City Council To Review Neighborhood Board Video

By Shayne Enright
Published On: Nov 22 2011 08:27:51 AM HST
Updated On: Nov 21 2011 11:22:20 PM HST
HONOLULU -

About twenty minutes into Thursday night?s Waipahu Neighborhood Board Meeting, City Councilman Tom Berg, who represents the Kapolei and Ewa Beach district, asks Chair Rito Saniatan if he can address the board.

"I come to you with a concern on the rail," said Berg.

Saniatan allows Berg to speak, even though a proposal to discuss "Rail Transit" at a future meeting is not scheduled until further down the agenda.

When Berg is asked to wrap up, he continues to talk but eventually sits down only to get up again.

When the councilmember turns his message to rail, Berg is asked to stop but refuses saying he deserves the allotted one minute to speak.

As board members begin to get up and leave, the chair calls for a recess. Councilman Breene Harimoto asks Berg to sit down.

"I just want one minute councilmember and you don?t want me to speak. You have the problem, you got the problem," said Berg.

Berg went on to say, "Hear my resolutions and I'll shut up."

Berg refuses to sit down before threatening Chair Saniatan's position on the board.

"I think your board chair is immature. You are going to be removed from chair if you shut me down, your call," said Berg.

After more than ten minutes, the chair gives Berg 45 seconds to finish. Berg does but gets up one final time.

Police officers are called in and Berg is asked to leave but does not.

Board vice chair Cory Chun says he doesn't take offense with Berg's passion on the issue of rail.

However, Chun said he expected the elected government official to follow the order of the meeting.

"When you step outside the rules and try to manipulate them that?s where I find it unacceptable and frankly it was very disrespectful," said Chun.

City Councilman Ernie Martin said he is reviewing the video tape.

In an emailed response, Berg told KITV: "Prior to the meeting, three board members had contacted me to apprise me that the subject of rail would be on the agenda for discussion. I went in good faith with the intentions to interact with the board that pertaining to rail fronting Waipahu High School, steel rail is noisy and there is a superior rail system that is quieter such as monorail and magnetic levitation and that the UHWO Chancellor Gene Awakuni was successful is keeping rail off of his campus due to the noise factor. In addition, information that the support columns were to go from 6 feet in diameter to 8 feet was also pertinent and I thought applicable of how that plays in with utility relocation and I wanted to comment on that with BWS as well - noting that the columns for maglev are only 4 feet in diameter. When the agenda item came up for whether rail would be discussed at the next board meeting, I was denied the opportunity to comment. In each instance, I believe the sunshine law was violated in that upon any agenda item, the public is to be afforded time to speak. I had made a packet for the board about superior rail technologies and was there to work with them, and help educate them and provide input that this rail project should still be open for discussion and that a better way to do rail right was available for them to entertain."

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