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

Civil Beat is reporting from the inside.

5:13 p.m. Occupy Protesters Worried By Sidewalk Bill

Just after midnight Tuesday in New York, police cleared the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street movement in a surprise raid, arresting scores of protesters.

Just before noon across the country in Honolulu, their compatriots complained of a new local threat to free speech and free assembly rights. A proposed bill would allow the city to confiscate all personal belongings left or kept on public property for more than 24 hours.

Read the full story here: Sidewalk Bill A Threat To Occupy Honolulu Protest?

4:40 p.m. Police Major Arrested with Drugs, Suspected of Dealing Meth

A Honolulu Police Major already under indictment for corruption and extortion involving an illegal game room has been arrested anew — this time for allegedly dealing methamphetamine.

Federal agents arrested Carlton Nishimura late Monday night at his Waianae home where they found white crystalline substances that tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

Read the new complaint:

Nishimura

View more documents from Civil Beat.

— Sara Lin

4:02 p.m. Makana At Occupy Honolulu

Right from the source: https://twitter.com/#!/OccupyHonolulu/status/136621892311330818

You might remember that Makana is the musician who snuck some protest lyrics into his performance in front of world leaders here for APEC over the weekend.

Read more about that here: Makana Explains Why He Sang Protest Song to APEC Leaders in Hawaii

3:51 p.m. It’s Really Starting to Look A Lot Like Christmas

With Thanksgiving now less than 10 days away, that can mean only one thing: Christmas!

The first floor of Honolulu Hale is really getting that holiday feel. There’s a life-size gingerbread house (disclaimer: not real gingerbread), some shrubbery and a bunch of other festive-looking gear going up. It’s a work in progress, but you can envision what it’ll look like soon.

The elves are working hard to prepare Honolulu Hale for Christmas.

Meanwhile, the city is inviting the media to Santa’s Workshop in Pearl City on Wednesday to introduce five 10-foot-tall Christmas cookies. They’ll be decorated by keiki drawing contest winners, who will be available, with their families, for interviews.

And the tree that will be the centerpiece of the Honolulu City Lights has been cut. Check out the photo here.

3:23 p.m. Caldwell: No Formal Announcement Yet

Former Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell‘s big fundraiser is just days away, but the would-be candidate still won’t confirm his intentions.

“I’ll be making a formal announcement at a later date,” Caldwell told Inside Honolulu today when reached on his cell phone.

Two weeks ago, Civil Beat revealed that Caldwell had filed a notice of his intent to hold a $1,000-per-head fundraiser Nov. 17 at Michel’s at the Colony Surf. He was off-island at the time, and confirmed Tuesday that he is indeed holding the fundraiser.

But he said he’s not ready to officially announce a campaign that would challenge Mayor Peter Carlisle for the city’s top job in 2012.

1:12 p.m. Sidewalk Possessions Bill Discussion Continues Thursday

After taking public testimony on Bill 54, which would give the city a mechanism to remove personal belongings from public property like sidewalks and parks, the Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee recessed.

That was more than an hour after the Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee was scheduled to start its meeting.

But the bill wasn’t deferred. Instead, it was merely recessed. Discussion and decision-making will commence at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Committee Chair Tulsi Gabbard said.

More on this bill coming soon.

11:03 a.m. To Label GMOs?

Should consumers be warned when they’re about to consume genetically modified foods?

That’s a question that might normally be posed to the Food and Drug Administration or perhaps the Hawaii Legislature, but today it’s the Honolulu City Council that’s searching for answers.

The four counties’ legislative package, as currently written, includes a bill that would require labeling for GMOs. Nestor Garcia is proposing an amendment that would remove that bill from the list.

Pioneer Hi-Bred is here, saying such a measure would be bad for business and that GMOs are already heavily regulated. Labeling might be a good idea for cigarettes, he said, but GMOs pose no health risks and therefore don’t need special labels. Representatives from Syngenta and the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association also supported the amendment.

HCIA’s Alicia Maluafiti said it’s not GMOs that are dangerous but organic foods, which are responsible for every E. coli and salmonella outbreak across the world. She said the labeling mandate would make importing more expensive and would hurt consumers.

Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee Chair Tulsi Gabbard said it’s a matter of people knowing what they’re feeding their families. Gabbard’s statement drew some supportive finger-wiggling from the Occupy Honolulu folks in the room, some of whom testified against the amendment because it would benefit large corporations.

Gabbard, though, eventually recommended that the GMO measure be removed, saying it’s an important issue that needs a full airing that can’t happen now under the tight timeline for the legislative package. The amended version passed out of committee unanimously.

10:14 a.m. Mayor: Thanks For APEC Support

From a city press release:

Mayor Peter Carlisle today expressed his sincere appreciation to all City and County of Honolulu employees involved in preparing for and hosting the recent APEC conference and visit by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, and to the entire community for its patience and cooperation.

“This unprecedented gathering of world leaders in Honolulu required careful planning and lots of hard work, and City employees did a wonderful job,” Carlisle said. “I’m very proud of our City team and very grateful for their efforts, and truly appreciate the community’s assistance.”

9:30 a.m. Occupy Honolulu Hale?

The committee meeting room is full this morning, and it’s not for the gifts to the Honolulu Fire Department that are on the agenda for the Committee on Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs.

The last item that will come up this morning is Bill 54, which would give the city a mechanism to remove personal belongings from public property like sidewalks and parks.

To date, it’s been criticized as unfair to the homeless, but there’s a new angle today. Among the 30 or so people here are a handful of apparent Occupy Honolulu protesters who might see their Beretania-Ward encampment removed if the bill were to become law.

Meanwhile, across the country, New York police this morning cleared Zuccotti Park of protesters and tore down their tents. A judge there said the protesters are allowed back.

More coming later.

Ethics On The Agenda

The public portion of today’s Honolulu City Council Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting is short, and the focus is overwhelmingly on ethical issues.

There’s Bill 10, which would clarify some of the Honolulu Ethics Commission‘s procedural powers.

And then there’s Resolution 11-327, which would place an amendment on the 2012 ballot asking voters if Council members with conflicts of interest should be required to abstain from voting.

Ethics Commission Executive Director and Legal Counsel Chuck Totto provided to Inside Honolulu the Commission’s testimony for both Bill 10 and Reso 11-327.

Totto said there are relatively few conflicts of interest on legislative matters. In fact, over a five-year period the Commission reviewed, forcing those with conflicts to recuse themselves would not have affected the passage of any bill or resolution.

But the public should be able to feel secure that on important matters, public officials are voting in the public interest and not a private interest, Totto said. That would outweigh the possibility of disenfranchising citizens by disqualifying their representatives from voting on matters in which they have a conflict of interest.

Totto said the resolution needs some “fine-tuning,” like making the recusal take effect whenever a conflict should be recognized, not just when it is obvious.

Where’s Carlisle?

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

Read Previous Editions of Inside Honolulu

November 14: One Year, 18,000 Tons of Recyclables; City Department of Tree-Cutting; Full Slate of Government Meetings; Back To Normal; Where’s Carlisle?

November 7: Tuesday Events; The County of West Oahu?; APEC Press Briefing; Until the Fat Lady Sings; Tales From Washington; Where’s Carlisle?

November 4: Carlisle’s Weekend Sked; News Before Breakfast; Honolulu a Digital City; City’s Energy Consumption; Occupy Honolulu Saturday; City’s Final ORI Plan; From $2,500 To $560 Million; Alternate Sludge Technologies: The Response; Where’s Carlisle?

November 3: Laulani Village Shopping Center Breaks Ground; Two In, Two Out; City Meets HUD Deadline; ‘I Wouldn’t Be Surprised’; Rematch: Caldwell Running For Mayor; ZBA, Finally; HART Meetings This Morning; Where’s Carlisle?

November 2: Homeless Possessions Bill Advances; APEC Reimbursement Reso Adopted; Airport Sheriffs Get Pepperball, Too; Berg’s Rail Charter Amendment Dies; Sign Bill Deferred; ‘An Unsuccessful Third Generation Real Estate Developer’; Lecture From A Freethinker; $37 Million, Please; Missed Deadline?; Berg: Split Up Ewa Beach; Two Days; Kauai Hiking Water Rates, Too; On The Agenda; Today’s Council Honorees; Where’s Carlisle?

November 1: Rod Tam Sentencing Today; Where’s Carlisle?

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