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

Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

5:01 p.m. Peter, Toru, Carrie All Washington-Bound

You may notice that Mayor Peter Carlisle‘s public schedule (below) cuts off after Monday. That’s because he’ll be out of town.

Carlisle sent a message to Honolulu City Council Chair Ernie Martin Friday announcing that he’d be out of state from Sept. 6 through Sept. 9 and would be leaving Managing Director Doug Chin in charge.

Carlisle’s note said the purpose of his trip is “to meet with the Federal Transit Administration and Congressional Delegation regarding the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project.”

Carlisle won’t be the only Honolulu official at those meetings. Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation spokeswoman Jeanne Mariani-Belding told Inside Honolulu Friday that Interim Director Toru Hamayasu and Board Chair Carrie Okinaga are going to the nation’s capital as well.

“They are going to meet with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff. They are going to talk about scheduling of the Full-Funding Grant Agreement; Carrie is going as the new HART chair to express that there will be continuity and continued support for the project,” Mariani-Belding wrote in an email.

4:53 p.m. Carlisle’s Public Sked

Here’s where you can find Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle in the next seven days:

Saturday, September 3rd

  • 8:45 am—Mayor Carlisle delivers remarks at the Ala Moana Farmers’ Market Grand Opening Ceremony. Ala Moana Center, upper level, Ala Moana Blvd. and Piikoi.
  • 11:00 am—Mayor Carlisle delivers remarks at the Hawaii United Okinawa Association 29th Okinawan Festival. Kapiolani Park.

Sunday, September 4th

  • 3:00 pm–10:00 pm—Mayor Carlisle visits the 2011 Labor Unity Picnic. Waikiki Shell.

Monday, September 5th

  • 10:00 am—Mayor Carlisle delivers remarks at the annual Korean Sports Festival. Kapiolani Park.

4:46 p.m. HART at First Hawaiian

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Finance Committee will get its opportunity to investigate Ansaldo‘s finances next week. And banker Don Horner is going to do it on his turf — literally.

The joint meeting of the Finance and Project Oversight Committees will be held at the Bankers Club Board Room on the 30th floor of the First Hawaiian Center next Thursday morning.

Horner offered the meeting space to his HART colleagues as a gift Thursday because his facilities have the technological capability to hold a teleconference with representatives of Ansaldo Honolulu’s parent company in Italy. It’ll be an evening phone call for them.

Horner said Thursday that the meeting will be a “robust” look at Ansaldo’s financial picture, because he’s not comfortable going into business with a company unless he’s vetted their financial capacity.

10:48 a.m. Carlisle at Civil Beat

Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle came to Civil Beat headquarters in Kaimuki Thursday for an editorial board meeting. The interview has already produced two stories worth reading for a glimpse into the mind of Carlisle:

10:23 a.m. Ansaldo: We Complied With Licensing Requirement

Pacific Business News has a long story today based on an interview with Ansaldo Honolulu chief Enrico Fontana.

The story incorrectly states that the interview is the first with local media since Ansaldo was awarded the core systems rail contract back in March (Civil Beat sat down with Fontana in May), but it does shed some light on some of the new developments.

In particular, PBN asked Fontana about complaints filed by two Sumitomo subcontractors alleging that Ansaldo was not a licensed contractor when it first made its bid, an apparent violation of state law. Here’s what reporter Curtis Lum wrote:

But Fontana said the city’s request for proposals was clear and said a license was required at the time the contract bid was awarded. He said Ansaldo Honolulu was not licensed when it submitted its initial bid, but was so before it made its first, best and final offer.

“We were holding our contractor’s license at least eight months before the contract award, so we are fully compliant,” Fontana said.

Fontana should double-check his calendar. A “verifier” in the state Regulated Industries Complaints Office told Civil Beat that Ansaldo was issued its contractor license on Oct. 15, 2010. The award was announced on March 21, 2011. That’s five months and six days, not “at least eight months.”

More importantly, that interpretation by Fontana would seem to rely on the section of state law that carves out an exemption for “Any public works project that requires additional qualifications beyond those established by the licensing law and which is deemed necessary and in the public interest by the contracting agency.”

In his ruling rejecting Sumitomo’s appeal, Senior Hearings Officer David Karlen said it wasn’t in his jurisdiction to rule on the licensing matter. But on the question of the exemption, Karlen did write this:

By explicitly requiring a contractor’s license only at the time of award, the City explicitly excused offerors from complying with only a portion of HRS Chapter 444 and explicitly required compliance with another portion ofHRS Chapter 444. This can arguably be viewed as a decision not to invoke the exemption available under the terms of HRS §444-2(10). Alternatively, this can be viewed as creating a disputed issue of material fact on whether the City actually deemed at the time the RFP was issued (and not a couple of years later after an award is protested) that there were “additional qualifications beyond those established by the licensing law” when compliance with the licensing law was being required before commencement of the work. In either event, summary judgment in favor of the City on account of a claimed exemption under HRS §444-2( 10) is not appropriate.

One of the Sumitomo subcontractors said Ansaldo’s inclusion of a sworn affidavit with its original bid that it was seeking a contractor’s license at that time is an acknowledgment that it knew it should have had the license when making an offer, not just at the time of the award.

The matter is now in the hands of the Contractor Licensing Board.

Long Weekend

Monday is Labor Day, a federal holiday, and city government offices will be closed. Here are the details:

  • Emergency services will be available.
  • People’s Open Markets will not be held.
  • Municipal golf courses, the zoo, recreation centers and botanical gardens will be open.
  • Regular day refuse collections will be made, and landfills and convenience centers will be open.
  • Buses will operate on a Sunday schedule. TheHandi-Van service will operate as usual.
  • On-street parking will be free, except for the meters on Kalakaua Avenue along Queen Kapiolani Park.
  • Parking will be permitted in tow-away zones that allow parking on holidays.
  • There will be no coning of traffic lanes.
  • Traffic signals at Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard will be three-phase to permit mauka-bound traffic to turn left onto Kapiolani Boulevard.

Perhaps most importantly, Civil Beat headquarters will be closed, and there will be no Inside Honolulu.

Civil Beat’s ‘Hatchet Job’

In case you missed it yesterday, rail opponents have taken issue with two of the Fact Checks published by Civil Beat this week. Both pieces by Cliff Slater are worth reading for another perspective:

Where’s Carlisle?

At 8 a.m., Mayor Peter Carlisle is a guest at a ceremony commemorating the 66th Anniversary of the End of the War in the Pacific at the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Read Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

September 1: PIG Picks Bunda; Carlisle’s Rail Pep Talk; Semi-Autonomous, But Connected; All Sewage Ideas Welcome; Defining ‘Undercover’; Today’s Meetings; Where’s Carlisle?

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