REPORT FROM COUNCIL MEMBER STANLEY CHANG – Councilmember Chang begins the new year with a new effort to beautify our neighborhoods by cracking down on blighted properties. Councilmember Chang introduces a new bill on January 30 to increase maximum fines for property blight to $5,000 per day from the current $2,000 per day.

This bill, crafted in consultation with the City’s epartment of Permitting and Planning, will target the most egregious repeat violators of existing laws and will be a new tool to address the roliferation of derelict properties in neighborhoods throughout the district and the island, including in Kahala, Waikiki, Hawaii Kai.

In addition, Councilmember Chang is working with State Representatives Mark Hashem and Bert Kobayashi on state-level approaches to dealing with this problem.

The focus will be on property owners with multiple violations of dereliction, neglect or actions that are hazardous. We anticipate that this legislation will be ready for consideration in the 2013 legislative session, which begins on January 16.

Among these measures is a bill introduced last session that would create a private right of action by neighbors of blighted properties to recover damages for their lowered property values.

If you live near a blighted property, please report it to our office, and we will send out inspectors to determine whether a violation exists and assess the proper remedy.

In the Community

Councilmember Chang recently visited the Diamond Head Tennis Center to inspect the condition of the courts. A full reconstruction will bring the courts back to their potential, including possibly hosting professional tournaments, as once was the case.

 

In celebration of Arbor Day, Councilmember Chang helped plant two rainbow shower trees at Kapiolani Park. Arbor Day is celebrated in the winter rather than spring in Hawaii because the rains help sustain new trees.

 

Common Cause Hawaii hosted the Dinner & Democracy event at UH Manoa at which Councilmember Chang was a guest speaker. Also in attendance were State Representatives Kaniela Ing and Takashi Ohno.

 

At Teddy Bear World Hawaii in Waikiki, you can take a picture with several life-sized bear representations of world leaders, including President Obama, who met in Honolulu for the APEC Summit in 2011.

 

Constituent Concerns Tracker

 Koko Head Shooting Range
The Department of Design & Construction is currently revisiting the design of new rooftops at the Koko Head Shooting Range and is also in the process of securing more funds to address the more extensive deterioration of the roof at the complex.

 Homeless in Waikiki
The Office of Housing is working with homeless service providers and examining stored property ordinances to address the homeless in various areas around Waikiki, including the beachside sidewalk benches near the Waikiki Marriott

. Waialae and 17th Crosswalk
The Department of Design & Construction and the Department of Facility Maintenance painted temporary crosswalks on November 17, 2012. The permanent thermoplastic markers will be installed in the fall of 2013 after Waialae Avenue is repaved.

Kalani High School Baseball

The Department of Parks & Recreation has reached an agreement that will allow the Kalani High School baseball team to use the Kahala Community Park for games and practices during the 2012-13 season.

 

2013 HSAC Legislative Package

Councilmember Chang serves as the Honolulu City Council’s representative as Secretary on the Hawaii State Association of Counties’ (HSAC) Executive Committee.

HSAC represents the four counties of Hawaii (Honolulu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii) and is active before the state legislature advocating for county interests.

Each year the four county councils agree to and approve a package of measures to recommend to the state legislature. This year some of the highlights from the HSAC legislative package includeresolutions urging the legislature to:

    • Implement “day of” voter registration,
    • Prevent a state raid on Transient Accommodations Tax funds for the counties,
    • Ease visa restrictions for tourists from the People’s Republic of China.

Visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov/findleg.aspx?street to find your respective Representative and Senator. To track bills in the House and Senate visithttp://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/searchtips.aspx, and to submit testimony visitwww.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx.

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