Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, November 6, 2016
Build Rail Better? Caldwell Failed Miserably
By News Release @ 8:33 PM :: 5154 Views :: Rail



From, October 9, 2016

From before HART even existed, as former Mayor Mufi Hanneman’s Managing Director, Kirk Caldwell was the self-described “primary point person” on Rail. As the “primary point person”, he “sugar coated” rail costs, allowed construction contracts to be signed before the City was ready to build, and set grossly unrealistic cost projections and construction timetables for political reasons. House Finance Chairwoman Sylvia Luke accused Caldwell of misrepresenting key numbers.(1)

As Mayor, Kirk Caldwell failed miserably in his 2012 campaign promise to “BUILD RAIL BETTER”. Under his watch, the cost of rail has risen $3.34 billion over budget to $8.6 billion, and more than 7 years behind schedule. A recent federal “upper bound” estimate puts the cost at $10.79 billion (more than double the original budget of $5.26 billion) and the completion date at 2027.(2) Many people living on the West side will have spent their entire childhood commuting through the traffic congestion caused by construction of the Rail System.

In addition to all of the above, Caldwell has yet to inform the public how he plans to fund more than $100 million in annual operating subsidies.

Other Key Missteps:

• He started the project in Kapolei instead of some place closer to Ala Moana Center, like Waipahu. Waipahu is 8.4 miles closer to Ala Moana Center than Kapolei. If he had started from Waipahu, the segment from Waipahu to Ala Moana Center could be operational, servicing Pearl City and Aiea along the way, while the final 8.4 mile segment to Kapolei is being completed (Note: the entire rail line is only 20 miles long).

• Terminating the project at Middle Street, 4.1 miles from Ala Moana Center, at least $3.34 billion over budget to date and 7 years behind schedule, thereby tarnishing Senator Inouye’s legacy in the process.

• Wasted nearly $1.0 billion by building an elevated guide way through 8.4 miles of “uninhabited” cane fields instead of simply running the tracks on grade from Kapolei to Waipahu. e general belief is that tracks or guide ways are usually run on grade for cost considerations except where they have to cross rivers, deep valleys or other obstacles. No reason to build costly concrete guide ways through open fields except for “political show”.

• Caldwell is derelict in his fiduciary responsibility to run the City probably because he campaigns almost full time and MOONLIGHTS at Territorial Bancorp Inc. (see below). He was oblivious to the rail boondoggle until shortly before announcing that he decided to terminate the rail system at Middle Street.

• He was unaware that the project was way over budget in spite of the fact that two (2) of his City Directors sit on the HART Board and that his former Director of Design & Construction, Chris Takashige, is now the Deputy Director of Design & Construction for HART.(3) HART CFO Diane Arakaki is also from Caldwell’s Administration.

• The makeup of the HART BOARD (and other boards) suggests that Caldwell primarily selected people who could help him politically. Although the Rail Project is by far the largest ENGINEERING and CONSTRUCTION project in the history of Hawaii, there is not a single ENGINEER or CONTRACTOR appointed to the Board by Caldwell. Inability of the Board members to recognize inaccurate cost estimates BEFORE projects are let out to bid is contributing to “bid opening surprises” and thus massive cost overruns.


DOUGLAS TILDEN, InfraConsult’s Chief Architect for the Rail, sums it best when he concluded in an interview with Tina Yuen of PBN: “I THINK HONOLULU WILL BE A POSTER CHILD FOR HOW NOT TO PUT A TRANSIT SYSTEM IN THE CITY…THEY COULDN’T BE DOING IT ANY WORSE, IT’S MISTAKE AFTER MISTAKE.”(4)


In spite of receiving $164,000 in salary from the City, Mayor Caldwell “MOONLIGHTS” at Territorial Bancorp Inc. (TBNK) as Director and Compensation Committee Chairman.(5)

• Kirk Caldwell ran unopposed and was re-elected to the TBNK Board of Directors on 8/17/10. Kiewit, the main Rail Contractor, was TBNK shareholder and voted “withhold” on Proxy.(6)

• As TBNK Compensation Committee Chairman, Kirk Caldwell compensated himself with 87,355 shares of stock and stock options worth $1,732,560 (based on $28.03/ share on 8/18/15) between 2010 and 2015 (FOR FREE).(7) He also received Director’s Fees of almost $250,000 during this same period.

• Kirk Caldwell earned approximately $2,000,000 from TBNK between 2010 and 2015, for an average of $400,000/year which is 2.5 times greater than his mayoral salary of $164,000/year. QUESTION: Which is Caldwell’s “MOONLIGHTING” job? His Mayoral job for which he makes $164,000/year or his Bank job from which he receives $400,000/year??? Could it be that the reason why Caldwell is so derelict in managing the Rail Project and other City issues is because he spends too much time at Territorial Bancorp Inc. to justify his $400,000 annual compensation???


• Kirk Caldwell has an annual household income of over $1.35 million but was paying only $100 per year in property tax on his “historic” mansion at 2726 Hillside Avenue, Manoa until deciding to run for Mayor. His estate is assessed at $2,342,400(8) but is probably worth close to $4,000,000 in market value, and is so large that it has two (2) trash bins, two (2) blue recycle bins, and two (2) green plants/cuttings bins, all with Caldwell campaign stickers.

• It’s incomprehensible to me to see how a civic leader like Kirk Caldwell can take advantage of a tax loophole that can benefit only the wealthy elite. He seems to be oblivious to the plight of many seniors who at times may have to choose between food or medicine in order to pay their taxes.


Based upon 2014 calculations, Honolulu is short $1.4 billion to cover its future public employee retirement benefit. is figure is expected to climb another $100 million when the 2016 report is released.

• For years, Kirk Caldwell has failed to contribute enough to cover the City’s actual pension expense. Last fiscal year, he paid in $139 million in pension contributions, $24 million less than was required to meet the basic annual payment on the unfunded balance.

• In addition to the pension fund, annual payment to other unfunded liabilities called Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) which covers health, dental, and vision care for retirees and their families were not paid in full. During 2015, the City and HART contributed a total of $111.9 million to OPEB, some $35.7 million less than required to meet its full annual payment. It is not known if Caldwell has a plan to catch up with these accumulating delinquent payments.


Harry Mattson first achieved notoriety with Jeremy Harris’ campaign in 2002. See His current criminal history(10) includes the following:

2005: On July 18, 2005, Mattson was arrested on five (5) counts of “Willful Failure to File” (HRS-231-35). He was given a “Deferred Acceptance Plea”.

2007: Mattson did not meet requirements of the plea and was found guilty on all five (5) counts on October 19, 2007.

2010: On May 13, 2010, Mattson was re-sentenced to the following: 30 days in “JAIL”, one (1) year probation, $63,384 restitution, $1,800 ne, 200 hours community service, $50 criminal injury compensation fee.

2012: On July 13, 2012 the Prosecutor’s office requested that Mattson’s probation be revoked because he still had fines and restitution owed.

It is well known that HARRY MATTSON, a convicted criminal, is Caldwell’s $10,000 per month campaign manager and was even offered a Chief of Staff position (created especially for Harry) in the Administration, which was later rescinded when the media exposed his criminal convictions. Since he could not be paid from the City, Caldwell paid him $10,000 per month from proceeds from the inauguration luau (which normally goes to charity). It is not clear exactly what Mattson did, but according to news articles, the Mayor’s Office has said that Mattson accompanied the Mayor to meetings at the State Capitol and attended Cabinet meetings.(11)

It is incomprehensible how Kirk Caldwell can DISGRACE the office of the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu by selecting a person with a criminal history like HARRY MATTSON to chair his campaign and allow him to attend cabinet meetings and to accompany him to meetings at the State Capitol. is all reflects upon Kirk Caldwell’s character and level of morality. It also says something about Caldwell’s insecurity to need a person like HARRY MATTSON to hang around him.

Kirk Caldwell is not capable of resolving the problems he created with the Rail Project. He is OVERWHELMED!! He is too occupied moonlighting at Territorial Bancorp Inc. to concentrate on the many problems engulfing our City. He is unfit and unqualified to be Mayor. He will say and do anything to get re-elected in order to continue enriching himself. He’s not a good person. We must vote him out of office….

LINK: Footnotes


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


Aloha Pregnancy Care Center


Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together


Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii