Neighborhood Boards are for busybodies, whiners, and otherwise unstable people.
It's a commonly held notion, given Proposal #30 made by a private citizen on October 22, 2015. Sadly, a small part of me believes it is true, although not for any reason that criticizes the individuals that tirelessly serve on it, nor because I believe that there is anything inherently wrong with those that seek a more grassroots community.
From the start, the intention was for the betterment of kama'aina. In fact, it was voters that decided in 1973 to form neighborhood boards. Yet somehow, on June 9 of this year, a meeting was to be held to discuss eliminating these very boards altogether. [Proposed Agenda]
A little sleuthing (well -- given the state of the NCO website -- a lot of sleuthing) has uncovered that the initial suggestion of board elimination was brought about by Proposal #30 and acted upon by the Neighborhood Board Commission. I am admittely a bit of a democracy voyeur when it comes to reading these documents first-hand. I excerpt some of my favorite lines from the proposal here:
I request the Charter Commission to research board membership . . .[and] consider the individuals who are voted to the boards. I believe some have mental issues, like there was one board member who claimed he was a law enforcement professional but admitted his police application was rejected, but since he always wanted to be a police officer, that was his profession.
I believe it is a waste of resources to have police and fire officials, who are required to attend, provide reports, many times giving common sense reports like, "turn pot handles away from the front of the stove". . .
Ultimately, this citizen suggested eliminating the neighborhood boards altogether. This suggestion somehow found its way through a special committee of the Neighborhood Board Commission, which in turn -- without ever having consulted elected Neighborhood Board Members -- opted to hold a special meeting to discuss putting it on a ballot for citizen vote.
This is where the whole process takes a somewhat Kafkaesque turn. On one hand, a portion of hearing the citizen voice worked. After all, it was a private citizen who asked for the matter to be taken up. And to this citizen's credit, there were some very valid points made, including, "Over the years, interest in these boards have dwindled where several boards do not have a sufficient number of members to even make a quorum. Another problem has been that through interpretation, the boards have expanded their advisory role to voice concerns directly related to pure state issues. Boards have also directly interfered with private matters and one board was sued."
However, in this very spirit of democracy, a singular citizen voice needs wider validation before being applied to all. It was a referendum that brought about the boards. Only a community vote could be applied to remove it. Thankfully, the meeting to discuss board elimination was postponed indefinitely. It doesn't take a genius to see that no one is going to vote to eliminate these boards that might one day be useful to them, even if they've never been to a meeting in their lifetime.
Returning to the Charter Commission's agenda however, it was not necessarily their intent to remove citizen voice. The higher calling from a May 16 meeting was the question of: “Should the City increase citizen participation in the decision of government though the use of electronic communication, such as television, Internet, and email, and eliminate the Neighborhood Board System?"
It's an interesting proposal -- one that they've shown no proficiency in to date. 1. They put out the proposal on a site prohibiting robots, the ones that index the web so that others can search it. 2. They changed the link so that there is no permanent record of it existing, and 3. No one put so much as a courtesy advance communication out to ANY of the neighborhood boards so that they knew this October 22, 2015 proposal was in the pipeline.
It's really the third sin that gets me hot under the collar. In any case, it's pretty clear that citizens should reject the idea of board elimination until we find a better solution for broad community input.
As for the initial idea that boards are made up of individuals that defy the definition of an average citizen -- it's true, and for both positive and less positive reasons. I can rattle off a list of bizarre interactions that have taken place -- and that's just from reading the minutes, not having actually attended. Yet, at the same time, I can also cite proactive interactions that won't cross your radar because the issue was taken care of before it became a bigger issue. Just remember, “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those others that have been tried.”
The Hawaii Kai Goodwill donation shack has been removed from the Park and Ride near the Dog Park. I spoke to Goodwill, and there is no intent to bring it back. It was communicated to Goodwill that the Hawaii Kai community took issue with it, so it is permanently closed.
I've updated the Recycling page.
Thank you to everyone who participated in August's plant exchange. The exchange received a wide variety of new plants and cuttings. I was particularly touched by those of you thoughtful enough to start new cuttings and seedlings for us -- just for the sake of community.
Here's a picture of a cuban oregano plant with variegated leaves that was exchanged this month. It's both beautiful and fragrant.
The next plant exchange is once again, the first Tuesday of the month from 4-7 pm at Kaiser High School. We'll be there on September 6. Hope to see you there. Remember, it's a casual exchange. Bring something, take something, or just leave a donation to the Kaiser High School community. Everyone benefits.
August 4, 2016 - The Honolulu City Council unanimously approved a special management area use permit for expanding the former Kaiser Estate in East Oahu’s Portlock neighborhood on Wednesday. [Star Advertiser (paywall) - EBSCO link forthcoming]
August 3, 2016 - The H-1 freeway near the Koko Head overpass closed briefly, for about 30 minutes, as emergency crews responded to a man who had jumped from the overpass. The man was transported to the hospital and the freeway was reopened around 6:15 pm. [Star Advertiser]
August 3, 2016 - A community meeting was held to discuss Alexander and Baldwin's plan to build waterfront condominiums in Kahala at the intersection of Kahala Avenue and Hunakai Street. This was the last public hearing. The Department of Planning and Permitting will continue accepting written comments on the project through August 12th. [KITV]
August 3, 2016 - Gecko droppings are to blame for the false civil alert siren that sounded in Kuliouou Valley before 6:00 am. [KFIVE]
August 2, 2016 - The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced the inaugural meeting of the Maunalua Bay Recreation Advisory Committee for the purpose of community input on the regulation of safe ocean recreation in Maunalua Bay. The meeting will be held August 18 at Koko Head Elementary. [DLNR] [Agenda - PDF]
August 1, 2016 - A new pilot program based on a $200,000 grant allows victims of domestic abuse to receive immediate assistance rather than be given a referral. The Safe on Scene (SOS) program is being offered to HPD District 7 residents. The area includes Manoa, McCully, Moiliili, Kaimuki, Palolo, Diamond Head, Waialae, Kahala, Aina Haina, Kuliouou, Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley, and Sandy Beach. [KHON]
August 1, 2016 - Radio Shack Hawaii Kai at Koko Marina Center has closed.
July 31, 2016 - Writer Lee Cataluna weighs in on Hawaiian Memorial Reefs' proposal to bury loved ones in cement in Maunalua Bay. Notably, she mentions that the company wouldn't answer questions posed by her or her colleagues at the Star Advertiser, but seemed eager to sell the plan to nonplussed local residents. She notes, "There is much to be said about this odd business endeavor, and much was said at the Wednesday meeting, but of note was the community's power to tell a developer, "Hey, slow your roll and answer our questions." The company was invited back to next month's neighborhood board meeting to continue the conversation. [Star Advertiser - library card req.]
July 31, 2016 - Police continue to look for two males who drew a weapon and robbed a 61-year old near Kahala Mall. [KFIVE]
July 30, 2016 - Marina land across from Costco to become boat storage rental. Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to sunset. [Star Advertiser - library card req.]
July 29, 2016 - Mariners' Ridge residents in Hawaii Kai spied a thief on video. Video was posted to Nextdoor, a virtual neighborhood watch online. [HNN]
Beginning today, if you are registered to vote in Hawaii, you may cast your vote at any early voting location through August 11. Oahu early voting locations are:
- Honolulu Hale
530 South King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Monday-Saturday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Kapolei Hale City Hall
1000 Uluohia Street
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
Monday-Saturday 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Furthermore, at early walk-in locations, qualified Hawaii residents may now register and vote on the same day.
- For more information, please visit the Office of Elections Website.