Sunday, October 27, 2013

Kalaeloa Fires, Vandalism Plague Former Barbers Point Navy Base, But Some Don't Notice

Three brush fires in Kalaeloa latest in string of suspicious blazes
Honolulu Star-Advertiser  Oct 15, 2013
Fire investigators are looking into three brush fires that they believe may have been intentionally set Monday morning within 90 minutes in Kalaeloa.
Capt. Terry Seelig, Honolulu Fire Department spokesman, said today's incidents are the latest in a string of 20 suspicious fires at Kalaeloa since the beginning of the month.
The largest fire covered about a half acre and was reported at 10:05 a.m. at Tripoli and White Plains Beach road. Two fire companies, two tankers and a federal firefighting company responded. It took fire crews nearly two hours to extinguish the blaze.
Firefighters were first summoned at 8:52 a.m. to Saratoga and Franklin avenues to extinguish a smaller blaze. It took one company of firefighters half hour to put out that fire.
At 9:36 a.m. another small fire was reported at Hornet and Saratoga avenues, where firefighters extinguished it in 50 minutes.
Seelig said over the past two to three months these small brush fires at Kalaeloa have become frequent, appearing clusters like they did Monday morning.

Fires, Vandalism Plague Former Barbers Point Navy Base

By William Cole Oct 15, 2013 Honolulu Star-Advertiser
There have been 20 brush and rubbish fires this month. Dozens of power poles have been felled by metal scavengers. Residents report manhole covers being taken. One observer says the word is out that security is lax and the area is "wide open."
Sections of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station are returning to the "wild, wild West" vandalism and lawless days that followed the base closing in 1999, a local historian and preservationist charges.

Some residents and officials agree with that assessment by Ewa Beach's John Bond, while others do not, as the old 3,700-acre military base continues to occupy an awkward place between the ongoing departure of the Navy and redevelopment somewhere down the road.

A case in point: State Sen. Mike Gabbard said he rents the former base commander's home from developer Hunt Cos., which is a lessee and owner of 538 acres of former Navy land where a spate of fires and vandalism has occurred.

The single-story, four-bedroom, two-bath house on Franklin Avenue with a large white anchor and chain out front has a large, well-kept yard dotted with flowering plumeria and big shade trees.

But across the street is a house with big holes in the walls in a yard of knee-high dry weeds flanked by a huge dead tree.

Gabbard, who said he pays "market value" rent for his home and has lived in the former commander's quarters and another residence on base since 2004, has not seen a growing vandalism trend.

"Not really," Gabbard said. "I think it's actually better than it was in the old days when we first moved in."

Bond says that through the years, "many very fine former Navy buildings — homes, barracks, clubs, etc. — were smashed, looted and graffitied in every way possible."

That deterioration has continued in the historic officer homes neighborhood where Gabbard is a resident, with holes cut in some roofs for firefighter training — allowing rain to enter, Bond said.

Seelig said his understanding is that a Florida-based company was allowed to put on a firefighting training workshop using some of the homes. The Honolulu Fire Department did not participate, he said.

Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Terry Seelig said there have been 20 calls for rubbish or brush fires in the Kalaeloa area this month, with three such fires reported on former base property on Monday alone.

The majority appear to have been intentionally set, Seelig said.

The fires have been small, burning a few dozen square feet to more than an acre at a time.

Coincidently, all of these highly concentrated fires being set are all within the same area around and within the historic WW-II homes community, and also coincidently, where HCDA plans a major highway and rail transit line project. Having large canopy trees and historic homes decimated and destroyed creates the "eyesore" effect so necessary to then bring in the bulldozers...

Kalaeloa fires trigger arson concerns

By Jim Mendoza   Hawaii News Now   Sep 17, 2013
Ash on the ground and scorched tree limbs litter an acre in Kalaeloa where a brushfire recently burned.

"The disturbing thing is that the fire was quite intense and went up into the trees and burned a lot of these large trees. We're hoping they'll survive," Ewa Beach resident John Bond said.

He said over the past two months brushfires have popped up in several spots in Kalaeloa on property leased by developer Hunt Hawaii.

One recent blaze burned near the corner of Hornet Street and Saratoga Avenue, about a block from Barbers Point Elementary School. The entire area was once part of Barbers Point Naval Air Station.




Authorities investigate Kalaeloa vandalism

HAWAII NEWS NOW   Oct 16, 2013
Honolulu authorities are trying to determine if an arsonist is behind several fire in Kalaeloa.

Earlier this week, firefighters responded to three fires within an hour of each other in the same area. Officials with the Honolulu Fire Department say there have been 20 brush fires in Kalaeloa since the start of the October.

Fire department crews say they also put out multiple fires in August and September.
Investigators say there appears to be a pattern, and HFD is now working with the Honolulu Police Department to investigate the fires.






Former NAS Barbers Point Historic Homes Hacked Up and Fires Set For "Fire Seminar"

Former NAS Barbers Point Historic Homes Hacked Up and Fires Set For "Fire Seminar"

By John Bond
Almost no one, especially not the State of Hawaii Preservation Department (SHPD) or Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) will explain why beautiful homes, listed on State and Federal lists, are being allowed to be hacked up by an out of state contractor in the "place of excellence" called Kalaeloa... formerly known as Naval Air Station Barbers Point.
The fires largely being set in a very specific area where HCDA plans a development project. Is this planned pyromania an HCDA development technique?
Houses painted with flames coming from windows, fires set all over the area in a firebug free-for-all... More and more holes hacked into the historic national register eligible home rooftops- but yet apparently "no one in authority" seems to notices anything unusual happening in "place of excellence" Kalaeloa...
The once beautiful, lush and shady tree canopied area of the former Naval Air Station where WW-II era homes were supposed to be preserved and placed on the National Historic register in is now being turned into a zombie like "Homes of Horrors' setting.
Yet one strange anomaly exists- a single two star flag officer home remains, well kept, well maintained, green mowed grass, big shady trees, trimmed hedges. Yet, the person living there doesn't seem to notice anything usual happening all around the house.
Around this oasis of a once proud and beautiful neighborhood is now a bizarre ghost house community of zombie homes, being grafittied and hacked up- not by thugs and vandals, but apparently as a "fire training seminar" project by a Florida company, according to the Honolulu Fire Department, which claims they have no involvement in it.
HCDA, the state's "development authority" apparently approves of this form of historic property destruction because it has failed to protect these homes which were recognized as historic during the original Navy BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) process and also by City contracted architectural consultants when the City planned the Honolulu rail fixed guideway corridor through this same area.
These Federal documents and the SHPD historic homes site number are all being "conveniently" ignored, why?
The red stripe is the planned HCDA roadway and the blue stripe is route of the planned rail transit fixed guideway. It is a remarkable coincidence that the vast majority of all of the fires being set in Kalaeloa are all within this same planned road and rail project route.
Obviously HCDA and SHPD, the state "preservation department" wants this once beautiful shady area, location of some of the largest trees on the former Naval Air Station to just "disappear," and "go away" and to do that requires the process of constant decimation and degradation so that the "historic integrity" is lost. 
Big shade trees and historic homes? We don't see no big stinking shade trees and historic homes! They must of all "burn up" and "gone away" one day...
Decimation and degradation by developers usually takes some time so that most don't notice what is really happening- but when developers are in a big hurry they will find ways to accelerate the loss of "historic integrity and community value" -and the nearly constant fires, nearly all during working hours, seems apparently to be the way to do it in Kalaeloa, the "place of excellence".
The very large canopy trees are also mysteriously dying from some type of "Agent Orange Disease" in this same area where the firebug torching is going on.
And to make sure they burn and die faster, the defoliating trees are being torched by firebugs repeatedly as part of "fire training" also?
This is really all about turning a previously historic community with beautiful, large Monkey Pod and Banyan Trees into a slum-like "eye-sore" that soon "must be knocked down"...
It's being done in other areas as well to Hawaiian cultural sites, trails, ponds within Kalaeloa while HCDA takes the news media and politicians down to the "Kalaeloa Heritage Park" for preservation "photo opportunities..."
Acre after acre in the same planned roadway and rail route area, the houses painted with flames coming from windows, more and more holes hacked in historic national register home rooftops, fires being set sometimes on a daily basis in the exact same locations from the week before- yet apparently "no one" notices anything in Kalaeloa, HCDA's "place of excellence"...




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Historic WW-II Barbers Point Housing District Decimated, Fire Drill Ghost Town

Proposed Historic WW-II Naval Air Station Barbers Point Housing District A Decimated, Fire Drill Ghost Town

by John Bond
Like the mysteriously dying trees, many historic Barbers Point WW-II Navy houses are being given apparently an "assisted suicide" by chopping holes in their roofs to speed up the call for their demolition and clear the way for the profitable land development yet to come.

See new updates or related to this story here:
When the Navy began the BRAC (Base Realignment And Closure) process in the late 1990's, a series of expensive historic, archeological and environmental studies were commissioned to determine as much as possible what was there that should be remediated and what should be preserved for future generations.

Before and After (1980's photo and 2013 photo)
Keep in mind, WW-II was a major historic point in American history, NAS Barbers Point was built back in the wartime territorial era, and due to the war effort significant structures were designed by major, important architects and engineers of that period that worked without the usual big fees and commissions to design very exceptional buildings.
Two areas in the NAS Barbers Point were identified as historic districts that would preserve some of the key WW-II features and the historic, cultural landscape that would have been found by future visitors to the civilianized former Navy base. A chance to look back in time in what would otherwise be a sea of the usual West Oahu high density urban sprawl now taking place.
One area was designated as the NAS Barbers Point Central Core Historic District Boundary. This includes the WW-II hangars, control tower, fire station, parachute loft and a few other structures.
The other area was designated as the WW-II Housing Area Historic District Boundary. This area included some of the last best specimens of classic WW-II home design for senior naval officers who commanded air wings and operational base assets. These Hawaiian tropical designs had big yards, large canopy trees, great walkway hedges, Singapore plumeria trees, etc.
Page 290 of major Navy BRAC document showing proposed historic districts...
Unfortunately, once HCDA (Hawaii Community Development Authority) got their hands on former Naval Air Station Barbers Point and it became "Kalaeloa," the whole place largely all went to hell, -except for the main State Airport parcel. 
Historic buildings that were supposed to be preserved and infrastructure that was supposed to be protected wasn't. Fortunately because some buildings became part of the Kalaeloa State Airport and had high security fencing around them- which along with September 11, 2001 heightened airport security, caused the historic former Navy airport buildings to receive adequate security protection.
While significant amounts of Kalaeloa looting and arson took place after the closure, which could have been prevented with a reasonably small investment in combined Navy and civilian security patrols with HPD cooperation, that apparently never happened. Many very fine former Navy buildings- homes, barracks, clubs, etc. were smashed, looted and grafittied  in every way possible.
Now it unfortunately appears that the fine specimens of senior WW-II naval aviator homes aren't collapsing and screaming for obvious demolition as was hoped for, so they are being assisted in their demise by having holes hacked in their roof tops. (What an eyesore! We must knock them down!)

Some of the historic WW-II homes with hacked roofs. The last photo indicates that the local fire department may have been given these homes to use to conduct practice drills...
This isn't vandalism, this appears as very methodical and designed to cause as much interior damage as possible through weathering effects. Those who have seen this technique before know that this is how the Navy has "dealt with" historic buildings around Pearl Harbor before- open all the windows, don't do the most simple things to protect anything from the weather, make sure no grass is cut, and maybe some "creative" pre-demolition work might also take place.  (What an eyesore! We must knock them down!)
The Navy certainly hasn't authorized this to be done at former NAS Barbers Point because frankly they don't care anymore about what happens there at all. They have made that very clear, even though they are actually technically still the land owners of this property. Selling it off would require a process called a Federal Section 106, which can be a big pain- so if the historic assets can be made to "degrade" and just "go away" that just makes everything that much easier.
This entire Kalaeloa area comes under the "protective" domain of the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) which is only interested in real estate development and the profits to be made if this WW-II historic district could be made to just disappear, as has been happening with no one paying any attention...

Note the number of dying off trees from a couple of years ago compared to this 2013 photo below:
In this WW-II Historic District area only one home is still occupied (circled in red) - the former home of the commander of the naval air station. This shows how these classic historic homes could have been maintained and put on the rent or lease market rather than being destroyed through intentional neglect...

Below are photos taken before Naval Air Station Barbers Point closed, probably in the late 80's or early 90's, of these home interiors that have no doubt by now been completely looted...

These photos are part of a Library of Congress collection done back when the Federal government still had budgets for such things and still cared about historic Federal property owned by the tax payers. This rarely happens anymore, especially out in "Kalaeloa."

And here's what they look like today, in 2013 - (What an eyesore! We must knock them down!)

BRAC - Base Realignment And Closure at it's finest...Your Federal property TRASHED.