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MONDAY, MARCH 31, 2008
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
l. CALL TO ORDER: The meeting was called to order by Chair Tanimoto at 6:40 p.m.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Sheila Apisa (arrived 7:19p.m.), Brendan Bailey, Clara Ching,
MEMBERS ABSENT: None.
GUESTS: Bert Narita (Chair), Barbara Miller,
II. ROLL CALL OF COMMISSIONERS: Roll call of Commissioners were taken at 6:40 p.m., with a quorum of seven (7) of nine (9) members present.
III. FOR INFORMATION:
A. Executive Secretary’s Report – Manke reported on:
Staffing – Dean Harvest was hired on March 17, 2008, as a Community Specialist; Orrin Kupau was hired on April 1, 2008 as a Neighborhood Assistant; Dean Chu retired on February 29, 2008 after 28 years of service; and Wendy Matsukado is on family leave and due to return April 1, 2008.
Update of Council Resolution 07-379 – Resolution 07-379 was introduced by Councilmember Djou. Sixteen NB’s expressed strong opposition;
Comments followed: 1) Tanimoto suggested follow-up with Councilmember Kobayashi’s office regarding amendments. Heinrich previously conveyed that proposals for Charter Amendment changes must be submitted by September 5, 2008. 2) Manoa NB will address this matter at their next meeting. Heinrich is proposing to include information of the number of vacancies in his resolution to oppose term limits.
No Quorum Issues – 1) The Manoa NB continued their meeting despite a lack of quorum. The Ewa NB met and sometime during their meeting lost quorum but continued with their meeting. The NCO is trying to be consistent and has sent communications to these neighborhood boards. 2) The
Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood No. 36 – The first agenda of the new Nanakuli-Maili NB No. 36 was included in Commission member packets. Mervina Cash-Kaeo is the Chair Pro-tem. Manke plans to attend the convening of the first meeting.
On-Line Voting – At a recent budget hearing, Council focused on online voting for the 2009 board elections.
Commissioner Young arrived (6:46 p.m.) during the above portion of the meeting; eight (8) members present.
B. Committee Reports:
1. Budget – Sakamoto had nothing new to report.
2. Training – Nekota reported that the Committee had not met since February 25, 2008; the committee meeting minutes are on tonight’s agenda for approval.
3. Neighborhood Board System Audit – Members of this Committee include Commissioners Nekota, Sakamoto and Mobley.
C. Permitted Interaction Group (PIGroup):
1. Neighborhood Board Minutes/NA Minute Taking – Deferred until Apisa’s arrival. Tanimoto added that a meeting with Apisa and Manke was held to review background information gathered from the NCO.
D. Legislative Update – Tanimoto reported House Bill 2730 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will focus on this House bill to address Sunshine Law amendments for neighborhood boards.
Comments followed that the Office of Information Practices is on board with the bill as well, with minor technicalities. Emails were sent to board chairs to encourage support on getting this bill passed.
IV. FOR ACTION:
A. On-Line Voting for 2009 Elections – Manke gave an overview of the 2007 Neighborhood Board elections and the introduction of online voting. The NCO wanted to look at an alternative method of voting because of the increasing cost of postage and printing of paper ballots. In the last election, the Commission authorized to provide online voting to individuals in uncontested races. Also included was the option to vote online in contested areas as well. Individuals with no computer access or preferred the traditional method were able to call the NCO for a paper ballot.
The rate return was 28% people voting and 10% using the online option. There were no major issues other than some difficulty with the font used for printing the “password” for voting online. This will be fixed as the NCO moves forward. The total cost for the last election was $300,000 with the startup fee included. If the NCO pursues this method again, the costs would be about $70,000 cheaper; the cost of postage/printing of paper ballots would thereby decrease the cost. The City Council is aware of the NCO’s attempt to go online and their recommendation is to pursue the online voting method.
Tanimoto suggested a committee to study the election issues. With the help of NCO staff, Tanimoto suggested putting together a calendar of “To Do” items for the Commission to target. Items included: the plan, legislation, term limits, Council task force, Charter amendments, staff and board member training, agenda/minutes, Council of Chairs and complaints.
In preparing for the next election, the timeline begins in October / November to include publicizing the election and recruiting applicants. The application deadline is January. In previous elections, thousands of dollars were spent to publicize in the newspapers, to include candidate application forms and profile. The rate of return in those years was less than experienced in the last election. In the last election, Manke wanted to send a direct mailer to every voter in the uncontested races, a voter identification number to vote. However, there were no funds. Commissioner’s Bailey, Mobley and Gall volunteered to serve on this committee.
Other questions and comments: 1) A question was raised as to why the NCO elections could not be held with the State general election. Manke advised that discussion with the State Office of Elections revealed that the State law would not allow or provide NB elections to be held with State elections. 2) In reference to military residents, a method is in place for them to register/vote in NB elections. 3) A suggestion was made to submit an editorial piece promoting NB elections in the military newspapers which does not cost anything to do; and to contact the Public Affairs Office for assistance. 4) A suggestion was made to mail out candidate application forms with monthly agenda/minutes for more than one month and that purging the postal list not be done until after the elections are held. Mick replied that purging is done one month after the new board is seated to update the member directory lists. Ure said there are difficulties with that process and asked that the Commission look into the matter.
B. Order and Decorum Issues at Neighborhood Board Meetings – Manke shared correspondence from Councilmember Marshall regarding treatment of her staff member at the meeting of
Discussion followed: 1) There is concern of seeing an increase in this type of behavior at NB meetings and this type of behavior should not be tolerated. 2) A comment that according to the current plan, the chair is responsible for order and decorum; but according to Robert’s Rule of Order (RRO) this would not happen; RRO is very specific calling for the extraction from the meeting. 3) A question was raised whether the NCO received a formal complaint against the
Other comments: 1) The Commission always held training sessions where new members are informed about the rules to abide by and this is a good opportunity for the chair to enforce the rules. 2) A comment was made relating to harassment issues in federal programs that if a person claims to be harassed, it is taken for face value. There is no vote or consensus taken whether a person was harassed or not. 3) It was suggested that public servants be referred to as employees of the City/State and not referred to as public servants. 4) It was noted that a long standing issue dealing with order and decorum issues and abuse. It was expressed that some NB’s are constant with having these problems. When looking at policies, the Commission found that because NB members are not employees of the City & County, harassment issues do not apply.
Commissioner Apisa arrived (7:19 p.m.) during the above portion of the meeting; nine (9) members present.
C. Final Review and Adoption of the Draft Revised Neighborhood Plan – Chair Tanimoto advised that some alternative language has been submitted for consideration to various sections of the draft Plan.
Section 2-14-5 (a) – Ron Mobley suggested the following language: “Members shall make every effort to attend all meetings of the board. If a member cannot attend a meeting, the member shall where possible, promptly notify the chair or another board officer before the meeting.
Mobley moved, Gall seconded that Section 2-14-5 (a) read as: “Members shall make every effort to attend all meetings of the board. If a member cannot attend a meeting, the member shall where possible, promptly notify the chair or another board officer before the meeting.” Discussion followed with concerns that the language limits notification of persons of contact. Suggestions were made to add chair designee as a third possibility would broaden the limits, amend “officer” and “member” includes language that is interchangeable – chair, presiding officer or designee. Comments were made that “shall be expected to” is more appropriate language to use, and there is a need to be consistent with the language.
Young moved to amend Section 2-14-5 (a) to read as, ”Members shall make every effort to attend all meetings of the board. If a member cannot attend a meeting, the member shall when possible, promptly notify the chair, presiding officer or chair designee before the meeting”; Nekota seconded the motion. Discussion followed. Ching questioned the language “when possible” as it should be understood that members notify their absences. Mobley and Apisa indicated that circumstances could prevent that notification. The motion was ADOPTED by unanimous consent. Aye: Apisa, Bailey, Ching, Gall, Nekota, Sakamoto, Mobley, Tanimoto, Young.
Before moving forward, Chair Tanimoto briefly explained where the Commission left off at the last meeting and will be picking up tonight; and discussion on Section 2-18-3, Sanctions Procedure was deferred. Tanimoto felt that changes can be done relatively quickly. Therefore, the Commission will come back to 2-18-3, Sanctions Procedures at a later time.
Chair Tanimoto explained that in the current draft, Definitions, Sections 2-11-2 and 2-12-2 are found separately and stand alone. He suggested that incorporation by reference might be an easier approach. Kitaoka advised that the Neighborhood Plan and the Rules of the Neighborhood Commission are contained as separate documents and when consolidated and the definitions are found only in one section is not good. From a practical point of view, he advised to have them stand alone and able to read the definitions separately.
Section 2-11-2 Definition – Reference was made to the third row, in the alternative to amend the first sentence to read: “Except as otherwise provided in the neighborhood plan, for the purposes of these rules…”; There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-12-2 Definition of Minutes – “Minutes” means any printed record of the proceedings of a meeting used in the process leading up to and including the officially approved record of such meeting.
Discussion followed: 1) Mobley noted that what is being considered is any printed view to be released. According to Robert’s Rules of Order, minutes only are minutes after being approved. So, it would have to be officially approved at a meeting. 2) Kitaoka advised that this is an issue between Robert’s and OIP’s requirements that the disclosure be within 30-days and because it is not always approved within 30-days, OIP is saying that it needs to be disclosed whether it be draft form or otherwise. So, OIP is saying release what you have even if it has not been approved. Whether it’s minutes according to Robert’s, is not a parliamentary question but basically an OIP legal question. 3) Ching raised a point of information regarding Corporation Counsel’s comment was whether OIP says this is no need to approve minutes. Kitaoka indicated that OIP is saying you have to release something within 30-days; and as far as he was concern, there is no opinion saying that OIP has anything to do with approval of the minutes; only that it has to be available within 30-days. 4) Young asked what does HRS Chapter 92 has to say about the minutes. Mick indicated it had something to do with the document being official. Ure noted it tells you what will be in the minutes. 5) Smyth questioned whether the record is “printed” or “electronic”.
Section 2-12-2 to read as: “Minutes” means any record of the proceedings of a meeting…”; There were NO OBJECTIONS. In reply to Young’s comment “any record” would cover “written record” as well.
Section 2-11-7 Computation of time; reestablishment of deadline dates. Chair Tanimoto noted changes to: (a) to include, “…which is not a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.” (b) “…unforeseen conditions or circumstances...”; and all changes for (c); There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Chair Tanimoto noted identical language for Sections 2-11-21 (c) and 2-14-12 (c).
Section 2-11-21 (c) and Section 2-11-12 (c) Quorum and majority vote. – (c) A commissioner who is present at the meeting shall be counted for the purpose of determining quorum. Discussion followed that oftentimes there is some significant discussion when a member goes out of the meeting room and is not at the meeting (i.e. to the bathroom); the change “…shall be counted for the purpose of determining quorum.” was REJECTED. Should read “…who is present at the meeting.”
Section 2-16-28 –
Section 2-16-40 Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board No. 36. – Chair Tanimoto noted that the boundaries will have to be noted due to the formation of the new NB No. 36. There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-17-5 (b) Voter Eligibility and Registration. The alternative language considered was “…neighborhood district and subdistrict where the voter resides.” There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-17-5 (d) Amended to provide voter registration deadline flexibility as follows: “…Friday in February of the election year, unless otherwise directed by the commission.” There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Sections 2-17-5 (e) Technical amendment to read: “…unless otherwise authorized by law.”
Sections 2-17-5 (i) Amended to add in new subdistrict. Mick added that this would make eligible and register candidates pursuant to section 2-17-7 to be registered as a voter for the neighborhood board district for which they are a candidate. There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-17-18 (b) (4) Return of ballots. To amend for process flexibility, per advice of the Neighborhood Commission Office to read: (b) Any ballot which is …..(4) Not sealed in an official envelope; There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-17-21 Ballot Tabulation and Recordkeeping procedures. Amend section for process flexibility and renumber subsections, per advice of the Neighborhood Commission Office. Amendment to read as: “(a) Ballot envelopes containing no ballots or more than one ballot shall be disqualified and declared invalid.” There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-17-28 (i) Recall of board member. Amendment to include the following: “(i) Any individual...to that individual has been accepted by the commission shall not be eligible or election for appointment to any neighborhood board of the city for a period of two years after that individual’s recall or resignation. There were NO OBJECTIONS.
Section 2-18-3 General Provisions for sanction hearings. Concerns were expressed about a hearing date time frame left with no time frame for an ending date. Chair Tanimoto noted that Sections 2-18-A, Hearing of complaints initiated by the executive secretary or the commission and 2-18-B Hearing of complaints initiated by a board, board member, or the public are somewhat repetitive (2-18-A, items 7 and 8 with 2-18-B, items 8 and 9) but easier to read. It also reflects a consistency as: after due deliberation, the commission may render an oral decision and within fifteen calendar days after the hearing, the commission shall issue a decision in writing.
Discussion followed regarding setting a hearings date after which a complaint has been filed and looking at a time limit for NCO staff to get things done. However, given the staff workload, thoughts were that it may box-in staff as well as Commissioners. Apisa and Mobley agreed and supported a time-limit of 60-90 days in which to wrap matters up and provide enough time should the commission not hold a meeting. Mobley added that a hearing date shall be set by the Commission and not the Commission Chair; and that he would like to see a time frame when that date would be set and not left open.
Other comments followed: 1) Takamura wanting to see the sanction happen. 2) Heinrich suggested looking at Section 2-18-3 sub 4(e): “If necessary, the commission shall then set a hearing date to occur within 90-days after receipt of the response. Heinrich also cautioned against trying to set a specific hearing date or avoid the decision to set a hearing date which would allow more flexibility. Mobley agreed. 3) Smyth added that there’s a difference and suggested taking out the word date. 4) Nekota disagreed and preferred the word date because a specific time can still be set. 5) Mobley advised that the rationale and intention is to establish a hearing within 90-days. Apisa expressed her reluctance in taking out the word date. 6) Bailey questioned whether the discussion was to set a hearing date for 90-days or a date for the hearing to be set within 90-days. His suggestion was to phrase it to read as: “If necessary, within 90-days from the date of the response, a date for a hearing maybe set.” Kitaoka noted and Tanimoto agreed that conceptually the hearing can occur more than 90-days.
The Commission recessed at 8:30 p.m.; the meeting reconvened at 8:50 p.m.; nine (9) members present.
Gall moved that the Neighborhood Commission adopt the proposed Title 2, Subtitle 2, Chapter 11 – Rules and Procedures of the Neighborhood Commission, and Chapters 12 through 20; the Neighborhood Plan of the City & County of Honolulu, including the changes accepted by the Neighborhood Commission through tonight’s meeting, and the following provisos:
1. All proceedings pending before the Commission including initiative petitions, other petitions, hearings and investigations that are not completed by the effective date of this subtitle shall continue in accordance with the rules which were in effect when the proceedings were initiated.
2. The 2007 to 2009 neighborhood board term shall be extended from May 31, 2009 to June 30, 2009.
3. The Executive Secretary is authorized to insert a new section in Chapter 2-16 identifying the Nanakuli-Maili Neighborhood Board No. 36 geographic boundaries and to amend the section in Chapter 2-16 describing the boundaries of the Waianae Coast Neighborhood Board No. 24 as affected by the Neighborhood Commission’s action taken on January 28, 2008.
4. The Executive Secretary is authorized to revise or correct article and section designations, grammar, punctuation, and cross-references, and to make such other technical and conforming changes as may be necessary to accomplish the intent of the Neighborhood Commission; and
5. These rules shall become effective as provided by law.
The motion was seconded by Apisa. Discussion followed noting that the adoption is subject to approval by Corporation Counsel. Also, a question was raised as to whether there would be a table of contents included with the page numbers and index. The motion was ADOPTED by unanimous consent. Aye: Apisa, Bailey, Ching, Gall, Nekota, Sakamoto, Mobley, Tanimoto, Young.
D. Complaint Hearing: Manke gave a brief background of two complaints filed (December 22, 2006) by Michelle Matson and Linda Wong against the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights Neighborhood Board No. 5. The complaint was that the acting chair breached the Neighborhood Plan and Robert’s Rule of Order (RRO) at the November 9, 2006 regular meeting of agenda item 9B Oahu High Capacity Transit Corridor. Manke gave an overview from when the complaints were received through the process as required by the Plan. The summary of Corporation Counsel’s September 2007’s summary and recommendation, and the regular minutes of November 2006 were also included with the Commission member’s packet. Complainants, Matson and Wong, were also present tonight and submitted information. Gau, who was the acting chair at the time and no longer a member, also submitted information.
Manke added that NB No. 5 was unable to come to a decision to handle the complaint, and in response, a motion was adopted to refer the matter to the NCO. Matson believes that the Board has to either accept or deny the complaint. However, Deputy Counsel Kitaoka stated that a response was filed but whether it is taken as accepting or denying the complaint is the discretion of the board. Chair Tanimoto asked Matson and Wong to proceed with opening statements.
1. Michelle Matson vs.
Realizing there’s no recourse, the concern was that after six months, confidence in the effective outcome concerning the dysfunctions of the NB had been erased; and now fifteen months later, the situation remedied itself without the NC’s assistance. Despite years of factional turmoil and confusion, the board is now working well together. But had the Commission monitored the board for discrepancies perhaps these problems would not have escalated to this point. It is her hope that this was not an objective of the Commission to delay, so formal matters would not become necessary and a more fundamentally proficient process is available in the future.
Also raised was that the minutes of November 9, 2006 was deficient; noting continuing problems with the neighborhood assistant (NA). Matson prepared a transcript of the meeting from a taped recording. Reading the last 15 minutes of the transcript, Matson highlighted the following which were not reflected in the posted minutes that: (a) the issue was time sensitive; (b) that a motion was moved and seconded to accept and pass the resolution; (c) that action of the motion was deferred by the acting chair to allow additional comments from the audience; and (d) that following the final speakers, the acting chair called for adjournment without proceeding with the board discussion and voting on the motion. Wong, maker of the motion, and others twice appealed the acting chair’s action, and refused to hear the appeal and abruptly closed the meeting.
2. Linda Wong vs.
Testimonies given by: 1) Jay Hardin, member,
Comments followed: 1) Miller, member on NB No. 5, testified there was no acknowledgement of any resolution by the acting chair (Gau); noting that adding the resolution to the agenda would have required action by the board with a two-thirds vote (10). Miller also noted that a statement Manke made at a meeting that no action is to be taken except that what is on the agenda. 2) A comment from the audience said the topic was on the agenda; however, Miller replied that the resolution was not nor was it acknowledged by the acting chair. Her thought is that had the issue been that important why did the maker of the resolution not request to have it placed on the agenda? 3) Matson mentioned that the item was a continuing agenda item because the project was continuing and the presentation was for that evening. There was to have been two presenters but only one presented and the other asked questions from the audience; the other issue was that there solution was passed out to all the board members and the meeting continued for the purpose of the resolution, then the chair said let’s go home. There was a breech of process and asks that the Commission address the matter tonight. 4) Nekota saw that the topic was posted under unfinished business, but questioned whether it was from the previous month for action. Miller replied no. 5) Wong made the motion when the acting chair recognized her and he commented on waiting to hear more discussion on the issue and thereby deferring the motion. She tried to get the resolution on the agenda but it kept getting deferred. 6) Hardin added that he called for the question before the acting chair adjourned the meeting. 7) Bryan Mick (NCO) furnished the October 2007 agenda to determine whether this matter was a continuing item from the previous month.
The Commissioners were informed by Chair Tanimoto that a determination needs to be made whether or not there is enough evidence to support the alleged violation.
Discussion followed: 1) Mobley’s impression was that it’s too late to take any action even if the Commission agrees there’s a legitimate grievance. And since it will not serve any useful purpose because it has already resolved itself, he questions what other action would the Commission recommend other than going on record. 2) Matson stated that at the time, it was a serious problem. Currently, the chair is competent and the board is better. Matson also believes that the Commission needs to address this matter because it occurred and the problem is not uncommon. 3) Miller noted that Reverend Gau took an oath, did the best he could, but was being railroaded. 4) Young commented that the item was under unfinished business and therefore it must have been on a previous agenda.
The Commission clarified two issues that the Commission will need to look at: 1) whether the acting chair properly adjourned the meeting; and 2) whether the November 2006 minutes accurately reflected the meeting. In addition, whether there is enough evidence to support or deny those allegations.
Further discussion followed: 1) Mobley was clear when looking at the minutes that a motion had been made (in two versions of the minutes) and a comment that the rest of the agenda was deferred with objections from Wong who requested consideration of the draft resolution. That appears in both versions of the minutes; now if the motion was made and seconded, then the complaint is valid. And according to the minutes, there was an item already being considered; but the problem is whether the acting chair had a deadline to be out of the room and could not continue past 9:30 p.m. 2) Bailey questioned, since Rev. Gau is no longer on the board, what action is the Commission looking to take? The ultimate conclusion is that the board will have to follow the rules regarding adjournment, addressing motions on the floor and the sunshine law. He’s not sure whether the Commission would have to actually resolve the factual dispute involved because there is no action that can be taken against Rev. Gau at this point; as opposed to adopting a deposition that the Commission recognizes these rules and that in the future all board’s pay better attention. 3) Wong commented only wanting the Commission to recognize that there were violations made.
Young moved to dismiss the complaint since the issue is moot; the parties involved is no longer on the board; and to go on record to say yes the board was in violation; Apisa seconded the motion. Wong was not in favor of dismissing the complaint. She wants the Commission to recognize that there was a violation. Chair Tanimoto took a brief moment for review; and read aloud the board’s action at the January 2007 meeting regarding the approval of the November 9, 2006 meeting minutes; which carried by a vote 9-3-1. If the board approved the minutes, 9-3-1, Young looked at the decision that nine individuals agreed that the minutes are correct. Mobley noted that according to Robert’s Rules of Order, minutes may be amended at anytime in the future.
The Commission took a brief recess, 9:55 and resumed at 9:56.
Young asked to withdraw her motion if there are no objections; Apisa withdrew her second.
Mobley moved that the Commission acknowledge that action on this complaint should have been made earlier; however, action is no longer possible against the temporary chair. The Commission acknowledged that proper procedures were not followed and that following procedures are important and should be followed in the future; Apisa seconded the motion. No discussion followed. The motion was ADOPTED by unanimous consent. Aye: Apisa, Bailey, Ching, Gall, Nekota, Sakamoto, Mobley, Tanimoto, Young.
VI. ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 10:04 p.m.
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