Tag Archives: Honolulu Rail

The Dark Side of Honolulu City Hall – Retaliations,Trolls & Disinformation

 

em-country-store

The Honolulu City Charter clearly  states the purpose for its being:

“Section 2-102.  Purposes —  All city powers shall be used to serve and advance the general welfare, health, happiness, safety and aspirations of its inhabitants, present and future, and to encourage their full participation in the process of governance.”

em-country-stores

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, in real life,  when Mayor Kirk Caldwell has his own pet project, the opportunities for citizen participation are met with disinformation, retaliation, and abuse of city powers/resources. The circle-the-wagon mentality kicks into gear from the top on down. Similar ill-thought justifications  are parroted from top on down.  Process reports and Budget Forms are filled with fabricated information. Lies are perpetuated top on down.

If citizens  further resist, there are always the Mayor’s spokesperson and media trolls to vilify the messengers  and to create confusion and distort facts. (There is an unspecified number of public relations and assistants, paid for by taxpayers,  who service Mayor.)

An example of this dark side at City Hall  would be Hauula Fire Station Relocation project. Despite robust protests and over 1,200 signatures against this extravagant relocation, the city stuck to its nefarious PR tactic to distract from the city’s gross malfeasance in  this process.

The  below August 18, 2008 letter is the “sale contract” that the city and clan freely disperse to the public to distract from its failures to provide due process to the most affected citizens in Hauula. The fact is, even if the owner DONATED the land to the city for the project, the city still has to provide due process to the people living next to this despised project. The city miserably failed its environmental review process to the people of Hauula.

August 18, 2008. This is the  CHERRY-PICKED letter used by the city and clan to hoodwink the city council and the public. This letter does not even meet the basic rudimentary of a basic sale contract, if there was one.

EM- Jpeg Miyata0001

July 2009 – This subsequent city notice is never provided to the public by the city  – “This Notice is not a contractual offer or commitment to purchase your property”.

EM- Jpeg Miyata0002EM- Jpeg Miyata0003

December 13, 2013 Deposition was taken under oath from Land Chief Thomas Miyata where he finally had to stop his lies about an agreement to sell and confess that “ there was no agreement between Miss James and the City for the City to purchase or Miss James to sell her property.” Page 120.

EM- Jpeg Miyata0005EM- Jpeg Miyata0006

 

Iseke-Lessary City Hall

Additionally, when Hauula residents protested with signs against the extravagant relocation of the $13 Million Hauula Fire Station Relocation, Mayor Kirk Caldwell dispatched the Department of Maintenance & Facilities from Halawa (under the supervision of William D. Balfour, Jr.) to seize the free speech signs. The federal judge had since ordered the City and County of Honolulu to pay the legal fees of the Plaintiff.

DSC07929

Mayor Kirk Caldwell further engaged the City Corporation Counsel to bully the residents by erecting threatening signs to forcefully close down the recycling center that many depended on. The irony is the Mayor has already stolen $4.6 Million of federal HUD Community Development Block Grants ( CDBG) for this pork project. CDBG funds are meant to improve the quality of lives and economic opportunities in low-income communities. Recycling is a critical cottage industry where even the homeless recycle daily to buy themselves a hot meal! The people are asking for “bread’ but this Mayor is forcing “cake” on them.

DSC08057

 

em-recycling-kc

When residents further protested with new signs below, the Mayor dispatched city county inspectors to threaten private property owners with a daily $50 fine if they did not remove the signs!

Mayor no damn good

As of this writing, there are three Hawaiian kupuna ( 2 of them in their 80s) resisting Mayor Caldwell in the federal courts now. Federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi is hearing the case.  CV No: 15-00193 LEK-RLP

Additionally, in April 2017, Mayor Kirk Caldwell opened this controversial project up for bids ( for $7M) when the funds have been deleted by the city council!

Residents are thinking that Mayor Kirk Caldwell is employing the same tactics – SUNKEN COST FALLACY – as he does for the Honolulu Rail.  He’s hoping to encumber as much costs as he can, hoping the judge will not take a bold action against his malfeasance.

A citizen should not be surprised at these capricious and nefarious tactics. Whether it’s a huge project like the Honolulu Rail or this relocation project, the same modus operandi  – lies, distractions and retaliations – is implemented.

Honolulu deserves better.

 

 

 

 

 

Honolulu Rail Woes: YESTERDAY & TODAY – PART 1

by Walter Heen, Ben Cayetano, Cliff Slater & Randall Roth

“The City has paid more than $2 million in taxpayer money to ten different public relations firms to promote its heavy rail project. Here’s what they have not yet told you:

Aircraft Carriers in the Sky

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) prepared renderings like this one to help the public picture an elevated heavy rail system on the island of Oahu. The 20-mile railway would be at least three stories tall, held aloft by 720 large concrete columns. Some of the stations would be more than six stories high.

Rail Chnatown-Stn-Elevated-Final2

One AIA member described the stations as “aircraft carriers in the sky.”

A group like the AIA normally has a vested interest in supporting major construction projects. We admire its courage in providing a contrast to the City’s deceptive renderings.

Parsons Brinckerhoff’s Conflict of Interest and Troubled History

The mayor, council members, and HART board all lack expertise and experience with rail systems, so they must rely on others. Critical information about the proposed rail project can be traced to one of three sources: Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has already received more than $100 million in contracts from the City and stands to receive another $300-$400 million if the project is built; InfraConsult, a firm formed by three former Parsons Brinckerhoff employees, which the City hired to provide oversight on Parsons Brinckerhoff ‘s work; and Wayne Yoshioka, who was recruited by Mayor Hannemann from Parsons Brinckerhoff to head up the City’s Department of Transit Services, and whose wife continues to work at Parsons Brinckerhoff.

DSC00349

There is also a highly critical audit of Parson Brinckerhoff’s work in California as program manager of that state’s high-speed rail project. The audit complains of “inadequate planning, weak oversight, and lax contract management.”

Parsons Brinckerhoff worked on the Tren Urbano rail project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was projected to cost $1 billion and enjoy high ridership. Instead, it sustained a 113% cost overrun and had actual ridership only 27% of the original forecast for 2010. A new 5.5% tax was enacted partly because of unforeseen rail costs.

Stacking the Deck in Favor of Rail

When Jeremy Harris was mayor, Parsons Brinckerhoff said Bus/Rapid Transit (BRT) could accomplish virtually all of the objectives of rail at substantially less cost. A few years later when Mufi Hannemann was mayor, Parsons Brinckerhoff excluded BRT from the alternatives analysis despite a federal requirement that the City objectively evaluate “all reasonable alternatives.”

Not a Solution to Traffic Congestion

Mayor Mufi Hannemann repeatedly portrayed rail as a solution to Oahu’s existing traffic congestion problem. Mayor Peter Carlisle has echoed that message. Yet Wayne Yoshioka, the head of the city’s transit department, now acknowledges that “traffic congestion will be worse in the future with rail than what it is today without rail.”

Yoshioka’s admission is not some off-hand comment. It was written, reviewed, and included in the environmental impact study (EIS) that was approved by the Federal Transportation Administration.

Damage the Environment and Historical Sights Forever

The City’s portrayal of heavy rail as friendly to the environment would be laughable if the subject were not so serious. Construction of the proposed system would lead to the large-scale development of prime farmland and change forever the Hawaiian sense of place. Imagine the sound of each 72,000 pound, steel-on-steel elevated rail car as it accelerates from 0 to 60 and then decelerates to 0 between each of 21 stations, every 3 minutes in each direction.

The elevated railway would permanently diminish the mauka/makai views along the entire route, and the ambiance of Honolulu’s waterfront would be particularly affected.

The City claims that rail would save energy. However, U.S. Dept. of Energy data shows that, except in heavily populated urban centers, rail requires more energy per rider than do automobiles. The smallest urban center with heavy rail is four times larger than Honolulu.

No wonder virtually every environmental group in Hawaii opposes heavy rail despite the City’s false claims that it would be a “green” project.

Unrealistic Cost Estimate

The City claims that elevated heavy rail would cost no more than $5.3 billion, but the facts indicate otherwise. Cost overruns on rail systems elsewhere have averaged 40%, and an independent study by the highly regarded IMG group predicted total costs for heavy rail in Honolulu of at least $7 billion. The Federal Transit Administration’s probabilities study concluded that the probability of spending $7 billion was far greater than the probability of coming in on budget.

Unrealistic Ridership Forecast

The federal government has compared actual ridership with forecasts in the cities that actually built rail systems and found that these cities overestimated ridership by an average of 41%.

When the City prepared environmental impact studies in 1982, 1992, and 2003, it forecast significant increases in bus ridership each time, but ridership declined instead. Yet the City is once again touting wildly optimistic forecasts for rail ridership. These ignore that the most recent population forecast for Honolulu shows that the number of people 20 to 64 years old in the year 2030 is expected to be less than the number today. This age group includes the vast majority of commuters.

The City has also cherry picked data. It relies upon a 2004 30-year population forecast even though the 2008 30-year population forecast indicates 100,000 fewer people in 2030 than was previously forecasted.

Even with such cherry picking and wildly optimistic forecasting, however, the City reluctantly acknowledges that if rail were to be built, another $100 million would need to be “found” each year, just to keep the trains running. The obvious sources are substantially higher fares for riders and substantially higher taxes for everyone.

Segmented Analysis Based on False Statement

Federal statutes require that a new transportation system protect historic landmarks, environmental and cultural resources, and native burial sites from unnecessary degradation. H-3 is a perfect example of what can happen when archeological and environmental studies are done in segments rather than completely (i.e., it took 20 years and the final cost was more than ten times the original estimates). The project manager for H-3, Parsons Brinckerhoff, is also the project manager for the current rail project.

The City is now making a similar mistake, by trying to start construction before identifying the sensitive sites in segment four, which includes Kakaako and Downtown Honolulu where the bulk of problems are likely to be found. Environmental policy frowns on such “segmented studies” because by the time problems in later segments are detected, alternative routes and technologies are greatly limited (i.e., once a line has been started the City cannot simply zigzag around problem areas).

The City was given permission to delay the bulk of its archeological analysis because DLNR Director William Aila approved such a segmented approach. Aila said he did so because the Federal Transit Administration “required” it. We don’t know if he was misled by others or just mistaken, but his statement is patently false.

Exaggerated Job Creation

The City initially claimed that rail would create 17,000 new jobs during the construction phase, but later lowered its estimate to 10,166, without explanation. Even this number is pure fiction.

The $483 million construction contract went to Kiewit. Its officials say they need 350 workers to build the first segment. The same workers would probably end up building the remaining segments, because the plan is to build the system in segments, not all at once.

An Italian company, Ansaldo, expects to receive more than $1 billion for providing and maintaining the trains and rail system. It is promising “300 local jobs for local people.”

If you are counting, we have identified 650 new jobs. The City has yet to identify the other 9,516 that it has promised.

Worse Conditions for Commuters

The City has led people to think they could drive their cars to nearby rail stations and then ride a train into town. But the City is planning to provide parking at only 4 of the 21 stations. Where will commuters park their cars? The airport charges $15 per day.

The City has also said little about its plan to force existing bus riders to take the train by replacing express and direct-route buses with ones that ”feed” the train. Most bus riders currently can find a seat on a bus in and out of town. Most train commuters would have to stand the entire way.

Walter Heen served as a state judge, federal judge, city councilman, legislator, chairman of the state Democratic Party, and OHA trustee; Benjamin Cayetano served as a legislator, lieutenant governor, and governor; Cliff Slater is a businessman who founded Maui Divers; Randall Roth is a professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law. They are plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the process by which the City chose elevated heavy rail over alternatives that would reduce traffic congestion and protect the environment.

 

                      TODAY – May 2016

Are the four  citizen authors – Walter Heen, Benjamin Cayetano, Cliff Slater, and Randall Roth – and thousands of concerned citizens vindicated ( shown or proven to be right, reasonable, or justified) now? How do we work together to do damage control of this runaway project but still mitigate traffic problems for many on this island?

Caldwell 5:13:16

May 13, 2016  Honolulu Star Advertiser

Caldwell 5:15:16

May 15, 2016 Honolulu Star Advertiser

Lahood Colleen

Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s assurances for the Honolulu Rail Project  on September 2011 – The Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Project Newsletter – HONOLULU ON THE MOVE: “Secretary LaHood has made it very clear that they are very committed.”

Colleen

May 13, 2016 Star Advertiser: Newly-appointed HART Board Chair Colleen Hanabusa: “ I will tell you, I don’t know what the options are, but we’re going to have to figure out what to do.” ( Don Horner, HART Board Chair, thrown under the bus by Mayor Kirk Caldwell due to political pressure, resigned on April 11, 2016.)

What do you think the current Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former Managing Director for Mayor Mufi Hannemann, is going to do?

Caldwell donations

 

Author:

CHOON JAMES 1

Choon James is Host to Country Talk Story which airs on every Sunday at 4:00 pm on Community Television Channel 54. She can be contacted at ChoonJamesHawaii@gmail.com  808 293 9111  http://www.CountryTalkStory.com

 

Honolulu Rail Woes

A few profound issues  jumped out at me as I read the TimeOut Honolulu facebook page about the Honolulu Rail.

What are yours? I’ll highlight mine in green.

No More Tax Extensions! If Rail is over budget – shorten the project at Middle Street!

“The upcoming bids on the project’s airport and city center segments, Grabauskas said, “will make or break the current budget. … We will no longer be estimating or guesstimating.”

HART expects to announce one of the bid results in June, and the other later in the year.”

Despite the political rhetoric surrounding Honolulu’s rail project, all that is certain when it comes to the final price tag: Nobody will know the ultimate cost until at least next January and it could exceed the current $6.6 billion estimate. That was the…
civilbeat.com|By Bob Porterfield

 

COMMENTS:

Royman Arizo
Royman Arizo They are robbing da people of Hawaii…. Dirty politicians, hope da best for ur families Kahuna da people involve May ur decendents reep da suffering dat u put upon others…. Our government iz no good

 

TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu Royman Arizo – please keep the comments G Rated. Send your city council member an email.

 

Terry Sandobal

Terry Sandobal TimeOut Honolulu I see no swearing, so what is it he wrote that is rated R

 

Terry Sandobal

Terry Sandobal TimeOut Honolulu Much mahalo. Was wondering why

 

Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo DIS MASSEGE IZ FOA ALL POLITICIANS…. U R WELCOME

 

Terry Sandobal

Terry Sandobal Royman Arizo your saying what a lot of us are saying , but THEY choose not to hear

 

Darren Chang

Darren Chang Jail these politicians

 

Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo Someone has 2 be accountable…. Sad

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Royman Arizo No they won’t – until our 1 party political system is rejected by voters. It’s up to you as we’ve given up and are moving to a different state. Aloha oe.

Like · Reply · 1 · 16 hrs

 

Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo Sorry 2 hea dat…. Ahuihoukakou…. Malamapono….. I have no wea 2 go, i am Keiki o ka aina, fight till i die, foa my grandchildrens….. Y would u jump on a sinking ship?

Like · Reply · 1 · 15 hrs

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Royman Arizo I tried for 15 years, good luck with your fight!

Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs

 

TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu This rail project is already over budget at $6.6 billion!!! Going through downtown for 4 miles could cost a billion/mile. The math is simple….. 4+6.6= 10.6, and that’s without those pesky change orders.

 

TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu In 2016 the Federal Government would not allow Honolulu to build rail in these Flood Zones. http://frenzel.us/images/tmaprail.jpg

frenzel.us

 

 

4 Replies · 8 hrs
TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu Look at the map, Bertram, to realize the majority of stations AND necessary ground level support/electricity will be under water if/when we get even a grade 1-2 storm surge! We stand to spend another $4 billion to go 4 miles through town. Are you feeling lucky, and do you think it’s worth returning perhaps SOME fed funds to change the route BEFORE we go downtown?

 

1 Reply
TimeOut Honolulu

TimeOut Honolulu Tell your City Council member how you feel – click on the map where you live and see their phone numbers and emails. http://www.honolulu.gov/council/default.html

Hover over your district to see your Councilmember. District 5 Ann Kobayashi akobayashi@honolulu.gov…
honolulu.gov

 

1 Reply
Royman Arizo

Royman Arizo Timeouts…. Changes a man 😀

Royman Arizo's photo.

 

James O. Quimby

James O. Quimby Apparently they have skipped ahead to Dillingham and bypassed School Street. This is to continue “we are too far along” argument.

 

William Doc Grant

William Doc Grant Caldwell will find out what the price tag is for rail on Election Day.

 

William Doc Grant

William Doc Grant End the HART rail NOW it at Pearlridge! Pull the plug on this crony feeding trough!

 

1 Reply
Chantal Keliihoomalu

Chantal Keliihoomalu That would undermine the whole project

 

Jerry Lam

Jerry Lam The rail will fail. No riders mean we will subsidize it even more. God help us!

 

Jerry Lam

Jerry Lam 68 comments and 48 shares is impressive! Thank you timeout Honolulu!

 

Daniel Howzitboy

Daniel Howzitboy its probably gonna end up costing around 10 bil… think of how much we could have fixed on this island with that much $$. there would be no homeless, no starving people, better schools, cleaner everywhere, better roads….

 

5 Replies
Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Ironically we finished the Atlas Shrugged trilogy last night. In it the “collectivist/redistribution/for the good of all” language Supreme Leader Thomson used was exactly the same as the Progressives/Crony Capitalists that Rail proponents used in selling this sow’s ear. With the same inept result, lights out! Who is John Gault?

 

Daniel Lalosin

Daniel Lalosin We already have rail…… Like what panos said in the past…… During high traffic hours ues the carpool lane and the contra flow lane for busses only during the morning rush hours and same for the evening rush hours……….”MAKES SENSE”

 

Glen Waterman Escobido

Glen Waterman Escobido I hope the Feds demand a internal investigation , these politicians who voted for this rail should be held accountable, Hawaii at least deserves that.

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Why do you think that Hanabusa was appointed? I’d guess to stop any investigation via politics, ’cause she sure isn’t any bright civil engineer.

Like · Reply · 2 · 16 hrs

 

Glen Waterman Escobido

Glen Waterman Escobido Too many PILAU politicians, someone needs to clean house

Like · Reply · 4 · 16 hrs · Edited

 

Charles Stanton

Charles Stanton Glen Waterman Escobido Only the voters can do that. And so far they support The Party, so don’t hold your breath. And as an FYI, I’d not look to the HI-GOP either, they were unable to get a simple email corrected after 3 years of complaints.

Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs

 

 
Darlene Travis
Darlene Travis Hart is enjoying all the money they soaking from our little state of Hawai’i…
It’s stupid to compare rail in Hawai’i to rail in the mainland metro larger area and massive Japan!! Oahu is way to small for a rail…

Like · Reply · 1 · 5 hrs

 

Roy Aragon

Roy Aragon Not even half way and$10 billion in debt!!! The BOW supply warned them about the water issues many years ago yet they ignored the advice, Hawaiian electric also warned the HART board about the cross lines that needed to be removed to meet compliance EIS requirements. The entire HART board needs to be fired including mayor PRP the ringleader!!

 

Sonny Pascual

Sonny Pascual This is quite EMBARRASSING! All those that pushed this project forward NEEDS to be called out and one by one and answer for this!!!

There’s a paper trail that needs to be followed up on…

Sonny Pascual's photo.

 

1 Reply
Gail S Heidenfeldt-Gali

Gail S Heidenfeldt-Gali Its funny how they encourage people to get registered and vote. They say if you don’t vote, you can’t grumble! Well we vote and we still don’t got a say!!! No wonder people get discouraged to vote!! Yes the people voted for these people who are for thiSee More

 

3 Replies
Cecilia Raymond

Cecilia Raymond Do the Islands a favor and don’t vote for these same money power clowns. They already know the cost. When the vast majority said no to the rail they listened to the minority. Have the ones who said yes am all the politicians who was and is in favor pay for it.

 

22 of 86

 

Hauula Fire Station Relocation Controversy Drives Honolulu Mayor to Illegally Shut Down Reynolds Recycling Center

 

Hawaii Eminent Domain Abuse – Honolulu Mayor Goes Amok on Free Speech and Private Property Rights!

DSC07926

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell impounded free speech signs

on private property on October 18, 2013, again!

DSC07928

Upon taking office, he went on the rampage by implementing

first raid of the signs on May 29, 2013. There is a federal lawsuit  against the city pending.

PRIVATE  fee owners own this commercial lot. The eminent domain

trial is set for March 2014.  Mayor Caldwell’s threats and intimidation are grossly premature and illegal.

On October 21, 2013, the Mayor rampaged further by posting signs on the private property to threaten Reynolds Recycling into closure. The threatening sign was posted in the middle of the entry way to the business. The problem is the city does not own this lot!

DSC08057

The city owns the adjacent lot below but it has no posted signs of any kind at all. Maybe after the Mayor has been exposed, he’ll post a similar sign on this city-owned lot to appear even-handed. But it’s too late. His browbeating and abusing the office of the Mayor’s office are too evident.

DSC08067

Does Hau’ula need a recycling center?

What do you think of the Mayor’s illegal activities?

808 768-4141  mayor@honolulu.gov  Honolulu Mayor

808 768-5002 emartin@honolulu.gov  City Councilman

 

DSC07946