Kaneohe Neighborhood Board Meeting, 3/18/10
Kaneohe Community and Senior Center
The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board March 3 meeting was held at the Kaneohe Community and Senior Center. Future meetings will be held at the Senior Center until a meeting room at Windward Community College can again be arranged.
The Hawaii Fire Department tip of the month addressed the dangers of boiling Easter eggs. Scalding is one of the major sources of injury to young children. Always turn the handles of pots to the back of the stove. If possible, boil your eggs on the back of the stove. Cooking and boiling pots fascinate curious, young children. Watch your children closely whenever you are cooking. Take special care when carrying a boiling pot of water between your stove and your sink. Do not leave children unattended when you have hot liquids on your stove. Be aware that the artificial grass in Easter egg baskets is very flammable. Keep your Easter egg baskets away from open flames. Also, be aware that small candies and other small objects are a choking hazard.
The most controversial issue brought up at the meeting involved the new property tax classifications. The new classifications are “home owner” and “non-homeowner.” Anyone with a second building on their lot will be subject to the non-homeowner classification. Even if the live in their home and have relatives living in the second home they will loose their home owner classification and related home owner excemptions. Even if the second building is used for storage, the home owner will be classified as a non-home owner. The trigger which will cause you to loose your home owner classification is whether or not you have a second building on your lot.
The non-homeowner classification was passed last year with very little public notice. Property owners who fall in the non-homeowner classification will find out they have been hit with a major increase in their property tax when their loan company informs them that the escrow payments must be substantially increased to cover the higher property tax.
The Kaneohe Bay Regional Council (KBRC) has been the community’s voice for Kaneohe Bay for over 20 years. Legislation passed last year will sunset the KBRC at the end of this fiscal year. SB2340 SD1 will rescind the terminating legislation. Rep Ito saved the legislation at the last minute by reassigning it as single referral and scheduling a hearing for Monday morning 3/22. The community is forming a “Friends of Kaneohe Bay” to help supplement the work of the Kaneohe Bay Regional Council. To find out what is happening in Windward Oahu take a look at http://koolaupoko.wordpress.com.
Security at the Hawaii State Hospital was reduced when the Department of Public Safety (DPS) security officers where replaced by a private security company. Two weeks after the change and accused murder and rapist walked out of the Hospital. He is still at large. The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board has expressed concerns about inadequate security which allows dangerous patients to walk away. SB2919 SD1 makes it clear that the DPS is responsible for security at the Hawaii State Hospital and asks the Dept of Health to report to the legislature as to the plans and strategies to provide adequate security for dangerous patients at the Hospital.
Furlough Fridays where discussed. Basically, our kids are going to school four days a week. Hawaii has fewer instructional days than any other state. Sen Tokuda introduced SB2124 SD2 to permit the state to use the Hurricane Relief Fund to restore needed funding to get our kids back to school. Senator Tokuda stated that it is to late to effect furlough fridays in this school year. Even if the legislature provides needed funds the Governor can refuse to release them. Much depends on negotiations with between the Governor and the Teachers Union. Funds will not be released until an agreement can be reached.
Speeding in residential areas is perhaps the most prevalent complaint brought to the neighborhood board. HPD has testified that they do not have the manpower necessary to monitor speeding in residential areas and that they are on top of the problem. Contradictory testimony? Many residents have testified that residential speeding is a problem.
Most recently, the board received testimony that they have seen two children hit by cars at the intersection of Haiku Rd and Heeia St. Fortunately the children where not hurt. Therefore, the accidents were not reported. The KNB submitted a letter to Councilman Anderson asking that a traffic study be conducted to see what can be done to make the pedestrian crossing at this intersection safer. Speeding on Haiku Rd is routine.
The KBR council researched what other communities are doing and found that many communities set up a citizen road watch system in which citizens are provided with speed measuring equipment and document where and when speeding is a problem. This gives the police data they need to make the traffic monitoring more effective. The KNB submitted a resolution asking the HPD to set up a Citizen Road Watch program. HPD rejected the proposal based on cost.
Senator Tokuda first introduced legislation to set up a Citizen Road Watch program in 2007. Currently, Senator Tokuda will introduce a resolution to set up a task force to recommend a process to develop a Citizen Road Watch program in Hawaii. Ultimately the purpose of the program is to identify areas where residential speeding is a problem and educate drivers about the dangers of speeding in residential neighborhoods.
Because of the “not-in-my-backyard” (NIMBY)response of neighbors to Clean and Sober Homes and Halfway Houses the state legislators eliminated such facilities from the requirements to inform the public before being permitted. The KNB frequently receives testimony from neighbors who are concerned about noise, traffic and dangerous behavior of residents of these homes. The Board response has to be that these facilities are legal and nothing can be done.
Senator Tokuda submitted legislation addressing the problem but it died in committee. She will be introducing a resolution calling for the Department of Health (DOH) to provide oversight and accountability over these facilities.
Clean and Sober Homes and Halfway houses provide an important service in our communities. Most operate responsibly, but a few continually violate laws that ensure not only the safety and well-being of neighbors, but also the welfare of individuals living inn the facilities. The resolution will ask DOH to address the problems of regulation and oversight.
The Kiwanis Club of Kaneohe will hold the 49th Annual Mother’s Day Pancake Breakfast at Benjamin Parker Elementary School on May 9 from 6:30 am to 11:00 am. For tickets contact Joshua Chang, 392-3731.
The homeless camp on the Kailua side of Kaneohe Stream makai of Kamehameha Hwy has been a concern for some time. Private land owners of the property occupied by campers are being asked to have the homeless arrested as trespassers. The Windward Homeless Coalition has be alerted to the problem and will be intensifying efforts to help the campers find suitable housing.
Obviously, pushing the homeless from one location to another is no solution. Many organizations try to address the problems of the homeless, but their efforts are often uncoordinated. The Mayor has stated, “If we’re not willing to step forward, homelessness will continue to plague us.” He has set up a working group of County agencies to work with other government agencies, business and non-profits. The problems of the homeless are “beyond the capability of any single entity to solve.”
The Census Bureau made a presentation. They want everyone to know that personal information collected is absolutely private and not shared with anyone. It is important to get an accurate count. Federal funds are distributed based on census data. In the last census they estimate that 40% of Hawaii’s population was not counted. That means that we are loosing 40% of potential Federal contributions.
Everyone is urged to fill out the Census form they received in the mail. When forms are not received, a Census interviewer has to make a personal visit to collect information. A personal visit costs us $50 as opposed to less than a dollar when forms are returned.
Two important plans effecting the Kaneohe are being reviewed and updated. One is the Koolaupoko Sustainable Communities Plan and the other is the Koolaupoko Watershed Management Plan. Final drafts are being prepared. Community meetings to receive testimony on the final drafts will be held in late spring.
The Sustainable Communities Plan can be seen at:
The Watershed Management Plan can be seen at: