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MONDAY, JULY 22, 2013



CALL TO ORDER:  Chair Sylvia Young called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


Members Present – Robert “Bob” Finley, Loryn Guiffre, Wilson “Kekoa” Ho, Jeanette Nekota, Kathleen Pahinui, Robert “Bob” Stubbs, Claire Tamamoto (Arrived at 7:08 p.m.), Sylvia Young, and Charles Zahn.


Members Absent – None.


Guests – Bert Narita (Member, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights NB No. 5), Tom Smyth (Member, Downtown NB No. 13), Elisabeth Contrades (Deputy, Corporation Counsel), Nicole Velasco (Executive Secretary), Romeo Garcia, Bryan Mick and Marie Richardson (Neighborhood Commission Office staff).


Roll Call of Commissioners, Establishment of QuorumA roll call of Commissioners established a quorum of eight (8) members present.




Election of Commission Officers – Chair Young opened the floor for nominations.


  • ChairFinley nominated Sylvia Young; Stubbs seconded. Zahn moved to close; Finley seconded the motion to close. Sylvia Young was ELECTED CHAIR BY ACCLAMATION.
  • Vice ChairHo nominated Bob Finley; Stubbs seconded. Zahn moved to close the nomination; Stubbs seconded to close. Bob Finley was ELECTED VICE CHAIR BY ACCLAMATION.
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Duties of the secretary/treasurer may be performed by the ES or designee. 


Selection of Meeting Date, Time, and PlaceFinley moved to continue regular meetings on the 4th Monday of each month, at the council committee meeting room 205, at 7:00 p.m.; Stubbs seconded the motion. Discussion followed noting that there had been NC meetings held multiple times a month. A different approach suggested sticking to the required six (6) meetings a year for NC business, and alternating the other six (6) months to address the backlog of complaints.


Finley moved to amend the motion to include that the NC can meet six (6) times a year (odd number months). Discussion ensued with Deputy Contrades’ advice that the motion should read more specifically by naming the “odd numbered” months, and rather than saying “can meet,” the motion should be amended to “will meet” - this would give the NC more flexibility. The motion – “The NC will continue to meet six (6) times a year in the months of July, September, November, January, March and May to convene regular meetings; and will meet the alternating months of August, October, December, February, April and June to hold special meetings or sanctions hearings; on the 4th Monday of each month, at the council committee meeting room 205, at 7:00 p.m., unless otherwise noted; Pahinui seconded the amendment. The amended motion was ADOPTED, 8-0-0 (Aye:  Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Young, and Zahn). The original motion was withdrawn.




Regular Meeting Minutes – June 24, 2013Ho moved, Finley seconded to approve the regular meeting minutes of June 24, 2013, as circulated. The motion to approve was ADOPTED, 8-0-0 (Aye:  Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Young, and Zahn).


Claire Tamamoto arrived at 7:08 p.m.; Quorum present with nine (9) members.


PUBLIC CONCERNS:  There were no concerns from the public.  




Update on Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) Organization and Staffing – ES Velasco gave a brief staffing update: Wendy Matsukado was replaced with Wendy Ferreira as secretary earlier this month. There is one (1) vacant neighborhood assistant position; however, filling this vacancy is pending at this time.  


Update on Guidebook – ES Velasco provided (NC packet) a draft copy of the guidebook. Mick was tasked with incorporating the PIG’s (Permitted Interaction Group) recommendations. Velasco did a second comb-through and would like to collect any thoughts or ideas before passing the draft to COR for a final review. She hopes to deliver the draft to COR by next week. When finalized, the guidebook will be easily accessible electronically.


Questions, comments and concerns followed:


  1. Refreshment Funding / Meeting Days – Nekota suggested removing the refreshment fund from the “draft copy” as there is no longer a refreshment fund, and she supported all the NBs meeting days listed in the guidebook. Although the meeting days could change periodically, Velasco noted that the electronic version can be easily changed. Velasco, Mick and Zahn were thanked for getting the document done.


  1. Board Established – Chair Young supported including the dates when each NB was established.   


  1. Guidebook Distribution – Velasco intends to send a mass email to all the members requesting preference for the electronic version. If a hard copy is requested, that would be available as well; however, she hopes the requests are at minimum, as the NCO is hoping to save on resources.


The upcoming Conference of Chairs (COC) was suggested by Chair Young as a good time to distribute copies of the guidebook; sometime in late October 2013.  


  1. Staff Adjustment – Finley noted that the NA position had been vacant for sometime and suggested that the NB chairs be informed of any NA staff changes to that NBs. ES Velasco replied if there is any NA rotation it would be a minor adjustment, and the affected chairs will be notified at the onset.




Elections Committee – Chair Nekota thanked Zahn for the handouts that were provided. Due to the electronic method of voting, it was necessary to recommend a few changes of the elections sections of the NP that related to the “electronic voting” method. One recommendation was to delete the section of the NP that related to the “chief monitoring officer.”  Mick raised a few concerns that the NCO ran into as well regarding the Candidate Withdrawal section of the NP.


Questions, comments, and concerns followed:


  1. §2-17-103 Chief Monitoring Officer (CMO) – A recommendation was to delete this section because there is no longer a paper ballot voting method, therefore, the CMO is not required to monitor an electronic type of election. The electronic method has been in effect for a number of elections, it’s not likely that the City Council would add more funding into the NCO budget for a paper ballot type of election at this point.       


  1. §2-17-208 Candidate Withdrawal – A concern related to the disqualification of a candidate either by withdrawal or by death. The suggested recommendation would clarify that the next highest number person in line would succeed the seat up until the board members term started.


  1. Neighborhood Plan Time Line – Pahinui referred to the NP Time Line handout and was a bit confused with the NP Time Line showing an election in 2014. Zahn clarified that the handout was an example. Pahinui acknowledged and suggested labeling it as such so as not to give anyone the impression there is a 2014 election.


  1. Suggested Recommendations – Tonight’s recommendations were from the Elections Committee. The committee realized that these were areas that could be looked at. Chair Young mentioned the NC has accepted this report and will turn it over to the Neighborhood Plan Committee for further review.


Finance Committee – Chair Tamamoto announced that a Finance Committee meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 5, 2013, at 4:30 p.m., at Aiea Hongwanji Classroom, 99-186 Puakala Street, Aiea, HI  
. The committee will be looking at the current, FY 2014 and 2015 budgets, and the expenditures of the NBs and NCO. An agenda will be handed to Richardson tonight.


Neighborhood Plan Committee – Chair Finley reported that the committee will be looking at Chapter 11 - Rules and Procedures of the Neighborhood Commission – §2-11-302 (c) Absences and removal recommendation process; resignation. Finley added that there was much confusion last year and it was not worth keeping in the NP. Nekota relayed that the NC met more than the required minimum of six meetings (regular/special meetings) within one year. Let Chair Finley know if there are any ideas for consideration, and once he receives the information, a Neighborhood Plan Committee will be scheduled.


Questions, comments and concerns followed:


  1. Meeting Announcements – Tom Smyth commented that the public is not necessarily aware ahead of time when a special/sanction meeting will be scheduled, as compared to regularly held meetings. Finley said an announcement of any meetings would be made at a meeting prior. Contrades clarified that the intent is for the (4th Monday) even numbered months would be reserved to do all the special or sanctioned meetings, and it would be announced at the prior meeting. 


  1. NP Suggestions/Recommendations – Zahn had a few suggestions/recommendations for NP changes which he would forward to Chair Finley. Finley also wanted to remind everyone that this is just a periodic review; keeping the changes compact and less confusing for the public, would have an easier chance of going through the public hearings process.    



members to the respective committees:


Elections Committee – Chair Young explained that Jeanette Nekota is nearing the end of her tenure as a Commission member. But Nekota will remain on the NC until her replacement is named. Therefore, Charles Zahn was appointed as Committee Chair, and members are Loryn Guiffre, Jeanette Nekota (until her replacement is named), and Sylvia Young (ex officio).


Finance Committee – Chair Young appointed as Committee Chair, Claire Tamamoto, and committee members are Kekoa Ho, Kathleen Pahinui and Sylvia Young (ex officio).  


Neighborhood Plan Committee – Chair Young appointed as Committee Chair, Bob Finley, and committee members are Bob Stubbs and Sylvia Young.  




Before proceeding, Chair Young disclosed that she would be participating in discussion on the next agenda item. At this time, she relinquished the gavel to Vice Chair Finley.


Appointment of Hearings Officer(s) for Complaint Hearings under §2-18-103 of the 2008 Neighborhood Plan – The NC realized that some of the complaints were past the 45 day deadline period. Chair Young’s thoughts were if the NC appointed the Executive Secretary, as the hearings officer, she could conduct the hearing and make recommendations to the NC. This screening process could help to remedy much of the back-log of complaints. 


Questions, comments and concerns followed:  


  1. Complex Position – Pahinui asked if Velasco (ES) is appointed as the hearings officer (HO), would she be put in an adversarial or complicated position to do her job as the ES. From an operational standpoint, Velasco would have that ability to do the hearing; but from a quality standpoint, it could be somewhat difficult. But because of the back log, it would be beneficial at least at this time. Pahinui liked the idea but wanted to be sure Velasco is comfortable with the added task and not potentially over burdened.  


  1. Fair Hearing – Tamamoto questioned whether the complainant would get a fair hearing and if Velasco would get help with the process of making the decisions. Deputy Contrades commented that the goal is to have the HO eventually act independently, but COR would assist Velasco the first few times. The administrative procedure statue contemplates using a hearings officer and delegating some authority to hear certain complaints and the NC reviewing that decision and order and making a determination. This would help to streamline the process, and perhaps assigning one or two other people in the office, as designees would also be beneficial.      


Young moved to appoint Executive Secretary Nicole Velasco specifically, as the hearings officer; Pahinui seconded the motion.


More questions, comments and concerns followed:


  1. Based on Experience Smyth explained that he was involved in a complaints process where the person being complained upon hired an attorney. He offered two suggestions for consideration: 1) That Velasco handle those cases filed before she became the ES, because she would have had no prior role in those cases; and 2) Suggested assigning someone else to take on the newer complaints, because the biggest problem is clearing the back log. Young added that the NC is current on any new complaints filed in 2013.


  1. Supportive of Velasco as HO – Mick agreed that a HO be appointed, and agreed that be tasked with the older complaints where the respondent is no longer a NB member, even if the NC finds that there is a violation, the NC could not impose sanctions. But administratively, there is still a need to have a hearing to clear those complaints.  


  1. Report to the NC – Zahn gave a clear understanding that the HO would have to make a report and recommendation to the NC {citing § 2-18-103 (d) (10) (c)}, but he questioned whether this would be done in executive session or in an open hearing. Young noted that any decision is done in executive session which Deputy Contrades gave clarification with in regards to Chapter 92. Zahn questioned the possibility that the decision may not be given within the 60 days as required in accordance to the NP, and that a special meeting may need to be convened. Vice Chair Finley noted that COR volunteered to assist and make certain things would be done in accordance to the NP and Chapter 92.


The motion to appoint Executive Secretary Nicole Velasco, specifically as the hearings officer was ADOPTED, 9-0-0 (Aye:  Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Tamamoto, Young, and Zahn).


Vice Chair Finley relinquished the gavel back to Young to resume the meeting as Chair. 


Rescheduling of Hearing Dates for Complaints Filed by Steve Knauer – Chair Young explained the original date was set for July 29, 2013. However, due to schedule conflicts of the NCO/NC members, a suggested date of Monday, August 26, 2013 was doable for most schedules. There was a consensus to start the hearing early, tentatively between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.


Discussion followed focusing that there are 23 complaints and seven (7) different respondents. Mick noted that the plan was to take all the complaints filed against each of the seven (7) individual respondents separately. There were also concerns whether the NC would have to go into executive session following each set of complaints, whether the meeting can end at a certain time, or whether the hearing can continue at a later date, etc. Deputy Contrades will review the complaints to see if there is a practical way to order their sequence. Chair Young would like to convene as early as possible so as not have to end at midnight. Although there was a positive consensus from the NC, Deputy Contrades indicated that the respondents need to be considered as well.




  • Sanctions Hearing – Scheduled for Monday, August 26, 2013 at 5:00 p.m., Honolulu Hale, 530 South King Street, Council Committee meeting room 205. Any questions, contact the NCO at 768-3710.


ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting adjourned at 8:06 p.m.


Submitted by,


Marie Richardson

Senior Clerk

Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 18, 2013