Tag Archives: Mayor Kirk Caldwell

Mayor Caldwell, Stop Bullying Us in Federal Court!

BY ALICE UBANDO

Updated 1-21-17

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We bought our Hauula home in 1963. It was the model 3 bedrooms 1 bath home in the Kawaipuna Street subdivision.  We used a whole month of my husband’s paycheck of $549.00 to pay for closing costs. We have raised 6 children in this home and some of them still live with us.

 I’m now 80 years old. I’ve worked hard all my life and do my part paying taxes.  I worked every summer  for the Dole company during high school.  After high school, I got married and worked as a waitress at Pat’s at Punalu’u for 14 years. After that, I worked as a bank teller for the Bank of Hawaii and retired after 26 years. I also worked at Foodland in Kaneohe. I’ve been working at Foodland for nearly 18 years.  I recently retired.

I work very hard to make a living.  This is our only home. When I‘m pau with work, I want to relax in my home in Hauula.  I hope you understand why we are very mad at the City.  It has no aloha for its working people. It spends our taxpayers’ money like it grows on trees. It does not use common sense.

The city wants to relocate the Hauula Fire Station 25 feet in front of our home! They said they needed to relocate the existing fire station to a no-flood zone. It makes no sense because we also pay flood insurance in this new area. Getting out of the flood zone is not a good enough excuse. We think they just want to spend money because we have never seen the existing Hauula fire station flooded all our lives. Mayor Caldwell, you must also  know that the city’s first choice for the fire station relocation was an acre of beachfront across Papa Ole. You cannot tell me that the beachfront property was out of the flood zone!

The city did not follow and comply with proper procedures. We were the people most affected by this never knew about this fire station relocation. We were never consulted. Nobody sent us any notice. When we found out they were condemning land, we went to the Ko’olauloa Neighborhood Board meeting to protest.  The Chair did not allow us to speak but Junior Ah You from Laie was allowed to speak for it. Many of us in Hauula sent letters to the city but were dissed by City Councilmember Donovan Dela Cruz.

I think it’s really bad for the Laie Community Association to come over to Hauula and tell us what is good for us. They should take the fire station to Laie if they want another fire station so badly. They want to build a Marriott hotel and other homes. Why don’t they build a fire station in Laie and leave the one in Hauula alone? They want all the income projects in Laie while  they force Hauula to have another new fire station that produces no income. Monopolizing is wrong.

The Kawaipuna intersection is not a right location to put the fire station. Period. The area is already very crowded from the preschool and subdivision traffic. Many children and senior citizens live here. And the city wants to throw the big fire engines into this busy Kawaipuna Street and Kam Hwy intersection. What are they thinking?

“You’re lucky to have a fire station next to you. Alice, if you have a fire, the station is next to your home, ” Junior Ah You from Laie said to me. If Junior Ah You loves a fire station so much, he should build it next to his home in Laie.

We don’t want to live next to a fire station. We would sacrifice if there was no other choices. But there are many alternate places to relocate the fire station. The city can save money by renovating or tearing down the old one and build at the same location. The existing fire station is only 2 minutes away from this new site.

The fire sirens can go off any time of the day and night. We will have big fire engines with bright lights shining right into our bedrooms and living room. Do you know how loud a fire siren sounds like?  And they say there is no impact on us?

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Mayor Caldwell, it is wrong to treat working people this way. I work long hours and I do not have time to attend meetings in Honolulu. Mayor Caldwell, you must think of the people first. The bureaucrats under you are doing a stink job. How can they build a fire station in front of our homes and not even tell us? They want $13 Million to relocate the Hauula Fire Station.  Only now they say it will not cost more than the $5 Million McCully Station. I was a bank teller. I can add and subtract. This is now a $8 Million mistake? I’ve been told the McCully was built on 19,555 square feet lot.  The means the city can build on the half acre lot they already bought last year. Why continue to condemn another half acre lot in front of our home? Something smells very bad.  Things do not add up.

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Mayor Caldwell, please fix this problem. Don’t bully us in the federal court. Things don’t add up. Something smells really bad. It makes no sense to build a new fire mansion in Hauula when we are all hurting in this bad economy. The firemen are more worried about their job cuts and pension funds and you still have furloughs.  We are already paying for the rail we will not use. Please don’t burden taxpayers with more careless spending.

Mayor Caldwell, please fix this problem today. STOP BULLYING US IN FEDERAL COURT  CV-1615-000193 LEK/RLP

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(Judge Leslie Kobayashi was also the federal judge who sworned in Mayor Kirk Caldwell for his second term.)

Stop the project!  It’s the wrong location.

We should not build a fire station just to build a fire station.

We cannot afford it.

We don’t have problems with the  fire services.

The Kahuku, Kaaawa, and our Hauula fire stations back each other up very well.

The firemen are doing a good job. They are more worried about their money paychecks and pensions

The Honolulu City Council deleted and defunded this project for over 5 years. Mayor Carlisle allocated $250K to study alternatives but nothing was done. Please use common sense and listen to our concerns in Hauula. Please work with us. We want to help you find a more suitable site that will make everyone happy and not waste taxpayers‘ monies. Please do the right thing for the people.

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Malama Pono,

Alice Ubando

Alice Ubando was born in Kahuku Hospital and grew up in Punalu’u. She’s lived in her Hauula home since 1963.

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OAHU HOMELESS CRISIS – A Modest Proposal

Tents line both sides of Olomehani Street in Kakaako near the Ohe Street intersection. 30dec2014 photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

So much effort and financial resources have been spent on mitigating this housing issue here in Honolulu.

 I wanted to share my private story as a young girl in Singapore, relating to housing.

 Long story very short, my mother’s father warned her not to spend time with the popular and handsome guy in the Holland Road neighborhood. My maternal grandfather was an affluent business trader. My paternal grandfather was also an affluent businessman and community headman. But my young mother ended up eloping with my father; later to find out he already had a wife and children. He would later add a third wife.

My maternal grandfather disowned her; my mother was too proud to seek reconciliation or for help with her children. The father and daughter would reconcile decades later.

 I was the seventh child but I don’t remember my father in my early childhood days. He must have visited us at least ten times; I have seven brothers and two sisters!

Mother became a washerwoman – a human traveling washing machine. She was intelligent and spirited but did not attend school because her very traditional father thought it was a “waste of rice” to send daughters to be educated. (In fact, Grandfather was so traditional that when he died, he left all his assets to his first born son only.)  I always thought that, if my mother were formally educated, she would have been a great partner with the former Lee Kuan Yew, the Founding Prime Minister of Singapore. They were so much alike.  She was very intelligent, spoke many languages, a natural leader, but unlucky with her love life.

I remember living in a rural attap house in my early years.  It was supposedly haunted. No one dared to live there so my father moved our family into that house.

attap-house(This is a similar style attap house but minus the vehicle. We had no cars.)

We had the best childhood. We were poor but we didn’t know we were poor. My stomping grounds were up in the big tropical trees and exploring the rural surroundings. We walked miles to the public school. Kind neighbors gave us their daily newspapers after they were done.  My mother raised pigs, tilapia, chicken, and vegetables. We used a community water well and had an outhouse.

On the other side of our rural neighborhood were huge beautiful concrete homes with indoor plumbing, huge bathtubs, ceramic tiles, and beautiful landscaped yards. These homes were usually occupied by foreign executives or foreign journalists based in Singapore.

When fire burnt our attap house down, we had to relocate.

We moved into this Lengkok Bahru flat below.. The unit was very small – a living room, one bedroom, a small cooking area and one bathroom. It was probably about 700 square feet. It was a corner unit on the fifth floor. The eleven of us moved into that cement block. It was a big adjustment for us.

lengkok-bahru-b-61(This building has always been well maintained. The elevator shaft is a new addition. This is at least 45 years old.)

My assigned sleeping space was on the back open “patio” where my sisters and I slept on the concrete floor. I remember growing out of it when my feet and my head eventually touched the ends of that patio space.

The rent was very cheap; I believe it was 25% or less than what my mother earned as a washerwoman.

The Singapore government provided inexpensive units like these to provide public housing. Singapore was transforming from a third world country then.

Although it was congested; we made do. My mother focused on our education. Although my father was an alcoholic and chain-smoker, none of us emulated him. She took charge of her children’s welfare.

None of us dared to misbehave or become delinquent because she was strict, supervised us, and expected much of us. While other neighbors sent their children to work at hawker stalls or other minimal wage jobs; she sent us to schools. We participated fully in the public school extra-curricular activities. We were avid readers. One of my favorite memories was receiving free reading materials from the American Embassy in Singapore. The printed materials ranged from biographies of American Presidents to Will Rogers to Chief Sitting Bull.

My brothers and sisters all became educated. My first and second brother did not pursue university education so they could support their younger siblings. They became a public school teacher and policeman respectively. The rest went to college and obtained professions like Human Resource Executive with a top American firm; a top executive of the biggest firm in Singapore; a Navy Captain; television business news editor and so forth.

I spent a chunk of my childhood years at the public housing (about ten years) till I left Singapore at the age of seventeen to attend college in Hawaii.

Why am I sharing this personal story?

Life would have been so much more difficult for our family if we did not have an affordable and safe roof over our heads.

We never had to worry about having a roof over our heads. We never had to worry whether the police or county workers will seize our tents or personal papers at 2:00 in the morning.  Although it was congested living; our housing was safe and sanitary. That little unit allowed us to feel secure and focus on other pursuits that bettered our lives and allowed us to contribute to society.

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There is obviously no one silver bullet to solve homelessness in a mostly “cash” economy.

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Homelessness is a complicated and multi-faceted issue. Other various solutions, such as counseling, educational and social support are also needed to address this.

But, we urgently need honest and efficient leadership at City Hall. Incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell is failing. There is too much politics and “pay to play” involved.

There is, no doubt, a continuing need for the services of the many non-profit groups that offer counseling and related services. Funds that are ear-marked for addressing such issues must be spent as such and not mismanaged or plundered.

Ultimately, the primary and long-term solution to homelessness boils down to a roof over the head, whether it is in a mental support institution or an ordinary lodging.

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One way is to build simple, safe and permanent living quarters and to efficiently manage and maintain them in perpetuity for those in need. Certainly it should never evolve into a generational dependence but these housing resources must be available in a humane society like ours.

So-called partnering with private developers to provide a certain percentage of “affordable units” for 30 or 60 years is inadequate and short-sighted. It’s bad public policy planning.

What will happen in 60 years?

 The costs of living in Oahu will surely rise and the housing problem will only get worse.

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There are supposedly many real estate holdings owned by the State and City along the proposed 21-square mile Honolulu Rail Transit Corridor.

Why not solidify and consolidate the resources and build affordable rental units now? We have seen high rise buildings appear like mushrooms in Honolulu. Why not focus on affordable rentals now?

 Providing  and maintaining affordable rentals in perpetuity will help solve a big part of our homeless problem in Oahu.

Note: Some photos are taken from Public Domain. Mahalo.

Honolulu Rail Woes: YESTERDAY & TODAY – PART 1

by Walter Heen, Ben Cayetano, Cliff Slater & Randall Roth

“The City has paid more than $2 million in taxpayer money to ten different public relations firms to promote its heavy rail project. Here’s what they have not yet told you:

Aircraft Carriers in the Sky

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) prepared renderings like this one to help the public picture an elevated heavy rail system on the island of Oahu. The 20-mile railway would be at least three stories tall, held aloft by 720 large concrete columns. Some of the stations would be more than six stories high.

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One AIA member described the stations as “aircraft carriers in the sky.”

A group like the AIA normally has a vested interest in supporting major construction projects. We admire its courage in providing a contrast to the City’s deceptive renderings.

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Conflict of Interest and Troubled History

The mayor, council members, and HART board all lack expertise and experience with rail systems, so they must rely on others. Critical information about the proposed rail project can be traced to one of three sources: Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has already received more than $100 million in contracts from the City and stands to receive another $300-$400 million if the project is built; InfraConsult, a firm formed by three former Parsons Brinckerhoff employees, which the City hired to provide oversight on Parsons Brinckerhoff ‘s work; and Wayne Yoshioka, who was recruited by Mayor Hannemann from Parsons Brinckerhoff to head up the City’s Department of Transit Services, and whose wife continues to work at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

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There is also a highly critical audit of Parson Brinckerhoff’s work in California as program manager of that state’s high-speed rail project. The audit complains of “inadequate planning, weak oversight, and lax contract management.”

Parsons Brinckerhoff worked on the Tren Urbano rail project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was projected to cost $1 billion and enjoy high ridership. Instead, it sustained a 113% cost overrun and had actual ridership only 27% of the original forecast for 2010. A new 5.5% tax was enacted partly because of unforeseen rail costs.

Stacking the Deck in Favor of Rail

When Jeremy Harris was mayor, Parsons Brinckerhoff said Bus/Rapid Transit (BRT) could accomplish virtually all of the objectives of rail at substantially less cost. A few years later when Mufi Hannemann was mayor, Parsons Brinckerhoff excluded BRT from the alternatives analysis despite a federal requirement that the City objectively evaluate “all reasonable alternatives.”

Not a Solution to Traffic Congestion

Mayor Mufi Hannemann repeatedly portrayed rail as a solution to Oahu’s existing traffic congestion problem. Mayor Peter Carlisle has echoed that message. Yet Wayne Yoshioka, the head of the city’s transit department, now acknowledges that “traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail.”

Yoshioka’s admission is not some off-hand comment. It was written, reviewed, and included in the environmental impact study (EIS) that was approved by the Federal Transportation Administration.

Damage the Environment and Historical Sights Forever

The City’s portrayal of heavy rail as friendly to the environment would be laughable if the subject were not so serious. Construction of the proposed system would lead to the large-scale development of prime farmland and change forever the Hawaiian sense of place. Imagine the sound of each 72,000 pound, steel-on-steel elevated rail car as it accelerates from 0 to 60 and then decelerates to 0 between each of 21 stations, every 3 minutes in each direction.

The elevated railway would permanently diminish the mauka/makai views along the entire route, and the ambiance of Honolulu’s waterfront would be particularly affected.

The City claims that rail would save energy. However, U.S. Dept. of Energy data shows that, except in heavily populated urban centers, rail requires more energy per rider than do automobiles. The smallest urban center with heavy rail is four times larger than Honolulu.

No wonder virtually every environmental group in Hawaii opposes heavy rail despite the City’s false claims that it would be a “green” project.

Unrealistic Cost Estimate

The City claims that elevated heavy rail would cost no more than $5.3 billion, but the facts indicate otherwise. Cost overruns on rail systems elsewhere have averaged 40%, and an independent study by the highly regarded IMG group predicted total costs for heavy rail in Honolulu of at least $7 billion. The Federal Transit Administration’s probabilities study concluded that the probability of spending $7 billion was far greater than the probability of coming in on budget.

Unrealistic Ridership Forecast

The federal government has compared actual ridership with forecasts in the cities that actually built rail systems and found that these cities overestimated ridership by an average of 41%.

When the City prepared environmental impact studies in 1982, 1992, and 2003, it forecast significant increases in bus ridership each time, but ridership declined instead. Yet the City is once again touting wildly optimistic forecasts for rail ridership. These ignore that the most recent population forecast for Honolulu shows that the number of people 20 to 64 years old in the year 2030 is expected to be less than the number today. This age group includes the vast majority of commuters.

The City has also cherry picked data. It relies upon a 2004 30-year population forecast even though the 2008 30-year population forecast indicates 100,000 fewer people in 2030 than was previously forecasted.

Even with such cherry picking and wildly optimistic forecasting, however, the City reluctantly acknowledges that if rail were to be built, another $100 million would need to be “found” each year, just to keep the trains running. The obvious sources are substantially higher fares for riders and substantially higher taxes for everyone.

Segmented Analysis Based on False Statement

Federal statutes require that a new transportation system protect historic landmarks, environmental and cultural resources, and native burial sites from unnecessary degradation. H-3 is a perfect example of what can happen when archeological and environmental studies are done in segments rather than completely (i.e., it took 20 years and the final cost was more than ten times the original estimates). The project manager for H-3, Parsons Brinckerhoff, is also the project manager for the current rail project.

The City is now making a similar mistake, by trying to start construction before identifying the sensitive sites in segment four, which includes Kakaako and Downtown Honolulu where the bulk of problems are likely to be found. Environmental policy frowns on such “segmented studies” because by the time problems in later segments are detected, alternative routes and technologies are greatly limited (i.e., once a line has been started the City cannot simply zigzag around problem areas).

The City was given permission to delay the bulk of its archeological analysis because DLNR Director William Aila approved such a segmented approach. Aila said he did so because the Federal Transit Administration “required” it. We don’t know if he was misled by others or just mistaken, but his statement is patently false.

Exaggerated Job Creation

The City initially claimed that rail would create 17,000 new jobs during the construction phase, but later lowered its estimate to 10,166, without explanation. Even this number is pure fiction.

The $483 million construction contract went to Kiewit. Its officials say they need 350 workers to build the first segment. The same workers would probably end up building the remaining segments, because the plan is to build the system in segments, not all at once.

An Italian company, Ansaldo, expects to receive more than $1 billion for providing and maintaining the trains and rail system. It is promising “300 local jobs for local people.”

If you are counting, we have identified 650 new jobs. The City has yet to identify the other 9,516 that it has promised.

Worse Conditions for Commuters

The City has led people to think they could drive their cars to nearby rail stations and then ride a train into town. But the City is planning to provide parking at only 4 of the 21 stations. Where will commuters park their cars? The airport charges $15 per day.

The City has also said little about its plan to force existing bus riders to take the train by replacing express and direct-route buses with ones that ”feed” the train. Most bus riders currently can find a seat on a bus in and out of town. Most train commuters would have to stand the entire way.

Walter Heen served as a state judge, federal judge, city councilman, legislator, chairman of the state Democratic Party, and OHA trustee; Benjamin Cayetano served as a legislator, lieutenant governor, and governor; Cliff Slater is a businessman who founded Maui Divers; Randall Roth is a professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law. They are plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the process by which the City chose elevated heavy rail over alternatives that would reduce traffic congestion and protect the environment.

 

                      TODAY – May 2016

Are the four  citizen authors – Walter Heen, Benjamin Cayetano, Cliff Slater, and Randall Roth – and thousands of concerned citizens vindicated ( shown or proven to be right, reasonable, or justified) now? How do we work together to do damage control of this runaway project but still mitigate traffic problems for many on this island?

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May 13, 2016  Honolulu Star Advertiser

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May 15, 2016 Honolulu Star Advertiser

Lahood Colleen

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s assurances for the Honolulu Rail Project  on September 2011 – The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Project Newsletter – HONOLULU ON THE MOVE: “Secretary LaHood has made it very clear that they are very committed.”

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May 13, 2016 Star Advertiser: Newly-appointed HART Board Chair Colleen Hanabusa: “ I will tell you, I don’t know what the options are, but we’re going to have to figure out what to do.” ( Don Horner, HART Board Chair, thrown under the bus by Mayor Kirk Caldwell due to political pressure, resigned on April 11, 2016.)

What do you think the current Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former Managing Director for Mayor Mufi Hannemann, is going to do?

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Author:

CHOON JAMES 1

Choon James is Host to Country Talk Story which airs on every Sunday at 4:00 pm on Community Television Channel 54. She can be contacted at ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com  808 293 9111  http://www.CountryTalkStory.com

 

Mayor Kirk Caldwell Steals From Non-Profits to Fund His $13 Million Pork Project

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For this 2016-2017 Budget Year, Honolulu Mayor Caldwell is siphoning another $1 Million of Federal HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) towards his $13 Million Pork Project in rural Hau’ula, Oahu.

The objective of these Federal HUD CDBG funds is “to help improve the quality of life and create economic opportunities for its recipients in low-and-moderate income communities”.

How does imposing an extravagant firehouse relocation onto rural Hau’ula’s last two business-zoned parcels fulfil the objectives of CDBG funds?

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Through the years, Caldwell has already used at least $2.4 Million CDBG funds for this controversial Hauula Fire Station Relocation Project #2000068.

This year’s $1 Million of CDBG funds is in addition to Caldwell’s concurrent request of $6.650 Million towards his pet $13 Million project #2000068!

In March 2016, City Council Budget Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi asked the Director of Budget and Fiscal Services Nelson H. Koyanagi, Jr. if they were proud of what they were doing.  She also chided the Mayor’s actions as “stealing” funds from non-profit groups. City capital projects are customarily funded through the General Fund rather than competing with non-profit servicers for these same special federal grants.

Thus, this CDBG theft is at the expense of more compelling social services and urgent needs for the most vulnerable homeless, women, youth, and other human services in Oahu.  

Many non-profit organizations with urgent needs have lost federal grants because these same funds have been siphoned to this extravagant project.

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The only reason we can come up with Mayor Caldwell’s intransigent and disjointed agenda is he owes this pork $13 Million project to some donors. This North Shore News’ Letter to the Editor provides a good brief summary for this conclusion.

Hau’ula is a small rural town on the windward of Oahu with an existing firehouse. Since 2009, residents  have been protesting against this extravagant $13 Million relocation of its existing fire station to another site, less than two minutes away.

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This project was initiated under the Mufi Hannemann Administration and Fire Chief Ken Silva  in 2009.

In fact, in 2011, Mayor Peter Carlisle and the Honolulu City Council responded to the local protests and approved $250,000 to fund a study for alternative sites. We don’t know what happened to this $250,000 or how it was used or what the outcome was.

The Honolulu City Council had deleted and defunded Project #2000068 estimated at $13 Million for four years.

Unfortunately, Mayor Caldwell continues to ramrod this project through, with Fire Chief Manuel Neves as his public relations lobbyist. Needless to say, there should be no “sacred cows” spending abuse at City Hall.

In August 2014, Mayor Caldwell circumvented the City Council and secretly siphoned another $1.4 Million of Federal HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that could be used to renovate homeless shelters like any of the following: rehabilitation of Pauahi Hale; rehabilitation of Kanoa  Apartments, an affordable housing project in Kalihi; rehabilitation of Bachelors Quarters, an affordable housing project in Ewa Beach; acquisition of improved land for the City’s Housing First initiative; and CDBG-eligible public services in connection with the City’s Housing First initiative.

The City Council did not know about this unilateral action till shortly before the Mayor’s Press Conference on November 6, 2014.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell vigorously bulldozed this project through, including retaliation by using heavy machines to tear down protest signs on the proposed parcel on May and October of 2013. His retaliatory behavior transpired during the pending eminent domain litigation in the Circuit Court.   A federal judge ordered the city to pay for the attorney fees for these civil rights violation in June 2014.

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Caldwell also retaliated by shutting down the Hauula Recycling Center that provided a cottage industry for this low-and-moderate income community. On October 21, 2013 city county workers installed a “No Trespass” sign to block the entry to the private recycling business to shut it down.

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Ironically, the homeless recycle by collecting cans and bottles in Hauula to buy a hot meal daily. Many do not own vehicles. The next nearest recycling center is now in Haleiwa (about a 40 minutes bus ride).   Even then, City buses do not allow bags of cans and other recyclables on board.

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

Decimating the last two commercial-zoned parcels contradicts the core purpose of CDBG funds – Mayor Caldwell is hurting entrepreneurial options for this low-and-moderate income community. Economic opportunities are quashed. The welfare of this low-and-moderate income rural community worsens. HUD CDBG funds are meant to improve lives and economic opportunities, not create more hardships and problems for its fund recipients. The people are asking for “bread” but Mayor Caldwell is forcing “cake” on them.

Three Hauula kupuna – octogenarians Marvin Iseke,  Alice Ubando, and Shirley Ann Lessary are fighting the Mayor for due process, social and economic justice for their low-and-moderate income community. They have collected over 1,400 signatures/letters petition against it.

They have a pending lawsuit in the federal court against the City of Honolulu.

It’s premature for Mayor Caldwell to ask for this extravagant amount when there is an ongoing lawsuit from concerned citizens and years of protests from the most affected citizens. The process and circumstances surrounding this extravagant project were flawed, filled with capricious circumstances, arbitrary actions, and nefarious manipulations.

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Most residents are not against new buildings but this project is grossly political and illogical. Many in the firefighting profession, including former fire commissioners and retired fire captains, are scratching their heads over this too. Even the civil emergency leaders have questioned this new location by the tsunami inundation zone.

Many are of the sentiment that Mayor Caldwell is forcing this $13 Million fire station relocation project to reward his donors with big contracts. (Thus far, about $3.75 Million have been expended on this project.)

Some egregious mismanagement include the following:

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.  This contradicts the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Plan – The Keep the Country Country region.  Rural Hauula  is not Second City Ewa.

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The Mayor hired another “expert” consultant to claim that the City needed to build a bigger fire station to house bigger fire engines in Hau’ula:

“ . . . 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 consider that existing country roads in rural Hau’ula have not increased in size! Hau’ula has existing problems with small and narrow country roads that smaller city garbage trucks cannot even ingress or egress. Garbage trucks also have trouble with low-hanging electrical lines.

The Plaintiffs live next door to this proposed site but the city’s hired Environmental Assessment (EA) consultant never consulted with them or told them about this project in their EA review.

An average firehouse costs $5 Million to build. Why destroy the “Country” by foisting a huge $13 Million firehouse onto small town Hauula that already has an existing station?

The irreparable damages that this Caldwell project will create in this little rural town are immense.

Does rural Hauula truly need a $13 Million relocation project to replace its existing firehouse?

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Why is Mayor Caldwell hell-bent on destroying the “Keep the Country Country”?

Which non-profit group could use $1 Million of Federal HUD CDBG funds this year?

Is $6.650 Million towards this $13 Million extravagant and controversial fire mansion a fiscally prudence request for this budget year?

The Honolulu City Council must provide the “checks and balances” leadership as the public obviously cannot depend on Mayor Caldwell. Small town rural Hauula does not want an extravagant $13 Million fire mansion.

The only fiscally prudent and logical decision at this pivotal juncture is for Honolulu City Council Chair Martin and Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi to delete and defund this pork project from this 2016-2017 budget.  Listen to the affected people of Hau’ula and allow them due process and a place at the dialogue table.

~ ~ ~

About the Author:

CHOON JAMES 1

Choon James’s husband’s grandfather was buried in  his fireman uniform.  They come from four generations of firefighters. James was involved in eminent domain and civil rights lawsuits against the City and County of Honolulu relating to this project. She can be reached at ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com   808 293 9111

 

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.

 

22 of 86

 

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.)

EM COUNTRY STORE

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.
em collage 1
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.
~ ~ ~

 

 

“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.

IMG_1437

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.)

2014-03-28-HFD.JPG
 

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!

2014-03-28-HFD2.JPG
 

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.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on a Rampage

Woman Criticizes Honolulu’s Government, Has Her Protest Signs Bulldozed

Nick SibillaNick Sibilla, Contributor   

How people respond to criticism can reveal a lot about their character.  Some might try to debate or reason with those they disagree with.  Others prefer to ignore critics.  City officials in Honolulu take a different approach: They use a bulldozer.

Choon James is a successful real estate broker with over two decades of experience in Hawaii.  But the city of Honolulu is seeking to seize property she’s owned for almost a decade to build what she calls a “super-sized” fire station in rural Hauula.

Since January 2010, she has put up signs to protest Honolulu’s use of eminent domain.  These signs declare “Eminent Domain Abuse: Who’s Next?” and “YouTube Eminent Domain Abuse—Hawaii.”  For more than three years these signs have been up without any incident.

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But now the city is showing a callous disregard for Choon’s freedom of speech.  Back in May, Honolulu seized two of her eminent domain protest signs.  Without her consent, city employees went onto the property and seized and impounded her signs before damaging them. Even worse, the city slapped her with a notice for trespassing, for property she is trying to defend in court.

After these signs were torn down, Choon placed three more signs there.  These lasted just a few months before the city once again seized the signs.  This time, Honolulu was much more dramatic.  On October 18, city workers, backed by police officers, squad cars and a bulldozer, came by and literally bulldozed those protest signs.

The city’s actions show a shameful lack of respect for the First and Fourth Amendments.  Citizens have a right to protest government actions.  The First Amendment was enacted precisely to protect citizens who criticize the government from retaliation.  Lawsuits challenging Honolulu’s unreasonable seizures and chilling attacks on free speech are now pending in federal court.

Unfortunately, Honolulu is not alone in trying to silence critics who question eminent domain.  The Institute for Justice has represented citizens in St. Louis, Mo., Norfolk, Va., Tennessee, and Texas who protested abusive property seizures and faced censorship.  Out of these four cases, IJ successfully defended free speech in three cases, while the fourth is currently in litigation.

After 24 of his buildings were taken by St. Louis, Jim Roos painted a giant mural on a building he owned advocating “End Eminent Domain Abuse.”  But St. Louis labeled the mural an “illegal sign” and wanted to force Jim to remove the sign (and stifle his right to protest) or face code violations.  He teamed up with the Institute for Justice and sued the city.  In a major win for the First Amendment, in July 2011, the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jim and allowed the mural to stay up.

In a similar vein, IJ has defended grassroots activists from a frivolous defamation lawsuit and protected an investigative journalist’s right to free speech from a vindictive private developer.

More recently, the Institute for Justice is suing the city of Norfolk for trying to squash a small business owner’s eminent domain protest sign.  The Central Radio Company, a repair shop, has been in Norfolk for almost eight decades.  But Norfolk had plans to seize the property with eminent domain for a private redevelopment project.

To protest, owner Bob Wilson displayed a huge banner on-site.  The city responded by telling Bob he had to take down the sign or face fines of up to $1,000 per day.  Fortunately, the Virginia Supreme Court unanimously struck down the city’s attempt to seize Bob’s land; his free speech case is still infederal court.

As the cases make clear, courts routinely respect Americans’ First Amendment rights.  Honolulu should do the same.

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Postscript: Mayor Kirk Caldwell also shut down the owner’s business with Reynolds Recycling on October 21, 2013. Public push back forced the Mayor to cut a deal with Reynolds to return to the adjacent city Lot 64 on December 20, 2013. The Caldwell Administration did not disclose that it is on a month-to-month lease. Should the Mayor gets permission from the courts to condemn, the last two commercial zone lots will be decimated and recycling business  gone.
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The only valid reason for Mayor Kirk Caldwell to shove this extra expensive fire station onto this small rural community is he owes a plum building contract to a donor!  The Mayor  wants to build a huge Kapolei City station in the small rural town of Hauula.
The Mayor can be contacted at mayor@honolulu.gov    808 768-4141
City Council Chair Ernie Martin  at emartin@honolulu.gov   808 768-5002
Choon James at ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com   808 293 9111