Tag Archives: eminent domain

Resolution 22-11: City Council Woman Heidi Tsuneyoshi Complains About Free Speech

Honolulu Council Woman Tsuneyoshi complained about her constituents exercising their Free Speech at the Honolulu City Council Hearing on February 23, 2022.

About a hundred community members and high school students were protesting on February 19, 2022 in Hau’ula. They were against her flawed and quick Resolution 22-11 to seize private property through the Department of Planning and Permitting’s fines.

Based on her record and behavior on this issue, this city council woman IS bullying her constituent, an immigrant owner from Tonga.

This is not to say that neighbors cannot complain about their concerns and be heard. This is about treating all constituents the same with the same Due Process.

However, it was ok for Tsuneyoshi to malign her own constituent in the Honolulu Star Advertiser, with a readership of about 162,287 on Oahu, that the owner has been in violations with DPP for 5 years. The public record shows Owner Taufa has been the owner for 2.5 years!

Tsuneyoshi forgets she’s paid by taxpayers in her position with good benefits at the Honolulu City Council. Residents have the right to question and protest her actions. Basic First Amendment is a constitutional right – – The Public has the right to assemble and to exercise their Free Speech.

Democracy thrives when residents are not afraid to protest and question politicians on any issue.

Her public complaints against the residents’ protests reveal narcissism in this politician. Most property owners are not born with a silver spoon in their mouth. They work, sacrifice, and toil very hard to be a property owner. Seizing a private property, without proper vetting and due process, through eminent domain or judicial foreclosure in this case is very hostile and severe.

Tsuneyoshi herself is championing this very harsh seizure of a family property but she’s complaining about signs against her as a public official? This is a major disconnect in her logic.

What are the behaviors of a narcissist?

Narcissistic personality disorder involves a pattern of self-centered, arrogant thinking and behavior, a lack of empathy and consideration for other people, and an excessive need for admiration. Others often describe people with NPD as manipulative, selfish, patronizing, and demanding.

.

NOTE: Because this is such a severe assault on private property rights, I will be following this issue. I will post different segments on this site, for easier reading.

Resolution 22-11 to Seize Private Property Through Eminent Domain – The Imbalance

I’m going to be following this Resolution 22-11 introduced by District 2 City Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi and sharing my misgivings about this flawed process.

The February 23, 2022 Hearing was the second time Mr. Hopoate Taufa had participated at the Honolulu City Council proceedings. Watching the proceedings was quite chilling – an unsophisticated immigrant versus a smooth-talking politician who had no qualms engaging in disinformation.

The public testimony was conducted at the beginning of the council hearing. Local resident Ben Martin of Ko’olauloa of fifty years also opposed the Resolution. He has known Owner Taufa for thirty years. Perhaps his was sharpest rebuke against Tsuneyoshi’s actions:

Judicial Foreclosure is drastic. It should be the last resort. And it should not be a way to resolve a problem. Miss Heidi Tsuneyoshi is the protagonist representing the complainants. I’m an attorney by profession. And she’s representing the complainants assuming like they are the victims. But also Pate is a victim of the DPP for the long delays of approving and helping him comply. “

Should the council member be objective and fair to all parties involved? She’s holding a public office and supported by all taxpayers of Oahu.

Martin highlighted the strikes against Owner Taufa. Although Tsuneyoshi should represent ALL of her constituents in solving a community problem, her actions showed her intentions to punish him with the biggest stick the city had – eminent domain.

This is not to say that neighbors cannot complain. Neighbors have the right to complain and address their concerns. Owner Taufa needs to fix his violations and be a good neighbor.

But a city council Resolution to seize private property through eminent domain is a drastic measure that requires careful study of over-arching issues and correct data. Based on my observations, there had been insufficient vetting done prior to this action being adopted.

To make this situation worse, Tsuneyoshi just announced that she was running for Republican nomination for Governor. Her platform – “servant leader,” “her love for the people of Hawaii,” “transparency and accountability in government,” contradicts her actions with her Resolution 22-11.

Tsuneyoshi did not think it was important to do an outreach to this immigrant family. Something as drastic as seizing private property requires a basic courtesy outreach to her constituents.

Tsuneyoshi did not even inform Owner Taufa of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs (EMLA) Committee Meeting on February 8, 2022. It was the EMLA Chair Tupola from another District who offered that courtesy to Owner Taufa.

The video of the EMLA meeting showed Tsuneyoshi asking for a recess when Tupola announced that Owner Taufa would be coming online to explain himself.

Tsuneyoshi called for a quick recess upon hearing that. Why? Insiders said Tsuneyoshi was upset with the EMLA Chair that she was not told this ( getting Taufa online) was going to happen.

So, was Tsuneyoshi’s strategy to push through this Resolution 22-11 for Eminent Domain under the radar? Note there was no testimony at the EMLA Committee on February 8, 2022.

RESOLUTION 22-11 Adopted on February 23, 2022. Search Warrant on Property February 24

District 2 Honolulu City Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi’s Resolution 22-11 for Eminent Domain to acquire a private property through the Department and Planning (DPP) Fines was introduced at the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs on February 8, 2022. The Eminent Domain Resolution 20-11 was quickly amended to “Judicial Foreclosure” within half an hour in that EMLA Committee.

The full Honolulu City Council adopted amended the Resolution 22-11 at its Regular Meeting on February 23, 2022. ( Public Testimonies are in the front. Resolution discussion begins around 2:45.)

This Resolution ignited grassroots support for the embattled property owner. Additional efforts came from grassroots who do not follow the city council proceedings. Some do not even have email accounts or access to ZOOM or the likes.

Photo Permission granted by property owner.

On the other hand, we see a full-scale governmental convergence on this small immigrant owner by his District City Council woman Heidi Tsuneyoshi’s quick adoption of this Resolution 22-11.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the
Mayor, the Managing Director, the Director of Land Management, the Director of
Planning and Permitting, the Corporation Counsel, the Prosecuting Attorney, the State
of Hawaii Attorney General, and the State of Hawaii Director of the Department of
Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

The morning after the adoption of the Judicial Foreclosure Resolution 22-11, a SEARCH WARRANT was executed at the subject property. The SEARCH WARRANT sets this property up a new level of criminalizing the violations through the Hawaii Revised Statutes. This shows the force and the long arm of the government.

Rumors were circulating in the communities of the authorities “searching” for bodies, skeletons, drugs, and other illegal activities.

I asked the property owner Taufa after the Search Warrant was completed. He said that the authorities brought a backhoe to dig some parts of the property. They also searched the containers. He thought that perhaps he was being connected to a recent event where an alleged suspect was found in his property.

The Property Owner said that his worker found a man hiding in his farm one morning. The intruder in his farm was hurt and had blood on him. Taufa said they called 911 to come help this intruder.

I believe the property owner’s act of charity towards this intruder in his open farm by calling for an ambulance may just protect the owner from being accused of being a possible accessory to a crime.

This intruder was recognized by HPD who later arrested him as the alleged criminal who was involved in a fire in Pearl Ridge, that later revealed a body.

The Star Advertiser account helps complete the pieces of this puzzle:

Police located the white SUV Tuesday morning ditched along Kamehameha Highway in Punaluu. The vehicle was registered to Cox.

That afternoon, police located Deangelo in Laie with burns to his hand and cuts to his arms. Officers also recovered a loaded pistol from Deangelo’s waist and 21 bullets from his pants pocket.

Emergency Medical Services personnel treated him and took Deangelo to a hospital for further treatment.

(Note: Media reported the alleged criminal was found in Laie. The subject farm property is located in Hau’ula.)

Resolution 22-11: STRONGLY OPPOSE -Selective Targeting With Hostile Taking of Private Property

There is no question that the subject property owner Taufa needs to correct his violations. But these violations take time to cure. A city council member should especially make the efforts to reach out to those in trouble and try to help them. Immigrant families especially need more education and understanding in addressing Hawaii’s land use issues.

I’ve known many immigrants here for over forty years. Some may be here for a while but still need understanding due to inherent cultural perceptions or lack of knowledge or carelessness. For example: I continue to help educate our Southeast Asian farmers that “Round-Up” must be used very carefully, if at all. Many think that “Round-up” and other chemical fertilizers are simply “Good medicine”.

Even some from the Continental Mainland have misunderstandings of Oahu’s land-use ordinances. In places like Idaho, Tennessee, or Upstate New York, there are still counties with no land-use designations. A property can do as they wish. They can drill a well, build an air-strip, do a quarry business or build a residential home side by side of each other. Hawaii fortunately has a wonderful land-use designations on paper.

It’s a known fact that many contractors store their equipments and do their businesses out of their ag-zoned parcels whether it be roofing, trucking, and so on. I’m not saying that these owners are correct. But parts of the islands do not have “industrial” zone area for such business activities. But I’m saying that it is a very common occurrence in Oahu to mix ag-land with construction businesses.

Thus, if such a quick severe punishment is imposed on one particular owner and not the others, there should be at least a fair and objective outreach by the city council member first.

Some neighbors near this property have complained about this property. They have the right to do so. The Hauula Community Association President Dotty Paddock has weighed in. This activism began to snow-ball to include a few north shore environmentalists, who in turn has solicited for testimonies from around the island for DPP to do its job in enforcement.

I understand the frustrations with DPP. But we cannot allow this anger against DPP’s chronic lack of enforcement by turning this small property owner into a whipping boy. This is grossly unfair. There is no question that the property owner has violations to cure. Enforcement by DPP is important. But social justice is important too, especially when dealing with minorities and immigrant families.

Unfortunately, instead of granting some outreach to the property owner, City Council Member Tsuneyoshi initiated her first step with this Resolution 22-006.

RES22-006

Measure Title: STRONGLY URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING AND PERMITTING TO IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS OUTSTANDING VIOLATIONS RELATED TO THE PROPERTY AT 54-406 KAMEHAMEHA HIGHWAY IN HAU’ULA (TAX MAP KEY 5-4-004:021).

Date Introduced: Jan 7, 2022 Introduced By:HEIDI TSUNEYOSHI

Committee: ZONING AND PLANNING (ZP)

Resolution Status

Voting Legend: * = Aye w/Reservations

DateTypeDescription
01/07/2022INTROIntroduced.
01/13/2022ZPReported out for adoption.CR-007 (22)4 AYES: CORDERO, ELEFANTE, KIAʻĀINA, SAY
01/26/2022CCLCommittee report and Resolution were adopted.9 AYES: CORDERO, ELEFANTE, FUKUNAGA, KIAʻĀINA, SAY, TSUNEYOSHI, TULBA, TUPOLA, WATERS

After persuading the entire City Council to adopt her Resolution 22-06 on January 26, 2022, despite flawed information, City Council Member Heidi Tsuneyoshi quickly introduced another Resolution 22-11 to use eminent domain on the Taufa’s property at the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee on February 8, 2022.  

Resolution 22-11

Measure Title: URGING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION TO ACQUIRE THE PROPERTY AT 54-406 KAMEHAMEHA HIGHWAY IN HAUULA (TAX MAP KEY 5-4-004:021) IN ORDER TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DEGREDATION, INCLUDING, IF NECESSARY, TAKING STEPS TO ACQUIRE THE PROPERTY BY EMINENT DOMAIN.

Date Introduced:Jan 20, 2022 Introduced By:HEIDI TSUNEYOSHI

Committee: EXECUTIVE MATTERS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS (EMLA)

Resolution Status

Voting Legend: * = Aye w/Reservations

DateTypeDescription
01/20/2022INTROIntroduced.
02/08/2022EMLAReported out for adoption as amended in CD1 form.CR-168 AYES: CORDERO, ELEFANTE, FUKUNAGA, SAY, TSUNEYOSHI, TULBA, TUPOLA, WATERS1 EXCUSED: KIAʻĀINA      

The Star Advertiser prepared and published an article on the proposed takings in the morning of February 8, 2022 EMLA ( Executive Matters Legal Affairs) Committee.

District 2 Council member Tsuneyoshi as quoted to Star Advertiser’s Ashley Mizuo:  

Hopefully, it isn’t seen as coming after a property owner. … It was hopeful that we could have come to a resolution where he would have complied with all that’s been told to him to do, but unfortunately, after five years that wasn’t the case.” ( Note that the owners acquired the property in November 2019.)

TSUNEYOSHI’S WORDS TO THE STAR ADVERTISER CONTRADICT HER ACTIONS

A close look at the timeline shows that Tsuneyoshi was already lining all the ducks in a row despite her words to the Star Advertiser that it ” shouldn’t be seen as after a property owner “.

February 26, 2020. Note Resolution 22-006 was adopted by the Honolulu City Council.

January 20, 2022. However, note that her new eminent domain Resolution 22-011 was prepared and introduced six days BEFORE Reso 22-006 was adopted.

It’s hard to buy her public statements that “Hopefully, it isn’t seen as coming after a property owner …”.

MORE TARGETING BY TSUNEYOSHI

The discrimination and targeting mounted when Tsuneyoshi persuaded the EMLA Committee to amend her Eminent Domain to Judicial Foreclosure. This action was completed in about an half hour period.

There were other little changes like a spelling error in her Resolution 22-11 with the word correcting “degredation” to “degradation” in the title of her resolution and miscellaneous technical and non substantive amendments.

But other far more substantial errors in the Resolution’s contents were untouched. Contrary Information and concerns submitted by the public did not appear to be considered by her.

EVEN MORE TARGETING of PROPERTY OWNER THROUGH INCONSISTENT TREATMENTS

At the Executive Matters & Legal Affairs Committee, there was more targeting of the property owner through inconsistent treatments.

There were three (3) Resolutions relating to Eminent Domain takings. It’s important to note that the 1.Taufa Resolution 22-11 is the only hostile taking of property. Tsuneyoshi stated his compounded DPP fines was about $400,000.00 (However, statement to the news media on February 21, she changed the news media that his fines were about $300,000.00 ). During the EMLA meeting, the Taufa’s eminent domain action was the only Resolution that was changed to Judicial Foreclosure in a very short period.

2. Resolution 21- 280 for eminent domain relates to an abandoned property in Pensacola with Fines of about $900,000.00

3. Resolution 22-22 involves a property owners in Waianae who told the City Council members that she would be so happy if the city would acquire her property.

NO CONSISTENCY

These actions should be alarming to any private property owner. There is no consistency in the application of Due Process. There appeared to be no clear understanding of the differences of Eminent Domain versus Judicial Foreclosure but it was quickly decided upon anyways.

So, what is the threshold to take someone’s property by Eminent Domain or Judicial Foreclosure?

Is it $900K as in the the Pensacola Street property?

Or is it $300K or $400k as in the subject Hau’ula Property?

Since the Hau’ula property is now solely targeted for Judicial Foreclosure takings, how is this process going to play out?

Judicial Foreclosures is generally a mortgage delinquency issue. We know that the county has powers to auction off a private property owner who has trouble paying their real property taxes. We also know that the City County of Honolulu has practiced forbearance in helping private properties solve their financial problems by allowing them TIME.

In this case here, we’re talking about county land-use violation fines. Some of violations were incorrect but the owners were fined.

There are still many OTHER unanswered questions relating to this issue.

Why is City Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi rushing this hostile taking of this property?

Resolution 22-011: STRONGLY OPPOSE – This Process is Too Hasty and Flawed For Adoption

Honolulu City Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi is rushing city legislation Resolution 22-011 for the Mayor and the Department of Planning and Permitting ( DPP) to impose “Judicial Foreclosure” on this private property owner. ( It started out as “eminent domain” but was quickly amended to “Judicial Foreclosure”).

I understand there are land-use violations by the owners. Yes, the owner must correct the violations. There is no question about that. Those who know also know that working with DPP takes time.

We need to remember that these past two years also suffered from COVID19 lockdowns and disruption. He has submitted applications to cure his violations. He’s been working with a hired engineer and an architect to cure the violations. Again, these actions take significant time. Processing permits takes time even before the COVID19 pandemic.

But if DPP is told to not issue him permits to cure his violations, it’s a Catch 22. It’s discrimination and retaliation. It’s Big Government wielding its Big Stick that undermines due process.

This is a hardworking immigrant owner from the Island of Tonga. I submit that the cultural differences and lack of understanding need to be part of the deliberations. I’ve recently talked with Hopoate and Annetta Taufa. They did not recognize or understand the severity of these hostile actions till just recently. So now they’re fighting for their land. Unfortunately, Annetta is also fighting literally for her life. She’s under hospice care in their home in Laie.

It’s wrong for Tsuneyoshi to push eminent domain or judicial foreclosure quickly on a small private property. Her actions are abusive and undermine private property rights. Tsuneyoshi has accused the owner of violating for five years to the other city council members and to the Honolulu Star Advertiser with a readership of about 147,959 weekdays 162,287 Sundays. But, the owners acquired this property on November 2019. That’s 2.5 years.

This private property taking is off to hostile and unfair start. Resolutions to seize private property must be carefully and correctly vetted with correct data and correct research. City Council members should be working with their constituents when they’re in trouble, not bully them with severe punishments so quickly. Our immigrant families may need extra help on many levels. Understanding Hawaii’s diversity and showing some compassion is in order, especially for legislators

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.

DSC07922DSC07920
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.
DSC07946DSC08057
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

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

 

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

DSC07926

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell impounded free speech signs

on private property on October 18, 2013, again!

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Upon taking office, he went on the rampage by implementing

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

PRIVATE  fee owners own this commercial lot. The eminent domain

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

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

DSC08057

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

DSC08067

Does Hau’ula need a recycling center?

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

808 768-4141  mayor@honolulu.gov  Honolulu Mayor

808 768-5002 emartin@honolulu.gov  City Councilman

 

DSC07946

 

Choon James: Honolulu Transit Oriented Development (TOD) an Assault on Private Property Rights.

 

EMNeighboodTOD

Rail’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) An Assault on Private Property Rights
By Choon James 11/03/2012  Published in Civil Beat.

How would you react if a stranger enters your home; goes into your bedroom and sleeps in your bed — without your permission?

The natural reaction would be one of disbelief and outright objection, right?
We would consider this intrusion an invasion of our privacy and space. We would dial 911 to get the intruder off our property.

Yet, we see no similar reactions towards the Honolulu city’s proposed Transit-oriented developments (TOD); we detect no deference to or respect for private property rights. The city’s planners and facilitators have successfully drowned this constitutional right in their public presentations.

On the other hand, the amount of giddy excitement and coveting of private properties (that the government does not own) for this Honolulu Rail’s Transit-oriented development (TOD) is very alarming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sLSzpi0ytSY

We live in a Democracy; we are not China or Russia.

Private property rights is an integral part of free enterprise. We must not allow crony capitalism to stomp private property owners. Government and its cronies must not be allowed to plan as they unilaterally please. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmM4ZBoppNQ

At each of the proposed 21 rail stations, the city wants TODs “within half a mile radius” vicinity. The proposed rail stations are located at every mile; this means the whole land area along the entire 21-mile rail corridor is up for grabs. “Half a mile radius” sounds so harmless!

To covet and seize an additional 20 square miles area along this rail corridor on our small island pose a huge economical, social and cultural impact!

It’s not as if private owners can easily relocate down the road. Family inheritances, investments, and businesses built with sweat, equity, and sacrifices will be placed under the mercy of absolute powers of eminent domain. Kama’aina owners and businesses will be pushed out to pave the way for national and international investors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i67hIaAe6hs

Have we forgotten about Kelo vs. New London, the most despised eminent domain case in recent history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelo_v._City_of_New_London The Fort Trumbull community had 117 private properties. The City of New London supposedly had carefully crafted a revitalization plan to spur new jobs and increase tax revenue.
To push this “revitalization” plan forward, New London City abused its eminent domain powers to seize private properties to transfer to its private partner. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4N1svadJQ40

As it turned out, the city’s private partner – Pfizer corporation – failed to deliver needed funds and abandoned the much-heralded project. The Pfizer corporation also left town.
The city and state spent $78 Million for the acquisition and bulldozing the Fort Trumbull neighborhood. The promised 3,169 new jobs and $1.2 million a year in tax revenues evaporated.

The municipal experts’ Revitalization Plan, the basis for the ill Supreme Court’s June 23, 2005 decision in deference to legislators, proved to be an elusive concept and not reality.
In early 2012, its newly-elected Mayor of New London extended an apology to the Fort Trumbull victims . . . what good did that do?

The priceless toll on the victims could never be compensated; lives were uprooted and constitution rights subverted while the bureaucratic and political perpetrators walked away scot-free. http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=04-108

Here in Hawaii, we observe a similar “revitalization” process has been set in motion. City “experts” are holding “Community Visioning” meetings to discuss “Neighborhood TOD Planning”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sLSzpi0ytSY
The city wants to “take advantage of rail to its optimal level” and to “concentrate population” along this rail corridor.

http://dev.honoluludpp.org/Planning/NeighborhoodTODPlans.aspx
The “experts” presented beautiful artistic renderings at these meetings but we’ve yet to hear the sounds of the Rail along the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor. Who will live along the noisy railroad tracks? http://youtu.be/abzMGHe3Pc0
(The push to steer the low income population along the noisy rail corridor is “segregation déjà vu” and not social equity.)

The dangerous potential for the city to seize 21 square miles of private properties for transfer to private investors has to be reckoned with, today. The proposed Honolulu Rail is not only ugly, noisy, and a black hole for Oahu’s taxpayers; its accompanied TOD is a direct assault on private property rights. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4ezw1Hbf6Y
No Oahu residents should sit idly by and condone such autocratic land-use plans for our island home. It is wrong. It’s dangerous. It’s unAmerican. It goes against the core tenets of our free society.

City planning and developments must conform within the constitutional parameters of private property rights. This should have been a big part of the public deliberations. Any “exemption” laws to skirt this right must be rejected. Too many big decisions have been manipulated and controlled by raw crony capitalism and special interests. Private property owners continue to trampled on and pushed aside by the big boys.
We must take our government back.

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About the author: Choon James has been a real estate broker for over 20 years. She is a member of the Ko’olauloa Sustainable Communities Planning Committee and hosts “Country Talk Story”, a weekly community television show on Saturdays at 5:00 pm on Channel 55. Continue reading