I attended HART's meeting on rail at Kapolei Hale and learned the following:
- To complete the rail segment to UH Manoa and Waikiki will cost taxpayers an estimated $3.7 billion more above the $5.3 billion and will require another tax increase of an estimated half percent for another fifteen years. This means the full 34- mile route will tax families approximately by $600 more each year for a period of thirty years - that's $18,000 - to construct a $9 billion rail system.
- The voters do not get to vote on whether they support the additional GET surcharge; elected officials that support rail will be tasked with approving that additional GE tax increase.
- The excuse to not allow fisherman access to our city beach parks between the hours of 10pm to 5am was based in part, on testimony by HPD that HPD does not have the resources to enforce the laws in our parks. I learned our tax dollars will instead, be diverted to create a new, additional HPD force - a special law enforcement unit to provide transit police for rail operations.
RESOLUTION TO EXAMINE RAIL AWARD TO ANSALDO REVEALING
My resolution regarding the $1.4 billion award to Ansaldo to build and maintain the rail cars will be heard again on October 13. On September 28, we learned that my resolution has caught on to something that I call, "very fishy". Check out the television coverage.
PUBLIC MISINFORMED ON PROPOSAL FOR ROADS AND BIKE LANES
We have many constituents who are upset about their vehicle registration fees skyrocketing. In addition, our motoring public is paying one of the highest fuel tax rates in the nation and the outcome is that we have the least amount of roadway lane miles per capita in the country and substandard road conditions. So many of the folks who must rely on the transportation of goods, services and freight, of which rail will not help them at all, asked me to fight back and counter the rail tax.
I voted NO to the resolution that would have requested the State Legislature allow a GE tax surcharge for expediting road and bikeway construction and used the opportunity in committee to expose the hypocrisy. Rail supporters exclaimed the GE tax is regressive, hurts the poor, and is bad for the economy. I responded with, "So how do you think rail is being paid for- for the next thirty years, is that not a GE tax increase also? How can the Mayor be against any GE tax increase but be in favor of the GE tax increases needed for rail at the same time?
Case in point, the public never got to vote on a tax increase for rail and the question placed on the ballot was poorly written at best and quite misleading. Imagine if the proposal for roads and rail were put on the ballot like this in two formats:
Do you want the roads government has planned for to be built faster than the current pace? Sure, most folks would probably agree to that. Do you want to pay more in taxes to build roads sooner than later? No, is probably how most folks would respond.
Do you want a rail system? Sure, most folks did indeed respond favorably to that question when it was phrased similar to that. But if the question were proposed instead like this: Do you want to pay more in taxes for a rail system that will tax you on everything you buy for the next thirty years costing on average a family of four approximately $600 more per year for those thirty years that the tax increase is levied on you to pay for the rail system? No, is my guess if the rail question were proposed that way to the voters.
That was my intent in bringing to light this resolution on taxes for roads and how the public in my opinion, wants to vote on this rail matter again. See television coverage.
LET'S GROW FAMILIES NOT WEEDS
My resolution 11-54 CD1 will be heard on October 10 at Honolulu Hale. When the agenda gets posted, I will inform you again. Please check out a flyer explaining the intent of this housing solution. My website has more on this proposal that would allow land owners with five acres or more that is zoned agriculture, to deter crop theft and illegal dumping with placement of inexpensive, off-the-grid type pre-fabricated, modular, and retrofitted shipping containers on thier property. Imagine the potential to put homeless folks wanting to work on the farm in these types of homes that cost less to rent than a car payment! This is a win-win all around and worth trying as a pilot program instead of spending tax dollars to study the problem.
EFFORT TO GET PUBLIC FIRING RANGE IN KALAELOA
The turnout in support of taking a small pre-existing, abandoned firing range in Kalaeloa and turning it into a potential revenue maker for the city passed the Parks and Cultural Affairs Committee earlier this week. Good news - Reso 11-263 is to be put on the full Council's agenda for a vote on November 2- of which hearing will be held at KAPOLEI HALE! See television coverage.
WAIANAE SUSTAINABILITY COMMUNITIES PLAN SECOND READING
Our residents may be divided on the plan, but we are united in the effort to bring harmony and consensus for the betterment of our Waianae Coast. The public hearing on BILL 50 took place in committee Thursday and went on for hours. The committee learned a lot from the testifiers and we are grateful for your dedication and time to help us get it right. The hearing was recorded on Olelo- just go to Olelo's website and navigate for their television schedule for playback times.
Second Reading on the plan, BILL 50, will take place on November 2, at KAPOLEI HALE. Stay tuned for details as the agenda has not been posted and I do not know if BILL 50 will be heard in the morning or afternoon yet.
IN CLOSING, our office is humming on numerous issues - fighting on matters the media is simply ignoring. Please continue to visit my website www.councilmanberg.com for updates. Coach Aika Makaula from the Nanakuli Wrestling Team turned me onto a band called Cultural Nation that often plays on our side of the island. The band has chipped in to support the wrestling team at various events. Here is a sample of a youtube I made of the band playing at a Kapolei establishment: Click here