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Neighborhood Commission





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 Present – Bob Finley, Ron Mobley, Jeanette Nekota, Bob Stubbs, Claire Tamamoto and Sylvia Young.


Members AbsentEd Gall, Kekoa Ho.


Guests – John Gollner (Member, Ewa NB No. 23); Linda Wong (Member, Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights NB No. 5); Kathleen Pahinui (Member, North Shore NB No. 27); Charles Zahn (Member, Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB No. 34); Kamila Chan (Deputy, City Corporation Counsel); J. Thomas Heinrich (Executive Secretary); Bryan Mick, Marie Richardson, and Theona Kapoi (Neighborhood Commission Office).   


ROLL CALL OF COMMISSIONERS: A roll call of members established a quorum of six (6) Commissioners present. Template




Board BudgetLinda Wong, Chair of the Diamond Head/Kapahulu/St. Louis Heights NB No. 5 read a letter to the Commission on behalf of her Board to express their dissatisfaction with the budget allocation and requests restoration of last fiscal years budget. Chair Young noted that the Commission has not been notified of what the budget is.


Conference of Chairs – John Gollner, 1st Vice Chair of the Ewa NB No. 23, speaking on his own behalf noted that he thought Saturday’s Conference of Chairs (COC) was outstanding. There was a lot of interaction between attendees and was satisfied with the tools learned and responses to situations received at the COC.


Ron Mobley – Gollner thanked Commissioner Mobley for coming out to help with the Ewa NB during the two month suspension recommended by the Commission. Gollner noted that Commissioner Mobley continued to answer questions in relation to issues with the Ewa NB.


Budget – Gollner noted that the Ewa NB has one of the largest populations to represent of 55,000 people. It was suggested that more money be allocated to reach out to the community especially with the size of community that has to be reached by the Ewa NB.


Video Recording – Charles Zahn, member of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB No. 34, speaking on his own behalf noted that there isn’t a problem with the video recording; it’s when Olelo receives the recording and their broadcasts not being up to date. Zahn noted that he enjoyed the pastries at the COC.


Mahalo – Executive Secretary (ES) Heinrich thanked Commissioner Mobley for his service to the Commission. A lei was given to Commissioner Mobley.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: ES Heinrich noted that he has the minutes with him; however they need to be reviewed by him before being presented to the Commission. Chair Young noted that by the next meeting, the Commission should have the July, August, and September regular meeting minutes completed as well as the September special meeting that happened on September 9, 2011.





CONFERENCE OF CHARIS (COC) PERMITTED INTERACTION GROUP (PIG): Chair Young noted that as the meeting just happened this past Saturday, the NCO will not have a report ready to present to the Commission. Chair Young noted that training was foremost what was requested by the Board Members present at the COC. ES Heinrich noted that training programs are under development on a number of topics especially “hot issues.”


ES Heinrich noted as this COC was called by the Commission’s PIG, the report will have to be done by the PIG for the Commission. The video recording was not for the intent of broadcasting, but mainly for review by the Commission.


Commissioner Tamamoto noted that she had some comments about the COC. She noted that there was a mix of people at there, ranging from experienced to new. Commissioner Tamamoto commented that she thought the special meeting of the Commission on September 9, 2011 set the agenda for the COC. She commented that she is willing to work with the NCO to get budget or trainings things done, although for the PIG will have to report back to the full Commission about what happened. It also seemed that many would like training in Roberts Rules of Order.


Mick noted that there were issues from two years ago that had to do with the Neighborhood Boards and the Sunshine Law. Mick also noted that the Office of Information Practices produced their own online training video which can be found at ES Heinrich suggested that in the trainings, short scripts for Neighborhood Boards be made available on the NCO website.


Commissioner Mobley suggested having a video for parliamentary procedure on the NCO website as well. He also noted that the new Roberts Rules of Order are available and that he can work on getting copies to the NCO. ES Heinrich noted that he is looking into getting 50 copies of the 11th Edition of Roberts Rules of Order, one for each Neighborhood Board that will be checked out through the Office and one for each NCO staff member.


Chair Young requested that the NCO come to the next Commission meeting of what the training classes will look like and finding the proper people to administer those trainings.


Chair Young noted that she was disappointed that the budget was completed without notification to the Commission. She stated that the NCO owes it to the Commission to let them know what is happening before it goes out and she apologizes for discussing it in an open meeting, but it needs to be said.


ES Heinrich noted that it will be up to the Commission as to how they wish to provide a report. Commissioner Tamamoto noted that she will put together what she has and bring it back to the NCO for a full collaboration. She noted that the report can be ready by a subsequent meeting.


Commissioner Finley thanked the NCO for getting the room set up and having the refreshments done. Chair Young noted that only three Neighborhood Boards were not represented which is a success in itself. ES Heinrich also wanted to commend Managing Director Doug Chin for helping to start the meeting. ES Heinrich also asked the Commission if they would like to have a survey or evaluation of the meeting to send to the participants of the COC.


Commissioner Finley stated that a survey would have been good to have after the meeting but at this point, there may not be much response. Chair Young noted that it would have been more effective to have a survey available after the COC but does not think it is necessary to have a survey done at this time.


Commissioner Tamamoto noted that a survey to the participants could go out soon and would be beneficial to planning another COC. Commissioner Nekota agreed that a survey would be good to have. Pahinui noted that an after the fact survey would be a good idea to give to the participants. Wong also noted that it would be beneficial and positive to have a survey because it will be informational to the Commission. Commissioner Tamamoto noted that the PIG members can look at the survey questions before they go out for input. Mick noted that he will have the questions drafted and sent to PIG members for comment before the end of the week.




Consideration of the Appointment of Hearings Officers – Commissioner Finley asked what the Commission has to consider with the Hearings Officers and if the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) Staff is willing to serve as Hearings Officers. If not, maybe the Neighborhood Commissioner may also be willing to serve as Hearings Officers.


Chair Young noted that by the next meeting, the Commissioners should have some suggestions and names of persons willing to serve as Hearings Officers.


Commissioner Nekota commented that the last tracking sheet of complaints she received was in 2007 and has not received anything since.


Kapoi commented that under a previous Executive Secretary all the Commissioners should have received a copy of complaints filed until mid 2010.


Commissioner Mobley noted that he recalls being updated about the statistics of the complaints filed, but did not receive a hard copy of the complaints tracking list. It was also commented that the NCO has asked a complainants to withdraw their motions. However, some have chosen not to do so, even if the complaint is moot, because they would still like to be heard.


ES Heinrich noted that before the Commission appoints Hearings Officers, it is best to find out what the scope the Hearings Officers duties are. ES Heinrich noted that he will have to work with the City Department of Corporation Counsel (COR) to determine these jurisdictions. ES Heinrich noted that there are a total of 70 complaints open with the NCO. Recently the majority of the complaints have only stemmed from two neighborhood board areas. The following is a break down of the number complaints still open by year:


2005 – 2 open complaints

2007 – 6 open complaints

2008 – 3 open complaints

2009 – 6 open complaints

2010 – 28 open complaints:

  • 12 of the complaints are related to the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB
  • 8 of the complaints are related to the Ewa NB


2011 – 25 open complaints:

  • 16 of the 25 are filed by Steve Knauer of the Ewa NB
  • 4 separate complaints were filed against two board members who are also part of Councilmember Tom Berg’s Staff


There are many things that have to be addressed and with the more recent complaints filed, an intervention may be necessary. The complaint process has a section regarding “frivolous” complaints, however some of the complaints may be vexatious, which is different from frivolous. The NCO could do another round of letters asking if complainants are willing to withdraw their complaint.


Visitations of Neighborhood Boards by Commissioners – Chair Young noted that like other Boards, only two Commissioners will be allowed to visit a Neighborhood Board at a time. Chair Young asked for suggestions on how this can be monitored. Vice Chair Finley noted that should a Commissioner decide if they want to attend a Neighborhood Board meeting call Chair Young. Chair Young noted that she will keep track of the meeting Commissioners will be attending.  




Elections – Committee Chair Nekota noted that there is nothing to report at this time. Commissioner Mobley requested clarification of his membership as a member of the Elections Committee. Chair Young noted that at a later date the Commission can reorganize the members on the committees and reappoint everyone as necessary. It was clarified that Commissioner Mobley will remain on the Elections Committee until the reorganization is done.


Finance – Committee Chair Tamamoto reiterated what she mentioned earlier. As the Finance Committee Chair, she would like to be current with the Neighborhood Plan and the Guidebook so that she and the Commission can be familiar with the budget process. Committee Chair Tamamoto noted that she is willing to work with ES Heinrich and staff to get things squared away. She questioned if the finance report needs to be a report and does the Commission have to agree with the budget or does the Commission have no control over the budget?


ES Heinrich noted that budget allocations have been made based on the needs of the Boards from fiscal year 2010 and 2011. Many boards actually need less money than was previously allocated to them. The entire budget formulation process needs to be in writing which ES Heinrich will be working on. ES Heinrich noted that the total budget for fiscal year 2012 is roughly $832,000, where 76 percent goes to the NCO Staff salaries and 24 percent goes to the Boards and administrative services which is less than a quarter of the annual budget. The process for fiscal year 2013 has begun and at best, they will try to match the budget of fiscal year 2011.


Commissioner Finley noted that there is a need for the Commission and Boards to know how important it is for them to maintain their funding. Boards should indicate any additional funds they may need for next year so that it may be considered.


Kathleen Pahinui, North Shore Neighborhood Board Member No. 27, speaking on her own behalf commented that at the beginning of a new fiscal year, boards are just given a budget and it seems that the Commission does not know what’s going on with it, which is frustrating. It was commented that at least now there is an effort to get the money concerns out to the Boards so that they may also know what is going on.


Commissioner Tamamoto questioned if the Boards receive the same allocations. ES Heinrich noted that he determines what individual board allocations. The allocations are based on available funds for Board operations based on the past two fiscal years as well as consideration for what some Boards may be considering like an annual newsletter or video recording.


Commissioner Tamamoto questioned if there is a special rate that schools give or a common rate that can be given for facility rentals. ES Heinrich noted that there is no uniformity in the rates determined by individual schools. Some schools range from free to almost $200 a meeting. The Boards that may need to find a new location due to the expense of the facility rental are the McCully-Moiliili Board, Nanakuli Board, and the Waipahu Board.


Commissioner Mobley noted that previous Executive Secretaries said they did not have the time to include Board input into the budget process and Boards were told, “this is what you’re getting.” ES Heinrich was thanked for including the Boards input into the process. ES Heinrich noted that the time is a matter of commitment that he will put into this process.


ES Heinrich noted that a Board has gone as far as quoting the 9th or 10th amendment and that the Board is individual, which ES Heinrich noted that if the Board feels that strongly they can find their own money. ES Heinrich noted that with the advocacy by himself and the Commission, the Neighborhood System could be revitalized as a whole and see how many resources may be made available to the System.


Gollner noted that he understands that the Boards budget is not based on the area population, however there are five new members on the Board that struggle with the notion of what was done in the past, and why they cannot do things differently now.


Chair Young appreciates all the comments. Commissioner Tamamoto noted that she heard a lot in general. Although there is not much that can be done about fiscal year 2012, fiscal year 2013 can start with trying to use the budget to reach out to all the generations. Commissioner Nekota commented that fiscal year 2013 is an election year and the budget will have to be incorporated for that.


Neighborhood Plan – Committee Chair Finely noted that he would like to get input from the Commission, NCO, and the Commission’s PIG and make three or four changes as needed. The Committee can look at what can be changed and complies with anything as needed.


ES Heinrich commented that the Commission will need to create jurisdictional statements for each committee as well as creating a scope for each statement. Chair Young noted that she is working with Vice Chair Finley on the jurisdictional statements and it is almost complete.  




Neighborhood System Revitalization Program (NSRP) – ES Heinrich noted that the NSRP is under development. The “Neighborhood System” is to put emphasis on Section 14-101 of the City Charter and note that the Neighborhoods come before the Boards. The “Revitalization Program” is inclusive of the vitality in the System, which specifics still need to be drafted. The Program may need to look at the NCO and possible reorganize itself first. There is also “Project Listen” which started with the Conference of Chairs; basically to get input and ideas from everyone in the Neighborhood System. With the NSRP will come the much needed training programs that also have to be developed. The main idea that has to be emphasized not to be considered is the termination of the Neighborhood System period.


Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Planning – ES Heinrich noted that fiscal year 2013 is still being planned. He wanted to note that September 30, 2011 marks the end of the first quarter. It is with hope that the planning of fiscal year 2013 budget be complete by mid December so that City Council may have the budget considerations by March 2, 2012.


Process for Meeting Facilities and Videography Services – ES Heinrich noted that all finances will have to go through the City Department of Budget and Fiscal Services. There are too many steps to explain the entire process but the Neighborhood Commission can assist with seeking support of policy. The Neighborhood Commission may be able to do so in the form of a resolution to help get things done quicker through the NCO.


Commissioner Finley noted that there needs to be a feed back process for some of the services rendered by the Boards; video recording for example. Commissioner Finley questioned if the revitalization will change neighborhood boundaries. ES Heinrich noted that the revitalization program is likely to now change the neighborhood boundaries, but is has to be looked at as to how all areas may be represented. Commissioner Tamamoto commented that to help advocate with the NCO, the Commission will need the information first.


Planning Calendar – It was requested that the Commissioners get any travel plans to the NCO so that possible future meeting dates can be planned accordingly. ES Heinrich also noted that the Board Terms should be looked at on a four year basis because the program is always ongoing.


Update on Complaints Filed with the Neighborhood Commission Office – This item was previously addressed under the “Consideration of the Appointment of Hearings Officers to Conduct Complaint Hearings Pursuant to Section 2-18-103(b), Neighborhood Plan 2008” portion of the agenda.


Creation of a New Neighborhood System Guidebook – ESD Heinrich noted that the Guidebook is a work in progress. There is much more information that needs to be included.


Commissioner Young noted that the Guidebook is a project of concern to her because it is a tool that could help all members in the Neighborhood System. Commissioner Tamamoto suggested that the NCO website post an “Unofficial” document of the guidebook, just as many of the State Regulations do because there are so many versions of a document out.


Commissioner Mobley noted that he was expecting the all the Boards to have a copy of the Neighborhood Plan and the Guidebook by the Conference of Chairs date. Previous Executive Secretaries received suggested changes made by Commissioner Mobley, and yet the Guidebook has still not been updated. Commissioner Mobley noted that he is very disturbed that the Guidebook has not been made available yet and he has given his suggestions to the NCO at least six times.


ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Neighborhood Commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 24, 2011 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 8:48 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