My question is: Why are politicians spending like money grow on trees?
Let me share one shibai project: The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) wants $13 Million to relocate the Hauula Fire Station (HFS) for less than a mile. There are protests and pending lawsuits because DDC is condeming two remaining business-zoned sites. DDC refused to examine alternate sites because it said “it would be very tight to meet the (budget) draw-down in April (2010)“. City is abusing its eminent domain power.
No one is against new fire stations. My nephew is a fire captain. Three cousins are retired captains. Another was Honolulu’s assistant fire chief in the 1940s. Parcel 65 owners’ grandfather was buried in his fireman’s uniform. They come from four generations of firemen.
It’s abusive and irrational to condemn Hauula’s last two business-zoned parcels when other alternatives are available. DDC failed to consult with affected residents. There was no public information hearing. DDC forced this down our throats. DDC is hiding behind “public use” and “public purpose” to abuse its eminent domain power.
Today, DDC can build on the 20,000 square feet commercial site it acquired in Hauula. But it’s now suing adjacent owners for their additional 20,000sf business-zoned site. These last two business-zoned lots provide tax income for city and state. City’s actions will shut off future businesses and jobs for rural Hauula. The city is too anti-business and short-sighted.
The newest fire station in McCully-Moilili sits on 19,555 square feet and cost $5M. DDC’s proposed relocation project is $13M on two 20,000 square feet business-zoned parcels. What’s going on? Why triple the cost and double the lot size? Remember Hauula is a small rural community with an existing fire station. Ka’aawa and Kahuku fire stations are about six to ten minutes away.
DDC failed to disclose the on-site Reynolds Recycling Center to Council. The Reynolds Recycling has no other business-zone site to use. Is the city having trash problems or not? Why is city shutting down recycling centers?
DDC is strong-arming this relocation onto residential owners at this busy traffic junction. The station would be only 25 feet away from residential homes. A busy preschool is next door. DDC says the sirens have no impacts. This is unjust and unfair.
DDC testified existing HFS needed relocation because of its flood zone. But the area has never flooded. Ask any old-timer. Mayor Carlisle needs to know that DDC earlier wanted a 1.65 acre beachfront site across Papa Ole’s. I don’t know of a beachfront lot that is not in the flood zone.
DDC testified HFS was deteriorated but its condition is similar to our public schools. DDC testified it was life-threatening for fire trucks to ingress and egress into Kam Highway. There is no record of such accidents. DDC’s relocation process is filled with suspicious and flawed premises.
DDC also condemned an acre in March 2006. After the Council unanimously adopted to condemn, DDC mothballed it due to ‘ponding’ problems. Remember. DDC bullied the owner with eminent domain before it did its homework. This site has the same flood designation as the two commercial lots.
DDC also claimed the owners were willing to sell to the city. But DDC refused to reveal that their Land Chief assured the owners that “ the city is not going to force you if you don‘t want to sell” when he asked for permission to explore. The owners trusted the city official.
Mayor Peter Carlisle, please control fiscal priorities in this economic crisis. This is not the time for the city to force a $13M fire mansion into our small town. This is the city versus the people. We are not asking for for a replacement. Our money don’t grow on trees.
Marvin Iseke, 77, lives in Hauula. His family has owned properties in Hauula for over a century.