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CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
AUGUST 10, 2004
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
CALL TO ORDER AND INTRODUCTION OF COMMISSIONERS: Chair Roy Wickramaratna called the meeting to order at 6:35 p.m. with a quorum present. The Commission members introduced themselves.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Pohai Ryan, Jeanette Nekota, Clara Ching, Roy Wickramaratna and Benjamin Sanchez.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Kalene Sakamoto, Benjamin Gudoy, Ray Galas and Ed Gall.
STAFF: Benjamin Kama (Executive Secretary), Sheri Kajiwara, Terry Morris, Elwin Spray, Kelley Santiago, and Kathleen Kelley (City Corporation Counsel).
GUESTS: Clifton Takamura and Ron Lockwood (McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8), Wayne Gau, Barbara Miller, Karen Ah Mai, Bert Narita, Michelle Matson, Linda Wong and Steve Knauer (Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5), Tom Heinrich (Manoa Neighborhood Board No. 7), and Albert Furuto.
ELECTION OF NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION OFFICERS: Sanchez moved seconded by Ryan to keep the current slate of officers.
Discussion followed: (1) Nekota questioned who the current officers were. Wickramaratna noted that he is Chair and Gall is the Vice-Chair.
The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
PUBLIC INPUT: Speakers were given a 3-minute time limit.
1. Clifton Takamura reported that the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 has filled one of its vacancies but still has vacancies in subdistricts one, two and three.
2. Michelle Matson, a member of the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 raised concern regarding a personal comment made against her by Commissioner Gall at their last board meeting. She added that at the last Commission meeting, it was Gall who requested that the complaints she filed against the board be dismissed.
Wickramaratna interrupted Matson noting that Gall was not present to defend himself.
3. Karen Ah Mai, Chair, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 stated that the discomfort regarding the actions of the board’s previous chair Ross and secretary Matson began almost immediately after the board’s election of officers in June 2003. Such feelings were built to the point that a majority of members felt that a change was needed. For example, Ah Mai noted events that led to the discomfort by a majority of the board such as: 1) The Chair’s decisions announced at an Executive Committee meeting was reversed on the following meeting’s agenda; 2) Minutes for the July 1 meeting, filed in March 2004, after a complaint to Office of Information Practice (OIP) were inaccurate and incomplete to the point that people rightly wondered if they were at the same meeting; 3) A multi-Board meeting was held, with announcements sent on Board stationary, without the Board ever having voted on it; 3) The board overran its operating account of $1520 with a mailing list of 360 (plus 15 board members). In the past, the board has done over 300 pieces of mail for the same amount.
She added that the will of the Board is expressed through its majority, administered fairly through the rules governing the Board, through common sense, and through fact, not through violation of First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and the intimidation of fellow board members via the formal complaint process.
4. Al Furuto, former member of the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, raised concerns regarding current board vacancies. Furuto explained that at the board’s last meeting on August 5, three residents were interested in filling the vacancies but none was appointed by the board due to a lack of majority votes.
5. Linda Wong, member, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5, explained that she was unable to attend a “fact-finding” meeting conducted by Seth Harris of the City Corporation Counsel, regarding complaints she filed against the board. She received a letter from Harris, dated July 19, notifying her of the meeting that was scheduled for July 28th. She did not attend as she was released from the hospital on July 22. She called Harris’ office and informed his assistant that she was unable to attend the meeting. Harris returned her call, explained that she didn’t have to attend the meeting and referred her to Ben Kama.
6. Barbara Miller, Secretary, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5, stated that she wrote the Minutes for the Board’s December 16 meeting. She added that a resident has used a tape-recorder to record the minutes in which Matson converted into a 24-page transcript. Miller stated that she spoke to Kama about the situation in which Kama explained that the minutes should have been mailed as they were submitted. Miller noted that there is no reason for anyone on the board to complain as she has missed only one meeting.
Matson distributed a packet of correspondence supporting the complaints she filed against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5.
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES OF JULY 13, 2004: The following corrections were made:
1. Page 1, GUESTS: Linda Wong should be listed as (Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5), remove (Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34).
2. Page 1, PUBLIC INPUT, No. 3 should read: “Linda Wong” and not “Daisy Murai”.
3. Page 2, PUBLIC INPUT, No. 5, line 4 should read: “month’s” and not “month/s”.
4. Page 10, Line 10, remove and replace with the following: “Sakamoto moved seconded by Nekota that the meeting be recessed until July 27, 2004. The motion carried unanimously.”
5. Throughout the minutes, remove the “relation” of Michael Golojuch and family members as complaints were filed as individual residents. Ryan agreed and questioned if it is appropriate to included relations.
Kama explained that at several points, relationships were identified as done by Maeda Timson.
Nekota noted that Timson introduced her husband.
Ching raised a concern regarding the motion made on the adjournment of the meeting. She asked that the motion be reconsidered as the intention was to recess the meeting and reconvene in two weeks.
Kama offered that a transcript of the meeting could be prepared for Commissioner review.
Ryan moved seconded by Nekota to defer approval of the July 13, 2004 meeting minutes upon review on the meeting’s transcript. The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
Matson mentioned her letter of July 16 requesting additional information be placed under “Unfinished Business”.
The meeting was taken out of order.
Referring to complaints filed by Matson, Steve Knauer, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 noted his opposition.
Wong attempted to question Knauer.
Knauer left the meeting for another engagement.
Ching noted that Knauer mentioned the February 25, December 31 and the January 30 complaints.
The meeting resumed order.
Chair – Wickramaratna attended the Ala Moana/Kakaako Neighborhood Board No. 11 meeting in July and added that the meeting ended in an hour and a half.
Commission Members – Nekota attended the last Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34 meeting and noted that the Chair conducted the meeting well. She added that the sound system from the Neighborhood Commission Office arrived late.
Commission Concerns – Wickramaratna reported that a letter has been sent by the Mayor for Galas’ removal.
Ryan questioned why a letter was sent to Galas and noted that he violated requirements to remain on the Commission. She questioned if he still lives on the island and added that he missed more than three Commission meetings.
Kama explained that a procedure must be followed before the Commission is able to replace Galas.
Sheri Kajiwara added that the Mayor’s letter stated that as of the date of the letter, he is no longer a Commissioner. All correspondence to Galas has been sent to his last known address.
Nekota raised concern that the July 13 meeting is supposed to have been recessed until July 27. She noted that the agenda received in the mail regarding the July 27 meetings was not concurrent with the July 13 agenda and then was notified that the meeting was cancelled.
Kama stated that he understood the public hearing held on July 13 was recessed, but the Regular Meeting was adjourned.
Nekota stated that the intent was to finish the Regular Meeting on July 27.
Kama noted that according to the minutes, the Commission recessed the Public Hearing then adjourned the Regular meeting. He added that transcripts of the Public Hearing would be done.
Ryan noted that it was not the intention of the Commission to adjourn the Regular Meeting. Instead, the Commission intended for the Regular Meeting to recess and reconvene on July 27.
Nekota stated that the motion made was to recess the meeting, and not to adjourn it.
Wickramaratna recalled the Public Hearing being recessed and the Regular Meeting adjourned.
Nekota, Ryan and Sanchez agreed that it is their understanding that the remainder of the Regular Meeting was recessed until July 27.
Kama stated that he would review the meeting tapes along with the transcripts.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY’S REPORT: Kama had no report and announced that the reconvening of the Public Hearing would be held on Tuesday, August 31. Letter notices have been sent to the complainants and respondent.
Sanchez requested that such notices be sent to the Commissioner’s at the same time.
Kama stated that he would send the agenda notices to the Commission mail list the next morning.
Boundary changes for McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 – Clifton Takamura, boardmember, stated that he has been working on the proposal for five years. The proposal includes change of sub district boundaries, forming three sub districts based on the vertical streets of McCully and Univeristy Avenue and reduce the total number of seats from 17 to 13, with the seats being apportioned based on total board population to five seats each for the two eastern-most subdistricts (Moiliili and University) and three seats for the western-most sub district (Kalakaua-McCully).
The Neighborhood Commission held a public hearing in the McCully-Moiliili community at the McCully District Park, Meeting Room #1, on Thursday, July 8, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. There were five testifiers at the hearing and additional written testimony was submitted prior to the 4:30 p.m. deadline on July 26, 2004.
Al Furuto, former member of the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, opposed the proposal and submitted an opposing petition of 39 signatures. He stated that the proposal disenfranchises the area of subdistrict 3, meaning that any neighborhood board vote, even if all three members of the subdistrict vote against a measure, could be overridden by the majority members from subdistricts 1 and 2. Furuto also explained that he and his brother volunteered to fill a vacancy on the board, but the board instead voted to keep the vacancy.
Ron Lockwood, Chair, McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8, commended Takamura for his efforts and supported the proposal. He added that numerous meetings were held on the issue with time allowed for concerns and comments to be made. Lockwood also noted that the Board unanimously supported the proposal.
Ryan questioned the current number of seats in each subdistrict.
Lockwood stated that there are five seats in subdistrict 1, six seats in subdistrict 2 and six seats in subdistrict 3.
Ryan questioned why the board did not accept Furuto or his brother to fill the vacancy.
Lockwood stated that regarding Furuto’s brother, an abstention was made by a member who had questions about the individual. As for Furuto, Lockwood stated that he previously worked with Furuto as a boardmember and would not like to work with him again. Lockwood stated that he could not speak for the rest of the board.
Furuto recommended that subdistricts 2 and 3 be more equitably distributed according to population in which each subdistrict would have five representatives.
Wickramaratna asked Furuto why he didn’t participate in discussions about the re-districting. Furuto had no response.
Tom Heinrich noted his support for the proposal and gave brief background of the board area.
Nekota questioned if notices were mailed to the board’s mailing list. Lockwood confirmed that adequate notices were given to the public.
Elwin Spray of the Neighborhood Commission Office reported that in addition to notices mailed, a notice was published in the newspaper regarding the hearing.
Ryan questioned the petition submitted by Furuto containing 39 signatures of residents in the area who opposed the proposal.
It was clarified by Kama that the boundary change proposal does not require a Charter Amendment.
Ryan acknowledged Takamura’s efforts and added that sometimes people will participate in the latter part of a project with their objections. She encouraged Takamura to continue his efforts.
Ah Mai stated that the petition submitted by Furuto included only 39 signatures and is not be a big deal considering the size of the community. She added that the Commission should consider the nature of the community and the amount of time it takes to get 39 signatures.
Wickramaratna agreed with Ah Mai.
Nekota questioned if the signatures on the petition were of residents of subdistrict 3.
Furuto stated that not all signatures were from subdistrict 3 residents.
Wickramaratna recommended that Furuto invite those in opposition to the proposal to the meeting.
8:45 p.m. – The Commission took a brief break.
8:51 p.m. – The meeting resumed.
Ryan moved seconded by Sanchez to defer decision on the proposal pending further information. The motion failed, as a minimum of 5 votes supporting the motion was not achieved, 4-0-1. (Abstain: Wickramaratna)
Ryan moved seconded by Nekota that the Commission not accept the proposed redistricting of the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 as presented at tonight’s meeting.
Ryan agreed that redistricting is needed, but representation should be more equitably distributed.
An amendment was made to the motion that the members of the Board and NCO work to create a more equitable boundary to be presented at the next meeting.
The new motion reads:
Ryan moved seconded by Nekota that the Commission not accept the proposed redistricting of the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 as presented at tonight’s meeting, and request that members of the board and Elwin Spray of the Neighborhood Commission Office work to create a more equitable boundary for subdistrict 3 to be presented at the next Commission meeting. The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
Guests were asked to leave the room as the Commission prepared for Executive Session.
EXECUTIVE SESSION: Executive Session began at 9:17 p.m.
Executive Session concluded at 9:31 p.m.
Chair Wickramaratna called the meeting back to order.
Ryan moved seconded by Sanchez to limit all speakers to 30 seconds each as testimony on the subjects have already been heard at previous meetings. The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
A 30-second time limit was imposed for all speakers.
Request by Wayne Gau to dismiss the Michelle Matson complaints – Gau submitted written testimony, which included a chronological summary of events supporting his request.
Miller stated that the real issue is the previous chair’s unwillingness to pursue Matson’s complaints in accordance to the Neighborhood Plan.
In response to Miller, Matson stated that the complaints were properly noticed on the board’s February 12 agenda. The chair deferred the matter to allow other more important issues to be resolved. Before the board considered the complaint, members left the meeting leaving no quorum.
Ah Mai noted her support for dismissal of the complaints filed by Matson.
Ryan moved seconded by Gau to dismiss the complaints filed by Michelle Matson as requested by Wayne Gau.
Ryan commented that her main concern is that the members work to exercise better decorum and training under the direction of the new board chair.
The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
60-day deferment of Michelle Matson’s cases against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 – The complaint was dismissed.
60-day deferment of Linda Wong’s complaint case against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 (filed on February 13, 2004) – Wong submitted correspondence to the Commissioners, which included statements made by Knauer to “shut up” at an Executive Board meeting. Included in the complaint was a concern that Knauer also solicited votes at the same meeting.
Ah Mai stated that there is a procedural problem. She noted Wong’s complaint was filed after the 45-day deadline and should not have merit.
Ryan noted that in June, the Commission extended the due date of the complaint filed by Wong due to communication problems.
Miller commented on the Sunshine Law’s Open Meeting requirements.
Nekota noted that the complaint would be sent to the board for the denial or acceptance.
Ryan moved seconded by Sanchez move forward with the February 13, 2004 filed by Linda Wong.
The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
Wong requested that the Commission meetings be held when all Neighborhood Boards can be present.
NEW BUSINESS: None.
Neighborhood Plan – Wickramaratna reported that he and Gall met with Heinrich who stated that the Revised Neighborhood Plan should be ready in six weeks.
Ryan noted concerns raised by community members regarding dual service, defining conflict of interest and inappropriate behavior between members that may put the City at risk for liability.
Budget – No report.
Elections – No report.
Training – No report.
SCHEDULING OF THE NEXT NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING: The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 14, 2004.
1. Ching announced The Jade Ribbon Campaign of Hawaii to fight Hepatitis B and Liver Cancer.
ADJOURNMENT: Ryan moved seconded by Sanchez to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried unanimously, 5-0-0.
Chair Wickramaratna adjourned the meeting at 10:06 p.m.
|Tuesday, September 28, 2004|