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Neighborhood Commission


MONDAY, JULY 25, 2011   



CALL TO ORDER – Chair Brendan Bailey called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. At this time, Chair Bailey was presented with a lei and certificate for his dedication and service to the Neighborhood Commission.


Members Present – Brendan Bailey, Robert ‘Bob’ Finley, Ed Gall, Wilson ‘Kekoa’ Ho, Ron Mobley, Robert Stubbs, Claire Tamamoto (arrived 7:02 p.m.) and Sylvia Young.


Members Absent – Jeanette Nekota.


Guests – Robert Whitaker, Charles Zahn (Member, Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB No. 34), Mike Golojuch, Sr. (Palehua Townhouse), Daisy Murai, Lynne Matusow and Tom Smyth (Members, Downtown NB No. 13), Debbi Glanstein (Member, Kailua NB No. 31), Steve Glanstein, Ron Lockwood (Member, McCully-Mo`ili`ili NB No. 8), Kamila Chan (Deputy, City Corporation Counsel), J. Thomas Heinrich (Executive Secretary), Bryan Mick (ES Assistant), Theona Kapoi, and Marie Richardson (Neighborhood Commission Office staff). A hand full of members in the audience did not sign in.   


Roll Call of Commissioners – A roll call of members established a quorum of seven (7) Commissioners present.


Finley moved to take agenda item 3.1 Election of Neighborhood Commission Officers out of order; Young seconded the motion. The motion was ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY by a vote of 7-0-0 (Aye: Bailey, Finley, Gall, Ho, Mobley, Stubbs, and Young).




Citizen Advisory Delegate – Tom Smyth raised awareness regarding the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization and questioned whether a delegate can be selected who is not a NB member to represent the board. This matter has a broader impact with other organizations that may include NBs, so perhaps a determination can be made.    


Several Concerns of Conflict – Lynn Matusow raised several issues of conflict: 1) For Commissioners who are also NB members and serving as officers on the Commission. 2) The Ala Moana NB has put on this month’s agenda filling of vacancies before election of officers; which violates the Plan as it is currently. 3) The invocation introduced by Commissioner Stubbs at the ‘Installation Ceremony’ where religion was introduced into city business. She expressed all should have been welcomed regardless of belief but by asking those gathered to bow their heads in prayer and referring to Jesus Christ offended some that attended. Mayor Carlisle has been contacted inferring that some type of policy be put in place.


Newbie Issues – Ron Lockwood reported the McCully-Mo`ili`ili NB had five new board members that had no idea of what to expect at the first meeting of the new board term. At the installation and orientation of the new board, board organizational procedures and elections of officers were not discussed. At the first board meeting of the new term, four members abstained for not having any idea who the people were, and abstained on actions relating to board issues for not knowing anything about those issues. The new members also had no idea the size of the board, the geographic area of coverage, how meetings there are, board attendance, and the duties of officers; or a general description of the board. There was also no way of introducing new members to old board members before the meeting, except via the NCO due to privacy laws.


Community Wide Clean-Up and Graffiti Paint-Out – There will be an island wide clean-up on Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. For the McCully-Mo`ili`ili area, volunteers are encouraged to meet at the Prince Kuhio Elementary School. Lockwood expects about 800 volunteers of residents, businesses, schools, non-profit groups, and law enforcements agencies (a flyer was distributed).


Liquor License Concerns – Daisy Murai asked about the requirements when applicants apply for liquor licenses, and whether the matter is required to be on the NB agenda. In various areas, she noticed that the public hearing notice is posted on the agendas. In other areas, there is no mention of any public hearing notice by the NB. The concern is that these types of public hearings should be announced by the NB. It was also noted that every property owner within 500 feet of the establishment are to be notified. 


Conduct of Board Members – Steve Glanstein reported that the Ewa NB No. 23 had seven minutes of peace when ES Heinrich talked about shared responsibilities with respect to the services and support that the NCO can provide. Shortly thereafter it went downhill. Glanstein highlighted some issues and concerns of actions that reflect all NBs in the entire system and suggested that a message of discourse, anger, and bullying is evident and hurts the whole system. This in itself highlights that there is a need for a training program system wide and guidebook to accomplish these types of actions.    




Planning of the Neighborhood Commission’s Meeting and Activity Schedule for the July 2011 to June 2012 Period – Chair Bailey noted that currently the NC meets the fourth Monday on prescheduled dates. Finley moved to support the current meeting schedule; Young seconded. Discussion followed noting that in a research some time ago, the fourth Monday had the least conflict with other neighborhood board meetings, and in Chapter 11, the NC is only obligated to meet six of 12 months in a year. The motion was ADOPTED UNANIMOUSLY by a vote of 8-0-0 (Aye: Bailey, Finley, Gall, Ho, Mobley, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young).


Consideration of the Establishment of Neighborhood Commission Committees – ES Heinrich reported that in certain conversations or emails with some of the Commissioners since the last meeting, there were several suggestions for standing committees as follows: a) Elections Committee – As an on-going preparation for upcoming elections; b) Budget or Finance Committee – As an annual budget process preparation; and c) Neighborhood Plan Committee – As where issues have come up, and where language and flexibility needs to be tweaked appropriately in the Neighborhood Plan. There have been other suggestions, but with the rising scope of discussion, this certainly is a starting point.


Discussion by the Commissioners followed:


  1. Training Committee – Mobley heard from the audience that there is a dire need of training for NB members. Therefore, he included the need for a training committee as well and making them all viable.


            The task of the Commission is to review the Plan continually and make sure it is performing properly. However, things that the Commission is expected to do, the Plan does not specifically give the Commission authority to implement.


            Although a training committee is good to have, the NCO is the one that executes that service; Finley would hate to take that authority away from the NCO. There was consensus in agreement that it is the duty and responsibility of the ES to set the training programs.


  1. Leadership from NC – Tamamoto asked Heinrich whether he seeks some kind of leadership from the Commission or is the task within his scope of duties as the ES. Heinrich added that in Section 14-103 of the City Charter, the Commission’s responsibilities are broad and vague, and consist of the following three: 1) The creation of the NP; 2) The evaluation of the Neighborhood Board System, and 3) The assistance of the formation of neighborhoods at the request of the community. But beyond that, the Commission needs to look at Chapter 11, Rules and Procedures of the Neighborhood Commission.


In Heinrich’s view, a training committee should be something that the Commission is regularly engaged with in terms of it’s evaluation of the NCO and NBS. There are two parts in Chapter 11 of interest two different statements in two different sections of the Plan; a) That the NC shall have no responsibility in the administrative affairs (day-to-day operations) of the NCO; and b) That the Executive Secretary shall report to the Managing Director and shall serve as the administrator for the Commission and the NCO. So the distinction of the NC and the NCO, Heinrich believes that the Commission and the NCO will all be charged with thoroughly reviewing where and how the NBS is doing and how else might the staleness of some of that might be turned around.   


Comments from the Audience followed:

  1. Election of Officers – Smyth stated that most organizations would elect officers first before forming committees because of membership issues and suggested the Commission might reconsider that option. Heinrich said there are several items for the Commission to discuss before taking any action. But making any decisions tonight is not necessary, but eminent based on overall consideration of organizations.    


  1. Training – Matusow noted that a realization is that the Commission and the board members are all volunteers, and that the board members cannot be forced into doing anything. Ewa NB however bad they may be is as saints compared to Washington D.C., who gets paid.


      Mobley reiterated the item for discussion is consideration of establishing committees and not the     establishment of them; this opens the doors for ideas. Chair Bailey clarified when the committees are     established the Chair has the belated authority to appoint, unless otherwise directed by the Commission       as a body. The Commissioners agreed not to formulate any committees tonight. 


      ES Heinrich invited whoever will succeed Chair Bailey to communicate with him about formulating a             jurisdiction statement consistent with tonight’s discussion, in preparation for the next meeting.     


Proposal to Establish a Moratorium on Neighborhood Board Meetings During the Period of October 15 to November 15 Due to Activities Related to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC 2011) Conference in Honolulu – Chair Bailey indicated when he prepared the agenda the, “Proposal to Establish a Moratorium” might have been the wrong word used, and that more appropriate should have been, “Proposal to Recommend a Moratorium.” Looking at the rules, there is nothing that grants the Commission the authority to establish a moratorium. At this time, Chair Bailey referred to ES Heinrich.


In Section 2-11-201(a) General Powers, Duties, and Functions of the Commission, the role of the Commission shall be responsible for establishing policy and providing oversight evaluation of the NBS. The idea for discussion was that the city, state and federal agencies are included in the pre-event planning. The major concern was the resources and attendance of the fire, police, and other governmental representatives would highly unlikely be available during this period leading up to and including the duration of APEC. Having the Commission consider a resolution that might establish a moratorium from October 15 to November 15, 2011 is a unique situation.  


Heinrich received a number of phone calls and emails with a variety of perspectives such as the Commission has no authority; this is a grass roots democracy, the boards calling their own meetings, etc. In one respect that is true, but in another, the Commission is charged with the responsibility at a policy level for the NBS. More importantly there are three considerations: 1) That many of those representatives (police, fire, governmental agencies, etc.) are not going to be available; 2) That the board could meet but that the NCO staff, as part of the Mayor’s office, is also on-call during that period; and 3) That the language and tone on any such resolution is critical. There are a lot of different perspectives but that this is discussion for the Commission should they further wish to consider.


Discussion by Commissioners followed:


  1. Meetings/Recess – Some of the comments mentioned the number of meetings that the NB’s are required to hold and that many of the NB’s normally recess in December.


  1. NP Violation – Another mention included a possible violation of the Plan should the NB’s lapse two meetings consecutively; and the possibility that the NCO staff may not be able to support the boards during this period.


  1. APEC Volunteers – There are a number of NB members participating as volunteers. So far, one NB has opted to reschedule their meeting. But a comment was that it be left to the individual NB’s to decide what best would work for their board. Also to be taken into consideration, is whether the boards would have sufficient attendance of the members.


  1. Position Statement – A reasonable approach suggested having the NCO and the Managing Director’s office come up with a policy statement of a formal position with specifics.


  1. NP Reference – A reference highlighted Section 2-14-109 of the NP, establishes the nine meetings…unless otherwise established by the Commission. This would allow NB’s to cancel November and December’s meeting thereby giving them an opportunity to cancel their meeting and not have it be a violation. The indication was that this is something that can be worked on.


Discussion by the Audience followed:


  1. Security Issues – Smyth worked for many of years in security. He feels there are three matters affecting the NB’s; quorum, police and fire, and the meeting location. Board members can be polled on their attendance for that night. The police and fire if they’re not in attendance, still should not be an issue. The meeting location has been scheduled for the year and would not be a problem. The even is not as bad as it seems, except in the Waikiki district where it may be more challenging. The NB’s should definitely need to be alerted as to what’s going on but have that option to make their own decision.  


  1. Application Processes – Matusow noted that the Downtown NB is a very busy board with liquor licenses and other Special Design District permit processes. So depending on the type of applications coming before the NB, it is imperative that the monthly meetings are conducted so as not to miss the opportunity of any public hearings process. It is hard to believe that the city will have to shut down business because of this event. At her last meeting, the board was told that the biggest concern was cyber-terrorism. Some boards may want to cancel their meeting but it should be left to the boards to decide. Also, she would like to know where this idea emanated from.  


  1. Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights NB No. 5 – Resident Murai, an attendee of the NB No. 5, said no firm decision was made but the board plans to meet in November at a different time and location.     


Further discussion by the Commission: Chair Bailey and ES Heinrich were thanked for putting the matter on the agenda for discussion. This keeps the NB’s aware of the event and gives them the opportunity to address the matter in the NB capacity if necessary. The consensus was in agreement that it stays on the agenda as a reminder. Despite any action, ES Heinrich felt simply that the awareness as discussed will lead-in to what the alternatives may be. There was no action taken by the Commission at this time.


EXECUTIVE SESSION: ES Heinrich indicated that based on discussions, Executive Session is not necessary at this time. With regards to Executive Session meeting minutes, there are no meeting minutes to be considered for approval at this time. 


APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  The following meeting minutes were deferred. ES Heinrich ensured that a complete packet will be circulated for approval to include the following sets of meeting minutes in time for the next Commission meeting (February 17, 2011 Special Meeting Minutes; February 28, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes; March 28, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes; April 25, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes; May 2, 2011 Special Meeting Memorandum for the Record; and May 23, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes).


NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION OFFICE REPORT:  ES Heinrich gave the following report/announcements:


  • Learning Experience – Heinrich is going through an incredible learning experience for things as a board member or a commissioner he has never had to deal with concerning the NBS. There are board services, administrative services, personnel management, and one of the major challenges is the budget formulation. The daily activity is tremendous and the challenge will be communicating that information out to the Commission and the NB’s.


  • 2012 National Fellowship Program – The City & County of Honolulu has been selected one of 10 finalists by an organization called CODE for America for its 2012 National Fellowship Program. This is a non-profit organization on the mainland that sponsors placement of private individuals into government for one-year to assist with the writing of applications for getting information out using smart phone devices and technology.


  • Do You Know Your Neighbors – A postcard from Beaverton, Oregon welcoming people who live, owns property or represents a non-profit organization within the boundaries of Greenway Neighborhood Association Committee and membership is free if you live within the boundaries; meetings are held quarterly to discuss ideas, issues and work on projects to improve the neighborhood. The NCO will be gathering information on organizations remotely similar to a NBS. Dean Chu, formerly of the NCO, regularly checked on similar organizations. Some of the challenges being directed at Heinrich from the Managing Director have to do with how to coordinate an overall review of the NBS within especially the next six months. The key will be to gather ideas and information for discussion with the Commission.           


  • Conference of Chairs – There needs to be an initiation of a Conference of Chairs called by either the Commission or the ES of NCO that should be done.


  • Budget Process – Information of the Executive Budget passed by City Council and signed by the Mayor was provided and will be included on the NCO website. The Total Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 is $824,631.00; Salaries budgeted at $642,000.00; and Current expense budgeted at $182,000.00. Heinrich’s perspective is if 78% of the budget is going for salary and 22% for all other current expenses, he would argue that there is tremendous value in the dollar spent but there are other things that need to be considered by the Commission, and that there needs to be a change in the perception and qualification in the roles of the NCO staff.


  • APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation) Conference – Will be held from November 7, 2011 through November 13, 2011.


  • 10th Annual Remembrance Walk – On Sunday, September 11, 2011. There will be a 500 pound piece of steel from one of the towers of the World Trade Center that will be received by the City & County of Honolulu and will be part of the remembrance walk. All Boards and Commissions of the City are invited to participate in the walk; more information to follow.


  • Hot Topics/Issues:


o        Ewa NB No. 23 – ES Heinrich, also at that meeting, provided comments relating to standards of conduct, etc. Following the meeting he had some discussion with some board members. The next morning an article that was posted on Civil Beat raised attention on the radio referencing the new Chair Kurt Fevela having to do with a civil lawsuit. Days following, several phone calls were received asking what the Commission or the NCO can do regarding these allegations of undo influence and fraud. Heinrich emphasized to those members is that it is the chair’s responsibility to determine whether he should continue to serve as chair under the allegations presented, and it is also the responsibility of the board to consider what it chooses to do; a motion for the removal of the chair is always in order and the board’s prerogative. The central issue having to do with disclosure with other conflicts of the interest or perceptions of conflict may have affected their decision on who to vote for. Two rounds of voting took place. The person who changed his vote in the second round has spoken with Mr. Fevela and raised the issue; and noted that he would not have voted for Mr. Fevela had he known. The Commission needs to be aware of that issue as it affects the current chair. Mr. Glanstein earlier reported on aspects of the July 14 Ewa NB meeting.


o        Councilmember Tom Berg’s Office – There are two issues for the Commission to be aware: 1) A Council staff member Celeste Lacuesta is a member of the Ewa NB. Allegedly, in an email of Councilmember Berg, his reasoning for firing Lacuesta was because she was not carrying out her duty as a staff member, while she was a member of the Ewa NB. Keep in mind the Honolulu Ethics Commission does not have jurisdiction over NB members on that basis alone; however, Celeste Lacuesta is still a member of his staff, then the Honolulu Ethics Commission does have jurisdiction. Other members have indicated to Heinrich that they plan to take issue to Director Chuck Totto concerning Councilmember Berg’s statements on this issue. 2) Please also note that Philmund Lee, also a staff member is also a member on the Manoa NB; as well as Evelyn Souza, staff member who is also a member on the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB No. 34.    


o        Council Concerns – A controversial issue involving Nanakuli-Maili NB No. 36 dealing with a Public Infrastructure Map (PIM) symbol for a regional park in Nanakuli. Heinrich understands it requires eminent domain to take privately held land currently being used by a private landfill operation for development as a public park. This issue raised decorum and conduct problems from the audience at their last meeting.   


o        Community Benefits Package Issue – In the current budget of FY 2012, the Council put a total of $1.5 million in the budget, described as $500,000 for each of the following NB district boundaries: Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB No. 34, Nanakuli-Maili NB No. 36, and Waianae Coast NB No. 24, for parks and recreation Capital Improvement Projects. Please Note – specific reference has been made to the NB districts as the designation of area coverage.    


Questions, comments and concerns followed:


  1. Council Staff – Tamamoto questioned if a member of a Council staff prohibited from serving on the NB. Heinrich replied that there is no city officer or employees who are disqualified on that basis from serving on the NB. Article 13 – when talking about dual positions makes it clear. There are staff members serving on NB’s but the caution is at some point throughout the course of the meeting heard no disclosure by Lacuesta stating she is a member of Councilmember Berg’s staff. Smyth pointed out something different in the Plan that there is a statement if you are an elected or appointed to a public office, you are disqualified from serving on a NB; please note it has never been challenged.


  1. Point of Information – Commissioner Gall raised a Point of Information that his son is chair of the City Ethics Commission. Heinrich accepted the information as a disclosure and appreciated the notice.   


  1. Nanakuli NB Formation – It was thought that the Nanakuli-Maili community separated from the Waianae NB and was formed because of the landfill and a promise of a Community’s Benefit Package. Although that was part of the discussion, generally the Nanakuli-Maili community felt they were not being adequately represented.


  1. Ideas for Input – All comments and ideas are welcomed always and at this time, Heinrich did not see it necessary for the PIG or Committee to be formed but is greatly appreciated.


  1. NCO Website – Matusow thanked Heinrich and Mick, and was pleased that the NCO website had the Downtown NB current board picture and the 2011 Newsletter available. She acknowledged that perhaps things are beginning to fall in place for other boards as well.


The agenda resumed order with agenda item 3.1.


Election of Neighborhood Commission Officers for the July 2011 to June 2012 Period – Chair Bailey noted that Section 2-11-313 – Officers of the Commission shall consist of a chair, one or more vice chairs, and any other officers it needs to conduct its business. The usual duties of a secretary and treasurer may be performed by the ES or designee. The floor was open for nominations:   


Chair – Finley nominated Sylvia Young. Hearing no other nominations, Sylvia Young was ELECTED as Commission Chair by a vote of 8-0-0 (Aye: Bailey, Finley, Gall, Ho, Mobley, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young).


Vice Chair – Ho nominated Bob Finley. Hearing no other nominations, Bob Finley was ELECTED as Commission Vice Chair by a vote of 8-0-0 (Aye: Bailey, Finley, Gall, Ho, Mobley, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young).


Secretary/Treasurer – Bailey recommended the duties of Secretary and Treasurer continue to be performed by the Executive Secretary or designee unless there are any objections. Hearing no objections, ES Heinrich was APPOINTED to assume those duties by a vote of 8-0-0 (Aye: Bailey, Finley, Gall, Ho, Mobley, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young).




  • Next Commission Meeting – The next regular meeting is tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 22, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Honolulu Hale, City Council Committee Meeting Room No. 205.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:58 p.m.


Submitted by: Marie Richardson, Neighborhood Assistant


Reviewed by: J. Thomas Heinrich, Executive Secretary


Last Reviewed: Friday, January 20, 2012