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 Pahoa Keaau Hwy 130 Advisory Meeting
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Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9909 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  00:03:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I did attend this meeting in Keaau last night. It was my first exposure to the "community input" phase put forth by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT). The stated goal was to pursue the latest buzzword: Concept Sensitive Solutions (CSS) for the improvements on Hwy 130 from Keaau to Pahoa. $56 million has been budgeted.

HDOT is infamous for taking and ignoring community input. However....

The show is run by their hired consultants, SSFM International. They have a much better team and show than Parsons Brinkerhoff (consultant on the PCDP) did or HDOT is capable of. I have had communications with SSFM in the past and was assured that this effort was a sincere one and I should be open to it. I did not apply for the Advisory group though. A number of good people I know are on it including Damon Tucker, Fred Blas, Manny Mattos, Neil Erikson, Liz Salfen, Larry Brown, John Olson, Dan Domizio, Paula Kekahuna. And then there are a couple sleepers - Emily Naeole and Faye Hanohano.

It was included that the Puna Community Development Plan was to be considered (or some parts at least). I had the sense there were parts of the PCDP they wanted to ignore. They referred to Growth Management sections... no mention of Transportation sections.

The prepared materials were well organized and appropriately slick and the meeting was stocked with munchies and had a nice round table feel. The presentation was skilled and on schedule when it was opened to members for questions and hit a rock.

Damon Tucker asked a simple straight forward question: Would an alternative route through Puna be considered in the process?

The answer was NO. This was only about Hwy 130.

This told me the basics I needed to know. I was very glad I had not applied to join this effort. If I had I would have been walking out the door by way of resigning.

Folks, we live on the side of an active Volcano. In Puna we have one way in and the same way out. The PCDP has called for an alternative route called PMAR (Puna Makai Alternative Route).

My point is this:

The effect of PMAR, which is being initiated by CoH, on Hwy 130 would be large enough to greatly affect the design and scope of the Hwy. 130 project. How in hell can you make a "context sensitive solution" without considering the area as a whole (context) and the CoH intentions for another road into Puna (PMAR). To say No to this consideration means this group is being asked to produce a "Context Insensitive Solution".

Now it may feel nice to be invited into the warm and cozy arms of HDOT's consultants and be flattered to have your opinion count but the bottom line I read from this meeting is this:

The budget is set at $56 million. The Plan is basically drawn - they know how to spend the money. Community input is required. So these folks are essentially being asked to arrange the furniture and choose the drapes. You are being used.

For this Advisory Group to represent Puna well they should threaten to walk out and mean it. Simply back out unless they are allowed to advise in full freedom and intent.

Damon did a good thing in asking the right question at the right moment. The answer told the whole story.

Something not in the literature provided but which underscores this thesis is that HDOT and CoH have a long history of not coordinating their thinking, planning and efforts.

This Advisory Group is another manifestation of that... unless it's members start rewriting the game rules. Puna would greatly benefit from teaching these two departments how to do a coordinated Context Sensitive Solution. Force them to.


Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  00:37:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Tucker

You are being used.


Rob I asked that here on Punaweb...

I don't feel being like I'm being used.

I also threw something out there that I hope was heard... was that I won't stand for frivolous spending... Did you see the Pens that they gave us? Wonder how much they spent on printing those Pens up for us to use?

I noticed they updated the website a bit... still rough around the edges:

http://www.keaau-pahoa.com

Last Nights agenda can be found here

I'll do my best to try what I can do as one member of 25 to make sure Puna does have a say.

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Edited by - Damon on 09/23/2008 00:50:57
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Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9909 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  07:08:44  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I understand Damon. However, all evidence is that your group is advising on a predetermined conclusion. They may let you advise on what landscaping or the width of bike paths but not too much beyond that I suspect. The fact that you don't get that feeling of being used could be due to two things.... not having much to compare it to and the skill of the consultants.

Time will tell. It is potentially possible to redraw the rules of the game but for the present you are all doing exactly what they have determined they want you all to do when they want you to do it. Next they will spoon feed you data to support a predrawn conclusion... and make you feel good along the way.

If, for example, one of you were to ask for traffic projections for 2015 on Hwy 130 based on an existing separate 2-lane route from HPP to Hilo there will be lots of reasons why they can't provide that or that data will be available "later". That's my guess of what will occur. Those projections will not suit the purpose at hand which is to expedite the expenditure of $56 million with minimal hassle from the locals.

As for the $56 million: The advisory group will be allowed to play with the plans a bit as long as the spent total remains about the same. To that degree you may be able to affect the outcome. But community input in this environment is a means to an end.

The real challange would be to try to force HDPT and COH to work together - cooperatively - for an integrated plan for Puna in full context.
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james weatherford
Punatic

USA
1921 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  09:22:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Rob's point about the impact of 'PMAR' on what happens on Hwy 130 is exactly correct.
First, a two-lane County parkway North HPP to Macadamia Road would relieve lots of HPP-originated traffic from Hwy 130.
Next, the existence of such a road would immensely reduce the disruption costs of any serious road work on Hwy 130 -- otherwise, every little bit of road work on Hwy 130 will be causing even further traffic problems than already exist.

Basic problem seems to be HDOT is ignoring community priorities and has their own priorities all wrong. For example, HDOT's highest priority is "regional capacity", and the community, per PCDP, prioritizes local interconnectivity, non-vehicular mobility and mass transit, and (especially intersection) safety.

Damon,
In between working today I will be on your site looking and commenting.

There is plenty about what HDOT seems to be doing that is absolutely unacceptable. It will be up to them how they change. Change they will.






James Weatherford, Ph.D.
15-1888 Hialoa
Hawaiian Paradise Park
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frankiestapleton
Da Kine

159 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  09:24:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks so much to you both, Rob and Damon, for this thread this morning.

The rest of PunaWeb needs to get off their okoles and take what they both are trying their best to tell everyone PUBLIC IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE!!! And it doesn't happen with happy chat, whether it's between tv anchors or bloggers.

Rob, the local papers used to carry a column called Viewpoint when a specific issue needed more space than a letter to the editor would consume. I suggest you try getting what you've posted here this a.m. into publication...if going thru Stephens Media, don't use my name. But the Sunday Honolulu Advertiser has a whole section of the paper devoted to editorial comment and sometimes runs pieces of this length. And Puna News recently devoted its whole front page to info from Rene Siracusa on voting. I'll bet the lady that runs that community paper would print it as would the Volcano community rag.

Damon, your points are well taken and I appreciate hearing from you. But one point Rob made hurts your pride and understandably so when you spend so much time devoting yourself to public causes you believe in.

But you were chosen for that panel because you are Hawaiian, you are a family man, and you live in Puna and drive Hwy 130 every day. Those are 4 IMPORTANT demographics satisfied in one person that you rightly point out they think they can satisfy with a plate lunch and pen.

They care about NOTHING BUT THE DEMOGRAPHICS and satisfying the feds by documenting they've given you your chance for input SO THEY CAN GET THE $60 million the feds have held up due to the civil rights ruling by the Federal Highways Administration! The action taken a decade ago by Jon Olson, Ginny Aste, Bonnie Goodell, et al, is the pivotal thing that has given any of us a say in the State and County actions.

So, Rob and Damon, keep up the good fight! I am very grateful for both of your efforts and the whole process is also a learning one for us all. Mahalo nui loa, fs
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frankiestapleton
Da Kine

159 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  09:29:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh, Rob, re: getting the issue to the people, I forgot the Maui News. They'd probably print your comments as the people of Maui face the same problems on their island.
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Kapohocat
Punatic

USA
5225 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  09:44:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by frankiestapleton...The action taken a decade ago by Jon Olson, Ginny Aste, Bonnie Goodell, et al, is the pivotal thing that has given any of us a say in the State and County actions...


Thank you frankie for reminding me of those that have done lots of the hard work for years. It has been a long time since I have heard Bonnie Goodell's name.

And Damon, thank you for doing your very best! and keeping us posted.

And yes we need an alternate route!! DUH!!!!

Catherine Dumond
Blue Water Project Management
808 965-9261
"We help make building your dream home a reality"
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Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  09:47:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by frankiestapleton


...Damon, your points are well taken and I appreciate hearing from you. But one point Rob made hurts your pride and understandably so when you spend so much time devoting yourself to public causes you believe in...


Nah... Rob didn't hurt my pride.

I actually feel that the state is Ram Rodding this thing down on our throats.

I truly feel that having at least some say in the matter... IS BETTER THEN NO SAY.

It is the way... the way it is!

If I can even influence just a tiny bit of the States Engineers to listen to community input... then I have done my part.

I find it interesting that Rob mentions that

"... It was my first exposure to the "community input" phase put forth by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT)..."

In truth... the "Community Input" is not even going to be sought for this project... until most of the decisions have been made.

They actually are going to be calling for "Community Input" a few meetings down the line from now... and I'll be sure to let people know about it when they announce it.

Until then, it does looks like it's strictly a H-130 issue so any input that people want to give to me on it... I will listen.

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Tiffany Edwards
malihini

79 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  12:51:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not going to discount this group just yet, I have hope for it. What is being described is, thinking in the box. At least we now have a box. Those of us outside of the box can cheerlead those in the box, rather than be discouraging from the get-go.
Outside the box, there are things like "roundabouts" and "reversible lanes."
Champion this cause: Please push for a reversible lane at/near the bottleneck. I am doing what I can on my end to promote this as a means to address our congestion in the short term.
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Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9909 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  13:21:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not exactly discounting the group.... just pointing out the history and "context" in which they are being placed.

Context Sensitive Solutions it is called.

HDOT wanting to limit the context is compelling. The "group" can do something about it.
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Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/23/2008 :  23:00:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I just sent the following off to SSFM:

When will the website get updated with current information?

I have a weird feeling... but I'm not gonna expand on this just yet.

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Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  00:17:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by frankiestapleton


But you were chosen for that panel because you are Hawaiian, you are a family man, and you live in Puna and drive Hwy 130 every day. Those are 4 IMPORTANT demographics satisfied in one person that you rightly point out they think they can satisfy with a plate lunch and pen.


I over looked this Frankie... and I do take this as a personal insult!

I am not Hawaiian... I'm a Proud Haole... that just looks local because I'm Half Popolo.

Saying that I was chosen for this panel because I am Hawaiian is an insult to me personally and I hope you will take that back.

Damon Tucker!

*edit* I'm sorry... Frankie... but this is very upsetting to me that you think that I would only get accepted to this position because you think I'm Hawaiian!!!! This EFFING PISSES ME OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know that you are a good person... but please before labeling people on where they get because of race... please look and talk to the person before passing judgement.

Hugs Frankie... I know you didn't know...but that false accusation hurts more so then Rob's Truthisms of the facts.

*edit*

Dang Frankie... you really opened up a personal wound or something because I had to expand on this here and here

I wouldn't open this up like this... If I didn't want to correct public opinion on things....

But I'm sick and tired of hearing the "Hawaiian" favoritism excuses from new "haoles" such as me.
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Edited by - Damon on 09/24/2008 01:21:34
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Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9909 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  07:16:38  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I wanted to complement you Damon. At the meeting you asked the right question at the right moment. Showed focus and an understanding of the premise upon which this Hwy.130 project should be based. What plan is in the best interests of Puna?

As for community input. It has started. You are the community input. That's why your group was assembled. Frankie is correct in that the demographics of this group are there to defend HDOT in a Federal court. Remember, it's not required that community input be listened to.... just that it be taken. I think they are sincerely interested in letting you all play on the edges. I also think that the basic plan intent is in place and gassing up.

It will be up to you all as a group to decide what your advice will be. It is not required that you approach this their way. It just seems that way on purpose.

Remember, these are the same engineers that screwed up Oahu. And they are ready to work their magic here.

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Tom Lackey
Da Kine

239 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  09:35:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rob I whole heartily agree with you on this one. After attending a few meetings with the DOT about highway #130 I walked away with the feeling that I got a pat on the head like a good little boy, given a cookie and sent to bed. These Honolulu people have already decided just what they are going to do and you better get used to it. The rest is just a smoke screen and the DOT has just sucked some fine folks into it. If you even begin to think that these people want any of the laymenís input on how you would like to see things your kidding yourself. The ink is already on their documents and it is just about dry now they will try and make things warm and fuzzy.

If this committee wants to accomplish anything they all should agree to boycott the proceedings if some of their DEMANDS are not met then petition the state government to know WHY. One must remember that the state boys are just crossing their Tís and dotting their Iís before they do what they have already chiseled in stone.

Donít want to burst anyoneís bubble but as the old saying goes ďyou can lead a horse to water but you canít make him drinkĒ, Sorry folks.

The Lack
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Rob Tucker
Kama'aina

9909 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  10:45:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One of my favorite sayings is

"Just because someone puts a hoop up in front of you doesn't mean you have to jump through it."
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Damon
Punatic

3738 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  11:29:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well one of my favorite sayings is Acceptance, Respect, Affection and Support (ARAS).

I can Accept the fact that the State has plans

I Respect the process that they are at least hearing some input

Were all Affected by this project

And without Support from others, that are not on this Advisory Board... then the State will only listen to those that are on it.

If this Pisses people off... then get to a meeting and submit your questions directly to the State.

If I didn't think I would have some say in the process... I wouldn't have applied for the board.


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