues with great consequences.

On one hand, Mayor Caldwell insists that the city has no funds to upgrade the Kahuku Golf Course upon acquisition and Continental Pacific is a ‘private property owner’ he should not involve the city with.

On the other hand, this same mayor is threatening, including eminent domain abuse, the owners of a small privately-owned lot of 20, 300 sq. ft. in Hau’ula, just ten minutes south of the precarious golf course to build his pet $13 million fire station relocation project.

Additionally, next to the golf course sits the Kahuku Plantation Camp, also acquired by CP, that is facing massive evictions. Generations of plantation workers and their posterity are facing controversial evictions.

The City Council adopted and funded Resolution 12-90 to prevent this massive social disruption and homelessness in this 71-home compound. But again, Mayor Kirk Caldwell refused to collaborate with the council by fiddling the same arbitrary tune of respecting Continental Pacific as private property owners.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s constituents tend to conclude that his non-performance could be due to the fact that the attorney — Lex Smith who is representing Continental Pacific, LLC – was also his mayoral campaign committee chairman in 2012. The mayor denied any influence.

It’s tough to figure out Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s logic and his fiscal priorities. Honolulu deserves fact-and-merit-based collaboration with its citizenry in order to ensure that everybody wins.

It would be a travesty for Oahu if politics will render the Kahuku Municipal Golf Course into oblivion.

The mayor can be contacted at 808 768-4141 or mayor@honolulu.gov.

Kahuku Village Tent City

Kahuku Plantation Camp residents struggle with pending evictions & homelessness.

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The Kahuku Plantation Sugar Mill was built in 1890 and ceased its operations in 1971.

About 71 plantation homes remain in this iconic plantation camp. Today’s residents have longstanding ties to the plantation era. Many of their grandparents, parents or themselves have contributed to the success of their plantation Lunas. There were promises to reciprocate their contributions by allowing the plantation workers to buy the humble homes.

Continental Pacific, LLC purchased the plantation camp from The Estate of James Campell in 2006. Long story short, there are brewing controversies. About 30 residents are facing evictions. The Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin and Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi adopted an unanimous Council  resolution to set aside funds to purchase the Plantation Camp through a non-profit organization to manage it.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell does not appear to have the will to help solve this crisis. Residents believe the mayor’s reluctance to help stay the evictions may be due to the fact that Continental Pacific, LLC’s attorney is Lex Smith, Caldwell’s former mayoral campaign chair.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell – mayor@honolulu.govHonolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin – emartin@honolulu.gov
Continental Pacific, LLC   – http://www.cplandco.com/

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Definition of GENTRIFICATION

 “ the influx of more affluent people into communities that often displaces the less-affluent residents. The less affluent are unable to keep up with the rising costs of rents, property taxes, real estate and other modern living expenses.”

 

Proposed Ko’olau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan Changes Pit Adjacent Communities Against ‘Envision Laie’.

‘Keep the Country Country’ versus ‘Envision Laie’ city at Malaekahana, Kahuku 

The Ko’olau Loa Sustainable Communities  Plan ( KSCP) has always been a land-use document  that preserves and protects the scenic view planes, watersheds, natural resources as well as the rural charm of the Ko’olau Loa communities.

This deliberate plan in the Oahu General Plan was set in the 1970s.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann drastically altered this KSCP before he resigned as Mayor to run for Governor in 2010.  His administration  –  David Tanoue ( Director of Department of Planning & Permitting) and Kirk Caldwell ( Managing Director and Acting Mayor)   unilaterally inserted  ‘Envision Laie’ subdivision into the KSCP, much to the disgust of  many members in the Ko’olau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan Advisory Committee and others throughout Oahu. Other Plans such as the Ewa Development Plan also suffered this same ‘end-around’ tactic from the Hannemann Administration.

The KSCP  controversy is a story of bureaucratic power and grassroots struggles that could outdo any popular Korean drama.

Here are some of the many concerns in the public conversations:

Traffic! Kam Hwy is a 2-lane road from Kahalu’u to Haleiwa. Widening Kam Hwy will inevitably displace local owners and small businesses along Kam Hwy. The costs to taxpayers, should Kam Hwy become a 4-lane Hwy, are guestimated at $340 Billion.

 

IMG_2566The open space, rural charm, and local lifestyle on this region are  the last remnant of island living.  Oahu residents and tourists alike love and flock to this iconic part of Oahu. ‘Keep the Country Country’ is a golden goose of Oahu’s tourism industry.

 

Developers want to segment and only focus on their project in this region. However, the cumulative impacts of thousands of new residents must be considered. Traffic congestion is a 800 pound gorilla; no wordsmith can sugar-coat this impact.

 

Recently the Star Advertiser reported Steve Hoag, Hawaii Reserves’ spokesman as saying “94%  of the region is undeveloped” as part of its rationale to cement 300 acres of farmlands. This soundbite continues to be met with ridicule and disbelief. Unless developers wish to blow up the Ko’olau mountains, 94% of the region will probably never be developed.

 

Tubal sign“Gentrification” – the process in which massive developers push out the less-affluent in communities. The less-affluent are unable to keep up with the rising costs of property taxes, real estate, rents and other basic modern living expenses. This scenario is playing out at the Kahuku Plantation Camp where about 31 old-timer plantation residents are in a fierce eviction fight with their new owner, Continental Pacific, LLC from Florida. The attorney representing Continental Pacific, LLC was the campaign manager for incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

 

Then, unrighteous dominion prompted then-Ko’olau Loa Neighborhood #28 Vice-Chair Richard Fale to deny those who opposed ‘Envision Laie’ the right to testify. The Honolulu Neighborhood Board Commission eventually nullified the neighborhood board’s adopted resolution in support of ‘Envision Laie’. They have since changed the color of their yellow t-shirts to baby blue.

 

Wai2Although Steven Wheelwright, President of the BYU-Hawaii, has publicly testified that ‘Envision Laie’ has overwhelming support, it does not appear to be so. Those who appear in blue shirts are mostly employees, administrators, students, and relatives. There have been complaints of the Envision Laie Team inviting volunteer missionaries on temporary assignments to stack these meetings.

 

Wa2Although Hawaii Reserves R. Eric Beaver projects that they have overwhelming support, neighboring community associations such as the Waikane, Hau’ula, Kahuku, Ka’a’awa, Punalu’u, Sunset have testified against ‘Envision Laie’. The Kahalu’u, Kane’ohe, Manoa, and the North Shore Neighborhood Boards are also opposed. Environmental groups like Defend Oahu Coalition, Keep the North Shore Country, Surfrider Foundation – Oahu Chapter and many other groups have spoken against  altering the Ko’olau Loa Sustainable Plan. This is Hawaii Reserves’ Blue Shirts versus the rest of Oahu.

 

There are questions as to why the expansion of Brigham Young University -Hawaii would require a regional shopping center, light and heavy industrial parks, professional buildings, market-value homes and so forth.

townhomeAlthough the Envision Laie Team continues to market the project with ‘homes’, HRI has not revealed the prices of such homes. There is no information on whether it is leasehold or fee simple, or has conditions such as ‘buyback’ and so forth. The enticement of ‘jobs’ also appears contradictory to many who hav witnessed mass firings of long-time employees who were then replaced by mainland transplants.

A Brief Summary:

It’s only natural for developers to push for their own agenda. Aggressive and manipulated social media propaganda is part of the game.

However, the fiduciary duty of the County of Honolulu is to professionally and boldly consider the merits and facts presented to them by the developers and their lobbyists. The Department of Planning and Permitting has failed in its fiduciary stewardship to the public thus far in this important process.

There are many more discussions to be had in this process.

In another arena, there are persistent complaints and angst over Hawaii Reserves, Inc using “the Church” in an effort to discourage church members from raising questions and voicing their concerns.  This is unrighteous dominion. Hawaii Reserves, Inc cannot claim it is solely a Hawaii for-profit corporation when it does not want to contribute funds to the community and then turn around to use the church card to their sole advantage  whenever it is convenient.

I do not represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but I am a member who can emphatically state the LDS  Church values basic principles of ‘free agency’ and being a ‘good neighbor’. Church members are  always encouraged to participate according to their own will and dictates of their conscience to improve their communities.

Every citizen, a member or not, has the God-given freedom to be a free agent. We invite all to diligently study, analyze, and participate in this democratic process!