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With Permission / Courtesy of: City and County of Honolulu Neighborhood Commission Office

Waikiki Neighborhood Board No. 9

 

October 2021 Minutes

 

WAIKIKI NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 9

REGULAR MEETING MINUTES

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2021

VIA ZOOM

CALL TO ORDER: Chair Robert Finley called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. A quorum was established with 12 members present. Note: This 17-member Board requires nine (9) members to establish quorum and to take official board action.

Board Members Present: Jerome Bautista, Robert Boyack (6:05pm), Lisa Cabanero Helen Carroll, Jeffery Merz, Tommy Penrose, Robert Donaldson, Robert Finley, Raiyan Rafid, Bowe Souza (6:09pm), Jacob Wiencek, Michael Brown, Kathryn Henski, and Melissa Filek.

Board Members Absent: John Nigro, Louis Erteschik, Mark Smith

Guests: Captain Lee Marquez (Honolulu Fire Department); Lieutenant Kumoto and officer Karalius (Honolulu Police Department); Dominic Dias (Board of Water Supply); Nola Miyasaki (Mayor Rick Blangiardi's office); Director Anton Krucky (Office of Housing); Council Chair Tommy Waters; Senator Sharon Moriwaki; Representative Adrian Tam; Mark Garrity; Paul Alderete (AT&T); Roger Babcock; Tim Garry, Dave Moskowitz, Denise Boisvert, Nicole Ancheta, Chris Viverito, Pam Walker, Angel McClure, Bruce Lenkeit, James Callahan, Midori Trent, John Montalbano, David Jones, Jean Cox, Michelle Matson, Laura Ruby, and Denise Boisvert,(Residents) ‘Olelo Television; Judi-Ann Smith-Kauhane (Neighborhood Assistant). 46 participants present.

FILLING OF VACANCIES

Finley nominated Merz Vice Chair Sub District 1. Merz accepted nomination. There were no other nominations.

Hearing no objections, Merz was elected Vice Chair for Sub District 1 by UNANIMOUS CONSENT, 11-0-0 (Aye: Bautista, Cabanero, Donaldson, Finley, Rafid, Souza, Wiencek, Henski, Brown, and Filek; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

Finley MOVED, and Henski SECONDED to confirm Recess in December 2021. Hearing no objections, MAJORITY CONSENT, 12-0-0 (Aye: Bautista, Boyack, Cabanero, Carroll, Merz, Penrose, Donaldson, Finley, Rafid, Henski, Brown, and Filek; Nay: Weincek; Abstain: None).

CITY MONTHLY REPORTS

Honolulu Fire Department (HFD): HPD Captain Lee Marquez reported statistics for September 2021: Two (2) structure fires - one (1) nuisance, and one (1) cooking; nine (9) activated alarms; 180 Medical emergencies; three (3) motor vehicle crash/collisions; and four (4) ocean rescues.

Fire Safety tip: Halloween Safety.

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

1. Volume of Fire Trucks: Rafid commented if there is an assessment done for how loud the fire alarm can be on the trucks. Marquez replied there is no setting on the fire alarms for the trucks. The sound alerts the people around the area that there is an emergency by sound and visual. It is a set apparatus. Finley commented about an incident that happened where the sounds was turned off and a car ran into the fire truck. Marques commented that if we do not leave all of our devices on, it is a liability issue.

2. Fire Engines blocking Lemon Road: Henski commented fire engines blocking lemon road for 20-40 minutes. Is it necessary for the fire department to follow the ambulances and stay with ambulances. Marquez responded - called a "co-response". HFD has more fire stations than EMS stations. HFD is sent out first to access the situation most times with the "Rapid response Vehicle". Try our best to keep the space clear, but many times ladder #7 truck has to be used for some situations. Location is a place with recent Covid cases in the past few months.

3. False Alarm Calls: Suno commented on chat regarding there being more false alarms than actual fires. Marquez commented some fire alarms are set off by accident, if in bigger hotels; they try to call and mitigate the situation first. Smaller hotel without security guards, they will arrive and access the situation. Better they are false alarms than real ones.

Honolulu Police Department (HPD): HPD Lieutenant Kumoto reported statistics for September 2021, which can be found at https://www.honolulupd.org/.

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

1. Harassment: Penrose commented about situations where if the police tell a person sleeping on a sidewalk to move along, that are considered harassment. Ana road has multiple incidences. What can be done regarding these situations.

2. Loud Noises: Weincek commented the noise level in the neighborhood. HPD does not have the noise level readers to warrant issuing citations or any types of actions. Kumoto responded, currently there are nothing available at this time. "Weed and Seed Program" - how effective are they and will there be one in Waikiki soon, also do you see a migration of people from China town coming to Waikiki. Kumoto responded does not have statistics for district 1. ‘Weed and Seed Program" are in other districts, now, there are new faces in the area but cannot comment if is a result of the program.

3. Citations: Resident Montalbano commented about persons receiving multiple citations and the effectiveness of them. Kumoto agrees and responded the court system is overwhelmed and the ratio of police officers per shift against the amount of calls of violations, have to access situations and how much can be done.

4. Volume of Street Performers: Resident Boisvert commented on the volume level of street performers on Kalakaua every day after the 10p.m. curfew. Possible uniforms presence in the area at least 10 minutes before curfew so it insures they stop by 10 p.m. Kumoto responded officer Cho is pro-active by confiscating three speakers with multiple citations. When manpower permits will send officers. Waikiki bids program (W-bids) bicycle detail will send plain clothes officers to warn them.

5. Naked Homelessness: Filek commented what is the procedure of naked homelessness in public. Officer Karalius responded need to stay and file a report saying, "offended" and follow through to the arrest. If no one stays, left with a warning for sit-ly. Complainant needs to stay and make a statement and prosecute.

6. Left Lane Police Car Parked: Rafid commented patrol car parked on left lane across the street of the police station. Lane switching hazard. Kumoto responded it is the officer assigned there and the hotel like the show of presence. Will make a note of the concern.

7. Film of Homeless: Henski commented on a film that was made about the homeless in Waikiki with no police response. Sleeping in front of the police station especially on front of the fourth pavilion. Kumoto and Karalius responded attempted to assist homeless person multiple times and do not want help. Seen the film by the officers.

Board of Water Supply (BWS): BWS representative Dominic Dias reported no main breaks. Adopted 6- year Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Residents may find more information and upcoming projects at https://www.boardofwatersupply.com/.

RESIDENTS' / COMMUNITY CONCERNS

No bridge over the Ala Wai Canal: Resident Laura Ruby shared a presentation opposing the bridge over the Ala Wai canal. Finley interrupted her shared screen presentation for going over four (4) mins (two (2) mins max). Requested to come back and do a formal presentation. Finley agreed Ruby to come back and present.

Questions, comments, and concerns followed: 11th hour to Present: Merz commented where Ruby was for the past two years of planning. Bridge was presented to the boards for the past three (3) years. Asked if the Affected Environmental and Potential Effects (EA) was submitted for review and comments. Ruby responded, EA was submitted and did not get a response. Merz commented board and the community has been working on bridge project for over three (3) years and had concerns of why now coming to the board to present opposition to project.

Attendance from Congressman Ed Case or Representative: Wiencek commented concerns of the lack of attendance from Congressman Ed Case or his representative being present. Given the federal funding, international travel regulation. Many concerns that need to be addressed for our community.

Beautify Waikiki: Boisvert suggested on different ways to beautify Waikiki. Large areas of sidewalks that can have foliage to create a Hawaiian sense of place. Lack of foliage on Kalakaua and Kai'ulani needs some in-ground gardens and or large planters. Member Brown responded working on greening Kalakaua to provide shading.

Pavilion #4: Montalbano commented about Pavilion #4 and its lack of action to fix it.

Boards working together: Diamond Head member Matson commented about neighborhood boards working together on concerns regarding communities. Concerned on how Ruby was responded to regarding her presentation. Request for Ruby to present her full presentation.

Homeless on Ohua and Kalakaua: Resident Garry commented regarding past meeting concerns of the homeless on Ohua and Kalakaua. As a result, he filmed news story on Hawai'i News Now. Got reaction from the Mayor's office. Commented an associate was assaulted in the same area, called HPD. Came back later that day and his car was vandalized.

Resolution to support Ala Wai Promenade: Mark Garrity encouraged passing resolution in order to release funds ($100,000) to make enhancements on the Ala Wai promenade. Finley responded this is the second resolution. Supported the first resolution in conjunction with the Ala Moana neighborhood board. Discussion followed.

Henski MOVED, and Brown SECONDED to Support the Resolution to Encourage the Mayor to make Enhancements to the Ala Wai Promenade.

Hearing no objections, UNANIMUS CONSENT, 14-0-0 (Aye: Bautista, Boyack, Cabanero, Carroll, Merz, Penrose, Donaldson, Finley, Rafid, Souza, Wiencek, Henski, Brown, and Filek; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

PUBLIC EVENTS FOR OCTOBER /NOVEMBER

Finley commented no events happening on the month of October and November.

Applications for Liquor Licenses: Hearing on October 28th for Hotel La Croix, 2070 Kalakaua Ave, Hotel General and November 18th Moani Kuhio in International Market Place requested a category #2 license. Finley commented if the board needed more information regarding license contact the Liquor Commission.

ELECTED OFFICIALS AND OTHERS

Mayor Rick Blangiardi's Representative: Director of Customer Services (CSD) Nola Miyasaki reported the following.

• Ohua Homeless: HPD District 6 (Waikiki) Community Policing Team (CPT) is currently working with St. Augustine's church on how to address them. Daily soup Kitchen offered at 11 a.m. and hot shower and medical care offered on-site Thursday evenings. The CPT has conducted a Citizen Patrol in the area that included St. Augustine's Church. CPT has reached out to the church about issues with the graffiti on their building. The church was hesitant on painting over the graffiti since they felt that the graffiti would just come back. The police officers offered their assistance should the church need it. CPT working closely with its community collaborates which include the Institute of Human Services, Ohana Health Plan, and Waikiki Business Improvement District Association. August 2021, officers assigned to the District 6 Bicycle Detail increased enforcement in the surrounding areas of St. Augustine's Church. They issued eight (8) citations for Criminal Littering, 20 citations for Smoking, one (1) citation for Urinating in Public, three (3) citations for Shopping Cart in Park, one (1) citation for a bicycle violation, one (1) citation for Animal in Park, one (1) citation for a pedestrian violation and six (6) Contempt arrests. The officers will continue to monitor the area and take appropriate enforcement action when violations of the law. Office of Housing and Homelessness (HOU) will continue to send outreach; however, we will need to defer to HPD for the criminal activity. OHH is aware IHS and St. Augustine by the Sea do provide services via a feeding in Waikiki, and that Waikiki Health Center provides medical care to the underserved in the community. Encourage community connection between St. Augustine, IHS, and Waikiki Health Center (across 250 Ohua) to further strengthen street safety and by reporting all criminal activity in a timely manner. Anyone reporting an individual who may be mentally unstable can ask for an MH-1 via HPD. https://www.honolulupd.org/policy/policy-mh-1-application-for-emergency-examination-and-hospitalization/

• Possible Weed and Seed Program: HOU currently, does not have the Weed and Seed program similar to Chinatown in place in Waikiki. However, the NB may contact the Hawaii Health and Harm Reduction Center regarding the LEAD program. This could be a future opportunity for the area. https://www.hhhrc.org/lead.

• Misinformation of Vaccines in Hawai'i: Department of Information Technology still accessing the information.

• Vaccination: Department of Corporate Council responded City and County of Honolulu does not currently maintain any data as to the number or percentages of the City workforce who are not fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Once the City's workforce vaccine mandate is fully implemented, the City will be able to share publically disclosable data as to the percentage of the City workforce that are fully vaccinated.

• Pavilions at Waikiki Beach: Need more time for DPR to respond.

• Clogged Storm Drains: Storm drain on Ala Wai Boulevard near Ainakea Way, fronting the Canal House at 2611 Ala Wai Boulevard, is scheduled to be inspected and cleared on September 14, 2021.

• Parking Spaces on Kapahulu: Department of Transportation Services (DTS) has completed their investigation into the weekend traffic concerns on Kapahulu Avenue between Ala Wai Boulevard and Kuhio Avenue. Their weekend observations did not confirm any unusual traffic conditions or bottleneck situations, which would necessitate the removal of metered parking stalls. Their observations also confirmed that the metered parking stalls on Kapahulu Avenue are being utilized, especially at times when the Honolulu Zoo parking lot is in high demand. The DTS will continue to monitor the situation and will notify the neighborhood board if conditions change.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Concerns Heard in Meeting: Finley requested to speak with the Managing Director to work with HPD and EMS over all of the criminal activity happening.

2. Pavilion: Montalbano commented the Mayor's report is unacceptable.

3. Events for December: Toys for tots - December 4th, Pearl Harbor memorial parade - December 7th, Honolulu Marathon - December 11th and Merrie Mile - December 12th; are they happening or are they going to be cancelled.



Council Chair Tommy Waters: Council Chair Waters reported the following.

• 1615 Ala Wai Blvd: City Council passed resolution-asking administration to condemn the property. Next step is to find out the property value. Filing lawsuit.

• Amplified Music: Currently working on a bill to band amplified music from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

• Funding to Beautify Waikiki: Implementing in-ground gardening and will request funds to execute.

• Short-Term Rentals: Bill through Planning Commission - The apartment and gold coast district is included will be allowed to have short-term rentals as long as the AOAO agrees to it. Requesting the board to take a stance on it for discussion.

• Weed and Seed for Waikiki: Spoke with Prosecutor Alm - once they work through Down Town, they are very interested in implementing in Waikiki. Advocate for funding program.

• Reapportionment: Will not affect Council Chair Waters be representing Waikiki

• Ala Wai Promenade: Thanks for continued support for the resolution for the Promenade

• Free Parking on Sundays on Kapi'olani: Bill being passed through council. Department of Transportation testified against it due to the fact all the hotel workers will be taking up all the parking spots.

Questions, comments and concerns followed.

1. Reducing Tourism: Wiencek commented the Oahu Destination Management Plan done by Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) overall theme was to reduce tourism. What actions will the City & County to align themselves with the HTA. Waters responded need to deal with the illegal short-term rentals. Important to stay in the hotels and spend money in Waikiki. Waters asked if the board is comfortable with these apartments becoming "condotels" or keeping them apartments for residences and keeping the tourists in the hotels. Replied agreement of traffic taking longer, will work on it.

2. County Transit Accommodation Tax: House bill 862 passing through legislature but the 3% tax was meant for non-residence. Board apposed it in the pass but it is meant to avoid raising property taxes for residence.

3. Plans for 1615 Ala Wai: Henski asked what the plans are for 1615 Ala Wai once it is demolished. Waters replied spoke with Scott Hayashi about creating affordable housing, not a homeless shelter.

4. Next Step: Henski asked about Next Step facility closing June 2022. Waters responded working with realtor and Scott Hayashi to negotiate some property purchasing with funding in the budget. Future meetings with Senator Moriwaki and Chair Finley regarding details.

5. Missing Piece: Filek commented about property tax of 1.03% in condotels in the hotel district and residential property tax is only paying 0.35% due to being zoned as residential area. Waters working out those details regarding the bill of property taxes and residents living in their condotels in the hotel district.

6. Kapi'olani Park: Matson commented court order since 1991 parking in and around Kapi'olani Park is for park use only. Encroachments on trust land.

7. Solution for Homelessness: Garry commented on all the blaming of departments and not taking responsibility for the situation in Waikiki.

Senator Sharon Moriwaki: Senator Moriwaki reported the following.

• Noise: Moriwaki contacted Deputy Director Ed Sniffin agreed with administrative action with speed bumps to reduce speeding and noise on Ala Moana Blvd starting November 2021 through January 2022. Working on ordinance of decibel level.

• Homelessness: Moriwaki commented it is a complex problem. It is an enforcement and treatment problem. Every department has to do their part but also find the resources to help with issues. Finding a way to "connecting the dots" to create pilot solutions and be funded by the state. Currently everyone is doing the best they can until these pilot program implemented. Need to be charged with incident in order to get them in the system, in order to process and be given choices other than going back onto the streets.

• Sea-level rise: Moriwaki commented working with WIA, WISDA, and University of Hawai'i with the Office of Planning facilitate a community plan to adapt to sea-level rise.

Representative Adrian Tam: Representative Tam reported the following.

• Vaccination Clinic: Had vaccination clinic at Centennial Park; with help from HPD, Senator Moriwaki, Council Chair Waters, Hawai'i Public Health and the Hawai'i Rotary Club. Next clinic will be held October 31, 2021.

• Homelessness: Met with Council Chair Waters, Senator Moriwaki and the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association (WIA) regarding after hours commercial business homelessness initiative. WIA is working with HPD where WBIDA will be the representative for commercial properties to assist in a crisis. Working on introducing a bill to work with private property and commercial owners get services on their property after hours.

Governor David Ige: There was no representative.

Waikiki Improvement Association (WIA): Representative Rick Egged reported:

• Loading and Unloading: Waikiki Transportation and Management Association (TMA) will begin informational and enforcing campaign for procedures for loading and unloading in Waikiki.

• Illegal Vacation Rentals: Working with Council Chair Waters regarding illegal vacation rentals. 2019 Pre-Covid over 25% of tourists were staying in illegal vacation rentals - High Priority.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Tuesday, August 10, 2021 Regular Meeting Minutes: Hearing no objections, Chair Finley sought Unanimous Consent. The Minutes were ADOPTED BY UNANIMOUS CONSENT, 14-0-0 (Aye: Bautista, Boyack, Canero, Carroll, Merz, Penrose, Donaldson, Finley, Rafid, Souza, Wiencek, Brown, Henski, and Filek; Nay: None; Abstain: None).

NEW BOARD BUSINESS

AT&T Small Cell Presentation: Paul Alderete shared presentation. Installing one (1) small cell project on Kuhio and Ohua Street. Proposed five (5) more in various areas of Waikiki. Awaiting scheduled times and approvals from DLNR and DPP.

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

1. Support: Finley commented Verizon was supported in the past for small cell towers. Nothing new for Waikiki. Improves the quality of service overall.

2. Rent: Rafid asked if the City and County collecting rent to use their facilities. Alderete responded there is a lease agreement once the cell is attached. Follow-up with fees.

3. Utility Poles: Merz commented when structural enhancements are needed for the cell projects, who works with AT&T for that. Alderete responded if structural enhancements are needed they work with Department of Facilities and Maintenance (DFM), utility poles need to be fixed they work with (HECO) and AT&T pays for replacement of those poles.

4. 4G and 5G: Chat asks when the roll out will happen and what is the difference between 4G and 5G in terms of EMF. Alderete responded AT&T does not have plans until 2025 for 5G. Not much difference between 4G and 5G in regards to EMF.

City Storm Water Project Update: Roger Babcock shared presentation.

Questions, comments and concerns followed:

1. Taxes: Rafid commented hesitation to add more taxes to the community. Wiencek also commented concerns of double-taxation. Possible adjustment on other taxes that are already being charged, especially for people that are just getting by. Babcock responded the administration position is not to raise property taxes. Know how to fix it, but do not have the resources to fund it. If we want things to improve, the investment needs to be made. Acknowledge that it is an additional fee; program is needed for our islands.

2. Storm Water Fee Cost: Matson commented per chat; if there were a storm water fee cost separately, would it be adjusted from our property taxes. Babcock responded, this fee would be separate from the property taxes. Matson responded where would the cost of the storm drain go to if not for this proposed project. Babcock responded, property taxes would go to other City and County costs currently unknown of what it is used for. Waters responded taxes would not go to rail. Finley commented the current budget for storm water is 9 million a year. Babcock responded currently it is 90 million a year, which will be used for other purposes. Finley requested to see the bill before the board could take a position on it.

Chair Finley Deferred All Remaining Reports for Next Month's Neighborhood Board Meeting due to exceed time.

Henski MOVED and Finley SECONDED to Adjourn the Meeting. Hearing no objections. Meeting Adjourned by UNANIUMS CONSENT.

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Submitted by: Judi-Ann Smith-Kauhane - Neighborhood Assistant

Reviewed by: Partner Akiona - Neighborhood Assistant

Final Review:

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