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May-June 1989

July 1989

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization's Citizen Advisory Committee (Mildred Walston)
Welcome New Members
President's Message: Press Release from the Steps of City Hall (Arlene Ellis)
Neighborhood Boards and Neighborhood Plan Study (Mildred Walston)
Municipal Reference and Records Center
Melveen Leed Concert Show
Peace Events
League on "Dialog"

Neighborhood Boards and Neighborhood Plan Study

More than a year and a half ago the Neighborhood Commission began conducting an internal review and study to determine the effectiveness of the Neighborhood Plan. The results were released in April, 1989.

"Effectiveness" was defined as encompassing the purpose of the Neighborhood Boards, which is to "increase and assure community participation in the decisions of government." Thus, resident involvement was a key indicator in determining effectiveness.

LEGAL PROCEDURES OR PROVISIONS OF THE REVISED NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN:

Overall the Boards did an excellent job of fulfilling legal procedures or provisions of the Plan. The Plan mandates 10 regular meetings per year to be held by each Board--of the 30 Boards, 9 scheduled 12 regular meetings; 18 scheduled 11 regular meetings; and 3 scheduled 10 regular meetings -- Of the 334 regular meetings held, 322 (96%) met the quorum requisite and 12 meetings did not. (8 of these 12 were attributed to two Boards.)

Each of the 30 Boards maintained a mailing list as required by the Neighborhood Plan. All Boards processed their minutes and made public their agendas within 7 days of meeting dates, as mandated.

COMMUNICATION CHANNELS & NETWORKS:

The second criteria for the study involved communications channels and net works. 24 of the 30 Boards (80%) completed at least one mass mailing during the fiscal year. One Board purchased space in its community newspaper to communicate regularly with the neighborhood year-round--28 Boards developed at least one flyer for distribution, and 2 did target mailings.

All 30 of the Boards used their meetings as a community conduit for government and private sector presentations; and all Boards allowed for testimony by residents on community concerns or problems.

11 Boards held at least one solely or jointly sponsored community event.

City and State agencies and individuals' names were present on all mailing lists, as were area residents; and at least one community organization.

NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD ACTIVITIES:

The tally indicated that all of the 30 Boards completed at least 3 or the 11 powers, duties and functions listed in the Neighborhood Plan. Most of the participation was in the area of reviewing and making recommendations on city issues , sponsoring forums on neighborhood matters, monitoring the delivery of government services to community residents, advocating residents' interests and concerns to all levels of government, and completing and meeting the mandates outlined in the Neighborhood Plan and the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Recognizing that each Board is expected to set its own goals and priorities according to the needs and wants of its residents, the Commission felt that this article of the Plan was being adequately implemented.

NEIGHBORHOOD BOARD MEMBERS' SURVEY:

408 surveys were distributed to Board members. 92 were completed and re turned. The majority responded favorably concerning their Board experience. 17% expressed dissatisfaction and 21% felt their communities were not being involved in the system.

CONCLUSION:

The Commission believes improvements can be made in the system. The following are suggested: (1) efforts should be made to increase residents involved with each Board; (2) more non-board members should be encouraged and asked to serve on committees; (3) Boards should attempt to involve more community groups and their members in Board activities; and (4) Board members should continue to take the initiative to involve more community residents in the system.

It was also felt that the Boards should take greater advantage of the resources made available to them, especially in the use of publicity funds.

It was felt that this study was a step in improving the grassroots process, and that the system has met its goal of providing a workable procedure for increasing grassroots decision making.

Mildred Walston
Neighborhood Board Liaison

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