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CITY AND COUNTY OF HONOLULU
MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
JUNE 8, 2004
CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Wickramaratna called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. At this time the Commission members introduced themselves.
COMMISSIONER'S PRESENT: Kalene Sakamoto, Roy Wickramaratna, Ed Gall, Ben Gudoy, Clara Ching, Jeanette Nekota, Pohai Ryan.
COMMISSIONER'S ABSENT: Ben Sanchez.
STAFF: Benjamin Kama (Executive Secretary), Kelley Santiago, Sheri Kajiwara.
GUESTS: David Lemon (Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21), Ron Lockwood (McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8), Tom Heinrich (Manoa Neighborhood Board No. 7), Debbi Glanstein (Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31), Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board: Roxie Berlin, Michelle Matson, Wayne Gau, Barbara Miller, Linda Wong. Seth Harris (City Corporation Counsel).
1. Wayne Gau of Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 noted his objection to a memorandum issued by Benjamin Kama dated May 18, 2004 stating that by default, the Board admitted to complaints filed by Michelle Matson. He added that the board was not allowed the opportunity to discuss the complaints and would like to do so at tonight's meeting.
2. Linda Wong of Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Lois Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 reported that the board has three Vice-chairs', one representing each subdistrict of its board area. She questioned the process of electing the vice-chairs and which of the three would stand in as the chair should he not be present at the board meeting.
Kama responded stating that the board elects its own board members by a majority vote. He added that it is at the discretion of the board as to which vice-chair would run the meeting should the chair be absent.
Barbara Miller of Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 explained that should the chair not be present at the meeting, the board intended to rotate responsibility of the chairmanship between the three vice-chairs beginning with the vice-chair representing subdistrict one.
Pohai Ryan questioned if the explanation as made by Miller was understood by all board members.
Gau stated that the board used the procedure previously and decided to return doing so during this term.
Sakamoto questioned if an explanation of rotating chairmanship was included in the board's minutes.
Gau was unsure if the explanation was included in the minutes.
Wong reported that the rotation of chairmanship as explained by Miller and Gau was not included in the board's motion when electing its vice-chairs or in the board's minutes.
Ryan suggested that at the next election of board officers, the board should clarify its interpretation of rotating chairmanship and include it in the motion.
3. Debbi Glanstein, Kailua Neighborhood Board No. 31 reported the following: (1) New agenda item, Training Committee: She will be following the item very closely and expressed the need for training for all current and new board members. (2) Questioned when legal opinions that affect neighborhood boards be available for review on the web. In response, Kama reported that the legal opinions are in the process of being scanned to the website. He also questioned which legal opinion is needed, as he would send the requested items via mail. (3) Concerns regarding Minute Writing: She expressed that although the minutes pass "spell-check" it does not pass her test of "Standard English". She added that she does not approve of last months meeting minutes and noted that there were many errors. Glanstein reiterated that the minutes are "official records" and its content should be evaluated for grammatical errors. (4) Would like Parliamentary, Leadership and Mediation Training continued as it assists with conducting successful meetings and keeping "peace" between
Board members. She also recommended rotating the location of workshops to accommodate and increase attendance by all boards.
APPROVAL OF REGULAR MEETING MINUTES OF MAY 11, 2004: The following corrections were made:
1. Page 1, Approval of Regular Meeting Minutes of April 13, 2004, paragraph 2: Replace "recommended" with" amended".
2. Page 2, Commissioner's Directory, the following should be added: "Ching stated that she was appointed to the Neighborhood Commission by City Council on February 18, 2004".
3. Page 3, Neighborhood Plan, paragraph 3, remove last sentence, "She also suggested the minutes of the Manoa Neighborhood Board be reviewed for improvement and professionalism".
4. Page 3, Neighborhood Plan the following should be added as discussion: "Matson asked why the Manoa Neighborhood Board did not have any meeting minutes for the month of March. Ching stated that the Manoa neighborhood board member asked Commission Chair Wickramaratna, present at the February 4 meeting, where the board was violating the Hawaii Sunshine Laws since the minutes have not been distributed of approved for months. She also added that the Manoa Neighborhood Board members at their April 7 meeting the Manoa Neighborhood Board Chair, Tom Heinrich, provide drafts of minutes for the past year for approval. Chair Heinrich agreed to provide drafts by the middle of the month".
5. Page 3, Neighborhood Plan, Paragraph 4 should read: "Sanchez called a point of order. Chair Wickramaratna recognized the point of order and proceeded with the meeting".
6. Page 3, Neighborhood Plan, the following should be included as discussion: "Ching asked for information on pre-hearing held by Corporation Counsel".
Sakamoto moved seconded by Nekota to approved the May 11, 2004 Regular Meeting Minutes as amended. The motion carried unanimously, 7-0-0.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND CORRESPONDENCE: None.
1. Nekota raised concern regarding correspondence sent from the Neighborhood Commission Office. She referred to the correspondence that was misdated and contained the wrong contact information.
Kama admitted that inexcusable mistakes were made. He added that NCO is working to improve its editing and proofreading of correspondence.
2. Ching expressed the need for improvement to the minutes for completeness and grammatical content.
3. Wickramaratna reported attending the April meeting of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34 and a community awareness course at the Kapolei Police Station. He encourages others to participate in the course also.
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY'S REPORT: Kama reported the following: (1) City Council has restored funding for the Elections Clerk position at NCO. (2) Resolution 03-54 regarding civil service status for NCO staff was also passed by Council. (3) Public hearing for the eight complaints related to the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34 is scheduled to be heard at the July 13, 2004 commission meeting. Commissioners should have received a
packet from Corporation Counsel on its "findings " related to the complaints. (4) A letter was sent to Mayor Jeremy Harris concerning the removal of Ray Galas from the commission. (5) As requested at the last meeting, Kama reported that he spoke to Kioni Dudley concerning his conduct but was unable to go over some of the issues that were bought up in the complaints. He is looking to speaking with Dudley soon.
Nekota questioned when commission members could expect to receive exhibits submitted by the complainants and respondent of the eight complaints against the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34.
Kama reported that copies of the information would be made available upon receipt from the complainants and respondent. He stated that he sent a letter earlier today to both parties requesting the information. Both parties will have ten business days to submit all exhibits. All information should be submitted to NCO on or by June 21, 2004.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: Sakamoto moved seconded by Gall to enter Executive Session with Seth Harris and Sheri Kajiwara also present. The motion carried unanimously, 7-0-0.
At this time all guests exited the room.
7:17 p.m. – Commission members entered Executive Session.
8:03 p.m. – Chair Wickramaratna called the meeting back to order.
Imposition of Remedy of Complaint filed by Michelle Matson against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 (December 31, 2003) as per Section 1-10.11:
1. Art Ross, Chair, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5, explained that there are personal differences on the board, making it difficult to conduct board business. He noted that there is a group of board members whose efforts are to oust Matson for personal reasons in which he found to be unfair. Ross also stated that the same group of members felt as if the St. Louis Heights area was not getting enough board attention. There were plans to the St. Louis Heights area to form its own board. The item was placed on the agenda for discussion the following month but there was a lack of community support for the plan. Ross admitted that the violations as stated in Matson's complaints did occur but there were members of the board who would not honor the complaints and left the meeting.
Ryan questioned if a request for mediation was made to NCO. Ross stated that he wrote a letter to Kama about four to five months ago with requests for a mediator and parliamentarian but received no response. He did exchange dialogue with Elwin Spray of NCO on parliamentary procedures.
Ryan stated the according to Gau and Miller, the complaints were not included on the agenda for board discussion.
Kama clarified that the complaints by Matson were filed in December 2003, January 2004 and February 2004. The board has placed the December and January complaints on the agenda at its February meeting, where a majority of the board walked out of the meeting. The NCO staff then asked the board for its response to the complaint and Ross stated that he would not submit a response. To date, a response from the board has not been received.
Ross replied that the Board would not honor the complaint, as there are members who have personal differences with Matson.
Ryan noted that because a response was not submitted, it is assumed that the board admits to the complaints. Following the admittance, the commission would decide if a pre and public hearing is needed.
Ross again stated that the violations as noted by Matson in the complaints did occur and were valid.
2. Michelle Matson reported that the first two complaints (December and January complaints) she filed were scheduled to be heard at the board's February 12 meeting. That evening during the process of correcting the board's minutes, six board members left the meeting leaving no quorum and the complaints unheard. The third complaint (February complaint) was filed on February 25 based on the lost of quorum at the meeting and the board's inability to conduct business. She added that in the past months, the board was unable to hear presentations as the meetings were shortened by a majority vote of the board. Matson also expressed that as board's secretary, she assisted the chair with preparing the meeting agenda, obtaining necessary contact information, and proofreading of the board's meeting minutes for inaccuracies before the final draft was printed and distributed. She added that the corrections she made to the meeting minutes were corrections as advised by the Neighborhood Assistant or statements she felt were misrepresented. A majority of the board would often reject her corrections and on February 4 she submitted a letter of resignation as board secretary. Since Matson's resignation, the board's majority voted Miller as the secretary.
Ryan stated that it sounded as if certain board members felt their subdistricts were not represented fairly. Matson disagreed and stated that all issues brought to the board regardless of its board area, were addressed as requested.
Ryan asked Matson to briefly define what she believes the issues of the complaints are.
Matson explained that the first complaint stemmed from violations including misrepresentation by another board member and the lack of understanding of order of decorum, Roberts Rules of Order, Sunshine Law, and the Revised Neighborhood Plan. The second complaint filed on January 30 was due to a two-page petition that was distributed outside of the board's regular meeting place soliciting support to oust Matson as board secretary. The third complaint noted the lost of quorum at the board's February meeting leaving the board unable to conduct its business.
Ryan thanked Matson for her many years of service on the neighborhood board. Matson reserved her right based on other speakers, as there may be concerns she may address.
3. Roxy Berlin, a board member of the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 disagreed with an earlier statement made by Ross suggesting that certain members of the board disliked Matson for personal reasons. She stated that she is appreciative of Matson's work but disagrees with extensive corrections she makes to the meeting minutes. She explained that the board elected Matson as its secretary with hopes that the time she spent offering corrections during the board's regular meeting would be lessened, as she would review the draft minutes for corrections prior to distribution. Berlin stated that Matson's recall as secretary was due to Matson not producing accurate minutes. She added that at one point the board's meeting minutes were 22 pages long with added material that was not presented at the board meeting.
Ryan questioned if there were any unnecessary personal attacks made towards Matson. Berlin said no and added that the board's inability to approve its minutes from October 2003 till current is the cause of the board's problems. She stated that mediation would be helpful to the board.
Ching questioned if NCO provided the board with a Neighborhood Assistant (NA) to produce the board's minutes.
Kama explained that after the NA produces the minutes, it is reviewed by NCO staff for grammatical and spelling errors. The NA then corrects the errors and sends the draft to the chair and/or the boards designated person for corrections. The corrections are made and the final draft is then mailed and corrected by board members at the its regular meeting.
Berlin asked Kama if the board could accept the minutes without any corrections. Kama stated that all corrections must be considered but it is the board's decision on whether the corrections are accepted. A majority vote is then needed for the board's approval of the minutes.
Nekota reported that she previously served as chair on the Mililani Mauka/Launani Valley Neighborhood Board No. 35 and a draft copy of the minutes was sent to all board members for their review and correction.
Berlin stated that the same process did not work for their board.
4. Gau showed the commission an example of the corrections submitted by Matson which contained numerous pages. He stated that the board would review each sentence of the corrections, which is one cause of the problems. Gau also noted that the problems began since the Executive Committee meetings. Matson was not taking the minutes. There was growing feeling among people attending the meeting that the agenda did not include anything regarding St. Louis Heights, pertaining to presentations. There were a presentations made on the Waikiki Special District lasting a minimum of 30 minutes which was not a part of the board's area. Board members were not consulted as to what presentations would be placed on the agenda that Matson and Ross produced. He did a report on issues that arose in the St. Louis Heights and Diamond Head area and invited the parties involved to discuss the issues at the board meeting but his report was not put on the agenda.
In regards to the complaints, Gau stated that he wrote various responses to Matson. The responses were copied and distributed to board members but never discussed. Gau sent a copy of his responses to Seth Harris, Deputy Corporation Counsel, when he learned that there would be no pre-hearing.
As the liaison of the St. Louis Heights Community Association, Gau reported to the board and Councilmember Ann Kobayashi of the concerns raised that the St. Louis Heights area was not being fairly represented at the neighborhood board in terms of the issues being discussed. Councilmember Kobayshi's office conveyed the concern to the NCO and sent a letter to Gau stating that Elwin Spray of the NCO would be glad to work with him.
Gau stated that he expressed concern about Matson's lack for writing minutes at its executive committee meeting at the board's November 13 regular meeting. The board did not meet in December but held an executive committee meeting where he again expressed his concerns that he recorded on a tape recorder. Matson then issued a complaint against him to propose his participation in the proposed separation of the St. Louis Height Neighborhood. The information was conveyed to the St. Louis Heights Community Association who dropped the idea of the separation.
Ryan questioned if the St. Louis Heights area has more representation since Matson' s replacement. Gau said "yes" and "no" and commented that because Ross is the chair of the board, he still decides what will be on the agenda. Matson's complaints were not placed the board's April agenda for discussion, which is why it was considered a default.
Gau commented that mediation would not help the board and noted how hostility on the board.
Ryan asked what he thought the commission could do to assist in improving the boards. Gau responded stating he doesn't see the board doing anything for St. Louis Heights. He has asked that the St. Louis Heights Community Association become more involved in dealing with issues bought up by residents of the area and be dealt with by the association. He added that it is a necessity for participation on both the board and association to convey the concerns of his area.
Nekota asked if a vote was taken at the executive committee meetings to determine what issues would be placed on the regular meeting agenda. Gau stated that at the July 1, July 29, September 25 and October 30 a vote was taken.
Nekota questioned the intent of the executive committee meetings. Gau stated that the intent was to provide reports and feedback from individual board members to the officers and to produce the agenda for the following regular meeting.
Nekota noted that the board may put an item on the agenda with a two-thirds vote. She also explained that while she was chairperson of the Mililani Mauka Neighborhood board, there were standing items on the agenda which reports would be given every month. In example, the Mililani Town Association would be listed on the agenda and a report was given by its representative every month.
Matson commented that their board does the same. Gau responded by noting that the item is placed on the agenda under Committee Reports, which is late in the meeting.
Ching questioned the status of the attempt made to form a board in the St. Louis area. Gau stated that the St. Louis Heights Community Association dropped the idea because of a complaint filed with Office of Information Practices (OIP) against him by Matson with in December. Ching suggested that the idea of forming another board would give the area more representation. Gau commented that he will not be involved in any separation of St. Louis Heights from the board because of the complaints by Matson and the trouble he faced defending himself.
Kama clarified that Gau spoke to Councilmember Kobayashi about the proposed separation. Councilmember Kobayashi sent a letter to NCO and was provided with information of forming a board. The information was given to Gau and he contacted the NCO where Spray was advised by Kama to assist him.
5. Barbara Miller, a board member of the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board clarified that she previously spoke to Kama regarding the board minutes and has never made any personal comments about Matson. Also, at the board Executive Committee meeting held in December, she was asked by Ross to produce the meeting minutes and noted that she did not volunteer to take the minutes. She stated that there has been a lot of misinformation given by Matson and was willing to entertain any questions from the commission.
Ryan questioned how the board could be more productive. Miller suggested that information, concerns and announcements relating to a specific board area be referred to the person voted as the vice-chair of that area.
Nekota questioned if the board had previously had problems with putting items on the agenda. Miller said "yes".
Nekota asked if she attends the Executive Committee meeting. She stated that she does attend the meeting and explained that the board has not an Executive Committee meeting since December. Nekota noted that she felt the problems were coming out of the committee meeting. Miller added that she called Ross in September requesting a recall of the secretary be placed on the agenda in which Ross hung up the phone and the issue was not discussed.
Nekota questioned if there were ongoing Committee meetings other than the Executive Committee. Miller said that there is a Parks Committee meeting where the committee chair made copies of her report for the board and it was never discussed. She expressed that committee reports would sometimes be included as part of the board minutes, even if it was not discussed by the board. She noted attending a committee meeting conducted by Matson and commented that she was rude. Miller went on to explain she was told Matson spent an hour and a half on corrections to the minutes at a two-hour committee meeting. She stated that at the same meeting, Matson made an insulting personal attack towards her and included it in the minutes that were distributed to the board's mail list.
Linda Wong stated that she has no problems at her committee meetings. She reported that she while waiting for the earlier executive session to conclude, she was told by Miller "well, is that all you come to these meetings for, that's just trivial". She added that she attends the board's Executive Committee meetings.
In response to comments made earlier, Matson stated that there were many fabrications of facts. She added that the corrections she makes to the minutes are based on subsitive points made during discussion that in some cases were left out. In one case, a misstatement was made that she presented a committee report as her personal report. That statement was corrected. She believes that the reasons Gau's issues were not sometimes completed by the board because of the time constraint to end the meeting at 9 o'clock as voted for
by the members. She reported on issues about the St. Louis Heights area that were addressed by the board such as Dole Street and St. Louis dumping, St. Louis traffic hazards, abandoned vehicles, park improvements, Diamond Head Road park issue which the board voted on.
6. Dave Lemon, Pearl City Neighborhood Board No. 21 expressed his concern of the issue being seven to eight months old and unresolved. He would like to see issues resolved so the problems won't perpetuate itself across the neighborhood commission.
Ryan moved seconded by Sakamoto to defer decision on the complaints for 60 days and have Elwin Spray of the Neighborhood Commission Office assist the Neighborhood Boards in coordinating parliamentary and decorum training and revisit item after 60-days.
Ryan and Nekota noted the importance of reassessing board districts for those boards with growing communities.
Kama reported attending the January and February regular meeting of the NB 5. He stated that both meetings ran smoothly but was upset that the Neighborhood Assistant conducting the meeting as staff is told that they are not to interfere with the meeting. Kama suggested the commission revisit the issue after the board elections.
Nekota noted that a lot of board members are not attending training workshops held by NCO.
Gall asked the complainants to withdraw their complaints and start a clean slate. He stated that there is no remedy to the situation.
Matson stated that the commission needs to determine the merit of the complaints.
The motion carried unanimously, 7-0-0.
Request by Linda Wong, Complainant, for Commission reconsideration of complaint filed against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5 (February 13, 2004) – Linda Wong requested reconsideration of her complaint filed against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board. She noted having a virus on her computer that caused a delay in the filing her complaint which violated Section 1-10.4 of the RNP stating that the complaint shall be filed on a form furnished by the commission and shall be filed within forty-five (45) calendar days from the date of the alleged violation(s) or wrongdoing(s). Wong also stated that she submitted materials to Kama explaining of her illness prior to the filing deadline and noted that she was unable to attend the Commission's April meeting where her complaint was heard, as she was hospitalized.
Ryan stated that the Commission would like to work Wong in resolving the complaint.
Kama stated that there is no complaint filed by Wong as the Commission dismissed the complaint at its April meeting.
Nekota moved seconded by Sakamoto to reconsider the complaint filed by Linda Wong. The motion carried unanimously, 6-0-1 (Abstain: Wickramaratna).
The item will be placed on the next agenda for imposition on remedy.
Commissioner Concerns – None.
Neighborhood Plan – Gall reported that the RNP is progressing and recommended that the Commission look into changing the board term from a 2-year term to a 4-year term.
Budget – No report.
Elections – No report.
Training – No report.
SCHEDULING OF THE NEXT NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING: The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 13.
ADDITIONAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: None.
Planned Public Hearing for Boundary Change Proposal for the McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 – Ron Lockwood, Chair, McCully/Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8 stated that the boundary change proposal from the board should also include a reduction in board seats. He questioned when the public hearing would be held so he could inform his board.
Kama stated that the public hearing would take place on Thursday, July 8 at McCully District Park, Room 1.
ADJOURNMENT: Sakamoto moved seconded by Nekota to adjourn the meeting. The motion carried unanimously, 7-0-0.
|Monday, July 12, 2004|