There’s always something interesting going on at Honolulu Hale.

Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

1:40 p.m. Across the Street?

From elsewhere on Civil Beat:

Honolulu City Council members Nestor Garcia and Romy Cachola are exploring potential bids for the state Senate, according to their latest campaign finance reports.

Read the full story here.

10:34 a.m. Waipahu Board Backs Hoopili

Hoopili already won over skeptics at the Kapolei Neighborhood Board. Now, the Waipahu Neighborhood Board has voiced its support, too.

The developer put out a press release this morning that starts with this paragraph:

The Waipahu Neighborhood Board voted Thursday night to unanimously support Ho’opili, a first-of-its-kind community planned between Kapolei, ‘Ewa and Waipahu that will offer residents a healthy lifestyle through connected neighborhoods, Hawai’i’s first urban agriculture program, and will help complete the vision of making Kapolei a robust “second city.”

Here’s the full release. (That PDF version appears to have been drafted last week.)

8:29 a.m. Executive Session?

With Ansaldo‘s parent company making headlines across the ponds, local officials are unclear on what it means for the city’s chosen core systems contractor.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Board Chair Carrie Okinaga told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the issue could come up at the meeting Thursday, but would be in executive session since the news broke after the agenda was posted.

If that’s really what Okinaga said, that’s an interesting interpretation of the state’s Sunshine Law, which was written to create greater transparency in government by requiring that the public be given advance notice so they could prepare for meetings. Hiding things in executive session because they’re not on the public agenda would seem to amplify that problem, not mitigate it.

We’ll find out Thursday.

8:20 a.m. Ansaldo Responds

A PR firm for Ansaldo just emailed the following statement to reporters:

In response to inquiries from the Honolulu media, the press office of Finmeccanica SpA, the parent company of Ansaldo Honolulu JV, today issued the following statement to clarify recent comments and reaffirm the corporation’s commitment to the Honolulu Rail Transit Project.

“The Finmeccanica Group – aiming to increase the value of its business in the best interest of both shareholders and customers – continues to grow to better serve its customers and shareholders and is willing to reinforce its presence in the sectors of its various activities in line with the company’s plan to continue expansion in international markets.

Within this framework, the restructuring of the rail transportation business will be a valuable development, designed to maximize market penetration of the company’s products and outstanding technologies worldwide. The AnsaldoBreda mass transit sector is highly efficient due to the high level of product standardization, and Finmeccanica is willing to enhance its organization to match its clients’ increasing needs and to improve the value for the shareholders.

For years, Ansaldo STS and AnsaldoBreda have worked together to deliver driverless steel- wheel steel-rail transit systems worldwide. As Finmeccanica stated to investors, Ansaldo STS – the leader of the Ansaldo Honolulu JV – is a highly valuable asset of the Group and is a well-respected and is undisputedly, a leading provider of transportation solutions.

The Honolulu driverless rail transit system will be Finmeccanica’s tenth driverless program. On behalf of its nearly 75,000 employees worldwide, Finmeccanica is pleased to reaffirm the company’s full commitment to the Honolulu rail project. Finmeccanica is proud and honored to have been selected for this project, and will work tirelessly to ensure the people of Oahu receive a reliable system at best value.”

Rail Appeal Continues, With Questions Churning About Ansaldo

With losing bidder Sumitomo having called the last of its witnesses Thursday, now the city and would-be contractor Ansaldo have a chance to make their case. The hearing starts at 9 a.m. today; check out our previous coverage of the case here and here.

Meanwhile, Ansaldo’s parent company is having problems of its own. The Financial Times explained Sunday that Finmeccanica lost hundreds of millions of euros due to close economic ties with Libya’s embattled dictator, Muammer Gaddafi.

Should be an interesting day down at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Sewage Spill in Kailua

The city announced Sunday that a broken pipe at the Kailua Wastewater Treatment Plant sent 20,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into a nearby drainage ditch.

Spills may not be uncommon, but the timing of this sizable one is lousy.

Tonight at 7 p.m., Tim Steinberger and the rest of the Environmental Services Department will have to face the public to talk about the details of the city’s plan to truck untreated sewage from Sand Island to Honouliuli — an operation that might expand to Kailua and Waianae after a brief test period.

Where’s Carlisle?

Mayor Peter Carlisle is in Japan all this week, and has no local public events.

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