EAST HONOLULU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A gate blocking public access to the ocean in East Oahu continues to be a hot topic issue for area residents and lawmakers.
Honolulu City Councilman Trevor Ozawa says he will try to condemn the private lane. He says the property owner, Bert Dohmen-Ramirez, has garnered little sympathy from the community because of the way he's handled the situation.
"I think it's really a matter of not what you're doing, but how you're doing it," Ozawa said.
Ozawa says he'll introduce a resolution in the next week, pushing to have the private Beach access lane condemned.
Dohmen-Ramirez says the gate is matter of security for him and his family.
In a letter published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, he says, "Would you let people go over your backyard 24 hours day and night — people who steal, vandalize, have pool parties in your absence? We have had enough, making our security priority number (one)."
He also added that he put up the new gate earlier this month because the old one was stolen.
The issue was the hot topic at Tuesday's Hawaii Kai neighborhood board meeting. Residents packed into the Hahaione Elementary School cafeteria demanding the removal of the gate.
"Now we just have land owners claiming that we are intruders. I don't like that word. I'm not an intruder. That's my public beach," said resident Jeannine Johnson.
"We learned how to fish there, we learned how to pick limu, learned how to surf -- all of these things should be open to the community," resident Clyde Kaimuloa added.
Dohmen-Ramirez says there are other beach access points along Portlock Road, including two about 50 yards away from his property.