Tag Archives: civil beat

Choon James: Honolulu Civil Beat Question – City Revenues

5. Does the city need to boost its revenue? If so, how should that be done?

Why do I think of Nobel Prize Economist Milton Friedman who stated that if you put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, it would run short of sand in five years?

 I’ve been participating in the city budget process for ten years. There are misguided fiscal priorities like the $1.2 Million consultant from NY and $20 Million to upgrade the Ala Moana Park that irritates local residents to no end.

 There are also systematic failures in the budgeting system that limit the Council’s ability to control budget priorities and spending.

 Huge amounts of funds were expended into consultants, planning and design renderings for the Blaisdell Center Master Plan but recently, Mayor Caldwell said he would hold off. So,  are we going to repeat another expensive master plan again down the road?

 One of the best lines I heard was Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi telling HART CEO Dan Grabrauskas that she took risks with her own money, not the taxpayers’.

Our residents work very hard for their money. Our job is not to plunder the city treasury but to protect it.

Choon James: Answers to Civil Beat Questions

                                                      CIVIL BEAT QUESTIONS

1. How do you think the city should pay for the operation and maintenance of rail once it’s built?

Shouldn’t this O & M costs be addressed at the initial stages?

This flawed Rail project began with Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) executive Wayne Yoshioka being appointed by Mayor Mufi Hannemann as City Transportation Director.

City then contracted with PB to design the rail route. City then hired InfraConsult LLC to coordinate with PB. (Three PB principals formed InfraConsult prior to the City’s contract).

HART, the semi-autonomous transit authority, was formed with nine appointed directors with no transit background. (Mr. Robert Bunda, fellow candidate, joined the HART Board in 2013.)

The 2012 federal Porter Report stated that Oahu had the ability to pay for its rail project, but must forgo other expenses!

 HART recently shifted this unknown O &M duty to the City Transportation but retained the lucrative Transit Orient Development (TOD).

Earlier, Mayor Caldwell and HART disputed city council’s jurisdiction over HART fiscal decisions. Today, Caldwell and HART want the council to sell $44M bonds to appease the FTA!

 Experts have questioned the ridership estimate of 119,600 trips per day. It’s nearly twice the ridership per kilometer of Miami’s heavy rail – a metropolitan area five times the size of Honolulu.

This ridership estimate is also little higher than Atlanta’s with a population six times the size of Honolulu, according to Erick Guerra, assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania.

The Tren Urbano in San Juan, Puerto Rico achieved only 23% of its ridership projection. Rail bonds contributed to its accumulated $74 Billion bankruptcy.

When will the oligarchy stop this fiscal insanity and reassess this runaway project?

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Media Shenanigans

The Honolulu City and County Mayoral Race is in full swing.

The embattled and incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell has raised millions of dollars to fund his campaign through social media. The island is now besieged with blood-sport  advertisements all over the air-waves. It’s up to the public to discern the facts from fiction.

caldwell-rail

Embattled Mayor Caldwell’s campaign is primarily based on social media propaganda.

This, in turn, has resulted in some memes that should air on the Jon Stewart Show. They’re too witty and too funny.

An example: Mayor Kirk Caldwell used a photo version of this August 2016 Greet the President event as his official photo for President Obama’s “endorsement”.  Keep in mind the office of the Honolulu Mayor is non-partisan.

It will be interesting to find out which staff member churned out that generic endorsement.

We question President Obama’s personal knowledge about it because Mayor Caldwell’s past four years as Mayor of Honolulu is a chronic record of violating civil rights and persecuting the most vulnerable in society. (Various federal judges have ordered the city of Honolulu to pay for damages, attorney fees and settlement.) We cannot believe that President Obama would condone such actions that undermine social justice and equality.

This photo below, taken by Civil Beat, in a the quick protocol greeting by government officials in August 2016 at Hickam Air Force Base.

caldwell-obama-security

The Caldwell Campaign’s efforts to crop and paste their photos to augment the Obama endorsement prompted the public to create these other memes.  (“Pilau” is the Hawaiian word for “rotten”. “Hewa” is similar.)

caldwell-obanma

 

 

caldwell-obama

 

caldwell-obama-general

 

caldwell-obama-endorse

 

caldwell-obama-1