Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Comments Posted Re: Wai`anae Drug Treatment Program Community Mtg. 3/19, 6-9pm, Waianae District Park


[Note: 3 Comments have recently been posted regarding this issue. Please click on "Comments" below to view.]

Hina Mauka would like to invite you to attend this important opportunity to learn about our Therapeutic Living Program that is not a Clean and Sober house or a Drug Treatment Program. Hina Mauka will also present a holistic approach to job training and the importance of helping each other in community and caring for the environment.

DATE: March 19, 2008
TIME: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
LOCATION: Wai`anae District Multi-Purpose Room
(light refreshments will be served)

PLEASE COME. WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!

If you have any questions, please call Bill Mousser at 230-5243 or email at bmousser@hinamauka.org.

6 comments:

Chet said...

BE WARNED! The neighborhood surrounding this potential facility is AGAINST this project at its proposed location (we already have signed petitions).
Hina Mauka is attempting to place this project in a quiet residential neighborhood at the end of a cul-de-sac (86-227 Moekolu St.). With a 15% relapse rate (as stated by Hina Mauka), there will be from 1-5 drug addicts and/or criminals relapsing every year in the middle of families with small children. This will severely hurt the families of this neighborhood and is a forewarning of what is to come for other neighborhoods, quite possibly yours.
The families of this neighborhood are attempting to fight the Hina Mauka operation, which appears as a powerful, well-organized and well-funded force. Please join us in our fight against Hina Mauka's inadvertent attempts to destroy the Leeward community by sacrificing upstanding families on behalf of drug addicts and criminals. We are scared, and you should be, too.
For more information, please contact Chet Urata at ChetUrataATgmail.com.

Anonymous said...

Aloha, Chet -


While we understand the community's concerns, we're not quite sure why you want to scare others into believing things that aren't true. Hina Mauka prides itself in being a good neighbor, and more than anything wants all of our neighborhoods to be safer, better places to live in. That's why we're starting this Therapeutic Living Program for people who are already clean and sober. The TLP house will be supervised by trained professionals 24/7. If there is any indication of a possible relapse, those individuals will be asked to leave immediately.


But that's highly unlikely, because the residents who are selected will be carefully screened and are highly motivated to make the best of this second chance at leading productive lives. Further, they have proven themselves already by going through detoxification as well as treatment and remaining clean and sober. Now they just need help with finding jobs and getting back with family. They know if they screw up, it will not only hurt themselves, but also damage all the hard work they have made to reunite with their families and loved ones. Our treatment programs have successfully turned around thousands of lives. Whether you realize it or not, someone you know has probably benefited from the work we do.


Chet, we find it somewhat ironic that you didn't mention the prior history of the TLP house. The former tenants were reputed to be ICE users who allegedly sold drugs! Our residents would be the exact opposite of what you had before -- and might have again, if someone else was to buy or rent that property. The truth is our residents aren't allowed to use alcohol or drugs, and are tested regularly. Can you say the same for all of your other neighbors?


When we live in fear, we become isolated from each other and lose the aloha spirit. To suggest Hina Mauka is attempting to "destroy" your community is puzzling. We know drugs and drug-related crimes are a major problem all over the island. But unless we do something to help former addicts stay clean and sober, they will return to a life of crime. Maybe they won't be living next to you, but if we put them back on the streets without job training or life skills, they could wind up committing crimes again in your neighborhood.


If anything, what we do here will help save lives and reduce crime. Instead of being scared, we ask that you get to know us and the TLP residents who want to be good neighbors. Once you have an experience of the program, we believe you will change your fears towards a peaceful support. We believe that you will see that you can make a difference and it is worth your efforts to help build a better community.


Chet, we realize there is always the fear of the unknown when something new is introduced into any community. But in this situation, you actually have more safeguards in place than if the house was sold to someone who decides to rent it out to a bunch of people you will have no control over.


Thanks for letting us share our side of the story. If you have any questions or would to know more about the TLP proposal, please feel free to call Bill Mousser at 230- 5243 or email us at bmousser@hinamauka.org or admin@hinamauka.org.


Mahalo,
Alan Johnson

Chet said...

Aloha, Alan,

Please let me address your paragraphs one-by-one. I apologize for the length of this and for being somewhat repetitious, but I wanted to state facts relevant to each paragraph.


“While we understand the community's concerns, we're not quite sure why you want to scare others into believing things that aren't true. Hina Mauka prides itself in being a good neighbor, and more than anything wants all of our neighborhoods to be safer, better places to live in. That's why we're starting this Therapeutic Living Program for people who are already clean and sober. The TLP house will be supervised by trained professionals 24/7. If there is any indication of a possible relapse, those individuals will be asked to leave immediately.”

I want everyone to understand the problems that your facility will bring to a neighborhood like ours. I don’t want people to roll over and just let bad things happen like they have in the past.

In particular, you yourself have stated that 15% of your residents will relapse. This comes to (depending on the number of residents you have) 1-5 drug addicts and/or criminals next door to my children and neighbors. Maybe that doesn’t bother you, but it terrifies me, especially considering that even one of your own staff members is quoted as saying, "Ice causes some of the most severe cognitive impairments that you see with any drug."

So then, what “indication” are you describing? Perhaps that they are back on ice, and may have already committed a crime before you have caught them. Can you guarantee that this won’t be the case? We both know that you cannot, and that is an excellent reason to be afraid since we would be in closest proximity to such individuals, thanks to Hina Mauka being on our street.

Moreover, even if you get rid of one problematic individual, you will bring in another and, in fact, dozens more with the continued rate of 1-5 returning to drugs and/or crime next door to us. We don’t get rid of a problem, we just get new ones.

A related question: when you ask someone to leave, where do they go? Out your front door – onto our street??? Now you’ve taken drug addicts from other parts of town and brought them to Waianae. Terrific.


“But that's highly unlikely, because the residents who are selected will be carefully screened and are highly motivated to make the best of this second chance at leading productive lives. Further, they have proven themselves already by going through detoxification as well as treatment and remaining clean and sober. Now they just need help with finding jobs and getting back with family. They know if they screw up, it will not only hurt themselves, but also damage all the hard work they have made to reunite with their families and loved ones. Our treatment programs have successfully turned around thousands of lives. Whether you realize it or not, someone you know has probably benefited from the work we do.”

Again, despite all of your screening, you still claim to have 15% relapse. Why do you not mention that here? You say, “They know if they screw up…,” but we both know that it is not just a matter of knowing that makes addicts return to drugs. It is often a physical or deep-rooted emotional problem that obscures whatever the addicts “knows” and this cannot be overcome simply by the person trying to be logical. Addicts return to drugs even though it will cost them their families, jobs and possibly their lives. I don’t doubt that you help thousands. It is the 15% of those thousands who don’t make it – next door to us - that I worry about.

In addition, I believe one person we spoke with claims that her ex-husband has successfully completed the Hina Mauka programs THREE times - and has relapsed each time. I hardly blame Hina Mauka, which I’m sure does an excellent job based on everything else I’ve read, but this does point out the difficulty in sustaining a drug-free life.



“Chet, we find it somewhat ironic that you didn't mention the prior history of the TLP house. The former tenants were reputed to be ICE users who allegedly sold drugs! Our residents would be the exact opposite of what you had before -- and might have again, if someone else was to buy or rent that property. The truth is our residents aren't allowed to use alcohol or drugs, and are tested regularly. Can you say the same for all of your other neighbors?”

I appreciate your sense of irony, Alan, but while you have researched the history of your house, you apparently have not researched mine. I moved in after that occupant was removed. The house has been vacant since I first saw the house. I never “had before” the neighbor you mentioned nor would I have purchased the house if I knew such a neighbor lived there, and I would certainly NOT have purchased the house if I knew anyone or any business was attempting to circumvent the current zoning, especially to conduct the business you propose. A variance should NOT be allowed in our neighborhood without the neighborhood agreeing, and you can see by the signatures on our petition that our neighborhood certainly does NOT agree.

Regarding your comment about our neighbors’ potential use of alcohol or drugs, even if we did have a problem, it would be with one family, or a finite number of families, with probably just one problematic family member. However, with Hina Mauka, you have informed us that we definitely (on the average) will have from 1-5 new drug addicts each year, not just once. As I said before, if the problem addict on our block leaves, the problem will be gone. However, Hina Mauka will seek to continually bring us more problems.

And currently, we do not have any of the drug problems that you mentioned that have existed here in the past. I’ve spoken with my neighbors and they have said that they now have the peaceful neighborhood that they’ve always desired, and now you propose to introduce not only a business, but one that comes with relapsing drug addicts. If you care so much for our community, why don’t you care what people say and feel? Aren’t we part of the community? And as the most affected, we should be heard first and foremost. I have told you about my family and you’ve spoken with the other neighbors, yet you persist in trying to force this down our throats. I am beginning to sense that you are blindly setting out to reach your goal no matter who you step on. You ask me why I “want to scare others into believing things that aren't true.” As the basis for my issues, I am only using what you and others of your business are saying and what I see in newspapers and other articles. I’m not fabricating things that have never happened or feelings people don’t normally have. I’ve talked to people and heard what they’ve said. I wish you would hear us, too.

For example, you seem not to care that we have girls aged 7-14 playing on our cul-de-sac and that they will no longer be allowed to do this if Hina Mauka is injected into our quiet street. You seem not to care that I have told you that my fiancĂ© will not only feel uncomfortable sitting on the front lanai where 8-15 men can look upon her, but that she has said she’ll be afraid to be left in the house alone with so many men and relapsing addicts less than 30 feet away. You seem not to care about my concerns for my 3-year-old son because there are people like Matthew Higa, who, while the courts considered him a non-violent person, threw Baby Cyrus off a bridge.

Instead, you cast our concerns aside and appear incredulous or surprised that we are afraid. You would rather have us lose our sense of safety, security and value off the value of our house in order to satisfy your business and/or personal goals.

Why don’t you make everyone happy and open this business in, say, a business district, or at least an area where the residents will not be nearly as affected, such as on a busy street – maybe one not in Waianae? Or since you seem to think there could be drug addicts on our street, why don’t you open in a place where this is less likely, like a small street in an affluent neighborhood? Ah, possibly because they won’t like it either for the same reasons we don’t. If alternate and more logical accommodations are not financially feasible for Hina Mauka, the residents of this street should not be the only ones to pay. This neighborhood has had enough of drug problems. If this is a societal issue, let’s have a societal solution or maybe Hina Mauka should come up with a solution to deal with the additional financial burden without devastating innocent families.

And if you are suggesting that we are definitely going to have drug problems, and, therefore, we should opt for Hina Mauka instead, I reject that it is certain – but, yes, it is a possibility. However, having Hina Mauka hardly prevents drug addicts from moving into other houses. In fact, Hina Mauka moves them in. And with or without Hina Mauka, even if addicts do move into other houses, we will take a much harder stance with them than the neighbors did previously. After speaking with my neighbors, they simply tolerated what happened in the past. That is no longer the case. Similarly, we will not tolerate the invasion of Hina Mauka on our street. We will not roll over and let you do this to us without a fight.


“When we live in fear, we become isolated from each other and lose the aloha spirit. To suggest Hina Mauka is attempting to "destroy" your community is puzzling. We know drugs and drug-related crimes are a major problem all over the island. But unless we do something to help former addicts stay clean and sober, they will return to a life of crime. Maybe they won't be living next to you, but if we put them back on the streets without job training or life skills, they could wind up committing crimes again in your neighborhood.”

Thank you for stating that your residents did have a “life of crime.” So you help illuminate that your 1-5 relapsing residents will return not only to drugs but quite likely to committing crimes - that could start in our neighborhood. They would indeed be next door to us if Hina Mauka is allowed to put them here.

It is interesting that you say “When we live in fear, we become isolated from each other and lose the aloha spirit.” I couldn’t agree more, and that is what you will be doing to our neighborhood with the fear that Hina Mauka on our street would create. We would keep our children inside; we would lose our spirit of freedom and sense of safety. To not be afraid of people in your neighborhood who are on going back to drugs and committing crimes is nothing less than foolish. You would ask us to feel otherwise?

And please make significant note that I never said that we don’t want to help former addicts stay clean and sober. We most certainly do want them to get help. It is just that my neighbors and I do not want to be the ones to bear the burden. Instead, as I mentioned, why don’t you find a place that doesn’t hurt honest, hard-working people who are simply trying to raise their families and live in a nice, peaceful neighborhood? We have talked to numerous people both in our neighborhood and elsewhere and – surprise! - NO ONE wants relapsing drug addicts living next door. Why is this so hard for you to understand? And you seem to assert that someone will move in next door that is a drug addict, but that is far from certain. A landlord certainly is not going to be trying to get a drug addict to be a renter since that person is liable to trash the house and not pay rent. I’m not clear as to why you speak of this with such certainty.

In addition to being afraid that through some loophole or other slip up that Hina Mauka will be allowed to open next door, I am appalled by your lack of sensitivity to what you and I have already discussed. I have told you face-to-face of the affect it will have on us and yet you don’t believe me. I know you may have invested over a half-million dollars into the house on behalf of your business, but that is hardly our fault. I believe it was because you neglected to exercise due diligence and at least talk to us neighbors before completing the sale. Believe that we are going to fight you to the end simply because our lives as we know them depend upon it.


“If anything, what we do here will help save lives and reduce crime. Instead of being scared, we ask that you get to know us and the TLP residents who want to be good neighbors. Once you have an experience of the program, we believe you will change your fears towards a peaceful support. We believe that you will see that you can make a difference and it is worth your efforts to help build a better community.”

We have had this discussion already. I have already said that I 100% believe that you have done great things in your other locations. And even if your successes have become lawyers, judges and presidents, it is not your successes that mean the most to our neighborhood; it is your admitted failures. While I appreciate the invitation, I could get to know on an intimate level you, your company, every staff member and every person that you successfully graduated, and yet this does nothing to diminish the fact that 1-5 men will be returning to drug use and crime in our neighborhood.


“Chet, we realize there is always the fear of the unknown when something new is introduced into any community. But in this situation, you actually have more safeguards in place than if the house was sold to someone who decides to rent it out to a bunch of people you will have no control over.”

Actually, it is fear of what I already know:

-1-5 relapsing drug addicts who likely have had a life of some kind of crime

-Threat of danger to my fiancé and family, including my 3-year-old son, from the likes of someone like Matthew Higa or any individual that steals, attacks or kills. With significantly impaired thinking abilities, as mentioned above, any of this is possible. It only has to happen one time and with 1-5 drug addicts/criminals each year, it is quite possible.

-Reduction of my house value.

These threats to our emotional and financial security are real. Such incidents have happened. I KNOW this. And so do you and anyone else who reads a newspaper or watches the news.

And, incidentally, we do have some control over problematic individuals: we can a) call the police, or b) contact the home owner. I like the odds of those two options better than the odds of having a constant stream of relapsing drug addicts and criminals being imported to our street. As it stands, we feel our neighborhood is quite safe. We know who lives here and who doesn’t. With Hina Mauka, we won’t know who lives here since the large transient population will prevent that.

We purchased our houses attempting to live in a nice, peaceful, safe neighborhood, which it now is, and, yes, as hard as it is for you to believe, you will be destroying it. For if Hina Mauka moves in, I will move my family out, and my neighbor has expressed similar intent. If I cannot sell my house, I will have to rent it out, or, worst case, it will go into foreclosure, for that is how much it means to me for my family to not only be safe, but comfortable as well. If this happens, the decline of the neighborhood will have already begun, as those who have strong family values or the means to do move will surely vacate. The neighborhood could become mostly or completely rental properties. Or perhaps even Hina Mauka will expand into some of the other lots or some other facility will purchase one or more homes. The neighborhood which once housed mostly families committed to long term residence has disappeared. And this could be the same affect on the houses on the adjacent streets that are near the Hina Mauka facility. In my opinion, a neighborhood destroyed by the inappropriate incursion of a Hina Mauka facility.

And this could happen to any small neighborhood, which is why my neighbors and I are getting the word out. You told me that you foresaw similar facilities opening throughout the Waianae area over the next 5 or 10 years as attitudes change, but attitudes haven’t changed, and the facilities are starting to come anyway. I don’t believe attitudes will ever change in this regard for small neighborhoods for the very reason that people move into small neighborhoods in the first place: to be away from businesses and crime (including drug addicts).

Alan, again, please open this facility where it doesn’t hurt good people who have themselves steered clear of such drug and criminal problems, who put in an honest day’s work and who wish to raise their families in a neighborhood of like-minded families, not a business district and definitely not next to relapsing drug addicts and criminals.

Sincerely,
Chet Urata

Anonymous said...

aloha all, with this said and the communities concerns about having these types of "special needs" homes in the community, I would like to inform everyone that there is a Senate Committee Hearing on Monday afternoon to discuss a Bill that will make clean and sober homes comply with "standards of operation" so to include the safety issues of the neighborhoods. we do need "special needs" homes in the community so that these individuals may intergrate with society; however, in doing so we need to assure that certain standards and expectations are met. A simple letter or presentation to the Neighborhood Boards does not assure that the community's concerns are addressed. The current city ordiance requests that these types of operation make a presentation or obtain a letter from the chair of the neighborhood board to pass the Special Condition requirements for permitting of operating a house that will have 5 or more individuals not related by blood. The bill being heard will add to the current requirements and again to assure safety issues and concerns are addressed. For more information please call Rep. Awana's office at 586-8465. We need testimonies in writting and in person on Monday 3/17/08 before 12:00pm. Mahalo

Anonymous said...

I strongly agree with Chet as a very, very concern resident of Village Pokai Bay on Moekolu street. I purchased this home to live in a pieceful and comfortable neighborhood with the sense of security for my family and me. I purchased this home in 1992 and now with the proposed Hina Mauka facility fighting to open a TLC in our neighborhood on Moekolu street, I am contemplating on selling my home. I cannot undrstand why a business like Hina Mauka, which houses rehab drug addicts, would do business in a cul-de-sac, dead center of a neighboehood filled with little children and families. I must say that if they do open this facility, it would extremely change the way of life I've learned to love living in this neighborhood, and that it will cause very high anxieties for me and my family members who lives and visits us.
I do believe in the success that Hina Mauka has done, but I like Chet, is very concern about the ones that don't make it. I don't care what guarantees, if any, that Hina Mauka makes, I am totally against opening this facility because if it does open, that will open a can of worms to open many more in the Waianae communities. This is a resdential community and we want to keep it that way, not for businesses like Hina Mauka or any other types of business.
I too, like Chet, will fight to the end, to keep our house values as well as the sense of piecefullness in our current neighborhood from being changed by opening a Hina Mauka facility here on Moekolu street.

Bobby

Anonymous said...

I am not a resident of the area, but after research I feel that Hina Mauka has no business in this type of neighborhood. I myself, would not want that type of facility near my home for the exact same reason that Chet had mentioned.

I wish you Chet, and your neighbors the best of luck.