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

Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

5:02 p.m. HART Member’s Ansaldo Conflict

One of the nine voting members of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board of directors can’t deliberate or vote on matters related to one of the largest and most important contracts for the Honolulu rail project.

Vice Chair Ivan Lui-Kwan has disclosed a conflict of interest with Ansaldo, the company picked by the city to design, build, operate and maintain the cars and train system for $1.4 billion over almost 20 years.

Lui-Kwan raised the issue for the first time publicly at the board of directors meeting Thursday morning. He said one of his partners at the Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher law firm interviewed with Ansaldo and has been told the company would like to hire him to be its corporate counsel. The attorney in question is Peter Starn.

(A different lawyer, David Minkin, represented Ansaldo during the procurement appeals process hosted by the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in July and August.)

“Apparently what they did is they interviewed I don’t know how many but a number of different lawyers to be their corporate lawyer. And Peter was one of them. And then recently they told him that they have preferred him to the other candidates,” Lui-Kwan told Inside Honolulu after the meeting.

Asked about the timeline, Lui-Kwan said only that it was “fairly recently” and did not specify a date. The conflict was not raised, for example, on the following occasions:

“What I did today was what the Charter requires is that you file a disclosure statement with the city Ethics Commission, the appointing authority and when an issue comes up, that you recuse yourself,” he said.

Asked if that meant he would have to remove himself from the conversation anytime the core systems contract comes up, Lui-Kwan agreed it does mean that. But he said he doesn’t anticipate that will be a problem for the operation of the board.

4:37 p.m. $4 Million Change Order

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is being asked to shell out an additional $4 million for construction contractor Kiewit Pacific to cover the “owner-controlled insurance program” not originally included in the company’s proposal but needed to do the work.

The issue was discussed during the HART Project Oversight Committee Thursday morning.

It sounds like a lot of money, and of course it is, but it pales in comparison to the dollars at stake for the project. The Kiewit contract in question is valued at nearly $500 million, and the monthly progress report distributed to members and provided to Inside Honolulu shows that the $4 million hit reduces the project contingency fund from $866 million to $862 million.

4:19 p.m. More on TOD Workshops

A pair of transit-oriented development workshops were held Monday and Tuesday nights. The first dealt with development around the Iwilei, Chinatown and Downtown transit stations and the second covered the Middle Street, Kalihi and Kapalama stations.

If, like Inside Honolulu, you were unable to attend the meetings, there are still ways to get a flavor for what went down.

First, we’re told the city took time at both meetings to explain the executive summaries of community surveys conducted by the Department of Planning and Permitting. You can review those summaries below.

Alternatively, the Hawaii Independent was at the second meeting, and described the results thusly: “Consensus comes to City rail workshop in Kalihi.”

2:35 p.m. Real Property Tax Commission Meets

From the better-late-than-never department, here’s the agenda for the Real Property Tax Advisory Commission meeting scheduled for 12:30 p.m. today.

Among the items are exemptions for historic homes and nonprofits.

1:53 p.m. It’s Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas is still about two months away, but preparations are already underway at Honolulu Hale.

Some tree-looking materials and a box full of ornaments were laid out on the first floor of the county government headquarters Thursday, with a ladder nearby.

Here’s a shot:

Christmas tree materials are laid out on the floor at Honolulu Hale, two months in advance.

Before long, a gigantic santa will be dipping his toes in the fountain outside and we’ll all be opening presents.

11:08 a.m. Top City Employees Honored

A police sergeant who created a successful program to help high-risk youth and an assistant division chief who reduced department overtime by 47 percent were named as the City Employee and Manager of the Year, at a ceremony recognizing the top employees …

That’s from a city press release today.

The honorees are Metropolitan Police Sergeant Lawrence F. Santos, Jr. and Department of Facility Maintenance Assistant Division Chief Lan Yoneda.

Civil Beat reported on overtime in that department in a series that won an award for public service journalism from the Society of Professional Journalists Hawaii Chapter. Read those stories here:

10:11 a.m. Ansaldo Contract Delivered, Returned

The $1.4 billion core system contract was delivered to Ansaldo Oct. 17 and was returned Wednesday with bond guarantees, Toru Hamayasu told Inside Honolulu minutes ago. He’ll presumably tell the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board of directors the same thing within an hour when it reaches the appropriate item on its agenda.

HART now has 30 days to execute the contract — that’s a Nov. 25 deadline. Hamayasu said he fully intends to meet that deadline.

He also said HART was not involved in Ansaldo’s settlement agreement with the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to make a contract licensing violation go away.

In fact, HART sent Ansaldo a letter wishing them luck with that investigation and making it clear that HART will pay the price of the contract but not contribute to any settlement or penalty for the licensing issue.

7:06 a.m. HART Meetings This Morning

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is holding two meetings this morning:

  • 8 a.m. — Project Oversight Committeeagenda
  • 10 a.m. — Board of Directorsagenda

Where’s Carlisle?

At 9 a.m., Mayor Peter Carlisle will hold a news conference with various agencies to proclaim Oct. 31 “Be Safe, Be Seen, It’s Halloween, Pedestrian Safety Day,” and encourage trick-or-treaters to wear reflective stickers that make them more visible to motorists.

At 11 a.m., Carlisle is scheduled to attend the 27th Annual Law Enforcement and Security “Top Cop” Appreciation Luncheon at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.

From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., the mayor will discuss Honolulu’s rail transit program on Hawaii Public Radio‘s Town Square program, along with Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation Interim Executive Director Toru Hamayasu and longtime Kapolei resident and Go Rail Go President Maeda Timson. Listen on KIPO, 89.3 FM.

Read Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

October 26: APEC Scuttles Camping Permits; Trick or Treat; Reapportionment Commission Cancelled; Intermodal Pete; Public Support for APEC; Where’s Carlisle?

October 25: Finmeccanica Business Plan: Sell Ansaldo; Train Facility Work Begins; City Workers Vaccinated; November Public Hearing; Special Meeting Today; Where’s Carlisle?

October 24: Rail~Volution Sunshine?; Using Force; Friday Night News; Charging for Parks; Where’s Carlisle?

October 21: City Spending On Rail Lawyers; Carlisle’s Public Sked; A Message From Carrie; Sidewalk Project Pau; Parking Hardship; Bus Routes, Trash Pickup Adjusted for APEC; Where’s Carlisle?

October 20: Special Committee Meeting; APEC Security Road Closures; Council Concerned About Rail Operation Costs; City Misses HUD Deadline; Investigation: Rail at the Airport; Where’s Carlisle?

October 19: Mayor Listens to Preschoolers; The CityCamp “Unconference”; Two TOD Workshops Next Week; Rail Construction Knocks Out Traffic Cams; UPW Strike During APEC?; A Merry Celebration; Martin Running For Mayor; Where’s Carlisle?

October 18: Hula Festival Venue Change; “Overwhelming” Response: APEC Turning Away Volunteers; Garbage Truck Problems; APEC Surveillance Camera Locations; Where’s Carlisle?

October 17: You Say You Want A Rail~Volution; An Evening With Carlisle; Mufi’s Fundraising Muscle; Waipahu Rail Soil Tests Begin; Young People Love Honolulu; Where’s Carlisle?

October 13: Low Sewer Bond Interest; Full Steam Ahead; HART: Ansaldo Still Capable; Police Gifts: A History; There’s No Crying In Rail Contractor Disputes!; Drug Summit Coming To Hawaii; Where’s Carlisle?

October 12: Money For Buses; Ewa Development Plan Up For Review; Second Crack At Homeless on Sidewalk; Where’s Carlisle?

October 11: Rail On PBS; Sidewalk Property Bill Advances; Noise Bill Deferred; Merits of Rail-Volution; Carlisle’s Blood; Targeting Homeless?; Rod Tam’s Friends; Today’s Meetings; Where’s Carlisle?

October 10: Transportation Committee Canceled; Hilton Hawaiian Village On The Agenda; Rail = Jobs; Honolulu’s Global Mayor; Zoning and Planning; Where’s Carlisle?

October 7: Gabbard: End The War; Real Property Tax Commission Meeting Monday; The Holidays Are Coming; Carlisle’s Public Schedule; New Rail Financial Plan; More Committee Agendas; Where’s Carlisle?

October 6: Second Committee Posted; Ansaldo Contract Not Signed Yet; Zoning and Planning Meeting Monday, Not Thursday; Rail Opponents To Speak at Rotary Club; Today’s HART Meetings; Where’s Carlisle?

October 5: Police For Sale?; Cameras Coming for APEC; Sidewalk Property, Noise Control Bills Advance; Private Possessions, Public Property; Today’s Honorees; Today’s Council Meeting; Where’s Carlisle?

October 4: Fifty Years Of Friendship With The French; ACLU Scolds HPD; FACE Rail Rally Today; Station to Station; Public Hearing, No Public; Where’s Carlisle?

October 3: Carlisle Responds, Others Attending; Carlisle Attending “Upscale” Condo Groundbreaking; Former DLNR Chair Thielen New City Ag Liaison; HART On Rail Costs; Archaeological Work Begins; Overcharging at Landfill; Carlisle Eats Local; HART Meetings Thursday; Where’s Carlisle?

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