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Neighborhood Commission


MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2012   





CALL TO ORDER: Chair Sylvia Young called the Neighborhood Commission (NC) regular meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. with a quorum of seven (7) Commissioners present. Note – This is a nine (9) member Commission and requires five (5) members to establish quorum and take official Commission action.


Commission Members PresentBob Finley, Loryn Guiffre, Wilson Kekoa Ho, Jeanette Nekota, Kathleen Pahinui, Bob Stubbs, Claire Tamamoto (arrived at 7:06 p.m.), and Sylvia Young.


Commission Member AbsentEd Gall.


Guests – Charles Zahn (Member, Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board No. 34); Ariel De Jesus (Member, Ewa Neighborhood Board No. 23); Teddy Biesecker (Member, Aiea Neighborhood Board No. 20); Ron Lockwood (Member, McCully-Moiliili Neighborhood Board No. 8); Kamilla Chan (Deputy, City Corporation Counsel); J. Thomas Heinrich (Executive Secretary); Bryan Mick, Marie Richardson, Aisha Wang, and Theona Kapoi (Neighborhood Commission Office). *All board members are speaking in their individual capacity and not as a representative of the Board unless otherwise indicated.* 


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


Commissioner Tamamoto arrived at 7:06 p.m.; quorum of eight (8) Commissioners present.




January 23, 2012 Regular Meeting MinutesHo moved, Guiffre seconded that the January 23, 2012 Neighborhood Commission regular meeting minutes be approved as circulated. The motion was UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED, 8-0-0 (Aye: Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young; No: None; Abstain: None).


February 27, 2012 Regular Meeting MinutesHo moved, Guiffre seconded that the February 27, 2012 Neighborhood Commission regular meeting minutes be approved as circulated. The motion was UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED, 8-0-0 (Aye: Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young; No: None; Abstain: None).


April 23, 2012 Regular Meeting MinutesHo moved, Guiffre seconded that the April 23, 2012 Neighborhood Commission regular meeting minutes be approved as circulated. The motion was UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED, 8-0-0 (Aye: Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young; No: None; Abstain: None).




Ewa Neighborhood Board (NB) Complaints – Ariel De Jesus expressed concern about expediting the complaints against the Ewa NB and/or its members, and that nothing has been done about addressing them.




Commissioner Tamamoto visited the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale NB No. 34 in April 2012. Tamamoto noted that the Vice Chair did the best job he could to run the meeting at the time, as the Chair has not been able to attend meetings for the past three months. It was unfortunate that because the meeting ran so long, many of the residents left and were not able to hear the presentation about the rail updates.


Commissioner Tamamoto visited the Waianae Coast NB No. 24 meeting in May 2012. Tamamoto noted that the Chair did a good job. Tamamoto noted that the NB meeting is where everything is discussed and it is very amicable and informative. Tamamoto will submit a formal report at a later meeting.


Commissioner Nekota visited the Ewa NB No. 23 meeting in May 2012. Nekota noted that the meeting was going well until about 8:30 p.m. She noted that time limits were not kept, and Councilmember Berg spoke on anything and everything. A recess was called for the Board and the audience to regroup. Nekota was approached by a gentleman who stated that he drives from Waimanalo to the Ewa NB meetings just to see what happens. Nekota attempted to retrieve minutes online from the Ewa NB23 Committees and noticed that they have not been submitted or posted to the NCO website.


Commissioner Nekota visited the Nanakuli/Maili NB No. 36 in May 2012. She was not aware of what was going on at the meeting until someone brought it to her attention. It was being noted at the meeting that what is reflected in some of the committee meeting minutes is not actually what happened at the meeting, as some residents were noting that they were not in attendance at the committee meetings, but were listed as having attended.


Commissioner Finley visited the Waipahu NB No. 22 in May 2012. Finley noted the facility was beautiful with lots of space. Parking could get tight if there were multiple events happening at the same time. The Chair did an excellent job of controlling the meeting, enforcing the single question rule, and encouraging audience participation. Finley did not note any violations of the Neighborhood Plan. The agenda was well prepared and followed. The Board area is covered by four Senators and four Representatives. The Board Members are knowledgeable about what is happening in their community. One weak point of the board meeting is the lack of audience participation. The board is also video recorded. Overall, the Board represents the Waipahu area very well.


Commissioner Finley visited the McCully-Moiliili NB No. 8 in June 2012. He noted the facility was adequate and the layout of the board seating could be improved, but it is a fairly standard set up for school cafeterias. The Vice Chair did a good job of controlling the meeting (the Chair was on a trip). Finley did not note any violations of the Neighborhood Plan at the meeting. With the assistance of the Neighborhood Assistant (NA), the Vice Chair was able to keep the meeting on track. Board members seemed to be knowledgeable on the issues in the neighborhood. Of the 21 audience members, six were not there to make a presentation or represent an official. There was no video recording at this meeting, but it was noted that beginning in July 2012 the Board will be receiving video recording services. Overall, the Board does a fine job with a long history of supporting its neighborhood with more activity than just the monthly regular meeting.




Finance Committee – Committee Chair Tamamoto noted there is nothing new to report. ES Heinrich commented that on June 6, 2012, the City Council adopted Bill 14 (2012) CD2, FD2 which established the Executive Operating Budget and Program for the Fiscal Year 2013, including the total budget for the Neighborhood Commission Office (NCO) at $1,030,568 and 17 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, including an elections clerk. At the end of the FY 2013 Budget journey, the NCO received exactly what had been proposed to the City Council. Of the total budget, about $188,000 is targeted for the 2013 neighborhood board elections.


Elections Committee – Committee Chair Nekota stated that she would like the committee to meet later in July, depending on the discussions later in tonight’s agenda.


Neighborhood Plan (NP) Committee – Committee Chair Finley noted that without objection he will combine the NP Committee report and agenda item 7.1 relating to the NP Proposed Amendments. The number of proposed amendments to the NP has been reduced. Copies of the proposed amendments were made available at tonight’s meeting. They are also available online at


The proposed amendments are to the following sections of the plan:


NP Section to Amend

§ 2-11-303 Meetings

§ 2-14-109 Meetings

§ 2-14-123 Duties of officers

§ 2-14-107 Reporting change of residency

§ 2-14-106 Absences and removal process; resignation

§ 2-14-102 Board term

§ 2-13-108 Membership

The language for NP Chapter 18 – Complaint Process is currently being reviewed for possible amendments as well to address the informal and formal complaints filed with the NCO.


Commissioner Finley noted the schedule for the public hearing process is tentatively set for Saturday, August 25, 2012 in multiple locations. It is requested that Commissioners assist with the public hearing process. It was requested that the rooms be reserved accordingly and that all Board Chairs receive a copy of the proposed amendments to the NP.


ES Heinrich noted that there were a few subsections in NP Chapter 18 that had been omitted in the final form of the 2011 NP amendments, and needed to be addressed for technical reasons.




Neighborhood Plan Proposed Amendments – This item was previously addressed under the Neighborhood Plan Committee report.


Neighborhood Board Conduct and Parliamentary Issues Update – ES Heinrich noted that many issues occur with the unequal treatment of time limits established at various NB meetings. The problems are escalating into meetings that are no longer respectful or fair forums for the community, especially as personal attacks have been made on several board members. It goes to show that there is a need for training and regular communication between the Board and the community, as well as between the Board members themselves. This will be a separate topic to focus on for another meeting.


Status of Pending Complaints Update – ES Heinrich noted that the Commission has a copy of an overall analysis of the open, pending complaints that need to be addressed. For that reason, a copy of the full text of NP Chapter 18 has been provided to the Commissioners tonight for ease of reference. Several items have to be addressed prior to processing the complaints such as: how to handle them, consolidation of hearing days, and letters being sent requesting the withdrawal of older complaints or confirming the complainant’s preference to proceed.


Questions, comments, and concerns followed:


1.       Plan – Commissioner Tamamoto questioned what the NCO’s plan of action is going to be if there are several items that need to be addressed. ES Heinrich noted that a meeting with the City Department of Corporation Counsel will need to take place as well as setting a deadline for the letters to be sent out requesting complainants to consider withdrawing their complaints.

2.       Phone Calls – Commissioner Pahinui recommended not wasting any more time and simply making a phone call to the complainants, which should suffice to determine if they would like to proceed or not. This way there will be some closure with getting the list of complaints reduced. This process needs to move forward so focus may be directed elsewhere.


Recommendation to Initiate Sanctions Against the Ewa Neighborhood Board and/or Its Members – ES Heinrich noted that he did not have a written recommendation for the Neighborhood Commission. ES Heinrich noted that notes and discussions have not been written into a formal recommendation, and that he has been in discussion with the City Department of Corporation Counsel as well as with Neighborhood Commission Office Staff and opinions have ranged in what to present to the Neighborhood Commission as a basis for accepting the recommendation. ES Heinrich stated that sufficient information is needed at least six days prior to the meeting date so that the Neighborhood Commission has the information in advance to consider what is being provided by the Executive Secretary. ES Heinrich noted that he would like to note the appropriate basis of specificity for the Neighborhood Commission to weigh while considering what to do with the recommendation that may be brought forth.


Commissioner Tamamoto questioned if the recommendation by the ES will be against the whole board or against individual members. ES Heinrich noted that it would be both, as it is the duty of all Board members to assist with the maintenance of order and decorum at a meeting.


Pahinui moved, Tamamoto seconded that the Commission require the Executive Secretary of the Neighborhood Commission Office to present the details of the complaints to initiate a sanctions hearing against the Ewa and Nanakuli Neighborhood Boards and/or their members.  Discussion followed:


·         Commissioner Tamamoto requested that the process be started.

·         Commissioner Nekota raised concerns about the current process not working and more damage is being done because it’s not being addressed quickly enough.

·         Commissioner Tamamoto noted that the issues are separate regarding the process not working, and getting the process started. It was commented that something does need to be done.

·         Commissioner Finley noted that he was disappointed with not being able to work on the complaint. It was requested that if hearings do occur for these two NBs, they be done at Kapolei Hale.

·         Gollner noted that the population in Ewa has increased by 200 percent. The Ewa Board is hoping the meeting with the Executive Secretary will assist with solving the problems and giving options to make a choice to make changes. He stated that not one member violated order and decorum at the Ewa NB23’s June 2012 meeting.

·         Commissioner Pahinui wanted to clarify the motion stating that the details of the complaints be completed separately.

·         De Jesus commented that if the Commission took control of the complaints dating back to 2001, the backlog of complaints would not be as bad as they are to date. It was noted that it did not matter who the Chair of the Board or who the Board members were, it’s different with the audience members as there seems to be a lack of respect for the volunteer service of the board members. It is also difficult to draw the line of when to ask a person to be removed from the meeting. It was requested to expedite the complaints regarding the Ewa Neighborhood Board so that everyone may move forward.

·         Nanakuli resident Jack De Feo commented that there is no common sense being used at the Neighborhood Board meetings. There is no accountability for what has been occurring at the Nanakuli Neighborhood Board meeting, as the video of the conduct displayed does not even express common decency. The people that are responsible at the meetings feel that they are above the law. The community voices need to be heard and the Neighborhood Commission should be able to help do something about this.


Finley moved, Stubbs seconded that the Commission move into Executive Session pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Sections 92-4 & 92-5(a)(4) for the purpose of consulting with the Neighborhood Commission’s legal counsel on questions and issues pertaining to the Commission’s powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities in relation to the complaint process and Chapter 18 of the Neighborhood Plan. The motion was UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED, 8-0-0 (Aye: Finley, Guiffre, Ho, Nekota, Pahinui, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young; No: None; Abstain: None).


The Commission moved into Executive Session at 8:35 p.m.


Chair Young called the meeting back to order at 8:45 p.m.


Commissioners Pahinui and Tamamoto withdrew the motion after discussion with legal counsel. Commissioner Pahinui stressed to the ES that the complaints have to be dealt with and should be received at the next Commission meeting.


Recommendation to Initiate Sanctions Against the Nanakuli/Maili Neighborhood Board and/or Its Members – Nanakuli resident Georgette Meyers commented that she attended tonight’s Commission meeting to tell the Commissioners that bullies should not be tolerated in the communities. Meyers was accused of many things at the recent Nanakuli Neighborhood Board meeting. Meyers noted that she has fought on many items for the betterment of the community and that many things have gotten done. Meyers is requesting assistance and that the Commissioners watch the mistreatment of audience members on the video provided to the Commission. Something needs to be done before physical violence happens. The community does not want it to get to the point of not depending on the government to do what is right. The Neighborhood Commission should be held responsible for further allowing the behavior to happen.


ES Heinrich commented that should anyone ever feel threatened in any way, to please call 911. HPD is an independent entity, and if there are any follow-ups that need to be done by the Neighborhood Commission or NCO, they will be done.


Polly Grace, newly appointed Nanakuli Neighborhood Board Member, commented that she did call for help. Grace noted that she is glad that what happened at the Board meeting was not aired on Olelo, because children should not be subjected to seeing that kind of behavior in their home. Grace is requesting support from the Commission because it is crucial to the community. Grace would like to see the Board get the help it needs within her lifetime.


Commissioner Pahinui departed at 8:55 p.m.; quorum of seven (7) Commissioners present.


Nanakuli resident Sabrina Grace commented that she will be getting an attorney and begin to document all that is happening at the Nanakuli Board meeting as Polly Grace is her mother. As a resident, S. Grace is disappointed to hear that complaints have taken as long as they have to be heard. S. Grace commented that the Neighborhood Board meetings should be safe for everyone to attend. S. Grace was also disappointed that they have not received a response as a formal complaint was directed to Mayor Carlisle. ES Heinrich noted that the complaint was forwarded to the NCO and to the City Department of Corporation Counsel for further review.


Nanakuli resident Patricia Patterson noted that she was a concerned elder of the Nanakuli area. She wanted to note that she was not present at one of the Nanakuli Neighborhood Board education committee meetings, but was part of an independent conversation that was reflected in the committee minutes. Patterson was requesting that she be removed from the committee minutes when she began to be yelled at by the education committee chair as she stood addressing the Nanakuli Board. The Board Chair did a good job at getting the meeting back to order. Patterson suggested and requested that certain people on the Nanakuli Board need to be replaced or asked to resign for the betterment of the community.


Lucy Gay commented that she is in attendance at tonight’s meeting in support of the elders who are subject to bullying at Neighborhood Board meetings. Gay commented that bullying is a nationwide problem. The cause of bullying in the Nanakuli area may have emerged from prior issues that occur outside the scope of the Neighborhood Board meetings. Use of agricultural lands issues may be the cause of the divide in the community.


Mick noted for clarification that Olelo only broadcasts two hours and fifty-eight minutes of the neighborhood board meetings. If incidents occur after that, it does not get broadcast. However, it was noted that the incident was brought to the attention of the NCO and will become a part of the evidence as it does show a very bad display of behavior by a board member.


Commissioner Tamamoto noted that a formal complaint cannot be filed as the allowed 45 days after a meeting has passed. It was also commented that she somewhat feels responsible for allowing the things that happen to happen because the Commission hasn’t acted on any of the complaints and there is an urgency to address them.


Commissioner Stubbs questioned if there were a way for the NCO or the Commission to address these concerns in a timelier manner. ES Heinrich noted that in earlier discussion this would have to be done through amendments of the Neighborhood Plan or with the possibility of the ES acting in the capacity similar to the National Football League Commissioner, where a response can be reached quicker and then brought to the full Neighborhood Commission as a report for its review, or on appeal by the complainant or respondent.


The Commission directed the ES to do the same for the Nanakuli Neighborhood Board as is to be done for the Ewa Neighborhood Board regarding expediting the complaint for processing by the Commission.


2013 Neighborhood System Elections Resolution – ES Heinrich noted that the purpose of the resolution is to get the Commission’s authorization to conduct a “digital election” that will include online and telephone voting. The most recent vendor used to conduct the 2011 Neighborhood System Election is “Everyone Counts” based in San Diego, California. The goal is to secure a vendor much earlier than in 2011 in order to work with them on the specifics of what is needed to conduct this election.


Questions, comments, and concerns followed:


1.       Alternatives – Commissioner Stubbs noted that the resolution does not exactly state what a “digital election” is. Although the resolution is more formal, it should include an alternative for internet access.

2.       Election Cost – Commissioner Nekota commented that when the online voting option was brought to the Commission’s attention, the cost of having the election was supposed to get cheaper and cheaper. Mick noted that it was through a different vendor. The vendor that offered that option, the Neighborhood Commission would have to purchase the program for the cost to decrease every election. Mick also noted that what may have scared off this vendor was the addition of an alternative requirement to include a telephone option, as not all residents are able to access the Internet.


Commissioner Guiffre departed at 9:23 p.m.; quorum of six (6) Commissioners present.


3.       Renewal Option – Commissioner Tamamoto questioned if there were an option to renew the vendor for the upcoming election and future elections. Mick noted that the Request For Proposal has not contained this option as BFS is hesitant when it comes to new technology which may see a rapid cost decrease over a few years period, but that he favors it for stability.

4.       Broad Term – De Jesus commented that “digital elections” is a broad term. It was requested that if the option is for online voting, it should be stated as such. It was requested to get other city agencies involved for assistance with seniors voting using the digital or online election.


Finley moved, Tamamoto seconded that the Neighborhood Commission adopt the resolution provided by the Executive Secretary of the Neighborhood Commission Office as amended to conduct a “digital election.” The motion was UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED, 6-0-0 (Aye: Finley, Ho, Nekota, Stubbs, Tamamoto, and Young; No: None; Abstain: None).


The resolution as adopted reads as follows:


Resolution to Conduct the 2013 Neighborhood System Elections as a “Digital Election”


WHEREAS, the Honolulu City Council on June 6, 2013 adopted Bill 14 (2012), CD2, FD2 which established the Executive Operating Budget and Program for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, including the total budget for the Neighborhood Commission Office at $1,030,568 and 17 full-time equivalent positions, including an elections clerk; and


WHEREAS, the amount budgeted for the 2013 Neighborhood System elections -- comprising all 439 seats on the 33 neighborhood boards – is $188,100, and was predicated on continuing the City Council initiative of 2008 that led to the 2009 and 2011 Neighborhood System elections balloting being conducted entirely electronically; and    


WHEREAS, the 2009 Neighborhood System elections of the City and County of Honolulu are recognized as being the first entirely “digital election” in the United States of America, and the 2011 elections were marked by an increase in voter participation using the new system via the Internet or telephone alternatives; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the Neighborhood Commission of the City and County of Honolulu that the 2013 Neighborhood System elections be conducted as “digital elections” using a secure, Internet-based voting system or alternative methods of voting that protect the secrecy of each voter’s choices; and that the Neighborhood Commission Office be directed to initiate the necessary budgetary and authorization processes to fully and timely conduct the 2013 Neighborhood System elections in accordance with the Neighborhood Plan and other governing law.


Commissioner Ho departed at 9:32 p.m.; quorum of five (5) Commissioners present.


Neighborhood System Fortieth Anniversary Celebration – This item was deferred.


Neighborhood Commission Calendar Planning – ES Heinrich noted that he will contact the Commissioners via email.




Update on the NCO Budget Bill – This item was previously discussed.


NCO Video Recording Program – ES Heinrich highlighted that beginning July 1, 2012, 22 of the 33 Neighborhood Boards will video record their meetings -- which is two-thirds participation in the program. Most of the video recording will be done by a new primary contractor -- Integrated Multimedia Consultants. Two Neighborhood Boards will be video recorded by public high schools – the Ewa NB23 by James Campbell High School, and the Aliamanu/Salt Lake/Foster Village NB18 by Radford High School.


Neighborhood System Planning Calendar – This item was deferred.


Sunshine Law and Ethics Training Compliance Update – Mick noted that NCO records indicate that since the implementation of Bill 58, 80 Board members have submitted their Sunshine Law self-certification form. However, 99 Board members still have to comply. Reminder letters will be sent out.


Neighborhood System Guidebook Revision Update – ES Heinrich noted there are many revisions that need to be completed. The most current version available to Board members is on the NCO website dated June 2007. Commissioner Tamamoto noted that she has a printed version of the Board Member Guidebook that is dated June 2009. Mick commented that it may be a draft version printed by former Commissioner Ron Mobley.




Next Neighborhood Commission Meeting – The Neighborhood Commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 23, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the City Council Committee Meeting Room, Honolulu Hale, Room 205, 530 South King Street. The Commission’s regular meetings are scheduled for the fourth Monday of each month, unless otherwise noticed.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 9:38 p.m.


Submitted by Theona Kapoi, Neighborhood Commission Office


Reviewed by Bryan Mick, Neighborhood Commission Office


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


Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 24, 2012