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Aloha and Mahalo for your continued support!

Welcome to my fresh vision for responsive and responsible government! My office is dedicated to listening to and taking action upon the concerns of our district’s residents. We are hopeful that through our website, we will be better able to communicate our progress and the action that I am taking as the Councilmember of the district. Please feel free to contact me at any time with concerns.

Last Chance to File!

September 30, 2014

REMINDER: Councilmember Chang and the Department of Budget and Fiscal Services are reminding the public that TODAY is the deadline for three real property programs is approaching and urge those wishing to participate to submit the required documentation prior to next week’s deadline.

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

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.

Culture and Arts Grant Opportunity

September 29, 2014

The Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts (MOCA) is requesting proposals for the Mayor’s Production Grants: Level I, Level II, and Operating grant.

The Level I grant will assist organizations seeking support for the creation of newly developed artistic works or the preservation of cultural heritage through new artistic works.  The Level II grant provides continued support for on-going works which had previously received MOCA grant awards between Fiscal Year 2009 and 2014. Level I and Level II grants shall award up to $10,000.  Organizations seeking operating support must demonstrate the need for such operating support.  The Mayor’s Operating grant shall award up to $5,000.

The grants will be awarded to organizations located within the City and County of Honolulu for projects benefiting Oahu residents.  Grant support is intended to provide partial funding for a project.  Grants are limited and highly competitive, but all qualified groups and individuals are encouraged to apply. The deadline for submitting proposals is Friday, November 14, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.  Proposals may be submitted to MOCA at 550 South King Street, Room 201.

Organizations may apply for Level I, Level II, and Operating grant if eligible, but only one grant will be awarded per organization.  To be eligible, applicants must be a tax-exempt, publicly supported, and a charitable organization as determined by the Internal Revenue Service.  Guidelines and applications are available from MOCA, located in the Mission Memorial Building, 550 South King Street, Room 201, or online.

For additional information, call (808) 768-6622.

September 26, 2014
Plastic Bags Press Conference
Councilmember Chang joined Mayor Caldwell yesterday for the signing of Bill 38, CD 2, relating to the use of plastic bags provided to customers.

The bill amends a law enacted in 2012 under the previous mayoral administration (Ordinance 12-8). That law implemented a ban on plastic and non-recyclable paper bags set to take effect July 1, 2015.

This new bill will amend the law to specifically prohibit so-called “biodegradable” plastic bags because of concerns raised about the lack of an industry standard over the definition of a biodegradable bag. The bill instead allows certified compostable bags which carry the “compostable” logo approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute, in order to provide businesses with a clear definition.

Currently, Honolulu is the only remaining county in Hawaii with no regulation of plastic grocery bags. The bill notes that plastic bags “may remain relatively intact for long periods of time, and fragments of plastic in the environment may harm insects, fish and animals if consumed.”

When the law goes into effect on July 1 next year, regular plastic checkout bags will be banned, but all these options will remain:
• Reusable bags;
• Compostable plastic bags;
• Recyclable paper bags.

The law also contains these exemptions:
• Bags used inside the business to package loose items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, candy, or small hardware items;
• Bags used to contain frozen foods, meat or fish, flowers or plants;
• Bags used by pharmacists for medications;
• Newspaper bags;
• Laundry and dry cleaning bags;
• Bags sold in packages for garbage, pet waste and yard waste;
• Bags from pet stores;
• Bags to contain chemicals.

Bill 38, CD2 was passed unanimously by the Honolulu City Council on September 10, 2014.

Mahalo to everyone that supported this effort and worked hard to see it through!

Deck the Hale!

September 25, 2014
You may have noticed stores are already gearing up for the holiday season, and here at Honolulu Hale we are doing the same. Each year, each city department participates in a little friendly holiday tree decorating competition and fundraises to cover expenses. All of the trees are then displayed for the public to enjoy throughout the month of December.

This year, the Legislative Branch is already hard at work planning away and our first fundraiser is set for Wednesday, October 8th, in Room 205 – 2nd Floor Committee Room at Honolulu Hale. Come on down for a delicious $8 bento while supplies last(or call ahead to pre-order at 768-5043), and don’t forget to check out our bake sale for your sweet tooth fix!

Mahalo for your support!

Safe Haven’s Plans for Relocation

September 24, 2014
“Safe Haven,” which provides assistance to homeless adults with mental illnesses and is operated by Mental Health Kokua, will be moving to the city’s Pauahi Hale housing complex in Chinatown by the end of the year.

The city will be putting on the ground floor a hygiene center with public restrooms and showers that will be open at least 12 hours a day primarily for homeless people, project officials said. There will also be a multiservice center that will provide homeless outreach and on-site services that address medical, psychiatric and chemical dependency problems for those frequenting the area.

Community Services Director Pam Witty-Oakland said no existing tenants from the 77-unit Pauahi Hale will be removed from the building. Eventually, however, individuals who are chronically homeless under the definitions of the city’s Housing First program would be allowed to move in as the current tenants leave voluntarily.

The Safe Haven relocation, which has the support of the Downtown Neighborhood Board and the Chinatown Business and Community Association, was outlined to the Chinatown-Downtown community at a meeting sponsored by area Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga and the area’s state lawmakers Monday night.

Doing Business with China Seminar

September 23, 2014
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and Pacific Business News are happy to present the Doing Business with China Seminar, featuring Manny Menendez.

Manuel C. Melendez III, also known as Manny, is founder of MCM Group Holdings, LTD/8M8 LLC and a veteran international businessman who has been successfully doing business in China and the Pacific Asia for over 35 years.

Manny’s China involvement is best summed up by a quote from former United States Senior Senator Daniel Inouye: “I was most impressed with your involvement with US-China Economic relations. You should consider writing a book about your experiences. You were part of History in the making!”

When: Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Where: Plaza Club, 20th Floor – 900 Fort Street Mall
Cost: Admission is $40.00 per person
Register: Online @ by Monday, September 29, 2014

National News

September 19, 2014

Biofuels on the VergeI am pleased to know that my Biodeisel Resolution 14-169 (2014) has made national news. We must continue moving forward with efforts towards becoming more sustainable.

“In Hawaii, Honolulu City adopted a resolution last week to develop a biodiesel initiate for the city’s existing mass transit diesel vehicles. The adoption of resolution 14-169 will allow the Department of Transportation and the City to look to further the use of biodiesel in TheBus and TheHandi-Van fleets comprised of more than 650 vehicles.” – Biofuels Digest

Read the full article here: