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

Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

5:50 p.m. Court Room to Council Chambers

Our story today, about this morning’s deliberations on a resolution to nix the Ansaldo rail contract:

Contract Dispute Moves From Court Room To City Council Chambers

12:04 p.m. Solid Waste Not Public Works?

The Committee on Budget finished its meeting a short while ago after deferring all three of the resolutions introduced by Council member Tom Berg.

We talked about the Ansaldo contract earlier — that was deferred indefinitely, but Committee Chair Ann Kobayashi said she intends to let Bombardier testify when the time is right.

Berg’s second reso would have urged the administration to establish a community benefits program for communities impacted by landfills. Right now, that’s the Leeward Coast, but Berg pointed out to his colleagues that they could one day host a new landfill. The suggestion was deferred to the next budget cycle.

The third Berg resolution would have asked Mayor Peter Carlisle “to create and fund a Solid Waste Technology Liaison position to expedite the implementation of new solid waste disposal and recycling technologies.” It too was deferred to the next budget cycle.

But why were the last two items brought up in the Budget Committee and not the subject matter committee, Public Works and Sustainability? After all, solid waste and sewage issues have come up in Stanley Chang‘s committee before.

Berg told Inside Honolulu after the meeting that he introduced the new resolution as a budget matter specifically because Chang wouldn’t give his resolution a hearing. Indeed, when Berg introduced Resolution 11-100 back in March, it didn’t go anywhere. That resolution, among other things, would have asked the mayor to appoint “a solid waste technology czar,” making it pretty similar to the new proposal.

We’ll ask Chang about that next we catch him in the Honolulu Hale hallways.

11:46 a.m. Outstanding Sewers

From a city press release:

The City and County of Honolulu received the American Society of Civil Engineer’s Hawaii Section 2011 Outstanding Achievement Award in the Water/Wastewater/Environmental Projects category for its Waanao Road/Keolu Drive Reconstructed Sewer Project.

The $47 million project involved the installation of approximately 15,000 lineal feet of new sewer pipes, by-pass lines and connections to the existing collection system from Akahai Street to the Kailua Heights Pump Station along Keolu Drive and Waanao Road in Kailua.

The new 8” to 36” replacement lines included a crossing under the Kawainui Canal and an inverted siphon that crossed underneath the Kaelepulu Stream. To minimize impacts to the Enchanted Lake Shopping Center, nearby businesses, a school, a densely populated residential area and the environment, several innovative trenchless construction methods were incorporated including microtunneling, mini-microtunneling, Horizontal Directional Drilling and jet grouting throughout the installation.

To avoid corrosion problems, the project also incorporated new long lasting materials such as fusible PVC pipe. The project was also selected to be sent on to compete for an ASCE National Award.

10:24 a.m. Tulsi Keeps Work, Campaign Separate

Tulsi Gabbard is at work right now. She’s the vice chair of the Honolulu City Council Budget Committee, and she hasn’t missed a minute of action since the meeting started a few minutes after 9 a.m.

But someone, somewhere is working on her campaign for Congress.

A few minutes after 10 a.m., supporters (and reporters) received an email request for campaign contributions in advance of Friday’s critical fundraising deadline. The email was sent by a Council staffer who also chips in on the campaign in her spare time.

When she announced six union endorsements last month, Gabbard told Civil Beat she won’t let campaigning force her to miss any committee or Council meetings.

“None. That’s the commitment,” she said. “I would hope that you would hold me to that.”

We’re watching.

9:40 a.m. Berg’s $250 Million Touchdown

The resolution that would urge the city to cancel its contract with Ansaldo is up now, and the introducer is asking for a deferral.

Tom Berg, making an elaborate football analogy, said the Honolulu City Council needs instant replay to review the procurement process and that he wants to defer until Bombardier can be present to explain how it made the catch with both feet in bounds — a “$250 million touchdown” for Honolulu taxpayers. (That’s the amount Bombardier says the city would save if it had not been disqualified and instead won the core systems contract rather than Ansaldo.)

Deputy Corporation Counsel Amy Kondo dodged questions about the procurement, as the matter is still pending litigation. Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Interim Executive Director Toru Hamayasu already gave his explanation directly to Berg at last night’s “town hall” meeting. He said that three entities — the procurement office, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Hearings Officer David Karlen and now the First Circuit Court — have all said Bombardier’s disqualification was appropriate. He said the city couldn’t reinstate Bombardier at this stage even if it wanted to.

This morning, Berg said the matter hasn’t been explained to the Council, and pressed both Hamayasu and Budget Director Mike Hansen for answers. “I’m here representing the taxpayer,” he said.

Vice Chair Ikaika Anderson expressed disbelief that the Council can’t get answers about the indemnification clause that led to Bombardier’s disqualification.

Rail Lawsuit Response Filed

A press release from four of the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit against Honolulu’s rail project:

We and the other Plaintiffs in the rail lawsuit have just responded to the Defendants’ Request for Judgment on the Pleadings and Request for Judicial Notice. See attached pdf files.

In these Responses, we and the other Plaintiffs address clearly and directly the Defendants’ allegations that some of the Plaintiffs did not participate in the administrative processes of the City and FTA. Our response sets out ways in which various Plaintiffs participated, including, for example, eight rounds of comments from HonoluluTraffic.com and additional comments from its members.

In our Responses, we point out that the Defendants’ motion has nothing to do with the merits of the case. In fact, it represents an exceptionally weak attempt by the Defendants to avoid a resolution on the merits. We take the Defendants’ decision not to engage on substantive issues as a sign that they are aware of the weakness of their legal position.

All it takes for the lawsuit to continue is the participation of at least one Plaintiff with standing to sue. The Defendants’ effort to remove some of the Plaintiffs from this case is a waste of the court’s time and the taxpayers’ money.

We continue to view the Defendants’ motion as frivolous.

The FTA Motion and our Response may both be found at: http://www.honolulutraffic.com/LegalProcessDocs.htm and our Response is also attached to this email for your convenience.

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Request for Judicial Notice 9-26-2011.pdf
Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendants’ Request for Judgment on the Pleadings 9-26-2011.pdf

Today’s Meetings

  • The Honolulu City Council Budget Committee meets at 9 a.m. The agenda includes a resolution that would accept a $17,500 gift from the Pacific Resource Partnership to send Council members Ikaika Anderson and Romy Cachola as well as Planning and Permitting Deputy Director Jiro Sumada, Transit Oriented Development Administrator Terry Ware and Deputy Managing Director Chyrstn Eads to Washington D.C. for the Rail-Volution 2011 Conference and TOD sites in Colorado.
  • The Honolulu Ethics Commission meets at 11:30 a.m. The agenda is short, and includes an executive session decision on a possible conflict of interest of a city officer. (That means an elected or appointed official, but they’re not named yet.)
  • The Council Committee of Public Works and Sustainability meets at 1 p.m. The agenda includes discussion of: asphalt recycling; recycling bins at waste transfer stations; health issues from ash and residue operations at H-POWER; and the investigation of alternative technologies for use of sewage sludge at Sand Island.

Also, the second of five rail “town hall” meetings will take place at Kalani High School at 6 p.m. Read our coverage of the first such meeting, held last night in Kapolei: At First Town Hall, Kapolei Wants Rail, And Soon

Balancing Security and Rights

Our main story from yesterday: A Honolulu City Council committee advanced a proposal that would allow the Honolulu Police Department to install new surveillance cameras for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in November.

The chair of that committee also told Inside Honolulu she trusts HPD to purchase non-lethal and less-lethal weapons and train its officers to use those weapons appropriately.

Read the full story: Looking To Balance APEC Safety, First Amendment

Where’s Carlisle?

Mayor Peter Carlisle has no public events on his calendar for today.

Read Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

September 27: Carlisle: Gun Range Plans “Premature”; New Mobility Data From Texas Transportation Institute; One Step Forward for Kalaeloa Gun Range; No Time Limit For Berg; APEC Surveillance Camera Plan Advances; HUD Still Concerned; Recent APEC Protests; Ikaika On Cousin Cord; Residents Prepare for Rail Disruptions; Today’s Meetings; Where’s Carlisle?

September 26: Thursday’s Committee Meetings; Large Rail Landowner List Updated; New Planning Commissioners Named; Free UH Football Tickets; The Virtues Of Managed Lanes; HART Says FTA, Not IMG, Spurred Financial Adjustment; Rail Archaeology Meeting Tonight; HPD Preparing For “War”?; Where’s Carlisle?

September 23: Carlisle’s Public Sked; Council Reapportionment Public Hearings Set; Archaeological Meeting Now On Web; Wednesday Meetings; Postcard From HART; Safety At What Price?; Fact Check Scorecard; City Listens To “Shoddy” Report; Where’s Carlisle?

September 22: EOD, What’s the Deal?; Tuesday’s Committee Meetings; On Deadline Day, Sumitomo Still “Under Consideration”; The Great Waialae Bike Test; Fact Checking Rail Operations Costs; Not So Special; Where’s Carlisle?

September 21: Anatomy of Wastewater: The Book; Thumbs Up For City’s Budget; Businessweek: Honolulu No. 3; Congestion Deception Editorial Rebutted; Where’s Carlisle?

September 20: General Plan Comment Period Extended; More Bad News For Finmeccanica; Salaries, Salaries and More Salaries; State Excluding Military, After All; Horner Leaving First Hawaiian; Where’s Carlisle?

September 19: Rail Town Hall Meetings; Mayor’s Twitter Account Compromised; Federal Money For Electric Buses; Honolulu and the Military; Where’s Carlisle?

September 16: The “Creepy Crawlies”; Bill Survives, Barely; Ryan, Lee Back Tour Bus Ban; Carlisle Back To D.C.; More About the “Housing Preservation Initiative”; Law Enforcement Memorial and Today’s Honorees; Queens Plan, Too; Laie Marriott Approved; Other Resos On Horizon; Laie Testimony Begins; Sign Regulations Deferred; City Getting Out Of Landlord Business; The Three Other Finalists; Nine Other Applicants; Bunda Confirmed Unanimously; Testimony For Bunda; No Tours On Sundays; Council to “Play It By Ear” On Sign Regulations Bill; Today’s Meetings; Where’s Carlisle?

September 15: Ikaika Fundraiser Tonight, More Soon; Rail Opponents On the Radio; Finmeccanica Exec Offers Resignation; Horner’s Ansaldo Conflict?; Correction: $300K/Year; Honolulu’s $1.5 Million Lobbyist; Population and Ridership; HART Board on Friday; Where’s Carlisle?

September 14: Sister City Summit: A Summary; No News From Ethics Meeting; $1 Million for Psych Hospital; Tulsi Passes the Basket; Live-Tweeting Sister Cities Summit; Rail Soil Sampling Next Week; BRT v. Rail; Police On Protests; Sister City Activities; Where’s Carlisle?

September 13: Details On The Plan; ‘Modified Existing Plan’ It Is; Bombardier’s Response; Bombardier Lawsuit Denied; Berg: Reverse Ansaldo Contract; Sister Cities Program; Going After Castro; Godbey’s Disclosures; Wrong Again On Jobs; Real Property Tax Commission Meets Today; Friday’s Council Agenda; Where’s Carlisle?

September 12: City Asks for Early Decision on Rail Lawsuit; Ethics Commission Today; Where’s Carlisle?

September 9: Carlisle’s Public Sked; Remembrance Walk; Congestion Deception; ‘Outrage’ on Mayor’s Homeless Comments; Successful Sewage Trucking; Where’s Carlisle?

September 8: What We Learned; Honolulu’s Lousy Traffic; Undercover in Washington; Eagles Have Landed; Corp Counsel on Procurement; Horner Impressed; Stanley Chang Testifies; Aloha From Italy; Sale Or No Sale, Finmeccanica Is Obliged; Joint and Several Liability; Finmeccanica: Failure ‘Impossible’; The Questions; The Players; Ansaldo On The Big Screen; Where’s Carlisle?

September 7: Four Council District Plans; The Resignation Letter; Jamila Resigns From Planning Commission; Thoughts on Washington Trip; Not Following Rules; Where’s Carlisle?

September 6: Thursday Night In Waianae; Council Public Hearing Notice; Mayor On Homelessness; Jobs Claim Half True; Where’s Carlisle?

September 2: Peter, Toru, Carrie All Washington-Bound; Carlisle’s Public Sked; HART at First Hawaiian; Carlisle at Civil Beat; Ansaldo: We Complied With Licensing Requirement; Long Weekend; Civil Beat’s ‘Hatchet Job’; Where’s Carlisle?

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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