The City Council made it through three busy committee meetings at the start of the week.

Rail dominated often-heated discussions, and the city’s budget for next year is still in flux. Some other interesting developments included bills pertaining to fireworks storage and recycling subsidies that advanced.

The week’s not over yet. Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

Mayor’s Vacation is Son’s Graduation

5:26 p.m.

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle is off-island, and now we know where he went.

Spokeswoman Louise Kim-McCoy clarified Thursday evening that he’s “on vacation for his son’s graduation.” Earlier, she said only that he was “on vacation time.”

As of the last time we asked, Carlisle’s son was enrolled at Michigan State University, alma mater to Inside Honolulu author Adrienne LaFrance. (From LaFrance: Congratulations to the younger Carlisle, and Go Green!)

Michael Levine

Emergency Management Deputy Clears Up Myth on Waikiki Sirens

2:48 p.m.
The suggestion that there are no civil defense sires on Waikiki Beach because officials are worried about scaring tourists with monthly tests is not true, says Emergency Management Deputy Director Peter Hirai.

Hirai disputed the claim, which was written in the minutes from an April 12 Waikiki Neighborhood Board meeting, and said there are sirens close enough to Waikiki Beach for people to hear.

“Unfortunately, somebody made that statement,” Hirai said. “The visitor industry will tell you that’s not true because they’re very concerned with visitors’ safety. There’s one at Fort DeRussy right next to the tennis courts, and one at Ala Wai Yacht Harbor.”

Hirai says his department is working to get approval to install a siren in Kapiolani Park, but has run into “issues with the land use.”

“As usual,” Hirai said. “Land use is always our challenge, getting permission from land owners if it’s not city property… We’re always trying to upgrade the siren system. We always wil take recommendations if we think there’s a need for new sirens. We’re upgrading old ones or adding new ones.”

Carlisle On ‘Vacation Time’

1:10 p.m.
Mayor Peter Carlisle is not at Honolulu Hale today, and his office is not saying where he is.

Spokeswoman Louise Kim McCoy responded to a unrelated inquiry from Civil Beat by saying that the mayor is “out of town.” Asked where he is, and if it’s personal matters or city business, she said, “He is on vacation time.”

Michael Levine

High Turnout in Neighborhood Board Elections

11:08 a.m.
There are 465 candidates running for 439 Neighborhood Board seats, an the Neighborhood Commission’s Bryan Mick says there is a spike in voters compared to the last election in 2009.

“As far as participation rates, we have roughly twice the amount of votes then we did in the 2009 election for the same time frame,” Mick wrote in an email to Civil Beat. “We do have about 35 percent more eligible voters this time around, but it’s fair to say we are seeing a higher rate so far then in 2009, and we hope that trend continues.”

Mick says the election is “so far, so good,” and that he’s received calls from people who need help casting votes, as well as some complaints.

“We had a few calls from people who object to the digital method,” he said.

Voters are able to cast ballots online or via phone using a unique code included with an elections information packets that were sent via mail.

Voting began May 2, and continues until May 20. Results are expected on May 26.

Check out the Neighborhood Commission website to find out more about the election, and the candidates who are running. Contact Mick with any questions at 768-3717 or nco@honolulu.gov.

City Landfill Fine Despite Rains

9:17 a.m.
“All is well” at Waimanalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill, according to an Environmental Services Department spokesman.

Oahu has seen heavy rains throughout the week, but rainfall at the city landfill hasn’t been severe enough to cause problems. Last January record-setting rainfall caused a near-catastrophe at the site, and landfill operators opted to release contaminated stormwater into the ocean to prevent a structural failure.

Since then, Waimanalo Gulch completed a critical stormwater diversion channel, but even that channel isn’t designed to handle the volume and intensity of rains that fell at the site in January.

Read Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

May 4, 2011: City Council advances HART budgets, measure to float rail bonds; Romy Cachola irked that no Filipinos appointed to HART; Mayor would likely support end to recycling subsidy.

May 3, 2011: Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle signed into law new North Shore plan; City Planning and Permitting Director David Tanoue questions move to turn shipping containers into homes; Environmental group raises concerns about trees along rail route.

May 2, 2011: City Council member Stanley Chang takes on managing director; Ann Kobayashi defends yelling at testifier; Romy Cachola calls testifier “stupid;” Tom Berg proposes horse racetrack for Kapiolani Park; Bill to eliminate scrap yard subsidy advances; Council member miffed that rail leaders skipped special council meeting.

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