KAHALA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Members of the Waialae-Kahala Neighborhood Board got an earful from residents who've had enough of the dilapidated conditions of Kahala properties owned by eccentric Japanese billionaire Genshiro Kawamoto. Those members also showed that they're fed up as well.
Board members, including one of Kawamoto's unhappy neighbors, wants to put more pressure on the city to do something.
"They could raise the fines. They could go into the property and fix the property up at city expense and charge Mr. Kawamoto the cost of fixing the properties," said board member Richard Turbin.
Longtime Kawamoto opponent Mark Blackburn of Black Point cited a Hawaii News Now report which showed evidence of drug use at some of the properties.
"We should contact the federal authorities and have them do an investigation because these properties are not only blighted, they're crack houses. They're meth houses. It's totally out of control," said Blackburn.
"We could argue that it's harmful for the families who are using the public easements and getting to the beaches," said Kahala resident Diana Kam. "I've been there with my own family and its always been a concern, even, with needles on the ground."
Others said Kawamoto could be cited for unsanitary conditions, noting that some of the pools are filled with stagnant water and growth. "It's a public health hazard," said Deborah Luckett, who moved into the neighborhood eight months ago.
"It's a cesspool of microbial growth and algae," said another neighbor.
"Yes, absolutely," Luckett replied.
At times the discussion became heated, such as when Blackburn expressed frustration that legislation couldn't specifically target Kawamoto.
"It's against the law to have legislation that is against a single individual," said board member Scotty Anderson, after being interrupted briefly by Blackburn. "That's why we don't do that. It's against the law."
Instead, the board voted to form a subcommittee to work with the new city administration to attempt to get something done.
"Let the neighborhood board move forward from this point on with all of your comments, and quite honestly not go over and over and over more," said board member Martin Schiller, "Because we are as frustrated as you are as homeowners, because we're homeowners here, too."
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