Leeward Oahu to spend $2M on projects
The funds are not enough to offset woes caused by a landfill, some residents say
Leeward Oahu residents will determine how to spend $2 million for parks and community service projects to help soften the impact of the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill being in their back yard.
"They know that the money's there and it's coming to them. Now we've got to roll up our sleeves and get to work," Mayor Mufi Hannemann said.
But some residents say $2 million is not enough for hosting the problems associated with a landfill.
"We're getting paid off to let the landfill stay," said Waianae resident Maile Hallums. "They can have the landfill and the $2 million."
Half of the amount will be used for park construction while the other $1 million will be used to fund social service projects that a committee of nine community members will evaluate.
Hannemann named to the Community Benefits Advisory Committee yesterday Kuulei Jolonino, Georgette Jordan, John Kaopua, Aimoku McClellen, Mark Suiso, Patty Teruya, Nettie Waiamau Nunuha and Roy Wickramaratna. Carolyn Golojuch is an alternate, and former Councilman John DeSoto is an ex officio member.
Hannemann said he hopes to avoid the mistakes of the past vision team projects initiated by the previous city administration that gave different isle communities $2 million for construction projects. "We want to be sure ... that it's meaningful, it's impactful and at the end of the day it's not the mayor stacking their meetings with people to guide their visioning process along."
And, while the mayor said that some residents believe the amount is "manini," he said that this could be just the start.
"I want to hold the line on this for now because, as I said, you always have to show that you've been accountable for the moneys that you have before we ask for more," the mayor said.
The funds become available Saturday, when the new fiscal year begins.
"You've got to start somewhere. I'm glad the mayor initiated this beginning. ... Hopefully we can get a true assessment for us in addressing the community needs," said Kaopua, a member of the committee. "I'm looking for more than $2 million ... for the near future."
Hallums said the amount should be closer to $25 million.
"$1 million to do a job that the city is supposed to be doing anyway, and when we have a community service project where if the community like do something, then they come over here and ask for funds to do it. Give me a damn break," Hallums said.
In a related matter, Hannemann also appointed members to a committee that will relay landfill concerns and complaints to landfill operator Waste Management of Hawaii.
"We're ensuring that there's going to be regular dialogue. There's going to be open dialogue, and therefore there'll be a venue, a forum in which to bring those concerns and complaints," Hannemann said. "I just want to make sure that people who live on that side of the island know that their concerns are not being tossed aside."
Those on the committee are David Akina, Polly Grace, Pearl Lewis, Lorraine Martinez, T. George Paris, Allen Parker, Alex Santiago and Albert Silva. Jackie Spencer and Kerin Paris are alternates, while DeSoto will also be an ex officio member.