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DRAFT MINUTES OF REGULAR MEETING
TUESDAY, MAY 13, 2008
WAIKIKI COMMUNITY CENTER
CALL TO ORDER: Chair Finley called the meeting (agenda filed on May 5, 2008 at the City and County of Honolulu’s City Clerk’s Office) to order at 7:05 p.m. with a fourteen-member quorum present out of the seventeen total members (present: Adams, Apaka, Benevento, Carroll, Erteschik, Finley, Flood, Gruntz, Martin, Personious, Peters, Poole, Simpson, Smith), with a quorum of nine required to be present and voting in support of any Board action for the motion to pass.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Jo-Ann Adams, Les Among, Jeff Apaka, Bert Benevento, Helen Carroll, Louis Erteschik, Bob Finley, Walt Flood, Ray Gruntz, Robert Martin, Richard Personious, Mike Peters, Jim Poole, Mary Simpson, Mark Smith.
MEMBERS ABSENT: David Chen, Jeff Merz.
GUESTS: Representative Tom Bower, Rick Egged (Waikiki Improvement Association), Fire Fighter Keoki Liftee-Kau (Honolulu Fire Department – HFD), Keith Rollman (Department of Information Technology, Mayor Hannemann’s Representative), Carol Sword, Councilmember Charles Djou, Sascha Franzel, Sonia Franzel, David Franzel; Bob Farrell, Ivonne Cardenas (makakilo.com); Bob Urb, Lori Wingard (Councilmember Charles Djou’s Office staff); Barry Usugawa, Moani Wright-Van Alt (Board of Water Supply); Jan Bappe, Carl Middleton (Downtown Neighborhood Board No. 13); Capt. Jeff Richards, Lt. Harrison Kim Han, Sgt. Ryan Okabe (Honolulu Police Department – HPD, Waikiki Station District 6); Marsha Weinert (Governor Lingle’s Representative), Representative Scott Nishimoto, Corey Dillman, Bulla Eastman, Roger Kimura, Noelle Mongelard, Alan Rice (Segways of Hawaii), Lynette Eastman, Cherryl Leeson, Kelsey Dorogi, Laura Millman, Sharon Gripper, Lorna Johnston, Patrick Seguiraut, Jim Park, Elwin Spray (
WELCOME / QUORUM: Chair Finley welcomed the community to the meeting, noting a quorum was present and reporting that the two absent members Chen and Merz had called, with Chen being ill and Merz on the mainland.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Chair Finley reported the April 2008 Statement had a balance of $1930.79 after expenses of $104.36. Chair Finley directed that the statement be filed.
CHAIR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS: Chair Finley thanked Vice-Chair Erteschik and Member Peters for finalizing the agenda while he was on the mainland, reporting that he had read the on-line Honolulu newspapers every day, and noted the Honolulu Advertiser’s editorial reporting – after the agenda had been filed without a segway agenda item – the Board would address segway issues. He said that Waikiki Improvement Association’s Rick Egged would report on a follow-up of segway issues from last month. He also noted a 9:30 p.m. deadline for the meeting. Gruntz reported a follow-up on the “T-shirts for Troops” project presented at the last meeting, saying that 735 shirts had been gathered, with 125 more here this evening, and that project originator Sascha Franzel would be present later in the evening. Gruntz reported successful community participation, explaining that a t-shirt store where he had made a purchase and explained the project had later made a donation of six shirts.
HONOLULU FIRE DEPARTMENT – Fire Fighter Keoki Liftee-Kau, from HFD Engine 7 (Waikiki Station), referred to a prior month’s report on a Waikiki explosion, saying event specifics included the explosion of an air generator in a dive shop. He reported on area HFD activity statistics, listing six structure fires, one rubbish fires, one vehicle fire, one hundred and twenty-eight medical emergencies, and twenty miscellaneous calls (which include activated alarms, electrical shorts, hazardous conditions, and general cleanups). He reported three major events, which included one hazardous materials response (eight companies responding) and two building fires (which involved call outs of four and five engine companies). He reported on concerns of seasonal wildfires, offering a monthly safety tip:
The risk of wildland fires increases as summer approaches. Make a 30-foot wide fire break by clearing vegetation and clutter around all structures. Some wildland fires could force the evacuation of neighborhoods. Have an emergency preparedness plan ready in case of such an event. Consider the route you would take and other preparations you could have in place if you need to evacuate your home due to an emergency. If your property boarders an area where a wildland fire could occur, consider the need for fire department access in case the fire approaches your home.
Liftee-Kau was thanked by Smith for HFD’s use of engine sirens only when traffic dictated and thus keeping the neighborhood noise level down, with Grunzt commenting that the use of sirens is for pedestrian and motorist safety and encouraged protection of citizens. Gruntz asked if future statistics could include causes of fires, especially asking about smoking as a cause. Flood asked if the Waikiki Station was fully staffed, with Liftee-Kau saying he would report back. Chair Finley thanked Liftee-Kau for his report.
Among arrived at 7:12 p.m.; fifteen members present.
HONOLULU POLICE DEPARTMENT – Captain Jeff Richards represented HPD and reported that this was National Police Week, explaining that although it was honoring service given, all officers were committed to serving the community. Sgt. Ryan Okabe reported on recent monthly statistics (written copies distributed) for all of District 6’s thirteen Waikiki beats, reviewing eleven robberies, forty-one burglaries, one hundred and forty-seven thefts, sixty-eight UEMV (unauthorized entry of motor vehicles) forty-eight assaults, with a total of 3526 calls. He also distributed a report on chronic complaints, including twenty one citations for loud music, thirty-two for loud mufflers and fifteen warnings), sixty-one citations for jaywalking (and 711 warnings) and eight arrests open lewdness. Lt. Harrison Kim Han reported current safety programs of “click it or ticket” seat-belt enforcement and on-going pedestrian safety education and enforcement. He also emphasized importance of safety awareness and of the community being the eyes for the police, saying that the relaying of information (call 911) is appreciated. Martin thanked Jeff Richards for his participation as a volunteer in the Children’s Miracle Network, saying it is an organization that supports children’s medical needs, including abused children, and thanked Officer J. Pacaro for his response in dealing with recent car break-in. Flood noted a charity named for slain Officer Troy Barboza and asked if the shooter was in jail, with Kim Han saying the sentence was life without parole. Carroll reported motorcycles racing and speeding on Hobron Lane, with Kim Han saying he would follow up and monitor but asking for 911 calls reporting occurrences and times. Chair Finley thanked Richards and all the officers for their report and their service, wishing them a happy police week.
BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY (BWS) – Moani Wright-Van Alst reported an increase in water bills effective July 1, 2008, saying that the expected average cost (to cover past BWS gasoline and electricity expenses) would be $1.22 a month, with the actual cost at 9.4 cents per thousand gallons of usage. She also announced a BWS detect-a-leak week, distributing chemical tablets for toilet tank testing and reporting the tablets available at City Mill, the BWS and Satellite City Halls. Gruntz asked if the sewer rate would go up, with Wright-Van Alst saying the sewer rates were separate from the water rates. Wright-Van Alst introduced Barry Usugawa from the Board of Water Supply, who reported on the future sustainability and desalination plans. Usugawa noted that this presentation was an update from a June 2007 discussion, with the City still committed to conservation of all of the City’s resources, not just water, stressing that the cost of energy use to handle water is an important and considered factor in their plans. He reported the three parts of water planning as: 1) watershed management (preservation and control), 2) conservation of the whole resource (use wisely and deliver efficiently, including the fixing of leaks both great and small) and 3) diversification (including recycling, but noting that groundwater was the cheapest, requiring much less energy to be drinkable) – and pushing of energy-intensive desalination away as long as possible, with the plan now for it not being required until the year 2020. Gruntz asked about desalination, with Usugawa explaining that a 20-acre site had been secured in Kalaeloa, with the source of water being from deep wells over five miles from a sewage treatment plant (mentioned by Gruntz) in Honouliuli. Among asked about increase in costs, with Usugawa explaining that pump and treatment costs are tied to the energy costs of oil, with July’s increase to cover the money already spent due to the increase in oil prices. Adams asked about alternative power sources (such as tidal and solar), with Usugawa agreeing they were being considered (including bio-fuels, although bio-fuels are water users), pointing out that the 20-acres would be enough for a one-acre plant and other possible power sites like solar or photovoltaic to run the plant. Smith noted the leveling of total growth and asked about agricultural use with Usugawa saying that agriculture use is not part of the use shown but that the lessening is due to conservation (includes conversion of brackish water) and education (watering methods and leak detection). Chair Finley asked about future assessments of a building’s need, as well as for the total growth of an area like the central plain, and for additional concerns like fire protection, with Usugawa saying that projected water system needs are tied to zoning, where a development must fit to the existing or put in additional lines. Adams asked about BWS moving off of oil, with Usugawa saying technology projections still have major reliance on oil. Smith asked about urban water use compared to sub-urban (Mililani), with Usugawa saying that a high rise unit uses 400 to 300 gallons a day versus a sub-urban usage of 500 gallon a day, agreeing that densification is cheaper but pointing that there are other costs including for weather, size lots, and landscaping. Chair Finley thanked Usugawa for the presentation.
CITIZENS’ ANNOUNCEMENTS: Chair Finley asked for community announcements, with Lorna Johnson thanking the Board for its help on Ena Road concerns and Sascha Franzel thanking the Board for its help with the t-shirt drive. Chair Finley thanked Franzel for her efforts (to coordinate an Aloha Friday celebration in Afghanistan by soliciting contributions of clean Hawaii-message related t-shirts for donation to U.S. armed forces). Adams asked Franzel to state the website for the video audience (TshirtsforTroops@aol.com) and Gruntz endorsed the project, stressing that it was not a “scam” but a legitimate project. Gruntz also reported concern that there are several “senior citizen” targeted scams going around, especially those now claiming to aid the Aloha Airlines unemployed, with those doing the scams dropping in from Colorado for a week or so and then returning back after having found victims.
MAYOR’S REPRESENTATIVE – Keith Rollman, Special Assistant to the Director of the City Department of information Services, represented Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and distributed a community report from the City. He reported on prior concerns, including that the sewer by-pass “black pipe” was going away from the Ala Wai roadway (generally by the end of May 2008), with parts of the by-pass still being visible, but with the protection now in place to protect the community from a possible breakage. He noted several concerns:
1) That a presentation on the City’s fixed rail project is can be scheduled at 768-6124.
2) That State law says that the bike have the rights and duties of a motor vehicle.
3) That the State law covers segways as electric “personal assistive mobility devices” that are to yield the right of way to persons traveling on foot.
4) That homeless offensive behavior is a concern, with Councilmembers Tam and Kobayashi having proposed legislation to prohibit camping at bus stops.
5) That toilets are available at the tennis court bathrooms but that others have been closed (overnight) to keep away those who would use the sites as sleeping places or to vandalize, but that the City Parks department is reviewing all sites.
6) That bus stops are cleaned as quickly as they are reported.
7) That sidewalk cleaning (tar-like spots) in Waikiki is done through the Waikiki Business Improvement District Association (WBIDA) 923-9243 with joint City/private financial support.
Gruntz referred to reports of donations to Mayor Hannemann from transit vendors favoring steel-on-steel technology, saying he felt the Mayor should return those donations and asked if he could have returned to him a donation he said he had made to Hannemann. Rollman said Gruntz needed to direct the questions to a campaign staff member rather than to Rollman as a City employee, with Chair Finley asking that Gruntz take the issue out of the meeting and noting that the time was twenty minutes past the projected agenda time. Peters noted that recent on-street landscaping was being changed, with grass sections being replaced with concrete due to the grass having died out. Peters also called attention to an idea in the San Francisco papers, where old parking meters have been placed near pan-handling sites so that funds may be donated to homeless via the meters (not into hands) to a non-profit agency rather than encouraging direct soliciting. Peters said he was encouraged to hear of Council consideration of new legislation. Flood repeated his preference from an earlier meeting that the City open up the toilets located near the HPD Waikiki Station, with an audience comment in agreement, and with Rollman saying the sites are all being reviewed by the City Parks department. Urb introduced himself as being from a Waikiki beach ministry and encouraged more City expenditures for homeless, saying that Waikiki homeless have grown from a start of fifty to now 250 over a five year period. Chair Finley said Urb should summarize and asked for a question to Rollman. Urb said that the Waikiki homeless have grown from only a dozen a few years ago and that the issue was too important to be restricted and then he left the meeting. Chair Finley deferred a segway question to the Waikiki Improvement District report. Gruntz commented that Mayor Hannemann rejected a ‘ethics bill’ (proposed Charter-amendment) with Rollman saying the bill was to prohibit persons who had worked as current consultants on the transit project, including the current director of City Transportation Services. Chair Finley asked Rollman to keep Finley in contact on legislation and thanked Rollman for his report.
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE – Marsha Weinert, State Tourism Coordinator, represented Governor Linda Lingle and distributed a Neighborhood Board Report. She reported the use of a State street sweeper to assist on area streets, reporting that the State sweeper was not normally used in Waikiki. She reported following up on other issues from past meetings, including, 1) box jellyfish research is not done by the State department of Health (DOH), although she found out that the City’s lifeguards (City Emergency Services Department) do keep records (808jellyfish.com), 2) segways are covered by State law, 3) 1st Quarter visitor arrival show an increase over past quarters (a six per cent increase in exenditures and a 2.7% increase in arrivals) but that the expected decline in current numbers (as the result of the Aloha Airlines, ATA, and boat departures) is between 1.4% to 3% (arrival decline). Gruntz noted military jets using afterburners over the Waikiki area on April 19 and April 23 and asked for State follow up, with Poole reporting those flights as F22 Raptors, which are nosier aircraft and not using afterburners nor buzzing the area, and said that the Hickam Base could be called when someone had questions about air operations. Poole said that the jellyfish concern is to note the perceived increase in regular jellyfish in the Waikiki area (saying over 800 the last time) with the concern that increases will drive visitors from the beaches and the State should be doing research (suggesting through the University of Hawaii at Manoa). Gruntz reported thousands of jellyfish in the Ala Wai and said he thinks they breed there. Erteschik asked about the future of inter-island travel, noting its expense, with Weinert saying that the current carriers have added capacity so the number of seats are almost to over capacity, that there is no need for additional carriers, but that prices will probably go up because of fuel. She added that the cargo carrier issue is ironed out. Among commented on the likely drop in future tourism, with Weinert saying should be between 1.4% and 3% in arrival numbers. Chair Finley thanked Weinert for her report.
WAIKIKI IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION (WIA) – Chair Finley asked if there would be Board objection to having WIA’s Rick Egged report on segways, and with no objections, called on Egged, who introduced Alan Rice from Segway of Hawaii. Rice reported his desire to work with the community, his belief that segways are safe, and offered examples of use in congested areas like Ecoit Center (Disney World) and on Paris streets. He reported both sales and tours, including an example of a downtown Honolulu historical tour (limited to a small groups, with a required 30 minutes introductory course to segway operation) and use by police, hotels, Hickam, Pearl Harbor and others. He explained that there are governors to restrict speed, it was first conceived as an alternative to a wheelchair and is allowed on City buses. He invited coming to his Hilton Hawaiian Village (HHV) location for a free demonstration exposure. Gruntz asked about warning bells, horns or lights, with Rice saying that it’s friendlier to simply say “excuse me” as they come upon walkers or others. Gruntz also described observing groups taking up the sidewalk at HHV, reported a lady present who was injured by a segway operator, and said he observed operations at high speeds and reported HPD saying the speeds were 20 mile per hour (MPH). Gruntz also said he observed segways used to hand out brochures. Rice explained that the speed governors are set at 12.5 MPH, that the tours are trained to be in single file and tours are conducted at 4 MPH. Among said he hasn’t noted disabled users but questioned use of segways, bikes, and skate boarders on sidewalks with pedestrians. Rice explained that his sales and tours are not targeted for the physically challenged user and that seats are sold as “after market” items that can be added on, and stressed that segways are a way out of the car. Among stressed that sidewalk use has been formerly limited to pedestrians and its changing. Miller asked about governor settings, with Rice saying generally three points (3-4 MPH, 6-8 MPH, and 10-12.5 MPH), and Miller asking for Rice to report on injuries, which Rice said he would provide. Erteschik discussed the legislative intent in developing the State law (not under age 16, sidewalk use, at 8 MPH) and said it was looking for a balance in reasonable use. Miller noted that the short training time might mean its use is not appropriate for congested Waikiki, with Rice saying that the average group is three to four. Erteschik asked about insurance, with Rice saying there was coverage and that HHV had also spent two years of review before allowing them to locate on the property, repeating that his tours had not had problems. Gruntz reported on an audience member’s accident, which was with another group. An audience comment was that the City should develop a use permit covering operations on sidewalks and that this use was not appropriate, as well as the use of the vehicles as advertising platforms, saying that the current use to promote alcohol – booze – and the passing out of stickers and flyers is not correct and is illegal. Noelle Mongelard explained that she was hit by a segway at Fort DeRussey, where two machines were ridding side-by-side and struck her in the back, knocking her down and causing a broken ankle and continuing pain, and she asked for a change so that the type of accident that happened to her does not happen again to another sidewalk pedestrian. Rice apologized to Mongelard for her accident and pain, saying that personal users have segways, and that he was not aware of any alcohol promotion and that he would try to look for that use. Rice encouraged visitng his HHV site where he could demonstrate the segway. An audience comment was made about the usefulness of the segway, explaining that he has a disability that prevents his walking very far but that he is able to daily traverse the necessary block or so, with an additional comment that he observes regular violations of vehicle speeding that need to be addressed. Rice added that a wheel rolling over a person’s foot would not be felt. Adams noted the need to develop a long-range plan, saying she agrees with Among’s point that sidewalks should be for pedestrians and said a possible starting point would be for a street lane to be dedicated for bikes and other wheeled vehicles, with Among agreeing with the idea as a start. Rice noted that HPD bikes are not operated in the street but are ridden on the sidewalks, pointing out that HPD feels bike operation in the street is not safe, and that is the pattern that the general public follows. Chair Finley thanked Rice, Egged and the others for their information and pointed out that the issue is not an agenda item for voting.
CONCILMEMBER DJOU – Councilmember Charles Djou noted the discussion seemed lively, like recent Council meetings, and distributed a community report. He noted his recent Council proposal for a “wheel boot” to disable car operation until parking fines and tickets were paid (threshold of three unpaid tickets), a Charter proposal to provide for ethics fines for all City employees, and said he would forward a letter to the Board dealing with Waikiki carrying capacity. Gruntz said he agreed with the concept of credit card payments for boot operation, with Djou saying his proposal would provide for phone payments, and the subsequent issuance of a code with the mandated return of the boot (citing similar programs in Denver, Wilmington, and Richmond), saying that road users should be paying for the road. Erteschik asked about Djou’s Board member term limit proposal, encouraging participation at the next day’s hearing, with Djou saying he supports the turnover of those in elected positions. Smith asked about answers to transit questions Djou had directed to the City Finance Director, with Djou inviting any questions Smith had to be e-mailed directly to his office and he would follow-up. Chair Finley thanked Djou for his report.
SENATOR TRIMBLE – No representative was present, with Chair Finley noting that Senator Trimble had a function that evening.
REPRESENTATIVE BROWER – Representative Tom Brower distributed a monthly community report, and highlighted items, including legislative items that are currently being reviewed (for signature or veto) by the Governor: 1) including a public funding pilot project for Hawaii County elections, 2) a bill providing for a blogger to be a “news reporter,” 3) changes to the Sunshine Law (permits neighborhood board members to attend community meetings and hear items not on the published agenda), 4) increases tow costs but provides for unhooking if present, 5) and a anti-drinking inter-lock system. He included an article authored supporting the popular vote for the presidential contest and a phone poll result. Peters noted that he was not a candidate and said he disagreed with Brower’s apparent support of the Hawaii County public spending project, saying he feels the ability to raise funds is an important part of the election process. Peters also expressed opposition to elimination of the Electoral College, with Brower saying he agreed that Peters had good points but stressed that the public spending bill was a pilot project and that the article covered both positive and negative points and invited continued discussion after the meeting. Sword said she agreed with Peters and opposed public financing of elections. Chair Finley thank Brower for his report.
1944 KALAKAUA AVENUE – Chair Finley reported that a written copy of the development proposal had been received and forwarded to Member Merz, who had reviewed the plan and submitted “a rather lengthy list” of comments. Chair Finley introduced Patrick Seguiraut, who exhibited explained plans for a new two-story building (for American Commercial Equity) to be located next to Local Motion, with parking to be re-configured, and Local Motion to remain. He explained that the permit is for a Major Special District Permit, that the developer is responding to the letters submitted, and that the next step is an environmental assessment (EA) which would be filed after the letters are answered. He explained that no traffic effect is considered as there will be no change at Kalakaua Avenue, with closing of the Local Motion driveway and continuation of the meandering sidewalk design, as well as a matching of the landscape to the existing area. Seguiraut explained that the site could be required to be widened (by ten feet) but that since the Local Motion building is not to be changed the intent is to not do the widening. Smith asked about restaurant use, with Seguiraut saying the second floor is intended for restaurant and the ground level to be retail. Erteschik asked several questions about the back side, with Seguiraut saying the parking would be in back next to the existing apartment building (which would continue), saying that the buildings were different parcels but being jointly developed. Smith asked about noise, with Seguiraut saying that open lanai might be expected on the Kalakaua side but the others should be enclosed and Smith asking that part of the noted concerns include possible club patron noise (especially at night). Chair Finley noted the project would be limited to two-stories in a 350-foot zoned area. Flood moved and Benevento seconded for the Waikiki Neighborhood Board No. 9 to support the two-story concept of planning for the 1944 Kalakaua Avenue project. Among asked about the Local Motion building, with Seguiraut saying that building would remain basically the same. Smith asked about the procedure with Chair Finley saying that Seguiraut would be asked to return with the final plans. Smith proposed that the motion include mention of noise issue concerns for the back of the building, with Chair Finley agreeing, with no objections from the Board, that the concern was part of the motion. Grantz noted the need to have security present at the now empty buildings until the construction commences. Martin asked about building design, with Seguiraut saying the new project would be similar to the existing Local Motion building with lots of glass on the second floor. Erteschik said he liked the concept and the addition seemed attractive. Sword reported that the Local Motion building had received architectural awards. Chair Finley asked for a vote and declared the motion for Waikiki Neighborhood Board No. 9 support of the concept a 1944 Kalakaua Avenue two-story planned project (including noise issue concerns for the back of the building) passed unanimously 15-0-0. Aye: Adams, Among, Apaka, Benevento, Carroll, Erteschik, Finley, Flood, Gruntz, Martin, Personious, Peters, Poole, Simpson, Smith. Chair Finley thanked Seguiraut for his report and asked that he bring back the design after it has been finalized.
LANAKILA PACIFIC – Chair Finley noted that the representatives had left.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES FOR THE APRIL 8, 2008 REGULAR MEETING – Chair Finley asked for corrections or adjustments to the April 8, 2008 Regular Meet Minutes, and with no corrections, declared the minutes approved without objection. Aye: Adams, Among, Apaka, Benevento, Carroll, Erteschik, Finley, Flood, Gruntz, Martin, Personious, Peters, Poole, Simpson, Smith.
CHAIR’S REPORT: Chair Finley reported testifying at the Council in opposition to placing transit station symbols and a transit spur line in Waikiki. He also reported testifying at the Senate supporting House Bill 2730 to permit two Neighborhood Board members to attend community meetings and Council to support Resolution 08-122 dealing with second floor signs (permitting menus to be posted), noting it was only a first step with Egged working in support of that issue. He thanked those who responded to his letter (especially Adams and Apaka) on the planned July 8, 2008 candidates’ night (seeking questions and suggestions).
ANNOUNCEMENT: Roger Kimura was present (with his segway machine) and offered to demonstrate his segway machine to anyone interested. Chair Finley thanked Kimura for the offer and applauded his efforts to conserve fuel.
ADJOURNMENT: Chair Finley announced not other business. Flood moved and Among seconded that the meeting be adjourned. Chair Finley announced the meeting as adjourned at 9:29 p.m. 15-0-0. Aye: Adams, Among, Apaka, Benevento, Carroll, Erteschik, Finley, Flood, Gruntz, Martin, Personious, Peters, Poole, Simpson, Smith.
Submitted by Elwin Spray,
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