Wednesday, February 7, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, February 7, 2001

Sex treatment center hearings set

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The Legislature will make the call on where — or perhaps if — the state’s juvenile sex offender treatment facility will move from Pearl City.

Neighborhood board sessions

Neighborhood boards are scheduled to hear proposals for building a juvenile sex offender treatment facility in their areas:

Ewa — at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the Ewa Beach Community and School Library, 91-950 North Road.

Waipahu — at 7 p.m Feb. 15 in the Waipahu Cultural Garden, 94-695 Waipahu St.

Wahiawa — at 7 p.m. Feb. 26 in the Wahiawa Recreation Center, 1139 Kilani Ave.

Kapolei — at 7:30 p.m. March 21 in the Campbell Building, Laulima Room, 1001 Kamokila Blvd.

Some lawmakers are questioning whether the center should be moved to one of three possible locations: Kahi Mohala psychiatric hospital in
Ewa, in Wahiawa near Kemoo Farm, or at Kalaeloa, formerly Barbers Point.

State health officials briefed the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue yesterday.

The Pearl City facility, which opened in December, is for boys 12 to 17 who are being treated for having sexual relations with family members. Pearl City residents strongly opposed the center because it was a half-mile north of two schools. Gov. Ben Cayetano reached agreement with community leaders to eventually move the facility if a suitable location were found and the Legislature appropriated money for the move.

But lawmakers and community leaders from other districts yesterday asked why the center would be moved elsewhere, and whether other sites outside the list of three would be considered.

Kimura International, a consultant hired to do the site study, picked the three sites from an original list of 10. Other locations considered were: the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe, the Hawaii National Guard facility at Diamond Head, the Teen Challenge center in Makakilo, the Youth Correctional Facility at Olomana in Kailua, Palama Settlement in Kalihi, Saddle City Road in Waimanalo, and the Pearl City site where the center is now.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said his department will not lobby for another site.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Brian Kanno, D-20th (Ewa Beach, Makakilo, Kapolei) said his support for two of the three potential sites in his district hinges on community reaction at upcoming neighborhood board meetings. The first is at 7 p.m. tomorrow in the Ewa Beach Community and School Library.

"My job is to represent the community," Kanno said. "If there is opposition in the community, if the neighborhood board takes a vote against it, then I would oppose the facility."

Wahiawa Neighborhood Board Chairman Ben Acohido said he will listen to the presentation before taking a position.

"I don’t want to appear to be a NIMBY (not in my back yard) type of person," Acohido said. "There is a need for such a facility and it has to be placed somewhere, but I’m sure the high-rise apartment neighbors (next to the proposed site) may raise some concerns."

Makakilo-Kapolei-Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Maeda Timson said she opposes the Kalaeloa site because it would be a half-mile from Barbers Point Elementary School.

"If it’s not OK for Pearl City, why is it OK for other communities to take on?" she asked.

Waipahu Neighborhood Board Chairwoman Annette Yamaguchi said she believes the Kahi Mohala site would be ideal for the treatment center. "Maybe others attending our meeting will be against it, but I’ve toured that facility several times, and its well-secured," Yamaguchi said.

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