Tag Archives: Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan

Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28 (Part 2 of 3)

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YOU ARE THE DIFFERENCE

The theme, “The Responsible City”, was chosen by the City Charter Commission when it presented the revised City Charter to the voters in 1972. A major component of this concept is full citizen participation in government so that the powers of the City shall properly serve and advance the aspirations of its citizens.

However, the initiative for action must come from the people themselves. While neighborhoods and neighborhood boards were established under the Charter as a means to increase and assure effective citizens participation, their creation and implementation are optional.

The Neighborhood Plan, which designates boundaries and provides for neighborhood formation, leaves many decisions open to the community so that an individually designed approach, suited to each neighborhood can be implemented.

In 1984, Oahu’s voters approved a City Charter a City Charter amendment expanding the role of the neighborhood boards to include all levels of government. Every resident has the opportunity to participate in government decision making which affects his or her community. You can play a significant part in making government more responsive to community needs. The decision is up to you.” https://www1.honolulu.gov/nco/office.htm

The Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28  was one of the first to be formed in the 1970s under the leadership of Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi.

In 2013, the members of the Koolauloa Board #28 were voted into office with a overall vote of 8.61%  in the last election.

DSC08368May 8, 2014 meeting at the Hauula Elementary School

Unfortunately, Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28 has recently been plagued with citizens’ complaints of violations due to lack of transparency and conflicts of interest.

On  December 7, 2010, the Hawaii Independent reported the City and County of Honolulu Neighborhood Commission issued  a FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND DECISION AND ORDER  on the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28:

” .  . .  the commission ruled that the Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board, on the day it voted to support Envision Laie, unintentionally violated Hawaii Sushine Laws by not allowing everyone the chance to testify at the special meeting. Junior Primacio and Richard Fale were the board chairs in charge that day in 2009.

Other infractions, which the commission labeled as “serious and deleterious to the neighborhood board system,” included the use of sign-up sheets that were removed either before or during the meeting and the non-consideration of written testimony before the board took its 7-to-4 in favor vote.

In addition to receiving a letter of reprimand, the Koolau Loa Neighborhood Board, if it wishes to take a stand on the project, must schedule another meeting and allow all written and oral testimony to be received, reviewed, and considered before taking a vote.”

On November 14,  2013, a similar presentation relating to the same issue was presented by the long-time Laie Community Association President Pane Meatoga ( who is also  the District Representative with the Operating Engineers Local Union 3):

 VII.       NEW BUSINESS 10 Minute Limit per Speaker

A.    Presentation by La`ie Community Association (LCA) Seeking Board Support for Envision La`ie and Ko`olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan – Pane Meatoga, Jr., LCA President

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The LCA presentation continued on to December 9, 2013 whereby the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28 took a vote to support the above agenda. The outcome was predicted as reported.

Subsequently,   three complaints against the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28 were filed at the Honolulu Neighborhood Commission. Hearings for  Marvin Iseke, Andrea Nixt and Lea Minton vs the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28 were set for May 28, 2014 at the Honolulu Hale Committee Room at 6:00 pm.

DSC08631NB #28 Chair Verla Moore in blue with 80-year-old Hauula kupuna Marvin Iseke in striped shirt.

Ko’olaulau residents contend that former Mayor Mufi Hannemann and his Managing Director Kirk Caldwell,  provided preferential treatment to Hawaii Reserves Inc. in Laie by unilaterally inserting the “Envision Laie” development plan into the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan in 2010. (However, it should be noted that many in Laie oppose the Envision Laie but prefer not to publicly voice their opinions, for whatever reasons.)

Residents also allege that current  Chair Verla Moore, also a member of the Laie Community Association Board,  plays favoritism as to who can have a presentation at board meetings.

Residents contend that  generally no prior efforts were expended to evaluate these matters in a careful and non-discriminating way. No information gathering or research was expended. They perceive an entrenched bloc vote that  ignores all the other communities in Ko’olauloa.

Alleged violations presented at the May 28, 2014 hearing included the following:

 §2-13-104 Standards of conduct. (a) Board members, in the performance of their duties, shall demonstrate by their example the highest standards of ethical conduct, to the end that the public may justifiably have trust and confidence in the integrity of the neighborhood board system. Board members shall hold their offices or positions for the benefit of the public, shall recognize that the public’s interest is their primary concern, and shall faithfully discharge the duties of their offices regardless of personal considerations.

(b) Board members shall not use their positions to secure or grant special consideration, treatment, advantage, privilege, or exemption to themselves or any person beyond that which is available to every other person.
(c) Board members are not officers or employees of the city by reason of their position. However, the standards of conduct policy shall apply to all board members. [Eff 10/20/08] (Auth: RCH §14-103(a)) (Imp: RCH §14-104)

§2-13-107 Representative capacity of board members. (a) Each member of a board shall represent the entire district and act responsibly to fulfill the board’s democratic and advisory duty.

Violation:

Yet, on December 9, 2013 Verla Moore KNB #28 Chair and her bloc adopted a Resolution to support her own Laie Association’s request to support Envision Laie and the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan against all opposition in the region.

The Neighborhood Board members who voted to support the Laie Community Association’s request had not read the Environmental Studies as well as the voluminous facts and circumstances surround this controversial issue. You can see this on the video tape. They just accepted Pane Meatoga’s words as facts. Residents are given very limited opportunities to talk and not allowed to ask questions.

The Neighborhood Commission Hearings lasted about four hours.  Anita Hofschneider from Civil Beat reported parts of it:

DSC08596Complainant Andrea Nixt from Ka’a’awa with Laie Community President Pane Meatoga in the background.

The conflict played out again Wednesday evening when Andrea Anixt from Kaaawa, Lea Minton from Punaluu and Marvin Iseki from Hauula contested the board’s December endorsement of the latest version of the Koolau Loa Sustainable Communities Plan in a four-hour-long hearing before the Neighborhood Commission at Honolulu Hale.

Anixt, Minton and Iseke said the board members who voted for the project failed to represent the interests of the Koolau Loa community as a whole. They also said several members had conflicts of interests because they or their family members are employed by BYU-Hawaii and HRI.

The board’s chairwoman, Verla Moore, vehemently denied the allegations, saying that the board painstakingly ensured that all the rules were followed.

She emphasized that the homes would be for the “poor and unknown,” instead of for rich people like GoPro CEO Nicholas Woodman, who made headlines that day for purchasing a $9.2 million property on the North Shore.

She suggested that the three residents who criticized the board appeared to be haole while many on the board were Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

“You look at my board members, you look at their faces. I go back 150 years here,” Moore said to the commission. “You look at our opposition. When did they come here? 10 years ago?”

“We let you in, let us guys stay,” she added.

Minton, who testified next on behalf of the Defend Oahu Coalition, said she was born and raised in Hawaii and went to Kahuku High School.

“We’re not here to discuss white people versus Hawaiians,” Minton said. “When you sit in a position of power and you’re elected to that neighborhood board, you’re there to represent everybody.”

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Lea Minton disclosed that she received threatening phone calls, including to her employer to fire her for testifying at the  October 8, 2013 City Council hearing at Kahuku High School. She also received a death threat.

Unfortunately, Minton further pointed out being harassed by a member of the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board #28 on the way to the Hearing that night .  That particular board member apologized later at the hearing, explaining he had had a hard day.

The Neighborhood Board Commission is slated to render their decision within 45 days.

If Mayor Frank Fasi were alive today, he would probably continue to be proud of his accomplishment in providing a public forum for the grassroots. Fasi would understand that democracy could get messy but he would probably have a few choice words about uncalled-for bullying behavior. All in all, he would be happy to see citizens participate and pursue clarifications and redress when and where needed.

 

 

 

Kahuku Plantation Village Residents Witnessed Re-internment of ‘Iwi kupuna’

Two re-internment ceremonies were held at Kahuku Plantation Camp amidst continuing controversies

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On January 11, 2014, a group of Kahuku Plantation Camp residents witnessed the re-internment of ‘iwi kupuna’ that were found in the grounds around the decades-old plantation homes. Landowner Continental Pacific, LLC handling  of the ‘iwi kupuna’ cultural and other procedures had precipitated controversies.

At the ceremony, the Kahu distributed printed material of ” Aloha Aina Iwi Kupuna – Protocols – Ten Prayers ( oli, pule, mele )” to those in attendance. They were printed in English and Hawaiian Language versions. The Prayers include The Lord’s Prayers,  an ole written by Edith Kanaka’ole,  and the Queen’s Prayer ( Ke Aloha O Ka Haku) by Queen Lili’uokalani, as listed below:

The Queen’s Prayer

Your loving mercy

Is as high as Heaven

And your truth

So perfect

I live in sorrow

Imprisoned

You are my light

Your glory, my support

Behold not with malevolence

The sins of man

But forgive

And cleanse

And so, o Lord

Protect us beneath your wings

And let peace be our portion

Now and forever more 

 ~~~

The first ‘iwi kupuna’ was housed in a lauhala box and buried in about a three (3) feet deep setting;  fresh sand was shoveled into the plot and a cement block was placed on top of it. There would be a marker later on. (This site is located behind the Rainbow Schools vicinity.)

The two governmental agencies charged to address  and regulate ‘iwi kupuna’  issues are 1) The State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) that falls in under the jurisdiction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources ( DLNR)  and 2) The Oahu Island Burial Council (OIBC).

There  was a DLNR ranger in uniform and also a DLNR  uniformed policeman  in attendance.
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Kali Fermantez, a recently appointed member of the Oahu Island Burial Council was  also in attendance. He spoke a few words at the first ceremony focusing on respect for the ‘iwi kupuna’ and forgiveness despite the ‘pilikia’ surrounding the Kahuku Plantation Camp.

We later asked permission to video tape our questions and his responses regarding procedures but he declined, explaining he was a very private person. His wish was respected.

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After the first re-internment ceremony, Kahuku villagers walked to the next re-internment  ceremony at Simplicio Caban’s home. ‘Iwi Kupuna’ human remains were found next to his house when water pipe trenching was being done.


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Villagers gathered around in reverence as the second re-internment ceremony  (abbreviated this time)  was conducted.

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Kawika Farm from SHPD held  the  second set of ‘iwi kupuna’ at  the Saturday’s re-internment ceremonies.

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This metal plate was provided by SHPD as a marker as well as a caution for future encounters with trenching in the area.  The metal plate should help reveal the significance of this site, according to Farm from SHPD.

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The fresh sand covered SHPD’s metal plate. They said it would be leveled and finalized later.

On this day, the dead may appear to be put to rest but the living  are forced to fight on.

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While the ceremonies were going on at the mauka side of the Kahuku Plantation Camp, golfers can be seen at the 122-acre Kahuku “Municipal” Golf Course on the makai side. The iconic beachfront course is also undergoing a watershed transformation; it’s on the verge of being sold to a Chinese investor. Residents worry that the course could be transformed into another resort-residential subdivision or an expensive golf course that the public can no longer afford.

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In the meanwhile, the above Condominium Spatial Unit V- 21 has been cleared and footings can be seen for a  new house. This spatial unit is located next to Kahuku Village Plantation Association President Glen Maghanoy’s former plantation home in the background.

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Maghanoy‘s eviction was approved by Judge Hillary Gangnes. Professional movers completed the Maghanoy eviction during the Thanksgiving of 2013. Maghanoy was on the mainland visiting with his daughter and claimed that valuable items were stolen from him, including his guitars, tool box, about $3,000 cash (hidden inside the house), and his children’s deceased mom’s black pearl jewelry.

Because Maghanoy was not present at the execution of the Writ of Possession by the movers, he could not take pictures of the event. Neighbors had signed declaration of seeing the guitars being laid on the grounds; in fact, one of the movers was playing  Maghanoy’s ukulele.

The  day’s re-internment ceremonies focused on respect for the ‘iwi kupuna’ along with  messages of forgiveness.

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However, to many Kahuku Plantation Village residents, ‘forgiveness’ cannot be used as a convenient tool for Continental Pacific, LLC and its affiliates to absolve themselves of past wrongs and continuing pilikia that surround the camp.

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About thirty-one (31) long time plantation camp families are in danger of being evicted.  Glen Maghanoy and the Eugenio family were the first in line to be evicted.

 

Response to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell regarding the Controversial Hau’ula Fire Station Relocation

REPRINT: Response to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell regarding the Controversial Hau’ula Fire Station Relocation

A Response to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Letter to the Honolulu City Council  Relating to Provisions relating to the Deletion of the Hau’ula Fire Station Project.

http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2013/06/21/19361-caldwell-brace-for-cuts-in-honolulu-city-services/

June 27, 2013

Aloha Mayor Kirk Caldwell,

Re: Your letter to the City Council Chair Ernest Y. Martin and Members of the City Council dated June 20, 2013 concerning Bill 12(2013) CD2, FD1, relating to the Executive Capital Budget; Provisions relating to the Deletion of the Hau’ula Fire Station Project. (Pages 4 & 5) 

Before we respond to your above-mentioned letter as distributed widely, including Civil Beat, we wish to share with you our family’s legacy with first responders.

My husband’s family has produced four generations of firefighters. His grandfather was buried in his fireman uniform.   We also have family members who are policemen, nurses, schoolteachers, and military servicemen. Many of our close friends are first responders, including lifeguards.  We are ever mindful of the services our first responders provide. We can never pay our first responders enough for the daily volatile and risky environment they’re thrust into.

Regarding your June 20, 2013 letter to the City Council, we also realize that any Mayor cannot possibly micro-manage or know every detail of city operations.  At face value, it’s understandable why you, as mayor, would object to the Deletion of the Hau’ula Fire Station Project this Budget session. We would probably react the same way if we were not intimately involved or had not carefully researched the facts and circumstances relating to this flawed Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) relocation project.

Unfortunately, a person(s) with considerable influence continues to provide a overwhelming dose of one-sided bureaucratic jargon that does not provide a factual history of this controversial project. This bureaucratic process has become too politicized and evolves with ever-changing made-up premises along the way.

This modus operandi does not serve you as the Mayor, or the public, well.  No matter how thinly cheese is sliced, there are still two sides to it.

There are too much irregularities and evidences to put in this letter. The selected information we share with you here is based on documented facts and records.  We do not manipulate and fabricate new premises along this evolving process.

Mayor Caldwell, the GOOD NEWS is DDC can build another fire station in rural Hau’ula TODAY!

DDC supervised the purchase of Lot 64 TMK:1-5/4/18-24 of 20,297 square feet at 54-290 Kamehameha Highway, Hauula, 96717 on April 19, 2010, using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

 

This City-owned Lot 64 with 20,297.00 square feet is adequate for a typical fire station in Oahu.

For example:
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The new 2424 Date Street McCully-Moiliili Station, with an estimated price of $4.6M, sits on 19,555 sq. ft. lot and was dedicated on April 1, 2010.

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The 640 California Ave Wahiawa Fire Station that serves a much denser population than rural Hau’ula sits on 20,000 sq. ft. lot.

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The Kaneohe Fire Station sits on 20,075 sq. ft. lot. http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Oahu/1990s/1990-09-08-OA-FEA-KANEOHE-FIRE-STATION-RECONSTRUCTION.pdf

 

EMKaaawaFS
The Ka’a’awa Fire Station sits on 15, 493 sq. ft.

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The 1610 Makaloa Street Fire Station by the Pan Am building by Kapiolani Blvd sits on 18,953 sq. ft. lot.

This average lot size holds true on the mainland as well. Metropolitan West Seattle, Washington deems 15,000 sq. ft. to 20,000 sq. ft. parcels as customary for their fire stations.

Why then, is the DDC Land Chief fixated on seizing our adjacent Lot 65 for an additional 20,300 square feet? DDC’s 2009 Environmental Assessment for this proposed relocation project stated there would be no increase in service area or personnel.

Why then, a Taj Mahal fire station in rural Hau’ula on twice the average lot size and triple the costs of an average fire station? (The relocation project in Hau’ula’s projected cost is $13M, as recorded in the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board minutes.)

After you review this information and others contained in this PDF file, we’re confident you’ll agree that the Honolulu City Council exercised fiscal prudence and protected the public treasury by deleting the $750,000 that was requested for “Planning & Design” by DDC this budget session.  DDC’s request for $750,000 was premature as the civil trial for “public use” had not even been set.

Furthermore, aggrieved citizens have the right to appeal to higher courts in this legal process.

The City Corporation Counsel initiated condemnation action (1CC10-000863 -04. Also see Civil NO: 10-1-0956-05 PWB) on April 21, 2010 during the Mufi Hanneman Administration.

The Carlisle Administration informed residents it was willing to explore alternative sites for this relocation controversy.

Peter Carlisle

This case was set aside by the city until December 12, 2012 when Deputy Corporation Counsel Winston Wong requested a “Valuation Trial”.

This again was a premature action and denied by Judge Rhonda Nishimura as the initial Trial for “Public Use” had not even been discussed yet.  Despite these circumstances, DDC requested $750,000 for “planning and design” for this project (in limbo) this fiscal year 2013-2014.

What was DDC thinking?

Should the City Council give DDC $750,000 to squander on “planning and design” when the outcome is unsettled and involved in a typically protracted legal process?  The only logical and fiscally responsible action for the City Budget Chair was to delete this so-called “construction funding” for this project for 2012-2013 Fiscal Budget Year.

The 2011-2012 Fiscal Budget Year also deleted this project and noted as “not needed”.  For the City Council to decide otherwise would be gross malfeasance on their part, based on the legal status and other circumstances. As a Hau’ula kupuna said, “Money no grow on trees.”

At the most recent Budget sessions, both the newly appointed Fire Chief and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Director initially stated to Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi they were willing to dialogue. We welcome that.  We’re aware city departments such as the Honolulu Fire Department routinely depend on DDC to do the footwork in projects such as this. Unfortunately, this controversial process has morphed into an art of the wordsmith, with bureaucratic jargon substituting as merits.

The record points towards one unelected bureaucrat who abuses government powers of eminent domain at will. There is no denying bureaucrats have easy access to decision makers at City Hall while the public generally enjoy no such privileges.

Sensing this unbalance, we have diligently provided the City Council documented irregularities and nefarious circumstances surrounding this flawed process.  The most affected residents are grateful that the City Council has listened to the other side of the story during its budgeting decisions.

Many residents are unhappy about perceived wasteful spending, perceived or real; others questioned why the city could not renovate the existing structure or tear it down and build anew instead of seizing the last two remaining commercial-zoned parcels in Hau’ula.

Life-long Hau’ula residents are unhappy they were not consulted with. This project would be situated directly next to their homes.

DDC’s failures to consult affected parties grossly violated the basic requisites of Chapter 343, HRS and Title 11, Chapter 200 Administrative Rules, and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds were used in this project.  Hauula qualifies, being a low-income area. DDC’s request for seizing properties was hastily pushed through to meet CDBG’s date lines.
Many would like the city to prioritize scarce funds and allocate precious resources to installing more fire hydrants for fire safety as well. Many neighborhood pockets here do not have fire hydrants. This is a major setback for our firemen and a major public safety concern.

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.

Besides lacking in public engagement, there are too many irregularities and nefarious facts and circumstances surrounding this Hau’ula relocation file. We could tell you about DDC hiring their favorite appraiser all the way from Maui   for this project; that DDC’s first choice for the Hauula Relocation site was a 1.65 acre beachfront lot;  or DDC’s careless 2006 request for eminent domain by necessity on another property only to discard  the action promptly after the city council unanimously granted powers to seize private properties.

We could also tell about the recent illegal seizing of free speech signs on May 29, 2013 on our Lot 65.  The crew was sent all the way from Halawa Maintenance Yard to Hau’ula to seize two “Eminent Domain Abuse”  free speech signs on our Lot 65 under the guise of Bill 54 (11-029 ROH).

Who gave the work order for this illegal seizure and bullying?

What are the incurred costs to the taxpayers for this rogue behavior?

In summary, bureaucratic malfeasance in rural Hauula, Oahu, Hawaii reveals the culture in which government will ignore the law, manipulate the process, and abuse its powers in order to seize property just because it can.

Government cannot become so powerful and arrogant that ‘public purpose’ and ‘public safety’ are conveniently used as mere pre-textual ‘legal weapon’ to threaten and brow beat property owners into automatic submission through eminent domain and other tactics.

Fortunately, this out-of-control bureaucratic malfeasance and abuse can be corrected.   The entire City Council is protecting the public in its kuleana by implementing the democratic process of “checks and balances”.

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As Mayor, you can also support their pono leadership by not allowing DDC’s slop-dash bullying via the big stick of government powers to prevail.

As always, we look forward to collaborating with the most affected parties in a fair and equitable due process. Justice and Equality apply to all.

We can reach a win-win conclusion to this eminent domain abuse story

Mahalo,

Choon James

ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com