Tag Archives: Honolulu City Council

Keep Public Land in Public Hands!

city-county-lot
On January 11, 2017, the City and County of Honolulu City Council Budget Committee will consider Resolution 16-321 to sell a portion of Kahalu’u Regional Park.  It’s the 20,957 sq. ft. Zoned B-1 Lot close to the Kahalu’u Hygienic Store. The Subject Lot is identified with a yellow pin in the above photo.
(Click above for link to agenda and to submit online testimony)
REGULAR MEETING COMMITTEE MEETING ROOM
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2017
9:00 A.M.
(Note: Ernie Martin, as Chair of City Council, was following customary practice of introducing this Resolution – BR – By Request.  The Kirk Caldwell administration generated this Resolution on November 30, 2016 for Council Hearing, after the November 8, 2016 mayoral elections.)
As a matter of good public policy, we oppose this short-sighted trend to sell public lands. It may make sense to sell vestigial tiny strips of “remnant” land that are awkwardly located to adjacent owners but continuing to sell significant-sized land parcels is selling the inheritance of Oahu’s future generations.
As this island becomes more congested, open space and community parks and land for public purposes will become more valuable and imperative, not less.
This proposed sale is not in the interest of the inhabitants of Oahu.
Furthermore, we question the following bureaucratic justification provided in Resolution 16-321, as excerpted below:

1.    “WHEREAS, the BFS Director has proposed and recommended the sale of                    Parcel 1 by a sealed public bidding process for the minimum upset price of $455,000, based on an appraisal by the Department of Design and Construction; and WHEREAS, Parcel 1 will be awarded to the bidder submitting the highest sealed bid that is not less than the minimum upset price of $455,000; “

 

What really is rationale behind proposing and recommending the sale of this unique parcel?
We see no logical or compelling reasons given beside invoking the ordinances  that allow such an action.
Who was the certified appraiser who valued this?
How will the sealed bidding process be advertised to the public and conducted?
What are the financing and purchase criteria?
When will the public be provided detailed information about this sealed bidding process?
How can the public be assured that this Business -1 parcel is not already spoken for by friends of Mayor Kirk Caldwell?
Will the public be allowed as public observers at this sealed bid opening to ensure transparency?
 2.  “WHEREAS, the sale proceeds from the sale of Parcel 1 shall be expended only             for the acquisition of property for park or recreational purposes, in accordance with HRS Section 46-1.5 (1 6)(C) and ROH Section 37-1.4(c);”
How does this make fiscal or good policy for our island home?
Why sell a piece of public park land to buy another property for a park or recreational purposes?  Where and for what recreational purposes? This Subject Lot has been a park where locals go crabbing or just enjoy the open space and rural views.
We are not convinced that selling public land in order for proceeds to be expended elsewhere is fiscally prudent or in the best interest for the inhabitants of Oahu.
Wouldn’t it make more sense for Mayor Caldwell to be more efficient and prudent in his fiscal management of the city’s treasury?
A case in point: Why spend $1.2 Million to hire a mainland consultant from New York for the Ala Moana Park? Many locals ended up being irritated by Mayor Caldwell forgetting that Ala Moana Park is heavily used by locals. The garish suggestions that lacked  “sense of place” suggested by out-of-state experts ended up wasting precious funds.

Adding to the above questions, the definition of “remnant” properties and its implementation are arbitrary and loosely used with no big-picture public good governance for Oahu.  Example: The 3.4 acres Haleiwa Mauka Park can hardly be considered a “remnant”.  Yet, the City & County of Honolulu negotiated with Developer Andy Anderson on the 3.4 acres of land mauka of Kamehameha Highway across from the Haleiwa Regional Beach Park and northeast of Jameson’s Restaurant for Anderson’s planned hotel development.

haleiwa-mauka

Citizens were able to preserve this public land in public hands with the assistance of City Council Chair Ernie Martin, Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi and other Council members. Ironically,  funds allocated to this area’s improvement have been in limbo for years and not expended by Mayor Caldwell.

Without question, the Kahalu’u Subject Lot of 20,957 sq. ft. Zoned B-1 cannot be considered as “remnant” land either. Residents use this park land for crabbing, fishing, simple enjoyment of the outdoors and the views and so forth.

It’s important to note that the opportunities for commercializing this subject lot are significant.  Structures can be built up to 40 feet (3-story) with mixed business and residential uses. Depending on the flood elevation, structures could be higher than 40 feet from ground up.
This unique Kahalu’u location is also the gateway to the rural “Keep the Country Country” region.
 kahalulu-pond
                        Views of Ko’olau mountains from Subject Lot. Photo by Harry Honda.
Is it in the best interest of the Oahu General Plan to expand urban sprawl into the country?
Will it undermine the rural golden goose that tourists love so much?
Has the city consulted with the affected communities about this proposed sale and seek their input on the best use of this parcel?
Will the public be allowed to share their mana’o on how this Lot could be used for the enjoyment and benefit of its inhabitants?
The Kahalu’u Neighborhood Board #29 will discuss this Resolution in their 7:00 pm Regular Meeting at Key Project on January 11, 2017.

Honolulu Rail Woes

A few profound issues  jumped out at me as I read the TimeOut Honolulu facebook page about the Honolulu Rail.

What are yours? I’ll highlight mine in green.

No More Tax Extensions! If Rail is over budget – shorten the project at Middle Street!

“The upcoming bids on the project’s airport and city center segments, Grabauskas said, “will make or break the current budget. … We will no longer be estimating or guesstimating.”

HART expects to announce one of the bid results in June, and the other later in the year.”

Despite the political rhetoric surrounding Honolulu’s rail project, all that is certain when it comes to the final price tag: Nobody will know the ultimate cost until at least next January and it could exceed the current $6.6 billion estimate. That was the…
civilbeat.com|By Bob Porterfield

 

COMMENTS:

Royman Arizo
Royman Arizo They are robbing da people of Hawaii…. Dirty politicians, hope da best for ur families Kahuna da people involve May ur decendents reep da suffering dat u put upon others…. Our government iz no good

 

TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu Royman Arizo – please keep the comments G Rated. Send your city council member an email.

 

Terry Sandobal

Terry Sandobal TimeOut Honolulu I see no swearing, so what is it he wrote that is rated R

 

Terry Sandobal

Terry Sandobal TimeOut Honolulu Much mahalo. Was wondering why

 

Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo DIS MASSEGE IZ FOA ALL POLITICIANS…. U R WELCOME

 

Terry Sandobal

Terry Sandobal Royman Arizo your saying what a lot of us are saying , but THEY choose not to hear

 

Darren Chang

Darren Chang Jail these politicians

 

Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo Someone has 2 be accountable…. Sad

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Royman Arizo No they won’t – until our 1 party political system is rejected by voters. It’s up to you as we’ve given up and are moving to a different state. Aloha oe.

Like · Reply · 1 · 16 hrs

 

Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo Sorry 2 hea dat…. Ahuihoukakou…. Malamapono….. I have no wea 2 go, i am Keiki o ka aina, fight till i die, foa my grandchildrens….. Y would u jump on a sinking ship?

Like · Reply · 1 · 15 hrs

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Royman Arizo I tried for 15 years, good luck with your fight!

Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs

 

TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu This rail project is already over budget at $6.6 billion!!! Going through downtown for 4 miles could cost a billion/mile. The math is simple….. 4+6.6= 10.6, and that’s without those pesky change orders.

 

TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu In 2016 the Federal Government would not allow Honolulu to build rail in these Flood Zones. http://frenzel.us/images/tmaprail.jpg

frenzel.us

 

 

4 Replies · 8 hrs
TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu Look at the map, Bertram, to realize the majority of stations AND necessary ground level support/electricity will be under water if/when we get even a grade 1-2 storm surge! We stand to spend another $4 billion to go 4 miles through town. Are you feeling lucky, and do you think it’s worth returning perhaps SOME fed funds to change the route BEFORE we go downtown?

 

1 Reply
TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu Tell your City Council member how you feel – click on the map where you live and see their phone numbers and emails. http://www.honolulu.gov/council/default.html

Hover over your district to see your Councilmember. District 5 Ann Kobayashi akobayashi@honolulu.gov…
honolulu.gov

 

1 Reply
Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo Timeouts…. Changes a man 😀

Royman Arizo's photo.

 

James O. Quimby

James O. Quimby Apparently they have skipped ahead to Dillingham and bypassed School Street. This is to continue “we are too far along” argument.

 

William Doc Grant

William Doc Grant Caldwell will find out what the price tag is for rail on Election Day.

 

William Doc Grant

William Doc Grant End the HART rail NOW it at Pearlridge! Pull the plug on this crony feeding trough!

 

1 Reply
Chantal Keliihoomalu

Chantal Keliihoomalu That would undermine the whole project

 

Jerry Lam

Jerry Lam The rail will fail. No riders mean we will subsidize it even more. God help us!

 

Jerry Lam

Jerry Lam 68 comments and 48 shares is impressive! Thank you timeout Honolulu!

 

Daniel Howzitboy

Daniel Howzitboy its probably gonna end up costing around 10 bil… think of how much we could have fixed on this island with that much $$. there would be no homeless, no starving people, better schools, cleaner everywhere, better roads….

 

5 Replies
Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Ironically we finished the Atlas Shrugged trilogy last night. In it the “collectivist/redistribution/for the good of all” language Supreme Leader Thomson used was exactly the same as the Progressives/Crony Capitalists that Rail proponents used in selling this sow’s ear. With the same inept result, lights out! Who is John Gault?

 

Daniel Lalosin

Daniel Lalosin We already have rail…… Like what panos said in the past…… During high traffic hours ues the carpool lane and the contra flow lane for busses only during the morning rush hours and same for the evening rush hours……….”MAKES SENSE”

 

Glen Waterman Escobido

Glen Waterman Escobido I hope the Feds demand a internal investigation , these politicians who voted for this rail should be held accountable, Hawaii at least deserves that.

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Why do you think that Hanabusa was appointed? I’d guess to stop any investigation via politics, ’cause she sure isn’t any bright civil engineer.

Like · Reply · 2 · 16 hrs

 

Glen Waterman Escobido

Glen Waterman Escobido Too many PILAU politicians, someone needs to clean house

Like · Reply · 4 · 16 hrs · Edited

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Glen Waterman Escobido Only the voters can do that. And so far they support The Party, so don’t hold your breath. And as an FYI, I’d not look to the HI-GOP either, they were unable to get a simple email corrected after 3 years of complaints.

Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs

 

 
Darlene Travis
Darlene Travis Hart is enjoying all the money they soaking from our little state of Hawai’i…
It’s stupid to compare rail in Hawai’i to rail in the mainland metro larger area and massive Japan!! Oahu is way to small for a rail…

Like · Reply · 1 · 5 hrs

 

Roy Aragon

Roy Aragon Not even half way and$10 billion in debt!!! The BOW supply warned them about the water issues many years ago yet they ignored the advice, Hawaiian electric also warned the HART board about the cross lines that needed to be removed to meet compliance EIS requirements. The entire HART board needs to be fired including mayor PRP the ringleader!!

 

Sonny Pascual

Sonny Pascual This is quite EMBARRASSING! All those that pushed this project forward NEEDS to be called out and one by one and answer for this!!!

There’s a paper trail that needs to be followed up on…

Sonny Pascual's photo.

 

1 Reply
Gail S Heidenfeldt-Gali

Gail S Heidenfeldt-Gali Its funny how they encourage people to get registered and vote. They say if you don’t vote, you can’t grumble! Well we vote and we still don’t got a say!!! No wonder people get discouraged to vote!! Yes the people voted for these people who are for thiSee More

 

3 Replies
Cecilia Raymond

Cecilia Raymond Do the Islands a favor and don’t vote for these same money power clowns. They already know the cost. When the vast majority said no to the rail they listened to the minority. Have the ones who said yes am all the politicians who was and is in favor pay for it.

 

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“Mayor Kirk Caldwell No Damn Good!”

“Mayor Kirk Caldwell No Damn Good!”

Generally, Hawaii’s kupuna are really cool and full of aloha. But when they say that someone is “No Damn Good”,  you know their patience has run out.

 Iseke-Lessary City Hall

REPRINT from North Shore News March 30, 2016  – Three Kupuna’s Open Letter to  City Council Chair Martin to set the Mayor Caldwell’s fiscal priorities straight.

Dear City Council Chair Ernie Martin,

You represent our district. We want to Keep the Country Country. We don’t want a huge $13 Million “Kapolei/Ewa Beach firehouse” model in our small rural community of Hauula. We already have a fire station in Hauula. The firefighters are doing a good job.

We need your help to put an end to this shibai. It has been going since 2009.

Please do not approve the $6.7 Million that Mayor Caldwell wants you to borrow towards this $13 Million firehouse relocation. We are not against new buildings but everything about this project is wrong. Many in the firefighting profession are scratching their heads over this too. Even the civil emergency people question this location by the tsunami inundation zone.

You already know Mayor Caldwell’s pilau MO. Mayor Caldwell is forcing this $13 Million fire station relocation to reward his donors with big contracts.

Mayor no damn good

Here are some of our reasons against Mayor Caldwell’s pet project:

We collected over 1,400 signatures/letters against this relocation project. But Mayor Caldwell ignores us and is still forcing this relocation projects down our throats.

We have an ongoing lawsuit against this project in the federal court. But Mayor Caldwell is still spending and asking for more millions of dollars.

The Mayor hired “expert” consultant from Oakland California (!) to claim that the “Ewa Beach Fire Station” model (built in January 2013} for Oahu’s growing Second City as “very appropriate” for the small rural community of Hauula. We want to KEEP THE COUNTRY COUNTRY!  Hauula is not Kapolei.

EM -Hauula-Kapolei

The Mayor hired another “expert” consultant to claim that the City needed to build a bigger fire station to house bigger fire engines – “fire engines have gone from being 8-feet wide, 25-feet long, weighing 9 tons to being 8 feet wide, 32-feet long, and weighing 23 tons. As fire apparatuses continue to increase in size, providing for access, and enough space for circulation and maneuvering have become important issues for fire station design.”

But the ‘expert’ does not know our old country roads in rural Hau’ula has not increased in size! Hau’ula has existing problems with small and narrow country roads that smaller city garbage trucks could not even ingress or egress. Garbage trucks also have trouble with low-hanging electrical lines.

We live next door to this proposed site and their hired EA consultant never consulted with us or told us about this project in their Environment Assessment” review. The Mayor used $2.4 Million federal HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds towards this project. The purpose of the CDBG funds is “to help improve the quality of life and create economic opportunities for its recipients”.

But, Mayor Caldwell has shut down the Recycling Center that provided income for many in low-and-moderate income Hau’ula. In fact, our homeless recycle to buy themselves a hot meal daily. Many do not own vehicles. The next nearest recycling center is in Kahalu’u (about a 40 minutes bus ride) or Haleiwa (about a 40 minutes bus ride). City buses do not allow bags of cans and other recyclables. Da Bus does not allow bulky bags of recyclables.

DSC09984

Caldwell’s closing of the last two commercial-zoned lots will shut out significant economic opportunities for other small business start-ups such as small country stores, recycling, and farmer’s market. Our Hauula neighbors have also tried to sell the fish they catch, pastele, flower leis, laulau plates and other products on Hau’ula road shoulders only to be chased away by the police for zoning violations.

em collage 1

It’s pilau to abuse CDBG funds to hurt entrepreneurial options for low-and-moderate income Hau’ula by shutting these last two commercial-zoned parcels. This means that the economic opportunities are forever squashed. The welfare of this low¬ and-moderate income rural community worsens. HUD CDBG funds are meant to improve lives, not create more hardships and problems for its fund recipients.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann/Caldwell violated the “Reasonableness” in this process.  As of the 2010 Census, the COP population for

               HAUULA was  4,148        Has a firehouse

               KAHUKU was  2,614       Has a firehouse

              KA’A’AWA was  1,379      Has a firehouse

              LAIE was 6,138               NEVER had a firehouse

All the above communities have fire stations except Laie. Laie has thousands of tourists at the Polynesian Cultural Center daily. Laie has constructed new BYU-Hawaii single and married student dormitories, classrooms and office facilities. Laie Hawaii Reserves has the new Courtyard Marriott, McDonalds, the new PCC Marketplace with 44 retail shops, new gas station, new student dormitories for Brigham Young University-Hawaii, new Married Student complexes and other income projects.

Despite all the new income construction and population explosion in Laie, the Laie Community Association President Pane Meatoga (close affiliate with Mayor Hannemann) and LCA Board Member Junior Ah You (a member of the Mufi for Governor Exploratory Committee) actively petitioned in 2010, over the opposition of the Hauula Community Board and the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Chair to build a firehouse on our last two commercial parcels in Hau’ula. It’s the Kahuku Fire Station that primarily serves Laie.

The politically well-connected Laie Community Association (LCA) did not advocate for its own obvious and compelling fire safety needs in Laie. Hawaii Reserves in Laie and LCA board members were collecting petitions for the fire station in Hauula.

The Laie Community Association and Hawaii Reserves, Inc over-reached to shut down our last two business-zoned lots in Hauula! But Laie gets to build more and more income facilities. We get no income opportunities in Hauula but a non-income fire mansion with engines that will wake us up any time of the day and night.

The city did not consider the compelling need for a public firehouse (albeit non-income producing) in for Laie community, the most dense population without a fire station in the Ko’olauloa region. Our 100-year-old 2-lane country Kam Hwy can regularly cut off traffic and isolate communities from each other. All we need is a fallen electric pole or tree or an accident or waves. It happens all the time.

Additionally, the major compelling complaints for “public safety” have been the lack of police protection. Ko’olauloa has a sub-station in Kahuku with four police officers. The next nearest police station is in Kaneohe which is about 40 minutes away to the south and the Wahiawa police station which is about 45 minutes away on the north. There are eight (8) existing fire stations on the same stretch.

Lack of fire facilities have never been a complaint here. There have been complaints of lack of fire hydrants in many pockets of Ko’olauloa. A case in point happened with a domestic fire in Punalu’u on March 23, 2011. Thirty-five (35) fire-fighters, five (5) engines, two (2) ladder-trucks, a water tanker truck and a fire battalion chief responded very quickly but could not effectively protect the public due to lack of basic infrastructure- water hydrants.

Many neighborhood pockets in this rural region do not have fire hydrants. This is a major setback for our firemen and a major public safety concern.

Mayor Hannemann and Mayor Caldwell used federal CDBG funds to force this project but dissed the Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and low¬ Income populations” that involves the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of All people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

“FAIR TREATMENT” means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, government and commercial operations. It’s our opinion that Hawaii Reserves, Inc. does not want to provide its valuable land for non-income public facilities but expect other communities to bear the responsibility for them.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann/Caldwell violated the basic rule of “Rule of Reason”. A standard firehouse in Hawaii and many metropolitan cities uses 19,000 square feet of land space. The new Moiliili-McCully Fire Station was built on 19,555 sq. ft. of land and estimated at $4.6 Million.

Similarly, the Wahiawa Fire Station located at 640 California Ave sits on only 20,000 sq. ft. of land, was demolished and replaced. The Relocation of the Hauula Fire Station to relocate an existing fire station ( 2 minutes away) in Hauula is estimated at $10 Million (and increased to $13M) that required the forced condemnation of the last two commercial lots of 20,297 sq. ft. and 20,296 sq. ft. in the small RURAL community of Hau’ula.

Mayor Hannemann/Caldwell have many superior options and alternatives for their relocation than shutting down the last two commercial-zoned lots in Hauula. The only reason we can think of Mayor Caldwell forcing this relocation project on us is he owes a big building contract to his donors.

Please help Mayor Caldwell be pono and bring common sense decisions back to City Hall. Be fair and don’t waste money that we don’t have.

DELETE Mayor Caldwell’s request for $6.7 Million for 2016-2017. Put a stop for this $13 Million “Nieman Marcus” firehouse once and for all. Keep the Country Country! City Council Chair Ernie Martin, please help us.

KTCC-Apron

                                             Malama pono,

Marvin Iseke  808 293 9525

Shirley Ann Lessary

Alice Ubando

 

Oahu General Plan Provides Diversification & Sustainability

Ko'olau Region Larry McelhenyPublished March 5, 2015 Civil Beat http://www.civilbeat.org/2015/03/oahu-general-plan-provides-diversification-and-sustainability/

Who can quarrel that “diversification” is essential for long-term dividends and sustainability?

Within a typical business portfolio, diversification mixes a variety of investments as part of a risk management strategy.

Similarly, the Oahu General Plan provides such diversification by designating regions like Ko’olauloa as “rural country”, counter balancing high-density regions regions like urban Honolulu.

In fact, Hawaii is the only state in the Union that has an over-all comprehensive land-use plan and designations. The “Hawaii State Plan” HRS §226 – aim for wise use of Hawaii’s resources and to guide future development of the State. It includes providing a basis for determining priorities and allocating limited resources, such as public funds, services, human resources, land, energy, water, and other resources.

On the county level, the “General Plan” is a requirement of the City Charter.  The desirable future for the Island of Oahu is organized through deliberations on the long-range social, economic, environmental, and design objectives for the general welfare and prosperity of the people of Oahu.

This General Plan balances eight (8) different diversified regional plans for the island of Oahu.

  1.        Primary Urban Center
  2.        Central Oahu
  3.        Ewa (Secondary Urban Center)
  4.        East Honolulu (Urban Fringe)
  5.        Ko’olaupoko (Urban –Fringe)
  6.        Ko’olauloa  (Rural)
  7.        North Shore (Rural)
  8.        Waianae (Rural)

 General plan map

The Oahu General Plan designates Ko’olauloa  as RURAL where “agricultural lands are preserved for agricultural uses,” with “the ‘ahupuaa concept as the organizing basis for land use planning and natural resource management in Ko’olau Loa.”

It further specifies that Koolauloa’s natural resources and predominantly “rural” character should be maintained by allowing only limited development in established communities, and that agricultural lands along the Windward be maintained for diversified agriculture. Open space and view planes are also valued.

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Bill 47 –  Mayor Mufi Hannemann/Caldwell’s Footprint:

The current Bill 47 is the 2010 Hannemann/Caldwell Draft of Koolauloa Sustainable Communities Plan (KSCP).  This 2010 Hannemann/Caldwell KSCP Draft contradicts  the values and vision as outlined in the 1999 KSCP , the Oahu General Plan, and Hawaii 2050 Plan.

Mayor Mufi Hannemann unilaterally inserted the new subdivision at Malaekahana  into the 2010 KSCP Draft just before he resigned to run for the 2010 gubernatorial race. His Managing Director Kirk Caldwell became the Acting Mayor.

This Hannemann/Caldwell 2010 Draft created much friction and push back from Ko’olauloa residents.

Moving the Community Growth Boundary to Malaekahana for 875 homes, a regional commercial center, industrial, technology parks, schools, and vacation cabins on 900 acres (now 300) of agricultural lands obviously violates the KSCP and Oahu General Plan.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell Follows Mufi’s  Footsteps:

Mayor Kirk Caldwell continues his support for a new subdivision in Malaekahana based on alleged “overwhelming support for affordable housing and that it could be provided by HRI” and that “Envision Laie is a long range proposal to grow the Brigham Young University of Hawaii (BYUH) and associated support services.”

Furthermore, Caldwell also supports the highly controversial Koa Ridge and Ho’opili subdivisions by arguing it is in the Oahu General Plan that was initiated in the 1970s.

Factually, the rural KSCP that they chose to violate has also been in the same Oahu General Plan since the 1970s! He cannot decide when to wave the Oahu General Plan card or when to ignore it.

Honolulu Rail and the “Keep the Country Country” Rationale.

KTCC photo

Mayor Kirk Caldwell and other rail advocates have repeatedly urged residents to support the Honolulu Rail   in order to “Keep the Country Country” (to  contain urban sprawl by concentrating development along the 21-mile rail corridor).

This rationale for the Honolulu Rail and Transit-Oriented development in order to “Keep the Country Country” continues to be marketed today.

We now respectfully ask Mayor Kirk Caldwell and others to be consistent and to walk the talk.

City Council Zoning and Planning Chair Anderson Corrects the Course:

We are heartened that the City Council Planning & Zoning Committee Chair Ikaika Anderson has amended Bill 47 to now conform to the letter and spirit of the existing KSCP and the Oahu General Plan.

This is a welcome action on many different levels.

This Honolulu City Council has the opportunity to stem the divisiveness and pilikia amongst Laie residents and the entire Ko’olauloa moku on this issue alone.

The common complaint has been that Mayor Mufi Hannemann offered special treatment to Laie due to his close affiliations.

Envision Ko’olauloa, not  Envision Laie.

These amendments, that many see as positive, to remove Malaekahana from the KSCP Draft will turn a page and heal the rift and angst.

Wai2

The City Council’s pono leadership to make things right will help restore respect  and neighborliness along the Ko’olauloa region.

Above all, it will present new opportunities for hopeful residents to explore realistic goals for personal temporal well-being instead of depending on HRI’s perennial enticements that have not come to fruition in decades. The carrot stick of “affordable housing   is dangled whenever Zions Securities/HRI needs community support for its own profit schemes. Imagine, if the faithful hopefuls had bought homes 20 years ago, their mortgage would have been nearly paid off today.

Adhere to the Oahu General Plan:

The Oahu General Plan is not perfect but it provides land-use diversification and sustainability for our small island home.

If the State and County land use principles are adhered to, much of the divisiveness can be easily avoided and communities can turn attention to collaborative projects that benefit the majority of the public.

The City Council’s correction of this controversial deviation from the General Plan will set a pono path for the future of Ko’olauloa.

Honolulu City Hall – Where is the Common Sense and Aloha?

 
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/choon-james/honolulu-city-hall-where-_b_5056979.html

2014-03-30-EMBulldozeReynolds.jpg

Hauula residents and others, including the firemen community, are scratching their heads about the Hauula Fire Station Relocation project. Perhaps the words of a former fire commissioner describes this project best: ‘It doesn’t make sense!’

Hau’ula is a quiet rural community of about 4,000 residents, situated in the Ko’olau Loa region of Oahu, Hawaii. Several coastal communities — Waikane-Waiahole, K’a’a’awa, Kahana, Punalu’u, Hau’ula, Laie, Kahuku, and Kawela — are wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the predominant Ko’olau mountain range.

The Ko’olau Loa region is the birthplace of the ‘Keep The Country Country’ movement to preserve its rural charm, view planes, culture, and lifestyle of local island living.

2014-03-29-arialmap.jpg
 

The rural communities are linked by the only arterial 2-lane country road, known as ‘Kamehameha Highway’. ‘Kam Hwy’ meanders along the coast of this Ko’olau Loa region.

In terms of ‘public safety’ needs, there are eight existing fire stations in this region but only one police substation (with four policemen on duty) in Kahuku. The next nearest police station is Wahiawa, a 40-minutes drive north. South of the Kahuku Police substation is the Kaneohe Police Station, about 35 minutes away.

There are chronic cries for more police services along this 20-mile stretch where police response can take up to forty minutes. In fact, there is a joke amongst locals to call the fire department for emergency as they are always available!

The former Mayor Peter Carlisle was amicable to exploring alternative sites with the affected parties.

2014-03-29-Petercarlisle.jpeg
 

Unfortunately, when Kirk Caldwell, former Mayor Mufi Hannemann’s Managing Director, became the Mayor in 2013, he resurrected the culture of bullying to further seize an additional 20,300 sq. ft. of commercial-zoned parcel to replace the existing Hauula Fire Station. This seizure will DOUBLE the lot size and TRIPLE the costs of a typical firehouse..

As if eminent domain takings in the courts were not enough, Caldwell brought out his bulldozer and police force to silence dissension!

2014-03-29-mayorkirkcaldwell.jpg
 

Mayor Caldwell also dispatched his newly-appointed Fire Chief Manny Neves to vigorously lobby, in their crisp uniforms and shiny buttons, for their pet project. (Many fire personnel have privately expressed disdain but they have no say in the politics.)

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When 77-year-old neighbor Alice Ubando voiced her concerns about fire sirens at all hours of the day and night, the fire chief replied that everybody loved a fire station!

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From the start, the organized city hall disinformation includes a litany of weak premises and made-up rationale along the way. This involved the bureaucrats to politicians to the spokesmen.

One premise was the existing fire station needed to get out of the flood zone. However, city bureaucrats failed to disclose that their first site selection was a 1.65 acre beachfront parcel! Surely a beachfront lot was in the flood zone.

Furthermore, the existing fire station has two acres of government-owned land in its backyard. Expanding into this area would not require decimating the last two commercial-zoned parcels in Hau’ula. But city’s disinformation to the judges and city council is the backyard area is ‘swampland’.

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The photo clearly shows no swampland. One side of the fence on the city playground is mowed and the other side behind the firehouse is unkept and is full of weeds.

Residents contend that $13 Million could go a long ways to meet some other pressing needs in the region. After all, the city, as always, is facing a budget shortfall, this year of about $46M.

Amidst penny-pinching of small dollars and cents during this 2015 City Budget session, Caldwell is seeking $750,000.00 to ‘plan & design’ this extravagant project from the Honolulu City Council. The lawsuits are pending. It’s premature and unjustified to squander on ‘planning & design’ today.

$13 Million could get a bigger bang for the buck and provide much needed services for the public such as these:

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The 122-acres Kahuku ‘Municipal’ Golf Course is in eminent danger of being sold to a Chinese investor.

 

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31 families face evictions at this Kahuku Plantation Camp. Yet Mayor Caldwell continues to ignore the situation. The 91-year-old occupant of this humble plantation house has been evicted as of March 2014. Caldwell states his reluctance to intervene in the Kahuku Plantation Camp and golf course is not because his former campaign chair is also the attorney representing the big landowner.

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Ko’olau Loa residents further contend if the city were really concerned about ‘fire safety’, it would focus on providing fire hydrants for the rural region. There are neighborhood pockets in the region without fire hydrants nearby. A Punalu’u house burnt despite the quick presence of 35 firemen, 5 engines, 2 ladders, 1 tanker and a battalion chief. Their challenge? No fire hydrants nearby.

Additionally, the City’s Environmental Assessment (EA) Report clearly stated the proposed $13 Million relocation propect would NOT increase personnel or area of service.

A Facebook blogger pointed out the following facts to further highlight the illogical premise of this $13M firehouse in rural Hau’ula:

  • As of the 2010 Census, the CDP population for
  • KA’A’AWA was 1,379. (has a typical fire station)
  • HAUULA was 4,148. ( has a typical fire station)
  • KAHUKU was 2,614. ( has a typical station)
  • LAIE was 6,138. ( has NO fire station)

Other small communities have fire stations except Laie. LAIE is home to the Polynesian Cultural Center, new Marriott Hotel, new student dormitories on Brigham Young University — Hawaii campus.

The blogger also suggested a site, in Laie:

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“Why no fire station in Laie? Because ( Laie landowner) Hawaii Reserves Inc. wants income projects! A fire station/police/EMS building produces no income for them. Time to connect the dots! ”

It is also ironic that the city had used Community Development Block Grants ( CDBG) to condemn the last two remaining commercial lots in rural Hauula. CDBG funds were approved partly because of the poverty level in Hauula. The $1 Million CDBG funds from the federal government are meant to empower and improve the lives of poor communities.

However, the loss of the heavily-used Recycling Center on the parcel will create more hardships on the people. Some homeless residents are known to collect recyclables in the community daily to afford a hot meal a day.

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The opportunities and small businesses that can be created from these last two commercial-zoned lots will also be cut off. The city would lose tax revenues!

Despite overwhelming push back, Mayor Kirk Caldwell continues to wield the big arm of government. He has hired a new city attorney, an experienced litigator, from his law firm to seize the additional parcel in the name of ‘public purpose’.

The only explanation that residents have for the Mayor’s erratic and irrational behavior is he owes a plum firehouse contract to one of his donors.

Questions for discussion:

  • Is a firehouse a true ‘Public Purpose’ if majority of the people are against it?
  • What is the difference between disinformation and misinformation?
  • Should city bureaucrats deserve all credibility and the public, none?
  • An average firehouse costs $5 Million, is there a need for this $13M extravagant project in rural Hau’ula?
  • Will common sense prevail over politics?
  • Should the most affected people have a significant say?
  • Is this project managed by the law of the jungle or rule of law?
  • What would you do if you were the Mayor of Honolulu?
  • What would you do if you were in the City Council?
  • What would you do if you were responsible for approving the federal CDBG funds?
  • What can a citizen expect from the government?

Note: Choon James has an interest in Lot 65. Her husband’s grandfather was buried in his fireman uniform. Many opposing this project have relatives working in the fire department on the island and nationally.

Hau’ula Recycling Returns After City’s Retaliatory Shut-Down on Adjacent Private Owner

City shut down recycling business on Choon James’ Lot on October 21, 2013  by installing this sign in the middle of the entry way!  The lawsuit against eminent domain taking is not till March of 2014.

 

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On December 20, 2013, the city moved Reynolds Recycling back onto the adjacent city-owned Lot 64!DSC09937Unhappy Hauula residents have been calling the Mayor’s office at 768-4141 about his irrational Reynolds Recycling Shut-Down. One mentioned he had been calling the office just about every day!

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Regardless of  which lot Reynolds Recycling is situated, this is a temporary fix to appease irate residents. Reynolds is now operating on a short lease.

If Mayor Caldwell succeeds in hoisting his SUPER-EXPENSIVE $13 Million Hauula Fire Station Relocation project onto these last two remaining  commercial lots, the Recycling business will disappear for good.

There is no  other available commercial-zoned parcel to operate the recycling and related businesses in Hauula.

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At the heart of this controversy is Mayor Caldwell’s insistence on additionally seizing the adjacent Choon James’ Lot 65. The city is vigorously suing in the circuit court to gain possession  of her Lot through eminent domain by ‘necessity’.

In fact, the city recently hired an Oakland, California architect for a “comprehensive study”  to justify that an “Ewa Beach” style fire station is appropriate for RURAL Hauula! We sure would like to know how much taxpayers had to pay for that study from Oakland, California.

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The city already purchased  the middle Lot 64 in 2010. The 20, 297 square feet of land is sufficient to build a typical fire station in Oahu.

Curiously, Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants to build a SUPER-SIZED “Ewa Beach” style fire station in rural Hauula that requires Choon James’ Lot  and at triple the cost!

A typical Oahu fire station costs about $5 Million and sits on approximately 19,000 square feet of land.

Former Mayor Peter Carlisle was amicable to working with Hauula’s affected parties by exploring alternate sites for the Fire Station Relocation. However, when Kirk Caldwell became the Mayor in 2013, the culture of bullying was resurrected.  Caldwell was hell bent to push his irrational pet project forward.

Subsequently, on May 29, 2013, Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Department of Maintenance Services from Halawa  conducted an illegal raid on Choon James’ free speech signs at her Lot 65, claiming the city had sole possession of the property.  Their court hearing on the eminent domain case is not till March of 2014.

Subsequently, Choon James additionally  filed a suit against the City and County of Honolulu’s illegal seizing of her free speech signs and violating her civil rights on August 13, 2013 .

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New eminent domain signs were created and erected.  However, on October 18, 2013, Mayor Kirk Caldwell dispatched six police cars, a dozen city workers from Halawa Maintenance Facilities, a front end loader, and a couple commercial trucks to raid the signs, again!

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To further retaliate, on October 21, 2013, the city installed threatening signs on Choon James’  Lot of which she is still the fee owner. The NO TRESPASS sign was installed in the front entry to the Reynolds Recycling business.

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The city’s abusive and retaliatory action shut down her business with Reynolds Recycling on her private Lot 65.

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On the other hand, the city did not install  similar ‘NO TRESPASS’ sign at the entry to their city-owned Lot 64.

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Nevertheless, residents are elated to have Reynolds Recycling return to Hauula.  The overwhelming will of the people in Hauula is to maintain the last two commercial-zoned lots for recycling and other small businesses. The fire station relocation project can always explore other sites.

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However, the public wants an explanation as to why the Mayor forcibly shut down the Reynolds Recycling on private owner through the most egregious abuse of power   . . . and then turned around . . .  to have Reynolds Recycling return to its adjacent city-owned Lot 64 for business!

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What monkey business is taking place at Honolulu City Hall? Why did the City and County of Honolulu steal business, through force and abusive power, from its private neighbor and force the same stolen business operation onto its city-owned property next door?

 

 

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.