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Judge allows Cayetano and others to remain in rail lawsuit

By Kevin Dayton

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:49 p.m. HST, Dec 12, 2011



Former Gov. Ben Cayetano and others who have joined in a lawsuit against the city's rail transit project will not be dismissed from the case, and will be able continue their court challenge, a federal judge has ruled.

Judge A. Wallace Tashima refused a request by the city and the Federal Transit Administration to dismiss Cayetano, University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law Professor Randy Roth, former Hawaii Democratic Party Chairman Walter Heen, and the Small Business Hawaii Entrepreneurial Education Foundation from the case.

The city and the FTA argued Cayetano and the others should be dismissed from the case because they failed to raise their concerns about the rail project during years of administrative proceedings in the case, including the lengthy environmental impact statement process.

Tashima called that argument "premature," pointing out the city still has not produced a complete record of the administrative proceedings for the rail project. Tashima said it would be "impossible" at this stage of the case to him to determine whether Cayetano and the others actually participated in the administrative process or not.

The rail opponents are asking the court to require that portions of the EIS be re-done to more fully consider issues such as whether the route chosen for the 20-mile rail line is ideal, or whether the steel-wheel-on-steel-rail technology the city selected is appropriate for Honolulu.

The city and the FTA contend the city has already studied those issues at length during the EIS process and other administrative proceedings.








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MalamaKaAina wrote:
Fraud and Fuzzy math continue to inspire the deaf, dumb, and blind, to build a rail from no where to no where and much more than a blight. A permanent disfigurement on the beauty of the place where we live.
on December 12,2011 | 12:26PM
droid wrote:
Peter Carlisle and gang insist they are committed to resolving this lawsuit as quick as possible, yet this move was clearly a delay tactic. Thankfully, the judge saw right through it. These plaintiffs have every right to seek justice as fellow taxpayers demanding accountability by a city that failed to even make public testimony part of the public record.
on December 12,2011 | 12:30PM
niimi wrote:
Steel on steel. Look at the Aloha Stadium. CHOOSE ANOTHER TECHNOLOGY THAT WON'T RUST!
on December 12,2011 | 01:21PM
Eagle156 wrote:
This is great news for Hawaii taxpayers. Let's now get on with the lawsuit and shut down once and for all this ridiculous rail project.
on December 12,2011 | 02:34PM
star08 wrote:
Now this is a decision based in law and fact. Tashima has said that he cannot determine whether the plaintiffs have participated in the process or not because there is no complete administrative record. Let the public see the administrative record so that we can know whether our interests are being served, whether the route chosen for the 20-mile rail line is ideal, or whether the steel-wheel-on-steel-rail technology the city selected is appropriate for Honolulu or even if the cost-benefits of noisy steel-on-steel have been determined. And, no one is talking about how the power will be generated, how much the maintenance or operational costs might be or what the costs of powering this wrong-way rail will be? It's been a corrupt process that has been rammed through by politics of personality. Let's do rail right if we are going to do it at all.
on December 12,2011 | 03:03PM
Changalang wrote:
Rail is a done deal; didn't you notice the PUC green-lighting single home PV systems just recently? Pushing as much of us off the grid until Rail peak hours are over is all part of the plan. What a coincidence...The Public Utilities Commission today issued revised rules designed to make it easier for individuals and businesses with solar photovoltaic systems to connect to electrical distribution systems operated by Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiaries. The revisions to the PUC’s Rule 14H are an attempt to address a situation in which some photovoltaic projects were having to be scrapped because they were proposed for neighborhoods where PV penetration was already at high levels. HECO, along with Maui Electric Co. and Hawaiian Electric Light Co., had set a 15 percent threshold for the amount of solar power that could be put on a single circuit during peak load. Individuals and businesses seeking to install PV systems that would breach the 15 percent threshold were required to conduct a costly interconnection requirement study (IRS) before they could proceed. Among the changes approved by the PUC was a new “streamlined supplemental review” mechanism so an individual or business will no longer automatically have to conduct an IRS if the project exceeds the 15 percent threshold. Supplemental reviews would be conducted by the utility at no charge and would be completed within 20 business days. (29 NOV 2011, S.A.) The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation signed a $1.4 billion contract today with controversial rail car company Ansaldo Honolulu after months of scrutiny. (28 NOV 2011, S.A.) The PUC ruled the day Toru signed the contract. Anti-rail playing checkers instead of chess. Some say collusion; I say Aloha Spirit meets coincidence. LOL.
on December 12,2011 | 06:04PM
keys4me wrote:
very well written, but I am wondering , are you saying the rail will use so much eletricty that the PUC wants more PV than was previoulsy allowed?
on December 12,2011 | 09:20PM
Changalang wrote:
No, I think the previous allowance was a risk/benefit decision by HeCO management. Once the timeline for the Go on Rail advanced, the next cog of the wheel had to turn. A groundwork for HeCO to build the bridge to provide power in a decade starts by upgrading the grid now to accomodate the PVs during the day. It will become easier and easier to hook up. FHB is even giving special loans to finance the system installations..."Our new EnergySmart Loan Program provides full financing for your solar water heating system with outstanding service every step of the way, solutions for homes of all sizes, and the security of Hawaii's oldest and largest bank." These loans are 0% APR to get electric water heaters off the grid NOW. The Aloha spirit is alive and well.
on December 12,2011 | 09:38PM
Truther wrote:
Will these records show who received influence money and how much they received of the $300 million already wasted on this project? Influence money = Consultant Services. Like $180K paid to a high school dropout ex-city councilman for "consulting services". How many other idiots received money for nothing? 200 Idiots x $180K = Real Money. Imagine how much they'll pull from this gig over the life of the multi-billion dollar project.
on December 12,2011 | 03:40PM
FrankGenadio wrote:
Whether or not the lawsuit principals were involved earlier, there is the fact that those of us who did comment were ignored then---just as we are now. I submitted the following on the Draft EIS: Purpose of the Draft EIS---Notice of Intent published in federal register---The actual statement in the Notice of Intent is pertinent to my criticism of the city’s actions to date. It states that “The draft EIS would consider five distinct transit technologies: Light rail transit, rapid rail transit, rubber-tired guided vehicles, a magnetic levitation system, and a monorail system.” The EIS does not come close to anything resembling a consideration of technologies other than steel wheels on steel rails (SWSR), presumably fitting into the first category above (since it is not planned as being “rapid”).
on December 12,2011 | 04:38PM
kainalu wrote:
When Ben moves out to Nanakuli, then what he says counts. Otherwise, he's simply another mouth without a clue.
on December 12,2011 | 05:02PM
Changalang wrote:
As predicted all plaintiffs will stay; the next prediction was that Judge Wally won't reverse any action causing the City to pursue a do-over on the approved EIS. Due diligence based on the details of the ballot question's specific to steel wheel on steel rail will carry the City's case. The plaintiffs will have to appeal to a higher panel hearing in Fed district to continue. This filed lawsuit is solely to delay the project, and was planned for as an inevitability by the City planners. I respect the big 3 1 for their actions and motivations to oppose, yet buying time seems like a last hope strategy to delay the endpoint. In reality, this is anti-rail's last play. The City will build this on the Oahu taxpayer's backs, solo if necessary; and blame the increased cost on the plaintiffs.
on December 12,2011 | 05:49PM
entrkn wrote:
You can always buy a crooked judge... I wonder how much they paid this one... $5, $10, $20...?
on December 12,2011 | 07:47PM
Changalang wrote:
Judge Wally is far from corrupt. He is actually the pinch hitter for the Federal Judges that live here and run into scenarios where they need to punt. He heard the Furlough Special Education case, and ruled against it. As an amateur observer, it would seem that this judge must be very strongly compelled to act agaisnt an established process. He flies in to take care of serious issues because of his reputation for scrutiny. The case would have to be very compelling for him to rock the boat against what is already established. Anti-rail does not want to accept that people voted by majority for "steel on steel" as a primary catalyst of the process. This careful wording on the ballot as approved by the then sitting Council, clearly gave the people a choice. Yes, or no steel on steel. This was at the beginning of the timeline. Later, on the timeline; HART was approved by ballot. Finally, the EIS was validated by the Governor and approved by the FTA. What would motivate any fair minded judge to overturn the process that was carefully constructed since the precision worded ballot process? At some point, anti-rail will be closer to the lunatic fringe. Due diligence required steel on steel be vetted. It was and cleared through all proper channels. The fail safe is the contingency funding plan that would put the whole cost on Oahu as a C&C project with State approval. Nothing worse than watching a dying cause take its last gasp. Rest in peace. Next time go to the big guns early. That would've been when the City Council was crafting the ballot initiative wording; amateurs vs. experts.
on December 12,2011 | 09:29PM
FrankGenadio wrote:
Fourth try in over four hours, this one after calling the newspaper; first three were "sent for approval." Whether or not the lawsuit principals were involved earlier, there is the fact that those of us who did comment were ignored then---just as we are now. I submitted the following on the Draft EIS: Purpose of the Draft EIS---Notice of Intent published in federal register---The actual statement in the Notice of Intent is pertinent to my criticism of the city’s actions to date. It states that “The draft EIS would consider five distinct transit technologies: Light rail transit, rapid rail transit, rubber-tired guided vehicles, a magnetic levitation system, and a monorail system.” The EIS does not come close to anything resembling a consideration of technologies other than steel wheels on steel rails (SWSR), presumably fitting into the first category above (since it is not planned as being “rapid”).
on December 12,2011 | 08:46PM
PCWarrior wrote:
The city knows the draft EIS is flawed. If they thought it was done correctly they never would have budgeted funds to defend the EIS process in court.
on December 12,2011 | 09:25PM
Changalang wrote:
The City knew that an EIS legal challenge was the last shot of the opposition. they were locked and loaded from the gitgo.
on December 12,2011 | 09:31PM
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