Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Story of Eminent Domain Abuse in Hawaii

Do you own property in Hawaii?

The Honolulu City Council can now condemn properties in 42 days with no due process or by necessity. The affected community leaders, neighbors, preschool owner, and property owners were denied due process in this Hauula fire station replacement site search and premature condemnation. The bureaucrats continue to plow due process under its almighty government force.

All this because the Honolulu city and county is in a rush to get their hands on federal stimulus funds from the CDBG - Community development block grant.

Condemnation Hearing started on January 13, 2010 at the City Council Budget Committee and should it be adopted by the full City Council of Honolulu on February 24,2010. This will be a 42-days quickie condemnation.

All this based on a defective Environmental Assessment and the recommendation of an un-elected City department Land Chief.

"I truly believe this Eminent Domain conversation needs to be raised to a much higher consciousness. So much has been discussed about the $51B Honolulu rail transit project but very little on how condemnation will proceed," says Mrs. Choon James, victim of this subject Eminent Domain proceeding.

So many property owners and businesses in Honolulu are from out of state. Do they know if and when they may be subjected to eminent domain, Hawaii style?

Eminent domain, unfortunately, has a place in governance. But enforcement of this power must proceed with much due process and as the very last resort. Abrogation of property rights is a very serious matter.

Honolulu City Council Resolution 10-003 to condemn by "necessity" cannot be so when the city did not investigate other very viable choices and DID NOT FOLLOW DUE PROCESS.

The City of Honolulu wants to condemn pre-selected Hauula, Oahu commercial lots 64 & 65. But it refuses to investigate contiguous lot 63, preferred by local residents.
Lots 63 & 64 are willing to sell at market value. No condemnation is needed. Even then, the city is condemning Lot 64 who has agreed to sell early on.

Lot 65 owners do not want to sell.

These small town property owners are victims of blatant governmental force and denied due process. This case sets a very dangerous precedent for the Honolulu Transit Rail Project's future condemnation. Proper procedure is being ignored. No presentation was made to the local boards. Local residents were not informed. The environmental assessment report was sneaked by during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Recess. Unreasonable and extraordinary pressure have been placed on the owners.

Condemnation schedule:

* December 31, 2009 City Division Chief wrote a letter (received 1/2/2010) informing owners he wants to condemn property.

* January 4, 2010 Corporate Counsel sends Request for Resolution to condemn

* January 4, 2010 Council Chair assigns Resolution 10-3 by request, to Budget Chair

* January 13, 2010 Budget Committee Hearing - Budget Committee Report further suggests they would 'like to see the condemnation process tightened as we move forward..."

* January 27, 2010 City Council Hearing (laid over), to be published and to be adopted at subsequent City Council Hearing (February 24, 2010) 42-days process!!

The affected community leaders, neighbors, preschool and property owners have issued opposition statements against proper procedures not followed. An attorney has submitted an opinion against Resolution 10-003 citing a defective Environmental Assessment. There are clear violations to the Federal Uniform Act and the Chapter 343, HRS.

Intimidation and retaliation from the city against the owners have also surfaced. A city employee also coerced The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu’s biggest newspaper, to make inaccurate corrections to mislead the public.

If this isn't an abuse of power and subversion of due process, what is?

Do you own property in Hawaii? Are you going to be Hawaii's next eminent domain victim?


  1. Bureaucratic incompetence Bureaucratic arrogance Government rules Government vs the people Government vs the people Bureaucratic arrogance
    Mismanangement of funds

  2. From Friends of Hauula:

    Bureaucratic incompetence and arrogance abounds. On March 12, 2010, Mayor Mufi Hannemann approved this Resolution that was adopted by the Honolulu City Council on February 24, 2010.

    City Council Chair Todd Apo and Vice-Chair Ikaika Anderson voted NO.

    Donovan Dela Cruz, Rod Tam, Gary Okino, Nestor Garcia, Romy Cachola, Charles Djou, Ann Kobayashi voted YES.

    Donovan Dela Cruz, the District City Councilmember did not respond to Hauula community's cries for an information meeting. Instead he orchestrated with Laie Community Association President Pane Meatoga and Board Memeber Junior Ah You. Petitions without addresses were orchestrated by Junior Ah You and favored by the city. Petitions and letters by Hauula residents were marginalized. Concerted one-sided efforts were put forth to present favorable support for this controversy in the city records, the neighborhood board minutes and Donovan Dela Cruz. It appears there are undergoing efforts to nefariously 'plug in the holes and fill in the blanks' in order to show on public reocrd that there was no dirty politics or mismanagement in this controversy.

  3. Resolution Vote

    City Council Chair Todd Apo NO

    Ikaika Anderson voted NO

    Charles Djou "Kalua" twice becomes YES

    Ann Kobayashi "Kalua" twice becomes YES

    Donovan Dela Cruz YES

    Rod Tam YES

    Gary Okino YES

    Nestor Garcia YES

    Romy Cachola YES


    What about rail condemnation from Nimitz to Kapolei?

    City County will also condemn properties around each station to build condos, offices, apartments, restaurants. What will happen?