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

Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

3:32 p.m. Rail Safety and Security

While the Honolulu City Council‘s committees met today, the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Project Oversight Committee gathered just a couple hundred yards away. Among a handful of agenda items was a presentation on safety and security.

View the PowerPoint presentation, provided to Inside Honolulu by HART, here:

2:01 p.m. Berg “Took a Beating” for Tax Increase Reso

The Transportation Committee is now working on the resolution that would urge the Hawaii Legislature and Gov. Neil Abercrombie to authorize another half-cent General Excise Tax to be used for highway and bikeway construction.

Introducer Tom Berg said he floated the idea to benefit his constituents who won’t use rail and that he “took a beating” because people don’t like tax increases. (Berg has expressed his support for the Tea Party, which opposes tax increases and many government functions.)

“I introduced this thing and I’m not in favor of it,” Berg explained.

The Carlisle administration said it opposes the measure on both legal and policy grounds. Berg tried to pivot the issue to being an indictment of the tax surcharge extension that would be needed to extend the rail to Waikiki, the University of Hawaii at Manoa and further out to Kapolei.

He then veered even further off topic. He said the current steel-on-steel proposal should be abandoned and that Honolulu should instead allow a Chinese company that has offered to build a Mag-Lev system for free. With those savings, Honolulu can give back money to its citizens.

“There should be a repeal of the rail tax,” he said.

With nobody here to testify in person and nobody on the Honolulu City Council in support, Berg’s resolution died a quick death.

12:23 p.m. Ansaldo Parent Company Hires Bank To Sell Ansaldo

Finmeccanica has hired a major Italian bank to advise the company on its options to sell AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS, which could complicate matters for the joint venture that could build and operate Honolulu’s rail system.

The news from Italy comes via Bloomberg Businessweek, which also notes that the company “may be close to a deal to sell AnsaldoBreda to General Electric Co., which is also interested in Ansaldo STS.”

Read the full story here.

12:15 p.m. Anderson Wants Waianae Plan Advanced

Zoning and Planning Committee Chair Ikaika Anderson has asked his colleagues to advance the Waianae Sustainable Communities Plan.

Anderson said he’ll ask Council Chair Ernie Martin to hold the public hearing not next week at Honolulu Hale but instead in November at Kapolei Hale so the Waianae community can more easily participate.

District 1 member Tom Berg withdrew his proposed amendment that would have removed the “PIM” symbol for a park to replace the construction debris landfill, saying he wants to find a new location for a regional park before nixing that possible location.

12:09 p.m. Natatorium Repairs Planned

From a city press release:

Continued deterioration of the Waikiki Natatorium‘s seawall is creating hazardous conditions that require immediate attention to protect public safety.

A recent inspection revealed that portions of the Natatorium’s concrete seawall are severely cracked and could fall into surrounding waters and cause injury to swimmers. The City is advising the public to stay away from the structure, and expects to begin mitigation work on Monday (Oct. 3, 2011).

The work will include removal of cracked concrete along the entire perimeter of the pool, and will be conducted from outside the structure. Workers will erect temporary scaffolds and use hand tools to remove the damaged concrete, which will be lowered onto rafts and brought ashore. Buoys will be placed 20 feet from the seawall to keep swimmers and beach users out of the work area. Completion of the work is expected to take five days, subject to tide and wave conditions.

Workers will also install signs along the seawall to warn of the structure’s dangerous condition, and will reinforce a barricade on the Diamond Head side to help deter trespassers.

Read Civil Beat‘s previous coverage of the natatorium here.

11:49 a.m. Planning Department: SCP and PIM Separate Issues

Much of the testimony this morning at the Zoning and Planning Committee‘s deliberations on the Waianae Sustainable Communities Plan (SCP) has focused on the Public Infrastructure Map (PIM) and the plan to convert a private construction landfill to a park.

Representatives from various neighborhood boards and at least one environmental organization have expressed their concerns about the proposed changes to the SCP.

But Chief Planner Kathy Sokugawa explained that the issues are actually separate, and that the Honolulu City Council can address the matters separately. Breene Harimoto called it “a revelation.”

Discussions continue.

10:55 a.m. Sidewalk Possessions Bill Introduced

If a bill introduced Wednesday becomes law, it will be illegal for the homeless to store their belongings on city sidewalks.

Bill 54, introduced by five members of the Honolulu City Council, would prohibit personal property from being placed on public property for more than 24 hours or or being kept in a park after hours.

The bill changes the term “stored property” to “stored personal property” and defines that term to include goods, materials, merchandise, furniture, equipment, fixtures, structures, clothing, and household items.

The bill was one of two introduced Wednesday. Bill 55 would tweak the noise control ordinance by including machines that can produce sounds (in addition to those that can reproduce sounds). It would also increase the audible distance for which loud sounds can be punished from 30 feet to 100 feet.

Read the possessions bill here:

Bill 54

View more documents from Civil Beat.

10:36 a.m. HUD Still Waiting For Answers

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is still waiting for specifics from the City and County of Honolulu regarding the use of federal funds at ORI Anuenue Hale.

Adrienne LaFrance reports today that the city didn’t answer some key questions from HUD in its latest correspondence. It has until the end of October to satisfy HUD or risk having to return $8 million in grants.

Read the story here.

10:08 a.m. Rail Opponents Respond On Operating Costs

Four prominent opponents of the rail project respond today to the last of Civil Beat‘s seven Fact Checks of their op-ed in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser last month.

Read the Fact Check, the opponents’ response, and the tally of all our work.

9:51 a.m. Two Town Halls, Two Different Crowds

Civil Beat colleague Nick Castele went to the rail town hall meeting last night at Kalani High School, and contrasts that meeting with the one the previous night out in Kapolei.

Read his piece here, and the coverage of the Kapolei meeting here.

9:39 a.m. APEC Paddy Wagons

Some city vans and buses have been converted into paddy wagons ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, according to a story from KHON2.

The police department would not say how many buses and vans had been donated by OTS and denied a Khon2 request to inspect the vehicles. However a Khon2 camera spotted at least five of the converted Handi-Vans at the Pearl City Bus Yard on Waimano Home Road. A source within OTS says at least ten city buses were also converted, and some of them were fitted with metal cages just past the main door.

It’s an interesting story and worth a read. Security plans are in the news this week. Civil Beat reported on the Honolulu Police Department‘s purchase of $700,000 in non-lethal weapons, as well as the Honolulu City Council‘s consideration of a proposal to install 30 new surveillance cameras.

9:20 a.m. Honolulu Mustaches Snubbed

Mayor Peter Carlisle can’t be happy about this.

The list of America’s top 10 mustache-friendly cities is out, and Honolulu didn’t make the cut — despite the facial hair of its chief executive.

The American Mustache Institute rolled out its rankings in a “white paper” rolled out this week. The best of the best are:

Source: American Mustache Institute

Carlisle has not yet made any official announcement about the rankings.

(hat-tip to Adrienne LaFrance and Atlantic Cities)

9:10 a.m. Today’s Meetings

Where’s Carlisle?

At 10 a.m., Mayor Peter Carlisle is set to deliver remarks at the grand opening of the KZOO Radio Shirokiya Studio at Shirokiya in the Ala Moana Center. At noon, Carlisle will deliver remarks at a dedication ceremony for phase II of the Hale Wai Vista Affordable Family Rental Apartments at 86-084 Farrington Highway in Waianae.

Read Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

September 28: Court Room to Council Chambers; Solid Waste Not Public Works?; Outstanding Sewers; Tulsi Keeps Work, Campaign Separate; Berg’s $250 Million Touchdown; Rail Lawsuit Response Filed; Today’s Meetings; Balancing Security and Rights; Where’s Carlisle?

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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