Council Proposes New Deadline for Residential A Homeowner Class

23 10 2014

Anderson Martin

Honolulu City Council Vice Chair Ikaika Anderson, who also chairs the Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee, together with Council Chair Ernest Martin, today introduced a resolution designed to provide some relief to homeowners caught unawares by the City’s new Residential A category real property tax classification.

“This measure, if approved, would give these homeowners until November 17 of this year to file and apply for a tax compromise that could significantly reduce their real property tax,” Anderson said.

Martin added that Resolution 14-255 is intended to help homeowners who were unaware of the difference in the new rate due to automatic payments on their mortgage. “Several homeowners eligible for the exemption only learned about the consequences of failing to file by the September deadline when they were notified of the increase by their mortgage company or their bank”, he noted.

The new Residential A class went into effect this year and taxes homeowners whose properties are assessed at $1 million or more a rate of $6.00 per $1,000 of assessed value. However, if the owner had filed for a home exemption by September 30, 2013, the rate would be the regular rate of $3.50 per $1,000 assessed value. Homes with an assessed value of less than $1 million are not affected.

“This proposal would give owner/occupants who were unable to file for the home exemption for whatever reason a chance to work with the City and save money,” Anderson added.

By law, any compromise must be approved by the City Department of Budget and Fiscal Service, but Anderson said this resolution would require the department to consider all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Link to Resolution 14-255.

Department of Emergency Management Releases Evacuation Shelter List

17 10 2014

The Department of Emergency Management advises Oahu residents that the following American Red Cross shelters will be available for Hurricane Ana. Two of the shelters are located in our district at Leilehua High School in Wahiawa and Brigham Young University in Laie. All five of the designated evacuation shelters are pet-friendly.

The shelters listed below will open Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 4:00 p.m.

Brigham Young University 55-220 Kulanui St, Laie 96762 Yes
Farrington High School 1564 N King St, Honolulu 96817 Yes
Leilehua High School 1515 California Ave Wahiawa 96786 Yes
Nanakuli High School 89-980 Nanakuli Ave Waianae 96792 Yes
Waimanalo Elementary School 41-1330 Kalanianaole Hwy Waimanalo 96795 Yes

The above shelters are designated as official shelter locations by the City and County of Honolulu and should be your refuge of last resort if you have absolutely nowhere else to go.

Who should evacuate? Residents in the coastal evacuation zones as shown in the yellow tabbed disaster preparedness section of your telephone directory or online at (see Tsunami Evacuation Zones address search). Residents living in older homes built before 1995, on exposed ridgelines and anyone living in an area prone to or with a history of flooding. Remember, if you choose to evacuate to a shelter you must bring all of your disaster supplies with you.

Residents bringing pets to designated pet friendly shelters will need to provide extra food and water for their pet, a pet carrier/cage for each pet that is large enough for them to turn around in as well as cleaning supplies. You will be expected to assist with your pet’s care. More information is posted at


Ban on Plastic Bags to Take Effect Next Summer

10 10 2014

plastic bagsIn the early months of 2012, I introduced Bill 10 which was heard by the City Council on February 15th and referred to the Committee on Public Works and Sustainability for review. At the time, I was optimistic that we could find common ground on the universal problem of plastic bags. Honolulu was the only county in the State that had no regulation on bags distributed to retail and wholesale customers to carry merchandise from the checkout. Bill 10 was drafted to impose a ban on all non-recyclable paper and non-biodegradable plastic bags.

The US Environmental Protection Agency reported that plastics made up more than 12% of the country’s municipal solid waste stream, a dramatic increase from the 1% reported in 1960. The manufacture of non-biodegradable plastic bags diverts millions of barrels of crude oil from other uses, increasing the cost of those uses of the fuel.

Testimony in support of the ban was matched by opposition. Environmental groups generally supported the ban and retailers did not. Claiming that recyclable paper bags are up to ten times more expensive than plastic, the Retail Merchants of Hawaii testified that for every truck that delivers plastic bags, seven trucks are needed to deliver the same number of paper bags. Inherently more expensive to manufacture and ship to Hawaii, the higher cost of paper bags would surely be passed on to the consumers. They called for a 10-cent fee on single-use bags that would both cover the cost of the bag and discourage its use by the public.

Although I believe we should continue to promote reuseable bags as the ultimate solution to the problem, I did not support a fee as a way to regulate single use bags. Banning all non-recyclable paper bags and non-biodegradable plastic bags, Bill 10 was passed by the City Council in April of 2012 with an effective date of July 1, 2015. The time between was meant to give the merchants time to adjust to the ban by using up remaining supplies of non-conforming paper or plastic bags before the law took effect.

The Department of Environmental Services was charged with establishing the implementation of Bill 10, now Ordinance 12-8.   But unable to identify a clear and reliable industry standard to meet the definition of “biodegradable” defined in the law, the Department supported a total ban on all plastic bags as proposed in Bill 38, introduced last April. Unlike the confusion over the standards for bio-degradable bags, compostable bags must meet the clear standards of ASTM International, the nonprofit formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials. I introduced an amendment to the bill to allow for the use of compostable bags. Plastic bags will still be allowed for loose items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, candy, or small hardware items, and for frozen foods, meat or fish, flowers or plants, medications, newspaper, laundry and pet items.

Bill 38 was signed into law on September 24th and bags meeting the definition of “compostable” will still be allowed, as will all non-plastic bags, including paper and cloth. Although environmental groups would have preferred banning compostable bags, they called the ban on biodegradables “a step in the right direction.” I hope that we will one day depend totally on environmentally responsible reuseable bags to carry home our groceries.


Deadline for Real Property Programs

26 09 2014

House graphicTuesday, September 30, 2014 is the deadline for three real property programs. Persons wishing to participate should submit the required documentation prior to the deadline.

Requirements, forms, and instructions for the programs may be accessed at

Real Property Tax Credit

The City & County of Honolulu offers a real property tax credit to property owners who meet certain eligibility requirements. If you qualify, the maximum real property tax owed would not exceed 3% or 4% of your income, depending on your age.


Claim for Home Exemption

Real property owners who occupy their residence as their principal home may file a Claim for Home Exemption for fiscal year 2015-2016, which begins on July 1, 2015, to be exempt from certain real property taxes.


Residential A Compromise Claims

A one-time claim for compromise for owner occupants of homes classified Residential A is also available. Owner occupants submitting a Residential A Compromise Claim must also submit a Claim for Home Exemption by the September 30, 2014 deadline.

Karsten Thot Bridge Repair Project

18 09 2014

Karsten Thot Bridge.JPG

The Hawaii State Department of Transportation (DOT) Karsten Thot Bridge Repair Project will begin in February 2015 and take 13 months to complete. The scope of work entails the repair of the deteriorated steel bridge framing, railings and connections, and the concrete cracks and spalls in the concrete deck slab and abutments. The bridge will also be repainted.

The work on the bridge will require one lane closures from Sunday to Thursday nights from 9:00 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. There will also be a full closure of the bridge for a maximum of six nights, with no more than 3 consecutive nights Sunday to Thursday from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

The timeline for the scheduled work and full closure of the bridge will be provided by the contractor, who will be required to notify the public, including nearby residents and businesses, the Honolulu Police Department, the Honolulu Fire Department, the Emergency Services Department, Oahu Transit Services, the Department of Transportation Services and the military bases.

Due to scaffolding needed for the repair of the overhead portion of the bridge at the beginning of the project, there will be a height restriction of 12’0” for approximately 6 months.

A State Department of Transportation public informational meeting is scheduled for:

Karsten Thot Bridge Repair Project Meeting

Thursday, September 18, 2014

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Wahiawa District Park, Hale Hookipa Building Multipurpose Room

Council Chair Ernie Martin on KHON2 regarding the Karsten Thot Bridge Repair Project.

Council Chair Ernie Martin Speaks Out Against Domestic Violence

16 09 2014

purple ribbonA decent respect for the law should dictate zero tolerance for domestic violence in our community. Justice for the victims of this crime is often elusive when fear of revenge results in silence. How much more terrifying can it be for a victim when abuse comes from the hands of a law enforcement officer?

The HPD needs to act impartially to address the case of the police sergeant caught in a display of abusive behavior. To protect public confidence in our law enforcement, steps must be taken immediately to demonstrate that zero tolerance.

The Honolulu City Council has consistently supported programs responding to the problems of abuse. The current budget contains more than six million dollars for the City Prosecutor to open and operate a Family Justice Center on Oahu. Domestic violence must be stopped and the Honolulu Police Department needs to be part of the solution, not the problem.

Ernie Martin

Honolulu City Council Chair

September 16, 2014


Council Chair Ernie Martin’s Letter to the Editor was published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Wahiawa People’s Open Market Temporarily Relocated

26 08 2014

WGH_WelcomeSignThe People’s Open Market at Wahiawa District Park will be temporarily relocated from the California Avenue/North Cane Street lot to the Kilani Avenue parking lot beginning today, Tuesday, August 26, 2014 until further notice.

The parking lot on California Avenue is being repaved and is scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.

The People’s Open Market at Wahiawa District Park is held year round on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 349 other followers