Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Anti-Railers Down To Throwing Hail Mary Bombs; Civil Beat Intercepts another One, Calls It ‘False’

The Slater-Cayetano-Heen-Roth anti-rail campaign continues at fever pitch, and we put our finger on why last week. This “Gang of Four” launched its nothing-new but splashy last-ditch effort with a Star-Advertiser commentary on August 21 because they know they've lost the public opinion fight on Honolulu rail.

The danger of throwing these desperation Hail Mary passes is that once they're launched, they hang out there for everyone to see, intercept and judge against the truth.

Civil Beat, the online news service, this morning has determined that another of the Gang of Four’s statements in the commentary column is   FALSE  . Slater and friends had written “…virtually every environmental group in Hawai`i opposes (Honolulu) rail….”

It’s not true, says Civil Beat, and found that out of 11 groups it contacted, 2 oppose, 1 supports and 8 have taken no position. As we noted last week, the Oahu Chapter of the Sierra Club, perhaps the nation’s most influential environmental organization, strongly supports rail transit with a statement on its website.

Campaign of Falsehoods
Cliff Slater, Ben Cayetano, Walter Heen and Randall Roth play fast and loose with the facts in their desperation to scare Oahu residents away from the support they have shown over recent years for rail. An average of 58.6 percent support was found in three high-quality opinion surveys conducted by respected local firms OmniTrak and QMark.

Their Star-Advertiser commentary included visions of rail stations that look like “aircraft carriers in the sky” ( FALSE ), widespread opposition by environmental groups ( FALSE ), allegations that the city’s population estimates were wrong (we’ve called it  FALSE  and await Civil Beat’s verdict), suggestions of incompetence and inappropriate behavior by the city, dumbed-down arguments about traffic and more.

The four are working the media and hoping to make a connection anywhere it can. Amazingly, it worked on Pacific Business News, which last Friday published one of the most embarrassingly gullible editorials in its history.

PBN was snowed by “four influential leaders” whose “reputations are beyond reproach.” Unfortunately, PBN’s editors didn’t ask the Gang a question that would have occurred to high school journalists: “What are your ideas to address Oahu’s growing traffic congestion problem other than elevated Honolulu rail?”

PBN didn’t ask, and Mr. Slater’s group didn’t say, preferring to use innuendo and obfuscation to confuse the issues and conceal the emptiness of their effort.

The Gang of Four has no suggestions to address Oahu’s traffic congestion problem. In football parlance, their ground game is weak, and their passing attack is being picked off --- pass after pass, statement after statement. They’ve lost the public and are mired deep in their own territory, 4th and 40. They’ve stopped the clock by filing a federal lawsuit to kill rail and in the timeout are trying to rally the crowd.

It's not working, and the press box is seeing        .

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