The Honolulu City Charter clearly states the purpose for its being:
“Section 2-102. Purposes — All city powers shall be used to serve and advance the general welfare, health, happiness, safety and aspirations of its inhabitants, present and future, and to encourage their full participation in the process of governance.”
Unfortunately, in real life, when Mayor Kirk Caldwell has his own pet project, the opportunities for citizen participation are met with disinformation, retaliation, and abuse of city powers/resources. The circle-the-wagon mentality kicks into gear from the top on down. Similar ill-thought justifications are parroted from top on down. Process reports and Budget Forms are filled with fabricated information. Lies are perpetuated top on down.
If citizens further resist, there are always the Mayor’s spokesperson and media trolls to vilify the messengers and to create confusion and distort facts. (There is an unspecified number of public relations and assistants, paid for by taxpayers, who service Mayor.)
An example of this dark side at City Hall would be Hauula Fire Station Relocation project. Despite robust protests and over 1,200 signatures against this extravagant relocation, the city stuck to its nefarious PR tactic to distract from the city’s gross malfeasance in this process.
The below August 18, 2008 letter is the “sale contract” that the city and clan freely disperse to the public to distract from its failures to provide due process to the most affected citizens in Hauula. The fact is, even if the owner DONATED the land to the city for the project, the city still has to provide due process to the people living next to this despised project. The city miserably failed its environmental review process to the people of Hauula.
August 18, 2008. This is the CHERRY-PICKED letter used by the city and clan to hoodwink the city council and the public. This letter does not even meet the basic rudimentary of a basic sale contract, if there was one.
July 2009 – This subsequent city notice is never provided to the public by the city – “This Notice is not a contractual offer or commitment to purchase your property”.
December 13, 2013 Deposition was taken under oath from Land Chief Thomas Miyata where he finally had to stop his lies about an agreement to sell and confess that “ there was no agreement between Miss James and the City for the City to purchase or Miss James to sell her property.” Page 120.
Additionally, when Hauula residents protested with signs against the extravagant relocation of the $13 Million Hauula Fire Station Relocation, Mayor Kirk Caldwell dispatched the Department of Maintenance & Facilities from Halawa (under the supervision of William D. Balfour, Jr.) to seize the free speech signs. The federal judge had since ordered the City and County of Honolulu to pay the legal fees of the Plaintiff.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell further engaged the City Corporation Counsel to bully the residents by erecting threatening signs to forcefully close down the recycling center that many depended on. The irony is the Mayor has already stolen $4.6 Million of federal HUD Community Development Block Grants ( CDBG) for this pork project. CDBG funds are meant to improve the quality of lives and economic opportunities in low-income communities. Recycling is a critical cottage industry where even the homeless recycle daily to buy themselves a hot meal! The people are asking for “bread’ but this Mayor is forcing “cake” on them.
When residents further protested with new signs below, the Mayor dispatched city county inspectors to threaten private property owners with a daily $50 fine if they did not remove the signs!
As of this writing, there are three Hawaiian kupuna ( 2 of them in their 80s) resisting Mayor Caldwell in the federal courts now. Federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi is hearing the case. CV No: 15-00193 LEK-RLP
Additionally, in April 2017, Mayor Kirk Caldwell opened this controversial project up for bids ( for $7M) when the funds have been deleted by the city council!
Residents are thinking that Mayor Kirk Caldwell is employing the same tactics – SUNKEN COST FALLACY – as he does for the Honolulu Rail. He’s hoping to encumber as much costs as he can, hoping the judge will not take a bold action against his malfeasance.
A citizen should not be surprised at these capricious and nefarious tactics. Whether it’s a huge project like the Honolulu Rail or this relocation project, the same modus operandi – lies, distractions and retaliations – is implemented.
Honolulu deserves better.