On eve of carnival, Hawaii Kai residents voice concerns
HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Everyone loves a carnival. But that's not entirely true in Hawaii Kai, where some residents say while the cause may be good, the venue is not.
Those concerns were raised at a town hall meeting Thursday night, less than 24 hours before the Hawaii Kai Carnival at Kuapa. Dozens voiced their concerns about parking, traffic and noise that would result from the carnival.
Many are also concerned that the event is being held on the so-called "Great Lawn" in Hawaii Kai, which is preservation land owned by Kamehameha Schools.
"Many of the people here own residential properties and are not allowed to have commercial activities where people come to their homes. And so how can that be allowed on preservation property?" asked Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member Natalie Iwasa.
Residents also said they should have had the chance to voice their concerns a lot earlier than the night before the carnival.
"This was sprung on everybody. The elected officials weren't aware of the planning. The school was not approached, from what I understand," said Sen. Sam Slom (R-Hawaii Kai, Diamond Head, Waialae-Kahala).
"The minimum is letting the neighborhood board know," said Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley). "Kind of like, 'what do you guys think of it?' It's generally what everyone does, whether it's the bike ride or the marathon."
That's why the two lawmakers said they organized the town hall. But the organizers of the carnival, including E.K. Fernandez Shows and Kaiser High School head football coach Rich Miano, did not attend. Miano earlier said that the proceeds from the carnival would benefit the football team and other sports programs.
"We discussed with them that typically there is a process, and the process allows the community to ask questions and express concerns, and that they need to respect that process in the future," said city Transportation Services Director Mike Formby.
E.K. Fernandez Shows, which organized the carnival at Rich Miano's request, issued a statement, saying, "We find it unfortunate that Rich Miano has been portrayed so negatively by a few people in the Hawaii Kai community. Not only did he bring the community the honor of having the Kaiser High School football team as the state champions in their division, but he has spent countless hours and energy for many years to make a positive difference in the lives of children, not just in Hawaii Kai but throughout the state."
Fernandez and Miano's group, Hawaii Speed and Quickness, have agreed to meet with the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board in April, after the carnival is over.
"The sponsors and organizers of any event should come to the people, talk to them, find out their concerns first," said Slom.