State apologizes for lack of communication over Kailua landscape project


August 13, 2013

Some Kailua residents are upset about a state landscaping project they were never told about.

The state chopped down a bunch of trees on a heavily used road.

Earlier this summer, trees lined the median on Mokapu Boulevard. But a few weeks ago…

“Came home one day and the median strip was bald. Nothing there,” Kailua resident Janet Boomla said.

Now, there’s nothing there except some piles of dirt where trees used to be.

headshot dec 2011State Rep. Cynthia Thielen said her office was flooded with calls from curious and angry residents. So, she contacted the state.

“We got a hold of the Department of Transportation and said, ‘What are you doing?’ And they said, ‘Well 10 years ago, we told The Outdoor Circle we were going to do something here,’” Rep. Thielen said.

The Outdoor Circle confirmed they met with the DOT years back. They were told of plans then, but not recently.

“The biggest problem you’re having with this is the lack of communication, the lack of recent communication?” KHON2 asked.

“Absolutely and we have a wonderful watchdog group, The Outdoor Circle. They had no notice. We have a neighborhood board that’s very active. No notice to them,” Rep. Thielen said.

The state says some of the trees were diseased and had to be removed. But they do plan to plant native palm trees and they also plan to install an irrigation system.

The DOT will plant 26 trees including rainbow shower trees and monkeypods.

“If they’re going to dig up the messy grass and the weeds and resod, which is what they tell me they’re going to do, and retree, I’m fine with that,” Kailua resident Jim Sylvester said.

The state said the landscape design was completed in Dec. 2004 and has remained unchanged. The project was later incorporated into a large resurfacing project in the area that was advertised for construction in Dec. 2011.

Some believe that’s not good enough.

“Come on Department of Transportation. Talk to the community,” one person said.

The DOT says they apologize and will work on doing a better job of informing the community in the future.

West Community Cooperates To Fix Its Roads

midweekAugust 14, 2013  By Representative Bob McDermott

During my first term as your state representative, I’ve tried to meet with as many constituents of district 40 as I possibly can. I’ve held town hall meetings, visited with condo associations and have gone door-to-door.

I’ve asked people what their concerns are, and have done my best to get them some action from government. Many of those concerns focus on city services, including the bus routes, police service and maintenance of streets.

Well, thanks to a very active community member, Ewa resident Ariel Dejesus, we took up the project of getting North Road repaired, albeit temporarily. The immediate safety issues have been mitigated, and we are working with Councilmembers Ron Menor and Kymberly Pine to see if the city can come in with a more permanent solution.

What many people don’t know is that the state is responsible for highways and major arterials, while the city maintains most neighborhood side streets. They both seem only to stick to their own boundaries and specific areas of responsibility.

But in some cases, it’s even more complicated than that.

Many folks have complained about a particularly bad section of North Road. Part of it is maintained by the city, part of it by the golf course owners and a third segment by the Navy – a perfect job for your state representative!

McDermott Head shot blue shirtOur office spearheaded a meeting with the golf course representative, the Navy public works team, state Sen. Will Espero, and the city represented by Councilman Menor and Councilwoman Pine’s teams. We sat down and discussed the immediate issue: safety. This dialogue was followed by an analysis of who owns which portion of North Road.

This was a collaborative effort with all parties interested in finding a solution to the problem and working together. No finger pointing, just an honest effort to fix the problem and develop a long-term preventative maintenance program.

All of your tax-supported government services should be better coordinated to increase efficiency and cost savings, to provide better service to you, the taxpayer.

There is no reason why state, federal and city maintenance crews can’t help each other out when they are in the field working on road repairs. They should be encouraged to fill all potholes encountered until they are out of materials, regardless of which side of an imaginary line it is on.

The private citizens driving on a lousy section of road don’t care which governmental authority is responsible for any given rough patch; they just want it fixed.

I will continue to work with all of the road-maintenance authorities to get them to be more cooperative with each other and more responsive to the needs of the drivers who live in District 40 and the West side.

Feel free to contact me about any concerns you have, regardless of which governmental authority has the ultimate responsibility to fix the problem.

Rep. Bob McDermott serves District 40. Call 586-9730 or email