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Neighborhood Commission


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2011   



CALL TO ORDER: Chair Sylvia Young called the Regular Neighborhood Commission meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Note – This is a nine (9) member commission and requires five (5) members to establish quorum and take office commission action.


Members PresentBob Finley, Ed Gall (arrived at 7:01 p.m.), Loryn Guiffre, Kekoa Ho, Jeanette Nekota, Kathleen Pahinui, Bob Stubbs, Claire Tamamoto (arrived at 7:02 p.m.) and Sylvia Young.


Members Absent – None.


Guests – Bert Narita (Diamond Head Neighborhood Board No. 5); Charles Zahn (Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34); Philmund Lee (Manoa Neighborhood Board No. 7/Councilmember Tom Berg Staff); Tom Smyth (Downtown Neighborhood Board No. 13); State Representative Jo Jordan; Andrew Kilihan; Kamilla Chan (Deputy, City Corporation Counsel); J. Thomas Heinrich (Executive Secretary); Bryan Mick, Marie Richardson, Aisha Wang, Leland Ribac and Theona Kapoi (Neighborhood Commission Office).   


ROLL CALL OF COMMISSIONERS: A roll call of members established a quorum of seven (7) Commissioners present.  


Commissioner Gall arrived at 7:01 p.m.; Quorum of eight (8) Commissioners present.




Commissioner Tamamoto arrived at 7:02 p.m.; Quorum of nine (9) Commissioners present.


Commission Notice – Zahn requested that the Commission be more mindful of the agenda notices being sent out. Last months agenda was not received by email until after the meeting had occurred.


Executive Secretary (ES) Tom Heinrich – Kilihan commented that as ES Heinrich is a Mayoral appointee and the ES for the Neighborhood Board System, he wanted to know if something could be done about his appointment with the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OMPO). Kilihan would not like the other Neighborhood Board’s to feel some sort of pressure because Heinrich is the ES to the Neighborhood Board System.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: The October 24, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes were deferred pending further review by ES Heinrich. The minutes will be available for approval at the January 2012 regular Commission meeting.


CONFERENCE OF CHARIS (COC) PERMITTED INTERACTION GROUP (PIG) REPORT: A copy of Commissioner Tamamoto’s report of the COC was distributed to all the Commissioners. Commissioner Finley, with no objection from the Commission, requested the distributed notes be posted on the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) website.


ES Heinrich noted that the notes can be posted on the NCO website and it will be without comment from any staff member who attended the COC.


Commissioner Nekota noted that the COC video has already been posted on the NCO website. It was suggested that the notes be posted there as well. Chair Young agreed that the notes should be posted there and acknowledged that there would be no comments about the report made by the NCO staff.







Update on Complaints; Discussion of Alternatives to Address the Backlog – ES Heinrich noted that he will have to get together with Deputy Corporation Counsel Kamilla Chan to get a clear understanding of the boundaries and limitations as to how the complaints filed with the NCO can be processed. A suggested alternative to an NCO hearings officer is to have teams of two Commissioners to be hearings officers for a specific number of cases. The NCO will continue working on getting withdrawal letters out with hopes that the backlog will get smaller.


Commissioner Tamamoto questioned if the complaints are trying to be done systematically so that they are addressed all at once or if there is a way that some of them can be addressed now. ES Heinrich noted that there may be a difference in perspective as to how the complaints are being dealt with, as there is movement with them in the office, it just has not been ready to come before the Commission.


ES Heinrich suggested that the Commission provide ground rules for hearings noting that the process will not take longer than 30 minutes per complaint, or something to that extent. This way the focus can be on the issues and not have the parties use all the time they want.


Stubbs moved, Pahinui seconded that the Neighborhood Commission defer agenda items 6.1 and 6.2 to the January 2012 Commission meeting. Discussion followed:


  • Commissioner Tamamoto stated that she would agree to deferring the agenda items with the condition that the complaints will be ready to be heard or dealt with by the Commission by February 2012.
  • Commissioner Nekota requested a list of all the complaints filed with the NCO.
  • Chair Young state that she thought the list would have been available to the Commissioners already. The list of complaints they received from the last meeting was only of complaints made after the revised Neighborhood Plan 2008.


The motion was ADOPTED by UNAINIMOUS CONSENT, 9-0-0 (AYE: Finley, Gall, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Tamamoto and Young; NO: None; ABSTAIN: None).


Consideration of the Appointment of Hearings Officers – This item was deferred.


Appointment and Removal of Members to the Established Standing Committees – Chair Young noted that the following Commissioners will serve on the respective committee:


  • Finance – Commissioner Tamamoto will Chair the Finance Committee; members are Ho, and Pahinui.
  • Elections – Commissioner Nekota will Chair the Elections Committee; members are Gall and Guiffre.
  • Neighborhood Plan – Commissioner Finley will Chair the Neighborhood Plan committee; member Stubbs.


Discussion of 2011-2012 Budget Allocations for Neighborhood Boards – It was noted that communication was made all the neighborhood boards regarding their fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget. The worksheet handed out is a break down of the actual board expenditures in FY 2010 and FY 2011, as well as the allocation for FY 2012. ES Heinrich noted that the term allocation instead of appropriation will be used when referring to individual board budgets as it is a more appropriate term. The break down as seen on the worksheet for the boards allocation takes into account 10 meetings per board, video recording, and facility usage. It was noted to keep in mind that there are several boards that are not charged for their meeting facility.


It was clarified that the McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board received such an enormous increase because they had requested to video record their meetings.


It was clarified that about 10 percent of the annual NCO budget goes to all the Neighborhood Boards which amounts to roughly $95,000.


Commissioner Tamamoto, as the Finance Committee Chair stated that she would like to get the committee together to work on a survey that could get more input from the Neighborhood Boards. Commissioner Pahinui commended the NCO for getting the information in the worksheet to the Commissioners because it is the first time that some kind of logic was explained to people outside of the NCO. The worksheet will be a beginning point for the Finance Committee to assist where they can.


Commissioner Finley noted that when creating the survey to indicate that the Neighborhood System may not receive the same budget and it will more than likely mean that video recording will be cut.


Board Member Smyth noted that it is difficult to give a survey to the Neighborhood Boards with out all the necessary information like number of people that receive the agendas and minutes, or even the amount of people that live in the district.


Representative Jordan noted that because the Neighborhood Board meetings are city sponsored, Boards should not choose where they host their meetings. There are adequate meeting facilities for the Neighborhood Boards to hold their meeting at little to no cost to them. The Commission should have some control of where Boards at least meet and expend funds where necessary.




Neighborhood System Elections Planning for 2013 – ES Heinrich requested that the Elections Committee consider holding a meeting so that NCO staff may assist with the planning of the next Neighborhood System Election. It was suggested to begin planning for the election now because the only limits are with time and the process to go though the City Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. It may also be considered to have a vendor set up to do more than a single election.


Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Preparation Process – ES Heinrich reminded the Commission that they should be a voice of advocacy and there is a differentiation between Commission’s voice and the voice of the ES. It was noted that the Executive Budget goes to City Council on March 2, 2012. ES Heinrich noted that the final budget may be the same or even reduced from previous years.


Commissioner Tamamoto questioned if a particular videographer was selected by individual boards. ES Heinrich stated that videographers are now being selected by the bidding process which goes through the City Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.   


Board Member and Audience Member Conduct Issues – It was noted that many of the issues that arise at Neighborhood Board meetings are due to strong personality conflicts.


The issue with Councilmember Tom Berg is being reviewed and questions have been directed to the NCO. His initial complaint was filed with the State Office of Information Practices (OIP), which was deferred to the NCO and OIP will follow up on the findings. It was noted that Councilmember Berg seemed bias in his initial letter to OIP. This may be the basis for several training units being worked on by the NCO.


ES Heinrich reiterated Section 11-101 of the Revised Honolulu City Charter stating the following: “Elected and appointed officers and employees shall demonstrate by their example the highest standards of ethical conduct, to the end and that the public may justifiably have trust and confidence in the integrity of government. They as agents of public purpose, shall hold their offices or positions for the benefit of the public, shall recognize that the public interest is their primary concern, and shall faithfully discharge the duties of their offices regardless of personal considerations.”


ES Heinrich also noted that he is drafting a letter to all City Council Members regarding an attempt to defame Bryan Mick regarding the recent media attention Councilmember Berg has received. It is alleged that Mick contacted the media himself to get the story out about Councilmember Berg, which did not happen. The letter will first be approved by Managing Director Chin prior to distribution.


Board Member Zahn commented that the video posted on the Olelo website, is not the same as the one aired on KITV4 news. Videographers record gavel to gavel and if a recess is called, anything not a part of the regular meeting is edited out. ES Heinrich noted that the after the okay from the City Department of Corporation Counsel and Managing Director Chin, at the request of the media, the video recording of the Waipahu NB meeting was released after they had signed the Freedom of Information Act form. ES Heinrich wanted to Commission to understand that the process was followed accordingly.


ES Heinrich noted that there have been complaints from an individual board member against particular members of their Neighborhood Board. ES Heinrich has considered drafting a resolution against the particular Board Member for review by the Commission and possible sanction, if not removal of that person from the Board.     


ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Neighborhood Commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Committee Meeting Room, Honolulu, Hale, Room 205, 530 South King Street.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting adjourned at 8:32 p.m.


Submitted by Theona Kapoi, Neighborhood Commission Office


Reviewed by J. Thomas Heinrich, Executive Secretary, Neighborhood Commission Office


Last Reviewed: Friday, January 20, 2012