Mayor Caldwell announces selection of funfing mechanism for $44 million for rail. Use of these funds was mandated by the state Legislature through the passage of Act 1 in 2017.
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?
Choon James For Honolulu City Council District 2
I’ve been involved in city affairs as an activist and advocate for decades. I’ve grown older and impatient! I would like the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our residents INSIDE city hall.
I truly believe the government exists to improve the life and happiness of its citizens. I want to put residents FIRST! You are the major stakeholder.
So many of our residents face economic and social pressures. Many of our residents have to carry 2 or 3 jobs to survive. Our kama’aina folks worry about escalating costs of living and being priced out of Hawaii.
One fundamental issue I want to champion and work with the other eight council members is to provide a property tax cap for local homeowners who have lived in their homes for more than 15 years and to provide incentives to property owners who rent long-term to long term residents. (This is not out of the blue. Case in Point – The city has provided property tax relief where developers only paid $300 per year instead of about $160,000 .00 per year for property taxes. )
Of course, there are other issues like traffic, tourism impacts, infrastructure, homelessness, jobs creation and business opportunities, oligarchy, gentrification, Aloha Disconnect, parks and resources, retirement, families in distress, carrying capacity, crime, drug addiction and so forth. Jobs that are here today may be obsolete tomorrow.
There are solutions to the challenges on our island home. You the residents have valuable local knowledge and wisdom to share. Many of you have have international experience, professionally combed the world, gained insights and expertise. Collectively, we can improve our island home!
Let’s put your smarts, imagination, expertise, common sense and aloha together to improve our lives and communities. WE can all win!
Let’s gang up for the public good! I humbly ask for your vote!
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.”
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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, Gr…abauskas 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.”
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?
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?
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!!
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 thi…See More
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.