Statement by Mayor Harry Kim on Hilo Farmers Market

  • MAYOR HARRY KIM

The office of Mayor Harry Kim released this statement on Hilo Farmers Market late Thursday night. This is the statement in its entirety, unedited:

March 29, 2018

ADVERTISING


The information out there regarding the closure of the Farmer’s Market in Hilo is so wrong and misleading that it prompts this open response. The public should know of truth that their government has sincerely tried to help Mr. De La Cruz comply with the County, State and Federal laws to keep the market in operation. A commitment was made and kept by the County to help keep it open and develop a place to be proud of. The choices made that caused this closure and hardships imposed on the tenants were not made by your government.

I will be more than willing to meet with anyone to discuss the history of this closure.

Harry Kim

Mayor

Farmers Market Background

There is no question that the Hilo Farmers Market is an important part of downtown Hilo. It has been successful due to the diversity and freshness of the offerings of its vendors. The County has tried to work with the owner for years to bring the properties into compliance with building, fire, and zoning codes. The conditions were allowed to persist for all these years in deference to constantly changing plans proposed by the owner. Continuous efforts over the past year by the County to guide the owner into compliance were, regretfully, unsuccessful due to delay or no action on the owner’s part. The only way to finally achieve results was to enforce the notice of violation that the owner received in June of 2017 which clearly stated the consequences if the proper permits were not acquired in a timely fashion. This enforcement was done in fairness and responsibility to all others who follow County, State, and Federal requirements.

— Violations of County Code and Regulations.

• No building permits. The Farmers Market has been operating for over 20 years without any building permits. Temporary structures, such as large tents greater than 120 s.f., used for commercial purposes are required to have a temporary building permit which is good for 180 days only.

• Non-flammable tent material. Tents larger than 750 square feet are required to have non-flammable or non-combustible tent material. The Fire Department reviewed and approved proposed tent material. The owner just had to place the order.

• Non-permitted electrical wiring. Electrical wiring was energized, used, and operated without required electrical inspections and approval of electrical work performed.

• Extended hours of operation. Farmers Market operations exceeded two days a week as limited by Special Management Area Minor Permit No. 54.

• Non-permitted sign. A large sign was installed without acquiring the required permits.

• No setbacks between tents and property boundary. Temporary structures are required to have a 10 foot setback from the property boundaries and 10 foot spacing between tents.

• Failure to Construct Permanent Structure as Required. The owner had 10 years to construct a permanent structure as required by SMA approval. The deadline of March 2018 has not been met. The Farmers Market owner initially received Planning Department approval for a permanent structure in 2008. A condition for approval required completion of construction within 5 years. In 2013, the owner requested an extension for another 5 years. The extension was granted with a new deadline of March 18, 2018.

— County Assistance Provided.

• Meeting with the Mayor. On January 31, 2017 and February 17, 2017, the Mayor met with the owner to determine the status of plans to meet the March 2018 deadline and offered assistance to facilitate development. The Mayor assigned an Executive Assistant to work with the owner.

• Issues Identified. The Executive Assistant coordinated with various departments to identify the types, sequence, and estimated processing time of permits. Since the Farmers Market is located in the special flood hazard zone exposed to tsunami and high waves, one major issue was how to comply with these strict standards. Working with the Department of Public Works, a feasible solution was determined that allowed for a simplified structure.

• Schedule and Budget. The Executive Assistant helped the owner to assess how much the owner could finance to design and construct a permanent structure based on the substantial total annual rent income the owner receives from the vendors. Additional help also identified steps to start construction of a permanent structure including development of a schedule to meet the March 2018 deadline. The schedule required prompt action by the owner.

— Critical and Timely Actions Needed by Owner to Meet Schedule.

• Hire an architect to design a permanent structure and prepare the building permit application.

• Secure financing for design and construction.

• Apply for amendment to SMA permits for preferred hours of operation and revised design of structure.

• Secure Plan Approval for commercial operations.

— No Action by Owner. On May 24, 2017, the Mayor and several departments met with the owner to assess his progress. Despite assurances from the owner to carry out critical tasks identified in the last meeting, it became evident that the owner made no progress. Consequently, the County issued notice of violations in June 2017 requiring the owner to obtain temporary structure permits or submit plans for a permanent structure. The assessed fines for violations and failure to meet deadlines were clearly outlined in the violation notice.

• Time Extensions Granted. Three time extensions were granted over a 6-month period through December 31, 2017 to provide time for the owner to comply. At the end of December 2017, the owner submitted applications for temporary structures. These permits were approved but the owner has not picked up the approved permits.

• Order Issued. To motivate action, the only recourse was to issue an Order imposing fines as declared in the June 2017 violation notice.

ADVERTISING


The County of Hawaiʻi has worked closely with the owner and made numerous efforts to help preserve the Hilo Farmers Market and bring it into compliance. It is incumbent upon the owner to continue to work with the County in a timely manner to secure the necessary permits to operate his business.

The County is committed to assisting the owner in developing a permanent Farmers Market that can be a fixture of the Hilo landscape, provide a safe environment for the community to shop, and help make Hilo a beautiful and nice place to live.

  1. Happi March 30, 2018 5:03 pm

    It seems to me the council has no real regards for the vendors, because otherwise they would have given them more notice and preparation, and would have waited AFTER Merrie Monarch, the busiest year in Hilo. I can only guess that Keith did not want to burden the vendors with the whole details regarding violations and permits, because some vendors would have freaked out, especially those with mortgages to pay.

    Is Harry Kim and the council strategically planning to dump the homeless near the airport, gentrificate Mooheau Park, charge parking at the county car park. Then reject any proposals Keith puts out, or fine him with any violation they can muster up, so at the end of it you destroy him, his family, his employees etc Destroy the market and then give the HFM vendors the opportunity to be part of the ‘new’ HFM market (operated by the county). Do you really expect the vendors of HFM to display any trust, loyalty or aloha for you, the county, if this is the plan. Is this about the community of vendors or the county, lining their pockets to fix their budgets. The county has hit the HFM vendors during MerrieMonarch. I dont see how any vendor will respect them for that…. whilst Keith is trying to keep the vendors same same so they don’t get upset. The vendors have worries of their own, like paying their bills!

    And yes, I am a HFM vendor. And I hope the county can work with Keith to maintain what he and the vendors have built here. One of the best outdoor farmers market in the USA. The county will be remembered for its vindictive actions, regardless of rights or wrongs.

    It’s very obvious that Keith does not have the finances to implement everything you have requested him to do. Why doesn’t the county help finance him? It’s obvious, you want to steal the business that he and the vendors have built. Whose next? Will you find other ‘opportunities’ to take private ownership into public control?

    So many people got hit by the 2008 property crash. Look that up…

    You knew for years about the violations but left it alone because of the National and international success of HFM, but Keith and the council decided to leave it alone. You are now enforcing rules because you think you have found a solution to the problem as stated above.

    If you choose your course of action, I hope you have a place for all of Keith employees and not replace all of them with County employees. Just to let you know one of the girls who comes and picks up our rent every month and week is pregnant. Please, provide everyone of his people a job Harry kim

    Also, whoever becomes the new HFM manager, you will need Keith’s advice with regards to his vendors. Setting up a market isn’t as simple as putting up tents and allocating spaces. You will need to know the seniority of he vendors, whether a vendor likes to be at the front, middle or back of the market/traffic flow (because some vendors can operate a business at the back of the market and others can not), you will need to know who has mortgages to pay and who is just there to fill their time. You will need to know which vendor fights with who because they sell the same products. This is very important because you are dealing with peoples lives and livelihoods, and your own profits. Good luck to the new management.


  2. Happi March 30, 2018 7:05 pm

    THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN DETECTED AS SPAM. I’M HAVING THE SAME PROBLEM I HAVE WITH BIG ISLAND NOW.

    THIS IS MY RESPONSE TO HARRY KIM

    It seems to me the council has no real regards for the vendors, because otherwise they would have given them more notice and preparation, and would have waited AFTER Merrie Monarch, the busiest year in Hilo. I can only guess that Keith did not want to burden the vendors with the whole details regarding violations and permits, because some vendors would have freaked out, especially those with mortgages to pay.

    Is Harry Kim and the council strategically planning to dump the homeless near the airport, gentrificate Mooheau Park, charge parking at the county car park. Then reject any proposals Keith puts out, or fine him with any violation they can muster up, so at the end of it you destroy him, his family, his employees etc Destroy the market and then give the HFM vendors the opportunity to be part of the ‘new’ HFM market (operated by the county). Do you really expect the vendors of HFM to display any trust, loyalty or aloha for you, the county, if this is the plan. Is this about the community of vendors or the county, lining their pockets to fix their budgets. The county has hit the HFM vendors during MerrieMonarch. I dont see how any vendor will respect them for that…. whilst Keith is trying to keep the vendors same same so they don’t get upset. The vendors have worries of their own, like paying their bills!

    And yes, I am a HFM vendor. And I hope the county can work with Keith to maintain what he and the vendors have built here. One of the best outdoor farmers market in the USA. The county will be remembered for its vindictive actions, regardless of rights or wrongs.

    It’s very obvious that Keith does not have the finances to implement everything you have requested him to do. Why doesn’t the county help finance him? It’s obvious, you want to steal the business that he and the vendors have built. Whose next? Will you find other ‘opportunities’ to take private ownership into public control?

    So many people got hit by the 2008 property crash. Look that up…

    You knew for years about the violations but left it alone because of the National and international success of HFM, but Keith and the council decided to leave it alone. You are now enforcing rules because you think you have found a solution to the problem as stated above.

    If you choose your course of action, I hope you have a place for all of Keith employees and not replace all of them with County employees. Just to let you know one of the girls who comes and picks up our rent every month and week is pregnant. Please, provide everyone of his people a job Harry kim

    Also, whoever becomes the new HFM manager, you will need Keith’s advice with regards to his vendors. Setting up a market isn’t as simple as putting up tents and allocating spaces. You will need to know the seniority of he vendors, whether a vendor likes to be at the front, middle or back of the market/traffic flow (because some vendors can operate a business at the back of the market and others can not), you will need to know who has mortgages to pay and who is just there to fill their time. You will need to know which vendor fights with who because they sell the same products. This is very important because you are dealing with peoples lives and livelihoods, and your own profits. Good luck to the new management.


    1. lazerhaze March 31, 2018 6:21 am

      If “Keith” was a good business man this wouldn’t be happening to the vendors. It seems to me that “Keith” is the PROBLEM with the farmers market…. not the solution. What needs to happen is the farmers market needs to follow the same rules and regulations we all do. “Keith” has been profiting from the vendors FOR 20 YEARS and PUTTING OFF THESE CHANGES. IF anyone is hurting the community and the vendors… IT’S KEITH HIMSELF! Try taking your lips off Keith’s anus for 5 min because KEITH is the person RIPPING YOU OFF AND HURTING YOUR BUSINESS!


      1. Happi March 31, 2018 10:36 am

        Alot of us are struggling to pay our rents here. If you worked here you would know. I know people who have seen a. 30per cent drop in revenue. Some people get extensions when pay is due. He’s not the slum land lord that everybody thinks he is. The county is only assuming that a new market on county land is going to draw more revenue. Have you ever sold to cruise ship people on 60 day tours? They are cheap cheap cheap. They will bargin a $10 product to $5. I’ve also noticed that there are more empty stalls here even be4 this mess. There’s something wrong with the economy here or people’s shopping habits have changed. We live in a generation if Walmarts and Amazon. Shop cheap.


        1. lazerhaze April 1, 2018 6:03 am

          I do work here. I own and operate a small business here. I know that costs are high and revenues can be challenging but.. here’s what I know as a business person. If you’re going to let your business rely on someone else’s business you’re going to live or die by THAT person’s choices and NOT your own. I’ve heard A LOT about the Hilo Farmers Market lots and that’ why I DON’T sell there myself. I don’t market or sell to tourists myself. They’re too picky and too cheap. I sell to people who are specifically looking for what I make and who understand that what I make and sell are premium items and not “cheap”. The things I make are not sold on Amazon or at Walmart.


          1. Happi April 1, 2018 2:59 pm

            The items I make aren’t from Thailand, Phillipines etc either, they are all handmade, but I can’t afford high rent like some people. I basically live paycheck to paycheck


          2. lazerhaze April 2, 2018 5:28 am

            I don’t sell retail either. I sell online. I’m also a “maker” who produces hand made, one of a kind items. You’re in a similar boat as many many Americans.


          3. Happi April 1, 2018 3:00 pm

            And I admit I may have not got the business acumen to go into a retail store


  3. Scooby March 31, 2018 6:08 am

    Can HTH stop printing this picture, or any picture of this guy and stop writing articles of him doing nothing as a mayor until he actually does something other than stopping a project or raising taxes or getting a raise for himself or his appointed staff.


    1. PunaPerson March 31, 2018 7:57 am

      A gloating lying tyrant. I guess I shouldn’t expect any other type of photo than him being overly pleased with himself as he lords it over the “little people”, but still, it makes me sick.


    2. Poi April 1, 2018 9:36 am

      photo = “The Full Weasel”


  4. John Kalau March 31, 2018 6:16 am

    Bureaucracy gone wild…again. Ever go to a town market in Europe? the Hawaii DOH would have kittens….no rubber gloves, none of the nonsense we “demand.” Funny, the citizens aren’t dropping dead. I’m not a Republican, but we need to DRAIN THE SWAMP IN HAWAII. jk


    1. lazerhaze March 31, 2018 6:26 am

      Love Europe so much? Go live there. The problem is the landowner profiting form the vendors and NOT improving the properties in 20 years. THAT’S WHY this is happening. IT’S THE PROPERTY OWNERS FAULT. If you want to blame someone, Blame the person who waited 20 years to do what they should of.


  5. Rusty Da Clown March 31, 2018 7:28 am

    Since when does the newspaper just copy and paste drivel from the mayor? Harry Kim always says trust me, but do your job, Tribune-Herald: fact check him.


    1. Hilo Jack March 31, 2018 8:35 pm

      Come to think of it, our POTUS always says “trust me” and yet when responsible media tries to fact check him, its called “fake news”


  6. Keoni Yamada March 31, 2018 8:07 am

    We’re from the govmnt & we’re here to help you…..

    by forcing impractical & expensive rules & regs (that we never read before making into law) down your throat until you choke, even though they are marginally appropriate at best,
    all while pretending there’s nothing we can do about it so-sorry hands-are-tied,
    and expecting you to be both grateful & kiss our petty-tyrant feet.

    In other words, screw you citizens, you didn’t build that & we just don’t give a $hit about
    what works for you. For the greater good (ours).


  7. PunaPerson March 31, 2018 8:10 am

    “I will be more than willing to meet with anyone to discuss the history of this closure.”

    I’d like to see all of us who “have issues” with Lying Gloating Harry Kim about his handling of the Farmers Market take him up, individually, on his generous offer to meet and discuss. Waddaya wanna bet he is lying again? He certainly isn’t even receptive to answering email questions I’ve sent him about his other tyrannical activities that are completely out of his jurisdiction as mayor (testimony to state legislature supporting violating my Constitutionally-protected rights).

    “The public should know of truth that their government has sincerely tried to help Mr. De La Cruz comply with the County, State and Federal laws to keep the market in operation.” and “This enforcement was done in fairness and responsibility to all others who follow County, State, and Federal requirements.”

    I didn’t see anywhere in the above statement from Lying Harry Kim where he clearly presented the violations of Federal laws. What about it Lying Harry, just an oversight on your part, or you “misspoke”, or are you just lying again?


  8. PunaPerson March 31, 2018 8:49 am

    “I will be more than willing to meet with anyone to discuss the history of this closure.”

    I’d like to see all of us who “have issues” with Lying Gloating Harry Kim about his handling of the Farmers Market take him up, individually, on his generous offer to meet and discuss. Waddaya wanna bet he is lying again? He certainly isn’t even receptive to answering email questions I’ve sent him about his other tyrannical activities that are completely out of his jurisdiction as mayor (testimony to state legislature supporting violating my Constitutionally-protected rights).

    “The public should know of truth that their government has sincerely tried to help Mr. De La Cruz comply with the County, State and Federal laws to keep the market in operation.” and “This enforcement was done in fairness and responsibility to all others who follow County, State, and Federal requirements.”

    I didn’t see anywhere in the above statement from Lying Harry Kim where he clearly presented the violations of Federal laws. What about it Lying Harry, just an oversight on your part, or you “misspoke”, or are you just lying again?


  9. Keoni Yamada March 31, 2018 9:08 am

    This is how the Arab Spring started, and set the Middle East on fire.
    26-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi was getting ready to sell fruits and vegetables in the rural town of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. He had been shaken down and harassed for several years. He was the sole breadwinner for his widowed mother and six siblings, but he didn’t have a permit to sell the goods. It wasn’t needed. When the police asked Bouazizi to hand over his wooden cart or pay a fine, he refused and a policewoman slapped him.
    Angered after being publicly humiliated, and years of petty abuse, Bouazizi marched in front of a government building and set himself on fire.
    One of his sisters stated, “What kind of repression do you imagine it takes for a young man to do this? A man who has to feed his family by buying goods on credit when they fine him…and take his goods. In Sidi Bouzid, those with no connections and no money for bribes are humiliated and insulted and not allowed to live.”
    Tunisia later made a postage stamp in his honor.
    After a revolution…


    1. Steve Dearing March 31, 2018 3:17 pm

      I truly feel the demo rats are stuck on stupid and resolving their problem that is now our problem at the ballot box is another preposterous demo rat failure in the making.
      Further, all of the elements needed for civil war are currently present to facilitate another civil war. Freedom is because of the brave and freedom is not cheap. Lock and load time.


  10. metalman808 March 31, 2018 9:27 am

    just think if they used that 1.3 million in raise money and put that towards HFM something that actually works in Hilo, but it was more important to give it to people that don’t work and are unproductive for the community. You would think a place that brings so so many people together that the mayor could fit some new tarps and canopies into his 550 million dollar budget especially right before Merrie monarch. but then again Harry is also kicking hula halau’s out of sleeping in gyms because he can’t hire some security to make sure there’s no fires. We need real leadership. Not the Devil smile


  11. burned_out March 31, 2018 3:21 pm

    The government in Hawaii is a tyrant. We should kill it, but we won’t. Most all the rules cited are pure BS just to make sure Auntie and Uncle have jobs.
    I’ve lived in states where I, a non contractor could build my own house and I just had to pass a “final” inspection by the county, so they could tax me to death.

    We need to trust that most people want to stay in business and not kill their customers.
    The ones that kill customers generally are called criminals or get sued.

    I rarely go to the Hilo Farmers market, but I’m more concerned about being attacked by criminals since they know none of us have guns, than getting electrocuted or burning tents.


    1. Hilo Jack March 31, 2018 4:08 pm

      I don’t think people NOT having guns is a real issue.


      1. burned_out March 31, 2018 5:03 pm

        Hilo,
        You are a character.
        You belong in a zoo.
        The next meth head that
        starts to beat you to death,
        call 911 and see if you survive.


        1. Hilo Jack March 31, 2018 7:39 pm

          Oh yes, the true words of a good christian and republican!

          Ignorantly stupid as they are, they spell out your intelligence defects and quite frankly your sheer stupidity.

          When you have a half a brain cell off sometime after your nightly case of bud light, maybe you can enlighten yourself and at elast appear to have some intellect.

          In the meantime, say hey to your fake “god” tomorrow!


        2. lazerhaze April 1, 2018 6:10 am

          Mother Fvcker, Your psychological projection is EPIC. We all know you’re the only meth head attacking people in like a rabbid dog.


    2. lazerhaze April 1, 2018 6:08 am

      OH woe is me! What will er ever do about the roving gangs of criminals with guns on Hawaii island. They’re terrorizing the entire island!

      You tiny penis having, scared of your own shaddow, fear baited sheeple need to GET THE F*CK off this island if you hate it so m much.


      1. burned_out April 1, 2018 1:54 pm

        Lazer,
        Chill dude. I hate the government, not the Aina.


  12. Kanani Elliott March 31, 2018 8:06 pm

    It has come to my attention that it was the other stores that did not want the famers market. It was said that it did not help the look they wanted for downtown atmosphere. Hello, the market is the reason people come down. The market sells affordable organic produce. It seems to me that the corporation or storesnwho sell the same produce, much higher prices, wants the market to be shut down and force the consumer to pay more money. The oeople at the market are trying to make a living also. Have we become so money greedy that that is the only thing our county is looking at. Instead of shutting down the market maybe put up those steel canopies so that it does look nicer. I dont think the people of Hilo want our town to put like Honolulu or Maui. Everything is all show, and screw the locals who only want to make a living. What it comes down to is real estate. That area is a great location and I think that some rich company or person wants it and wants it for cheap.


  13. Fred Erskine March 31, 2018 10:06 pm

    Great commentary here. Practically everyone’s comments are correct, including the article and the
    counties position. The county is mandated to enforce the building and fire codes, and if they don’t, they willingly expose the county to costly claims, and potentially put themselves in a position of negligence whereas they could be prosecuted for not enforcing the codes, especially if a catastrophic event were to occur. The citizens, business owners and vendors are correct in that the enforcement of land use entitlements, building and fire codes and other non conformities for tent structures is unreasonable and basically non-sense. All parties have a grievance here. The county leaders, businesses and others need to work together to find solutions that simply don’t cost money. A farmers market is a farmers market for a reason. For the County to require state land use approvals due to being in an SMA zone is a road block for a farmers market and does not make any sense. But the county is following the law. The parties need to work together to change the laws to allow a farmers market to operate as a temporary operation with exceptions to land use, building code and fire code. The businesses need to understand this and work with the County to propose the specific changes. Absent that, the status quo will prevail and all parties will continue to fail.


  14. Poi April 1, 2018 9:25 am

    Does Maku’u Market get the same scrutiny? How does that work? At any rate, I’ve seen permanent reinforced concrete open-air market buildings finished in under 6 months in some of the world’s very poorest places, dirt poor podunk villages in the exact middle of nowhere. Tourism is important here, and Farmers Market is a definite draw. My 2 cents, Hawaii County should declare eminent domain, pay the owner off, build a nice permanent structure, re-sell it to high bidder when complete, and then finally get out of everyone’s way. Problem solved!


  15. kalopaboy April 1, 2018 9:26 am

    Mostly good comments here, thanks! Sad situation with all of the main players pointing their fingers at each other. I’m beginning to think we’d all be better off with the last mayor. Even if he was using the Pcard at every bar on O’ahu, it would be far less costly than what’s going on these days. At least Billy had a good heart and thought about the little guys and gals. I voted for Harry and am becoming increasingly disappointed. Will any of us see any real benefit from these tax increases and pay raises? No need answer. We have only ourselves to blame.


    1. Poi April 1, 2018 9:27 am

      100% in ageement!


      1. kalopaboy April 1, 2018 9:41 am

        Happy Easter P, is it not now to the point where we must look out for ourselves? That pot hole in the street fronting my crib has now turned into a crater. Was pondering purchasing some cold pac and repairing it myself. Decided against it. Figured Harry might send in the Gestapo and haul me off in cuffs. Ripping down the tarps of the Farmer’s Market seems like a tipping point. Nonsensical management in my view. Hoping Harry has enough brain remaining not to run again.


        1. Poi April 1, 2018 4:10 pm

          Happy Easter to you, KB! I think you made the right decision. Better forget getting your road fixed and just go buy bigger tires before Harry’s GET kicks in. 😉 It is insane. I used to avoid crass commentary attributing governance like what we’re seeing to dementia on Kim’s part, but now I see that was actually the polite way of putting it. Regretting my vote(s) now!


      2. kalopaboy April 1, 2018 9:42 am

        Sorry, the below was a reply to Poi.


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