|You are here: Main / Neighborhood Commission Office / com / 02 / Neigborhood Commission|
CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
MAY 14, 2002
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
CALL TO ORDER AND INTRODUCTION OF COMMISSIONERS: Chair Iwamoto called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. A quorum was present. The Commissioners introduced themselves, Chair Iwamoto introduced Neighborhood Commission Office staff, and David Tanouye, from the City Corporation Counsel’s Office.
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Kalene Shim Sakamoto, Sally Amantiad, Karen Iwamoto, Benjamin Sanchez, Roy Wickramaratna.
COMMISSIONERS ABSENT: Ray Galas, Benjamin Gudoy, Margaret Murchie.
STAFF: Benjamin Kama, Sheri Kajiwara, Dean Chu, Elwin Spray.
GUESTS: Pam Smith, Garry Smith, Earl Arakaki, Mary Miyashiro, CC Curry, Clifton Takamura (McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board), Debbi Glanstein (Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31), Gary Bautista (Ewa Neighborhood Board), Karen Wenke (Ewa Neighborhood Board), Deb Hendricks, Tom Berg, David Tanouye (Office of City Corporation Counsel).
EVALUATION COMMITTEE RECOGNITION PROPOSAL – Pam Smith suggested the Commission not adopt the portion of the plan to recognize members for years of service as criteria to determine special recognition. Chair Iwamato noted that this will be referred to the Evaluation Committee.
CITY BUDGET – Clifton Takamura reported that he testified before the City Council on the City budget and later spoke with Council Budget Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi and was assured that the budget for Vision Team and Board capital improvement projects will not be cut.
Takamura also took issue with the City Administration, including Randall Fujiki, Director, Department of Planning and Permitting, for sending letters to urge Board members and other interested persons to testify at the May 16 Council Budget Committee meeting if they are concerned about proposed budget cuts.
Chair Iwamoto reported Lynne Matusow, Chair of the Downtown Neighborhood Board, expressed similar concerns about the sending of letters and that Matusow felt it was improper use of Neighborhood Commission funds to send the letters for the Department of Planning and Permitting, and that these funds should have been used for neighborhood boards who are having budget problems.
Executive Secretary Kama noted that the Commission Office was requested to assist the Department of Planning and Permitting in sending out the letter as it was a City project and that the Commission Office is usually reimbursed for its costs. The Department of Planning and Permitting coordinates the Vision Teams and has a budget to cover costs such as sending out this letter.
Chair Iwamoto concurred that she does not want to see Neighborhood Boards adversely impacted by such projects, and took issue with the sending of the letters.
SECOND DRAFT REVISED NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN 2002 - Debbi Glanstein requested an update on the status of the planned distribution of the plan for public review. Chair Iwamoto reported that plans are to shortly distribute the version of the plan previously submitted to the Commission. Chair Iwamoto noted further revisions, including addition of references, are still in progress. Approximately one month after the plan is made available for public review, workshops will be held and then public hearings scheduled. Chair Iwamoto and David Tanouye reported that the City Corporation Counsel is reviewing the draft.
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING OF APRIL 9, 2002 – Sakamoto moved and Amantiad seconded that the minutes be accepted. The motion carried unanimously.
NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN REVISION UPDATE - Chair Iwamoto requested the Commission authorize the distribution of the Second Draft Revised Neighborhood Plan 2002 as previously submitted. Sakamoto moved and Sanchez seconded to move forward with the Neighborhood Plan as submitted, for printing. The motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC HEARINGS FOR PETITION AMENDMENTS UPDATE – Elwin Spray reported that the public hearings for amendments to neighborhood boards’ petitions have been completed and that the deadline to submit written comments is May 17. The Commission will be able to take action at its next meeting.
EXECUTIVE SESSION – Sakamoto moved and Amantiad seconded to go into executive session pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 92-4 and 92-5(a)(4) and (8), for the purpose of consulting with the Neighborhood Commission’s legal counsel on questions and issues pertaining to the commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities, especially in relation to the complaint proceeding which follows on the agenda. The motion carried unanimously.
The executive session began at 6:55 p.m. The executive session ended at 7:35 p.m.
Chair Iwamoto reviewed procedures for the following portion of the meeting. The complainant would be allowed to present his case, including the testimony of witnesses; then the respondent would be allowed the opportunity to present her case, including the testimony of witnesses. No cross examinations between complainant and respondent will be allowed.
Commissioner Wickramaratna noted he knows most of the parties involved in this matter and that this relationship will not have a bearing on his decisions.
COMPLAINT HEARING IN THE MATTER OF EARL ARAKAKI AGAINST THE EWA NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 23 (MARCH 21, 2001) – Complainant Earl Arakaki provided a brief background on himself, including working on a past political campaign of Pam Smith, and that the complaint was filed to right a wrong regarding the actions of then-chair of the Board, Mary Miyashiro.
Arakaki reported that he will be addressing six complaints, 1) Relating to the then-chair Mary Miyashiro’s reading of a letter from Tom Berg at the meeting regarding a disagreement with Pam Smith, which allegedly caused damage to Pam and Garry Smith who were candidates in the upcoming Neighborhood Board elections, 2) relating to Miyashiro’s reading of a letter from an anonymous person which had negative impacts on the Smiths’ candidacies in the upcoming neighborhood board election, 3) relating to an agenda item regarding “Sanctioning of Board members Garry and Pam Smith” was placed on the meeting agenda by Miyashiro was done with political motivations, 4) relating to Miyashiro’s bringing up the matter of Pam Smith’s receipt of the Board mailing list, which was previously resolved, for political reasons, 5) relating to failure of Miyashiro to maintain order and decorum, 6) relating to abuse of power by Miyashiro for failing to conduct a fair and impartial meeting.
Arakaki stated that these actions were taken by Miyashiro with the intention of causing the Board to violate provisions of the Neighborhood Plan.
Respondent Mary Miyashiro had no opening statement.
Arakaki requested that all witnesses in this hearing be removed from the meeting room while the case is presented so that any witness’s testimony is not affected by what they hear from anyone else. Deputy Corporation Counsel Tanouye stated that rules excluding witnesses are not applicable in this type of proceeding. Chair Iwamoto declined the request. Tanouye noted that this request will be noted in the final findings of this matter.
Arakaki requested suppression of all evidence of the respondent, as the complainants and respondent Miyashiro were not given the same opportunity to update witnesses lists. Complainants Arakaki and Smith, and Deputy Corporation Counsel Tanouye disagreed on whether or not complainants were given the same opportunity to provide updated witness lists. Relating to evidence on this matter, Arakaki noted that he was not given the opportunity to review Olelo tapes of the meeting, including the non edited and broadcast version which was edited with the assistance of Miyashiro.
Sakamoto moved and Wickramaratna seconded that the request to suppress evidence be denied. The motion carried unanimously.
Tanouye was called as a witness by Arakaki. Tanouye, upon request, defined terms “preponderance of evidence”, and deferred on defining “state of mind of intentionally, recklessly and knowingly and negligently”, but noted that proof of state of mind would have to be proven beyond a preponderance of evidence. The commissioners have to determine whether or not sufficient proof was provided.
Miyashiro had no questions for Tanouye.
Executive Secretary Kama was called as a witness by Arakaki. Kama, who attended the Board meeting at issue, reported that he did witness Miyashiro reading Tom Berg’s letter aloud and was not able to say whether or not doing so was detrimental to Pam Smith, and beneficial to other candidates because he was not aware of the area’s politics.
In response to a question, Kama stated he recalled Miyashiro reading a letter from an anonymous writer aloud making allegations against Pam and Garry Smith. Kama said it was proper for the letter to be read and that only the Board can set its own policy about whether or not letters should be read aloud. Kama could not recall telling Miyashiro that reading the letter was improper, and could not say the reading of the letter had any political damage to the Smiths as he was not aware of the area’s politics.
In response to questions from Miyashiro, Kama stated he could not say whether or not anyone present announced they were candidates for the upcoming Neighborhood Board election, and whether there was any political damage to the Smiths caused by the reading of the letters.
Arakaki noted that a copy of Berg’s letter was provided to the Commission, and that a violation of the Neighborhood Plan, relating to correspondence, was made by the reading of the letter to cause embarrassment. Only mentioning of receipt of the letter was necessary.
Arakaki stated that the reading of the letter from the anonymous writer, whose identification was later acknowledged at a later meeting, alleging crimes, including being terrorized, was not referred to the police or the Commission, and was done to cause political damage to the Smiths.
Arakaki stated that the placing of the “Sanctioning” item on the meeting agenda was done intentionally by Miyashiro to hurt the Smiths’ candidacies in the upcoming neighborhood board elections.
Arakaki stated that Miyashiro made reference to the improper obtaining of the Board’s mailing list by Pam Smith at the meeting, though the matter had been addressed by the Commission, which brought a negative light on the Smiths.
Arakaki noted that reading of letters aloud has not been the practice of the Board, rather the practice was to only summarize letters. However, at the meeting at issue, the practice was changed to read only these two letters aloud, while other letters were only reviewed.
Arakaki state that Miyashiro’s actions violated provisions of the Neighborhood Plan to increase citizen participation by among other things, reading of the anonymous letter while knowing the identify of the writer.
Arakaki stated that the broadcast of the Board’s meetings on Olelo is normally twice a month, but that the meeting at issue was broadcast seven times with Miyashiro’s intent to target Pam and Garry Smith.
Arakaki again requested suppression of evidence by Miyashiro. Chair Iwamoto denied the request.
Miyashiro reported: 1) that the Berg letter related to a disagreement he had with the content of the minutes of the Board’s Parks Committee, chaired by Pam Smith, 2) that she was informed that the letter from the anonymous writer, signed John or Jane Doe, was a legal signature and that she had determined the writer’s identity.
Miyashiro stated that the agenda item “Sanctioning Pam and Garry Smith” was removed from the agenda at the meeting at issue and never discussed.
Miyashiro noted evidence provided says she conducts fair and impartial meetings.
Miyashiro stated that reference was made to Pam Smith’s obtaining of the Board’s mailing list was done as the anonymous writer of the letter, C.C. Curry, made reference to a violation of her rights by the Smiths publishing her name and address.
Tom Berg praised Miyashiro’s conducting of meetings, and refuted Arakaki’s statement that she had any motivations to hurt the campaigns of any opponent in the upcoming Neighborhood Board elections. His letter and comments at the meeting, requested clarifications to minutes of a committee meeting.
Arakaki questioned, and Berg confirmed, that he commended the job Pam Smith was doing as chair of the Parks Committee.
Debbie Hendricks, Iroquis Pt. resident, reported that at the February meeting Garry Smith asked C.C. Curry if she was a registered voter. Hendricks noted that asking such a question is illegal that this led to Curry’s letter about being terrorized due to the publication of a flyer with her name, address and telephone number. Curry’s was read aloud at the following month’s meeting.
Arakaki had no questions for Hendricks.
Karen Wenke, current Ewa Neighborhood Board member, stated no malice by Miyashiro was shown at the meeting at issue.
In response to questions by Arakaki, Wenke noted that it has been the practice of the Board in the past 10-12 years to read some letters aloud. On one occasion a letter regarding closing of a park at night was read aloud by her and the writer’s name was not given due to the writer’s concern about being targeted.
Gary Bautista, current Ewa Neighborhood Board member, stated that different people’s interpretations of what happened at the meeting have been misrepresented to suit their own agendas.
Arakaki had no questions for Bautista.
Jeff Alexander, current Chair of the Ewa Neighborhood Board, reported that: 1) Board meetings are well-run by Miyashiro, and are not contentious, 2) no political harm was done to the Smiths as they were reelected to the Board, 3) past practice has been to summarize some letters, read some letters aloud, and his practice not to read aloud letters from anonymous writers, 4) Miyashiro did not try to take any political advantage by reading the letters aloud, and is fair, 5) the “Sanctioning” item was placed on the agenda in error and believes it was not done maliciously, 6) Miyashiro conducts fair and impartial meetings, though meetings have been contentious, 7) it is common for the Board’s meetings now to be broadcast 10 – 12 times a month, and the extra broadcasts are not done at Board request.
In response to a question from Arakaki, Alexander stated that he would not read an anonymous letter aloud if he believed it would cause trouble. He acknowledged that the letters in question were read aloud, and that at meetings he has chaired, letters are distributed to members, read and summarized.
Closing statements by the complainant and respondent were made at this time.
Arakaki stated that 1) the reading of the Berg letter was politically motivated as Berg and the Smiths were candidates in the upcoming Neighborhood Board election, 2) the reading of the letter from the anonymous writer was libelous and had political implications and it was not a coincidence, 3) the placing of the “Sanctioning” item on the agenda was politically motivated, 4) the reference to the improper obtaining of the Board’s mailing list by Pam Smith was politically motivated, 5) order and decorum was not maintained as the letter from the anonymous writer was not referred to police or the Commission, 6) took issue with Miyashiro’s comments about the Smith’s only now becoming active in the community by serving on the Board after being residents for 25 years.
Miyashiro stated that she welcomed anyone who has lived in the area for 25 years to become active in the community.
Chair Iwamoto declared the hearing closed. A break was called at this time, 9:00 p.m. The meeting reconvened at 9:05 p.m.
Discussion followed on the first complaint regarding whether or not political advantage was sought by the reading aloud of Berg’s letter and Berg noted that this letter related to seeking clarification of minutes of the Parks Committee written by Pam Smith.
Sakamoto moved and Sanchez seconded that the Board deny the first complaint. The motion carried unanimously.
Discussion followed on complaint no. 2 relating to whether or not Miyashiro took political advantage by the reading of the letter from the anonymous writer alleging improper conduct by the Smiths. Miyashiro reported that she read the letter aloud when she became aware of the writer’s concerns and that the writer wanted the Board to be aware of these concerns. Miyashiro noted she was not out to hurt anyone, but read the letter to show the behavior demonstrated by the Smiths not directly related to the meeting.
Arakaki noted that this matter could have been handled differently, such as referring the writer to the police or the Commission.
Kama reported that he approved the reading of the letters by Berg and the anonymous writer, that he did not know the content of the letters before they were read, and that the anonymous writer had already filed a complaint with the Commission and contacted the police on another matter.
Chair Iwamoto noted that it is the prerogative of the Chair whether or not to read letters aloud. Kama noted that Boards can set their own practices on handling of correspondence.
Wickramaratna moved and Sanchez seconded to deny the second complaint. The motion carried unanimously.
Chair Iwamoto relinquished the chair to Vice Chair Sakamoto.
Discussion followed on the third complaint, relating to the placing of the “Sanctioning” item on the Board’s agenda. Arakaki noted that the agenda item can still be found on the Board’s web site and as such, continues to cause harm to the Smiths. Kama reported that the Neighborhood Commission maintains its web site, which includes the minutes and agendas of past meetings, and consideration will be given to removing the “Sanctioning” item from the web site.
Chair Iwamoto noted that there should be a procedure to check the propriety of questionable items on the agenda with the Commission Office.
Arakaki stated that Board meeting at issue was broadcast seven times in one month at the request of Miyashiro, contrary to the meetings only being broadcast only twice a month, to cause political harm to the Smiths.
Alexander stated that it is now common for the Board’s meetings to be broadcast as many at 15 times a month, as the meetings are shown extra times when Olelo has time slots to fill.
Miyashiro reported that the tapes of the meeting are the property of the technician taping the meeting, who edits the tapes then submits them to Olelo for broadcast.
Vice Chair Sakamoto returned the chair to Iwamoto.
Sakamoto moved and Wickramaratna seconded to deny the third complaint. The motion failed, 4-0-1. Sanchez abstained. This item will remain on the agenda for the next meeting.
Discussion followed on the fourth complaint relating to Miyashiro’s violation of the Neighborhood Plan relating to endorsing a political candidate by mentioning a previous complaint that had been resolved. Tanouye noted that endorsing a political candidate is a violation of the Neighborhood Plan. Miyashiro noted that no Board action was taken on this matter.
Sanchez moved and Sakamoto seconded to defer the fourth complaint to the next meeting. The motion carried unanimously.
Discussion followed on the fifth complaint relating to failure of Miyashiro to maintain order and decorum in raising a prior complaint against Pam Smith.
Sanchez moved and Sakamoto seconded to defer action on the remaining complaints number 5 and 6 to the next meeting. The motion carried unanimously.
Tanouye reported that upon further review of records, Garry Smith was not given the opportunity to amend his witness list and that suppression of all additional witnesses and evidence on his complaint should be imposed on all parties.
COMPLAINT HEARING IN THE MATTER OF GARRY SMITH AGAINST THE EWA NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD NO. 23 (APRIL 11, 2001) – Complainant Smith stated that his civil rights were violated by: 1) the Neighborhood Commission Office staff by giving the respondent additional time, 62+ days, to prepare for this hearing, while he was allowed only 10 days, 2) not providing copies of the video tapes of Board meetings, 3) not providing him with other evidence in a timely manner, 4) requested the Commission address the civil rights violations and that the tapes should be discussed by the Commission in executive session, 5) not having the requested suppression of additional evidence and witnesses by the respondent.
Sakamoto moved and Sanchez, that under the advisement of Tanouye, to suppress additional evidence and witnesses of Miyashiro. The motion carried unanimously.
Smith made opening remarks that: 1) Miyashiro’s statements that State law was violated by the release of voter registration information were erroneous, 2) the name, address, phone number of the anonymous letter writer was not obtained from the voter registration list, nor from the Board mailing list, 3) this matter was improperly brought before the Board and was done to try and convince the Board to deny the complaint in violation of provisions of the Neighborhood Plan relating to bringing up matters before the Board.
Miyashiro stated in opening remarks that reference to the writer of the anonymous letter was made in response to Garry Smith’s statement that the voter registration list was public information and available for him to use. Miyashiro noted that the writer stated that her name was not published, and publishing it was a violation of her right to privacy. She also noted that Garry Smith has given differing accounts of where he did or did not obtain the information, and that he had no right to release it.
Smith stated that the information in question is listed in the phone book, it is not illegal to buy a voter registration list, and the information is widely available. He noted that in the anonymous letter writer did not mention a violation of law about using the voter registration list in her complaint to the Commission.
Smith stated that it was improper for Miyashiro to bring up matters not properly brought before the Board.
Smith stated that the information is available in other places and reference was made to the voter registration list only to make a point, that it is one of the sources. He did not get the information from the voter registration list nor accused of doing so.
Smith noted Miyashiro has claimed the name was obtained from various sources.
Miyashiro acknowledged making reference to Pam Smith improperly obtaining the Board’s mailing list from the Commission. Kama could not confirm whether or not the list was destroyed. Miyashiro noted reference to the voter registration list was made because Garry Smith said the list was available for him to release, and that it is not his right to give it out, no matter what the source.
In closing statements Smith stated that the information is available in at least 10 places, including the phone book, the information is out there and once it is, anyone who wants the information can get it. He noted that the voter registration list is available, but limited, and that the Board’s mailing list was only obtained with the intent to update it, and it was returned to the Commission Office. In closing statements Miyashiro stated that the Board felt the Smiths did not have the right to produce a flyer with the anonymous letter writer’s name on it. The flyer stated the Smiths’ position on a matter, and the writer’s opposing position. She noted that it is illegal to publish another person’s name without their permission.
Alexander reported that he only obtained the videotapes for the Board’s use. Chair Iwamoto ruled his statement out of order.
Tanouye stated that some parts of the voter registration list are confidential, but where the information is obtained matters more such as names and addresses from medical records.
Kama stated that Board mailing lists are not released to the public, names alone can be released without addresses.
Sakamoto moved to sustain the complaint. The motion failed for lack of a second.
Sakamoto moved and Wickramaratna seconded to defer this complaint until the Commission is ready to rule. The motion carried unanimously.
MOTION TO RECESS THE JUNE NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION MEETING DATE DUE TO THE KAMEHAMEHA DAY HOLIDAY – Sanchez moved and Shim Sakamoto seconded to recess the June meeting. The motion carried unanimously.
Chair Iwamoto deferred the remainder of the agenda. There were no objections.
ADJOURNMENT: Shim Sakamoto moved and Wickramaratna seconded to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried unanimously.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m.
|Tuesday, June 10, 2003|