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There’s always something interesting going on at Honolulu Hale.
Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.
As its last action of the day, the Honolulu City Council just moved forward a resolution that would allow the Honolulu Police Department to install temporary video surveillance cameras in advance of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in November to deter crime and protect the public.
Before the resolution advanced, frequent Council testifier Natalie Iwasa said the additional cameras give her the “creepy crawlies” and cited this passage from George Orwell‘s famous dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four:
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.
Assistant Chief Greg Leftcourt also said that the cameras will not have listening capabilities and that HPD is not inclined to break the law. The new cameras will be taken down and repurposed as traffic cameras, the city says.
Bill 5, which would ban commercial tour vehicles in city beach parks one day each week, is going back to committee for some major overhauls. It almost didn’t even make it that far.
Facing heavy questions from multiple council members and criticism from testifying citizens in the tourism industry as well as Parks and Recreations Director Gary Cabato and Managing Director Doug Chin, the bill passed second reading. Council members Tom Berg and Breene Harimoto objected and four other members registered their reservations.
Vice Chair Ikaika Anderson, who introduced the measure, explained that it wouldn’t impact taxis or rental cars and was only designed to lighten the load at parks on Sundays. Romy Cachola acknowledged Anderson’s good intent, but raised the specter of Hawaii and Honolulu being portrayed in national news as unfriendly to tourists as a potential unintended consequences.
The bill that would ban tour buses from using city beach parks on Sundays was introduced by Windward Honolulu City Council member Ikaika Anderson, and he’s said that Kailua Beach was in his mind when he introduced it.
Underscoring in that point is the identities of the first two testifiers at the bill at public hearing this afternoon: Hawaii Sen. Pohai Ryan, whose district spans from Hawaii Kai to Kailua, and Rep. Chris Lee, who represents Lanikai and Waimanalo.
Council member Tom Berg points out that if Kailua is really the target of the bill, maybe it should be rewritten to restrict tourism use of only Kailua Beach Park. Testimony continues, so we’ll have to wait to see if Berg’s suggestion takes when members’ discussion of the bill and possible amendments starts.
Mayor Peter Carlisle was just in our nation’s capital last week. You may remember the entertaining and revealing interview with DC808‘s Adrienne LaFrance in which our mayor said the Honolulu rail team was trying to go “undercover.”
Well, Carlisle enjoyed his time in Washington, D.C. so much that he’s going back already.
The mayor’s office announced a few minutes ago that Carlisle will leave tonight to attend the annual Joint Civilian Orientation Conference at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Managing Director Doug Chin will serve as Acting Mayor for more than a week, until Carlisle returns Sept. 24.
The city has put out a press release with more details on its plans to lease out affordable rental facilities to a private developer. The release includes a fact sheet on the 12 impacted properties.
Read it here.
Police and others in uniform aren’t the only ones honored by the Honolulu City Council today. Here’s the list of those who received honorary certificates at the 9 a.m. program this morning:
Also approved: a resolution approving a 15-year master plan for Queen’s Hospital.
The matter passed with minimal testimony and discussion, and without any objection.
A special management area permit for a 220-room, four-story Marriott hotel in Laie has been given the green light.
The Honolulu City Council voted 8-1 this afternoon to approve the amended resolution granting the permit. Tom Berg was the lone “no” vote, but made clear he supported the project and merely wanted to include language that would have required the developer to widen its unrelated bike path.
More coming later.
While the Laie testimony continues unabated, let’s take a quick look at some of the other resolutions introduced recently that could end up back at the Honolulu City Council at a future meeting:
And now the matter that most of today’s attendees are here for. Resolution 11-84 would approve a special management permit for a 220-room, four-story Marriott hotel in Laie.
As always, supporters of Envision Laie and the Mormon Church are out in force in their baby blue shirts. The last time the matter came up at the Council, testimony lasted hours, only to see the matter deferred.
Important note: There was a hand-carried floor draft posted online for this meeting.
Earlier today, we reported that the Honolulu City Council would “play it by ear” on Bill 47, which would regulate the size and number of political signs on private property.
Well, it turns out that the discussion will continue for another month. The Council took some brief testimony, but decided to defer the matter to its meeting next month.
Zoning and Planning Chair Ikaika Anderson said that some “interested parties” contacted his office and asked for more time to review the bill, and he obliged those requests. But he said he still fully intends to move the bill forward at the Council’s next meeting.
Member Stanley Chang said he has legal concerns about the bill and that he doesn’t want to see political speech restricted in Hawaii. He supported the deferral, and the bill was pushed back without objection.
Mayor Peter Carlisle says government is a lousy landlord — a “disaster” even. So the City and County of Honolulu is getting out of the business altogether.
Carlisle, Community Services Director Sam Moku and Housing Office Executive Director Keith Ishida announced at a press conference this morning that the city will be putting out a request for proposals for a firm to sign a long-term lease to manage and maintain 12 city-owned properties that contain more than 1,200 affordable housing units.
Operating the program is a money-loser for the city. Other reports have suggested it’s about $3 million per year, and Moku said that’s in the general ballpark. It’s not clear how much revenue the city would generate by leasing out its properties.
Moku acknowledged that the public-private partnership could result in increased rents for tenants, but said no units would be converted to market value or condominium units. Ishida said the properties were built with federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and are subject to federal laws and guidelines that set the maximum rent on an annual basis.
After the meeting broke up, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Vice Chair Ivan Lui-Kwan shared the names of the three finalists for the ninth voting Board member position. These three individuals were interviewed by the Permitted Interaction Group that eventually nominated Bunda:
You’ll notice that the third name was not among the nine originally revealed as applicants. That’s because Ramil, a retired Associate Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court, had told HART he did not want his name to be shared publicly.
Here’s the list of the nine applicants who consented to have their names made public. Bobby Bunda won the seat, and six other applicants declined to have their names released. The Board didn’t specify which three became finalists interviewed by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Permitted Interaction Group.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board of Directors has just unanimously approved Bobby Bunda to become its ninth voting member.
In a brief speech, Bunda thanked those who supported him and promised to be engaged in the process. He was a legislator for 28 years, and was among those who pushed for the half-cent general excise tax surcharge, approved by the Hawaii Legislature to fund the project.
After the vote, Board Vice Chair Ivan Lui-Kwan explained that the 15 other applicants who sought the position have a privacy right to remain unnamed. But after some public pressure he asked the applicants if they would object to their names being release. Nine consented, and the rest declined. Those nine names will be made public.
After a short recess, Bunda will be sworn in.
Former Senate President Bobby Bunda could be confirmed this morning as the ninth voting member of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board of Directors. Those who are offering thoughts are offering positive thoughts.
Those submitting written testimony in support were:
Council member Nestor Garcia is also here, testifying in support of Bunda’s nomination at this very moment.
There is no testimony in opposition.
There have been some confused rumors circulating via email about a bill that’s up for public hearing this afternoon at the Honolulu City Council. Bill 5 would ban commercial tour vehicles in city beach parks on Sundays.
Pacific Business News has a good write-up today that explains the intent of the bill (to preserve parking for local families) and talks to some of the companies that would be impacted.
After the Zoning and Planning Committee moved the measure out to the full Council, Committee Chair Ikaika Anderson told Inside Honolulu that the bill would almost certainly be amended prior to today’s meeting.
But Anderson’s office told us yesterday afternoon that there will be no hand-carried Floor Draft. Instead, the Council will proceed with the current version and “play it by ear.”
The Council will weigh testimony from the public, including the American Civil Liberties Union that opposes limitations on free speech, as well as the Carlisle administration, which has expressed misgivings about enforcing the proposed law. If need be, the bill will be deferred for one meeting to work out any kinks raised by those parties, or others.
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board of Directors is set to meet at 8 a.m. The agenda includes two key items:
The names of the other three finalists for the ninth member position are being hidden from the public.
At 10 a.m., Mayor Peter Carlisle and representatives of the Department of Community Services and Mayor’s Office of Housing are holding a media availability at the mayor’s office to discuss “Honolulu Affordable Housing Preservation Initiative.”
At 1 p.m., Carlisle delivers remarks at the Zhongshan (China) dragon boats gift blessing and presentation at the Honolulu Hale front lawn. Carlisle will be joined by Zhongshan Vice-Mayor Yin Zhaoju.
According to a Thursday press release:
Honolulu will receive three new Dragon Boats and dozens of wood paddles from The People’s Municpal Government of Zhongshan, a sister-city in China. The boats will be displayed on the lawn fronting Honolulu Hale, where an acceptance ceremony will be held.
The Zhongshan People’s Municipal Government donated the boats to the City and County of Honolulu to help continue the 15-year tradition of annual Dragon Boat races here. The new boats meet International Dragon Boat Federation standards and are together valued at approximately $10,000.
A delegation from Zhongshan attended the Inaugural Counties of Hawaii Sister-Cities Summit in Honolulu this week, which included more than 150 delegates from 14 international cities. Honolulu has 27 sister-cities throughout the world.
September 15: Ikaika Fundraiser Tonight, More Soon; Rail Opponents On the Radio; Finmeccanica Exec Offers Resignation; Horner’s Ansaldo Conflict?; Correction: $300K/Year; Honolulu’s $1.5 Million Lobbyist; Population and Ridership; HART Board on Friday; Where’s Carlisle?
September 14: Sister City Summit: A Summary; No News From Ethics Meeting; $1 Million for Psych Hospital; Tulsi Passes the Basket; Live-Tweeting Sister Cities Summit; Rail Soil Sampling Next Week; BRT v. Rail; Police On Protests; Sister City Activities; Where’s Carlisle?
September 13: Details On The Plan; ‘Modified Existing Plan’ It Is; Bombardier’s Response; Bombardier Lawsuit Denied; Berg: Reverse Ansaldo Contract; Sister Cities Program; Going After Castro; Godbey’s Disclosures; Wrong Again On Jobs; Real Property Tax Commission Meets Today; Friday’s Council Agenda; Where’s Carlisle?
September 12: City Asks for Early Decision on Rail Lawsuit; Ethics Commission Today; Where’s Carlisle?
September 9: Carlisle’s Public Sked; Remembrance Walk; Congestion Deception; ‘Outrage’ on Mayor’s Homeless Comments; Successful Sewage Trucking; Where’s Carlisle?
September 8: What We Learned; Honolulu’s Lousy Traffic; Undercover in Washington; Eagles Have Landed; Corp Counsel on Procurement; Horner Impressed; Stanley Chang Testifies; Aloha From Italy; Sale Or No Sale, Finmeccanica Is Obliged; Joint and Several Liability; Finmeccanica: Failure ‘Impossible’; The Questions; The Players; Ansaldo On The Big Screen; Where’s Carlisle?
September 7: Four Council District Plans; The Resignation Letter; Jamila Resigns From Planning Commission; Thoughts on Washington Trip; Not Following Rules; Where’s Carlisle?
September 6: Thursday Night In Waianae; Council Public Hearing Notice; Mayor On Homelessness; Jobs Claim Half True; Where’s Carlisle?
September 2: Peter, Toru, Carrie All Washington-Bound; Carlisle’s Public Sked; HART at First Hawaiian; Carlisle at Civil Beat; Ansaldo: We Complied With Licensing Requirement; Long Weekend; Civil Beat’s ‘Hatchet Job’; Where’s Carlisle?
September 1: PIG Picks Bunda; Carlisle’s Rail Pep Talk; Semi-Autonomous, But Connected; All Sewage Ideas Welcome; Defining ‘Undercover’; Today’s Meetings; Where’s Carlisle?