Thursday, February 25, 2010

AIA ‘Spinning’ Extends to its Own Internal Survey; More Said They Favor Elevated Rail than At-Grade!

We focus so much attention here on the American Institute of Architects Hawaii Chapter’s credibility because Governor Linda Lingle seems to be relying on the AIA so much. Her official website devotes considerable space to the AIA presentation on January 18 that she hosted in the State Capitol. (The links to Governor Lingle's website became obsolete when her successor took office.)

Should the Governor be concerned about the AIA’s representations? We think so and have posted three times in the past week on statements made on a local public television program by an AIA member a week ago tonight.

We called attention to apparent willful misrepresentations about the environmental impact process, the speed of at-grade trains and the dangers to other vehicle traffic when rail is built at-grade.

Today we’re going back to perhaps the biggest AIA misrepresentation of them all. The local chapter surveyed its membership last June with an emailed poll. To bolster the chapter’s campaign against Honolulu’s planned elevated rail system, here’s how its website spins the results:

“A total of 90/144 member responses (62.5%) favored either at-grade or below grade through the downtown urban core. A total of 41/144 members (28.4%) indicated their preference for elevated rail through the urban core.”

What the summary doesn’t tell you – but clicking on the actual survey results does – is that more AIA members said they favored elevated rail than at-grade rail – 28.5% for elevated and 24.3% for at-grade. And if “spinning” is the issue, you can make the case that 68.7% favor a grade-separated solution over ground-level rail.

Using this survey's results, the AIA chapter has gone to the public with a misinformation campaign favoring at-grade rail (see referenced Yes2Rail posts, above) even though the poll showed lower support for at-grade rail than the other two alternatives!

That's why the Governor is urged to use caution in evaluating what the AIA chapter is communicating to her and the community. More than ever, it’s obvious the at-grade campaign is championed by a small minority within the chapter that is intent on confusing the public about the most important construction project in the state’s history.

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