Tag Archives: HUD CDBG Funds

Are Mayor Caldwell’s PR Peeps Playing Disinformation Games With the Public?

Are Mayor Caldwell’s PR Peeps Playing Games With the Public?

Mayor recycle

At the April 14, 2016  Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board meeting at the Queen Liliuokalani Center in Punalu’u, I asked Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s representative Mr. Adam LeFebvre why the Mayor continued to compete and steal scarce federal HUD’s Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds from non-profit organizations. (Note: According to Civil Beat:  LaFebvre is employed under a personal services contract. He is listed as an Informational Affairs Specialist with the Department of Customer Services, earning $57,720 a year, even though he works in the Mayor’s Office. His contract began in October 2013 and so far has been extended through June 2015.)

I was specifically asking why Mayor Caldwell was again – this year –  stealing an additional $1Million from the Federal HUD CDBG funds for the controversial Hauula Fire Station Relocation Project #2000068. An average fire station costs about $5 Million to build. In rural Hauula, the Mayor wants DOUBLE the lot size and TRIPLE the costs at an estimated $13 Million!

“Steal” was a strong word but I was quoting City Council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi’s words to Director of Department of Budget and Fiscal Services,   Nelson H. Koyanagi, Jr. and Director Gary T. Kurokawa, Deputy Director at the March 2016 Budget Committee Hearing at Honolulu Hale.  Kobayashi also asked them if they were “proud of what they were doing.”  Budget Chair Kobayashi explained that the city usually financed its city projects through bonds and so forth. The non-profits that serviced programs like Homeless, Domestic Violence, Drug Rehabilitation or Women/Infant did not have such financing options.

Adam LaFebvre’s response to my CDBG funding question was it had been asked before but he would be happy to discuss this question further with us AFTER the meeting. In other words, he did not want to address the Mayor’s CDBG funds takings.

The FEDERAL HUD Community Development Block Grants (CBDG) funds’ Objectives are clear: “Projects that are funded in the CDBG program must address the CDBG program’s primary objective, which is the “. . . development of viable urban communities, by providing decent housing and suitable living environments and expanding economic opportunities principally for persons of low- and moderate-income.


Mayor no damn good

The CDBG question was certainly not old or repetitive. We wanted an explanation to this Mayor’s rationale.

Mr. Adam Lefebvre’s response is disingenuous. The Honolulu City Council is now vetting the 2016-2017 Budget for the Executive and Legislative Branches. Mayor Kirk Caldwell, again for this budget year, is stealing from the non-profit organizations.

The  February 11, 2016  Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board Meeting was obviously too early to ask about CDBG funds. The Mayor had not submitted his Budget to the Honolulu City Council. The public did not know the Mayor was again going to steal another $1Million from the CDBG funds for his extravagant pet project.

The March 10, 2016  Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board Meeting had no CDBG question posed. The Mayor’s Representative  Adam LaFebvre was absent. Instead, LaFebvre provided a memo for the record that was read by a Neighborhood Board Member that included a propaganda item:  “• Fire station – The Hauula fire station construction is projected to start in spring 2017 and be completed by summer 2018.”  Of course, he made no mentioned of the Hauula Kupuna’s pending lawsuit against the city at the federal court or the nefarious circumstances . (The  minutes relating to our Neighborhood Board discussions are also often questionable or inaccurate.)


For the record, Mayor Caldwell is asking for another $1 Million of CDBG funds  for this budget year 2016-2017. In addition, he’s also asking for $6.7M for Hauula Fire Station Relocation this year,  at the expense of other more compelling social services and needs.

So far, Mayor Caldwell has squandered on this particular controversial project #2000064:

$2.4 M CDBG funds used land acquisition ($1M “planning and design” without City        Council’s knowledge in August 2014 till his Press Conference in November 2014))

$100,000 for “Planning and Design”

$250,000 to explore alternative sites for this fire station. We don’t know how this amount was expended in 2011.

$1.0 M for “Planning & Design”  2015-2016

Caldwell is requesting from the City Council this year:

$6.7 M for Construction this budget year     2016-2017 ( REQUESTING)

$1.0 M from CDBG funds         2016-2017 (REQUESTING)

 How much more will be requested for cost-overrun? Mayor Queen Antoinette Caldwell is forcing the people to eat cake when they are asking for bread.
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Have you seen this PR stonewall tactic used at other Neighborhood Board meetings? Mayor Caldwell’s Representative ended up not having to explain or provide a good answer to the public on April 14, 2016 Neighborhood Board Meeting.
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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.


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.

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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.


                                             Malama pono,

Marvin Iseke  808 293 9525

Shirley Ann Lessary

Alice Ubando